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01:28 PM on 09/15/11
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Thomas Nassiff
resuscitation of the year
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Vancouver punk act Living With Lions endured a hailstorm of backlash from the Canadian government upon the release of their sophomore album Holy Shit earlier this year. Although critically acclaimed, the provocatively titled album was deemed “blasphemous” by the Canadian Heritage Minister due to the artwork and packaging, which on some level resembles a Bible, subtitled “The Poo Testament” with lyrics written like biblical verses. The controversy stems from the fact that the government-sponsored Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR) provided funding to the band’s Canadian label Black Box Recordings, Inc, to the tune of $13,248 to offset the band’s costs of recording and releasing the album. With the government threatening to shut down FACTOR, Living With Lions and Black Box Recordings voluntarily decided to return the full amount of the loan in cash (rather than through sales over time), in order to keep their artwork untouched.

Now, Living with Lions is appealing to both fans and advocates of free speech to help pay back the loan through a Kickstarter campaign. The campaign urges people to pledge money in an effort to defend art-funding and the freedom for all to have protected artistic expression. The band recorded a PSA and released an official statement:

Video and Statement

The content of our artwork for our new recording was created out of our passion for satire and absurdist humor. The lyrical and musical content of this record does not contain any commentary on religion, nor does it use a pejorative or malicious voice against any particular group of people (excluding possibly some of our ex-girlfriends). When the idea came up to simply alter the artwork for HOLY SHIT without having to expedite the repayment to FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), we chose to entirely return the money so that HOLY SHIT can forever remain true to the original format. The debate about government funding contributing to potentially controversial art is neither new nor truly resolved; but when the offended public complains, the politicians habitually remind groups like FACTOR, the NEA and the Arts Council that they can pull the plug rather than encourage discourse or scholarly debate. We would like to thank our fans, friends and family for their continued support.
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