The Tiger Lillies are a three man band from Soho, London, UK. They sing about filth.
So... That's the short version. The long version is that the Tiger Lillies are a punk cabaret band led by classically trained falsetto/philosophy dropout Martyn Ja(c)ques, supported by two Adrians in silly hats: Adrian Hughes (on drums, toy cars and inflatable hammers) and Adrian Stout (on bass, theremin and backup vocals).
Their songs range from deranged screaming to touching sailor ballads, and their subjects are Played for Laughs and Played for Drama with equal abandon. The band isn't afraid to do cover songs, either. They have interpreted Jacques Brel, Kurt Weill, Stephen Sondheim, Frank Sinatra and the The Village People. They also have several Concept Album projects and shows: One based on Shockheaded Peter, one that's a parody of The Threepenny Opera, and an album with Edward Gorey's unpublished poems, created at the request of Gorey himself.
In the past few years, they've gone from piss-poor obscurity to international fame, playing high-end theatres all over the globe. Most recently, they were invited to play in Bertolt Brecht's own Berlin theatre — one of the very few occasions the theatre hosted anything aside from classical plays by its own ensemble. The band's celebrity fans include Matt Groening, Terry Gilliam, The Dresden Dolls, Franz Ferdinand (who attend their concerts when they feel like it), Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese (who used songs by the Tiger Lillies as their wedding music), and John Cameron Mitchell.
They have to be seen to be believed.
Tropes that have shown up in their works include:
- Ass Shove: "Hamsters" is about a man pleasuring himself rectally with hamsters."I love a little hamster up my rectum, it makes me feel so bright and so gay"
- Black Comedy
- Black Comedy Rape
- Blasphemous Boast:
- "Banging in the Nails" is a happy song about crucifying Jesus.
- "Piss On Your Grave" is about murdering, in order, the Virgin Mary, Joseph, Jesus's Disciples, John the Baptist, St Peter, Jesus, God and Satan... and then pissing on their graves.
- Bungled Suicide: "Strawberry Jam""In a wheelchair now you are bound, your spine shattered when you hit the groundBut your suicide didnt quite go to plan, you didn't turn into strawberry jam"
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: "Terrible"
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Cosmic Horror: Their show The Mountains of Madness.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Their album titles tend towards the brutally honest. For example:
- "Death and the Bible" is about... death and the Bible.
- "Circus Songs" contains circus-themed songs.
- "Farmyard Filth" contains "possibly the most extensive collection of songs dealing with zoophilia in recorded history".
- Excrement Statement: In the song "Terrible", the narrator says that he defecates on the front door of the priest every Wednesday, and doing it MORE if the priest complains.
- Harsh Vocals
- Lyrical Dissonance: The Tiger Lillies are made of this trope. Songs about the darkest of subjects - Played for Drama as often as they are Played for Laughs - set to happy cabaret music.
- The Oldest Profession: The subject of many of their songs.
- Pedophile Priest: "Interfered With"
- Posthumous Collaboration: With Edward Gorey on "The Gorey End".
- Pyromaniac: "Start a Fire"."I like burning things, burning things is swell"
- Regularly Scheduled Evil: The song "Terrible" is about a guy who commits a different act of evil every day of the week.
- Villain Song: "Charles Dexter Ward" and "Terrible."