Lit's 'Atomic' Born In Arenas

In recording "Atomic," Lit's follow-up to 1999's "A Place in the Sun," the band looked to the arena-rock sound of the '70s and '80s for inspiration. "That's what made us want to play music -- big aren

In recording "Atomic," Lit's follow-up to 1999's "A Place in the Sun," the band looked to the arena-rock sound of the '70s and '80s for inspiration. "That's what made us want to play music -- big arena-rock shows," frontman A. Jay Popoff says. "Our first concert was Iron Maiden. After that, we wanted our show to be as entertaining as an Iron Maiden show."

Due Oct. 16 on Dirty Martini/RCA, "Atomic" pays homage to the metal icons with a 37-second prologue of crowd noise to the explosive "Something to Someone."

"We always want the records to feel like a live show," says guitarist Jeremy Popoff, A. Jay's brother. "So that's why we made the live intro, to set the whole tone."

Lit is no stranger to the road, after what Jeremy calls a "never-ending" two-year tour in support of "Place." But even before that, the Orange County, Calif.-based band came to RCA in 1998 after playing together for more than 13 years, notably with the same lineup throughout.

In addition to the band's musical success is the group's new endeavor as label execs. Dirty Martini, the imprint for "Place" and its indie predecessor, 1997's "Tripping the Light Fantastic," has become an RCA-distributed label in its own right with its first two signings, Handsome Devil and the Color Red. Jeremy says, "We try to help the bands we're huge fans of."

As an unsigned act for 10 years, the band learned firsthand how to run a do-it-yourself operation, Jeremy explains. "We're still big on street teams and fan clubs. We've maintained that attitude with the whole 'Place in the Sun' campaign."

In the meantime, Lit is in a great position to help itself as well, says Bruce Flohr, senior VP of A&R and artist development for RCA. "Few bands are so in touch with who they are as a band and who their audience is; that makes it easy for us as a label to follow [Lit's] vision."

"A Place in the Sun" sold 1.3 million copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan, and spawned three rock radio hits, including "My Own Worst Enemy," which topped Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart for 11 weeks.

Both Popoffs collaborate in writing the group's songs, and Flohr notes that RCA has at least four cuts from "Atomic" slated as singles. The first, "Lipstick and Bruises," went to modern rock and active rock Aug. 20. Notes Jim McGuinn, PD for modern rock WPLY (Y100) Philadelphia, "They really have a knack for writing good, catchy uptempo songs."

Now wrapping up a 20-date club tour, Lit plans to embark on a full-scale tour early next year.