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The Tiger Lillies

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The Tiger Lillies are a cult British musical trio formed in 1989 by singer-songwriter Martyn Jacques. Described as the forefathers of Brechtian Punk Cabaret,[1] the Tiger Lillies are well known for their unique sound and style which merges "the macabre magic of pre-war Berlin with the savage edge of punk".[2]

The Tiger Lillies
Tiger Lillies TFF 01.JPG
The Tiger Lillies at TFF Rudolstadt 2013
Background information
GenresDark cabaret
Years active1989–present
LabelsMisery Guts Music
  • Martyn Jacques
  • Adrian Stout
  • Jonas Golland
Past members
  • Phil Butcher
  • Adrian Huge
  • Mike Pickering
The band after a concert



Formation and recent activityEdit

The band's name is rumoured to have been inspired by a murdered Soho prostitute called Lillie who used to dress up in animal print.[3][4] Jacques, however, has stated that he named the band after a painting he had on his wall.[5] The band formed in 1989 when Martyn Jacques placed an ad on Loot looking for a drummer and a bass player for a new band. Adrian Huge and Phil Butcher (the band's first bassist who was succeeded by Adrian Stout in 1995)[6] were the only musicians that got in touch with him and therefore became the original Tiger Lillies' drummer and bassist respectively.

In Spring 2012 Adrian Huge decided to take a leave of absence and was replaced by drummer Mike Pickering who toured with the Tiger Lillies from 2012.[7] In early 2015 Pickering was in turn replaced by band's current drummer, Jonas Golland.[8]

Musical styleEdit

The Independent has described The Tiger Lillies as "a provocative and avant-garde three-piece band that combines cabaret, vaudeville, music-hall and street theatre",[9] while Tim Arthur of Time Out has given a more imaginative description: "Imagine Kurt Weill conjuring up images of prewar Berlin while a falsetto vocalist screams, squeaks and squawks his way through every number like some rambling madman, and you've got the picture".[10] Notorious for singing controversial songs involving bestiality, prostitution, blasphemy and all other vice imaginable, The Tiger Lillies are undoubtedly not for the easily offended.[11][12][13] Their musical style is mainly influenced by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's masterpiece The Threepenny Opera and pre-war Berlin cabaret but other influences such as gypsy and circus music, French chanson and British music hall tunes are also evident.[14][4]

Awards and nominationsEdit

  • In 2002 their cult hit musical Shockheaded Peter was nominated for five Olivier Awards. The show won the Olivier for Best Entertainment and Martyn Jacques won the Olivier for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical or Entertainment.[15]
  • In 2003 their album The Gorey End (in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet and writer, illustrator Edward Gorey) was nominated for Dominique de Rivaz's Luftbusiness (2008) a Grammy Award for Best Classical Crossover Album.[16]
  • In 2012 their show The Tiger Lillies Perform Hamlet, produced by Copenhagen's Republique Theatre and directed by acclaimed Danish director Martin Tulinius, was nominated for a Reumert Award in the category Music Theatre/Show of the Year 2012.[17]


  • Phil Butcher – bass (1989–95)
  • Adrian Huge – drums (1989–2012)
  • Mike Pickering – drums (2012–15)



  • Bouquet of Vegetables (1989)
  • Spit Bucket (1990)
  • Little Death (1991)

Studio CDsEdit


  • Variete (1925) (New music composed and played by The Tiger Lillies for the E.A. Dupont silent movie) (2015) (DVD)
  • Goosebumps (2016) (CD)[18]

Live CDsEdit

  • Live in Russia 2000–2001 (2003)
  • Live on WFMU (2004)
  • Live in Soho (2007)
  • Urine Palace (with The Symphony Orchestra of Norrlandsoperan) (2007)
  • Live at the New Players Theatre – London 2009 (2009)

Compilation CDsEdit

  • Bouquet of Vegetables - The Early Years (2000)
  • The Tiger Lillies (2006)


Collaborations CDsEdit

Extended play CDsEdit

  • Goodbye Great Nation (with Contrastate) (1996)
  • Special Edition (2000)

Various artists compilation CDsEdit

  • Torture Garden (1999) "Roll Up"
  • Дед Мороз Против Анти Деда Мороза Bad Taste Новый Год (2002) "Drunken Sailor"
  • Plague Songs (2006) "Hailstones"


  • 1998 – The Ultimate Shockheaded Peter BookISBN 3-932909-99-2
  • 2003 – Farmyard Fantasy Book – made by b7UE
  • 2007 – "The Tiger Lillies Book" – b7UE 02
  • 2007 – "The Tiger Lillies – Selected illustrations of songs" – by Anne Sophie Malmberg
  • 2008 – "The Inquisitorial Skeleton Shooting" – limited edition shot by b7UE

Shows and filmsEdit


The Tiger Lillies have appeared in numerous shows, the following are listed according to their premiere date:

  • Jake Scott's Plunkett & Macleane (1999)
  • Sergei Bodrov's The Quickie (2001) – a music band in celebrations.
  • Sergei Bodrov's Drunken Sailor (2007) – a documentary on The Tiger Lillies by the director of Oscar-nominated epic Mongol
  • Penny Woolcock's The Margate Exodus (2007) – a contemporary re-telling of the Book of Exodus. Martyn Jacques appears in the film as Shebeen Singer performing "Hailstones".
  • Dominique de Rivaz's Luftbusiness (2008)
  • Valdís Óskarsdóttir's Country Wedding (2008)
  • Troma's Lloyd Kaufman's Return To Nuke 'Em High (2013)
  • Andrey Proshkin's Orlean (Russian title Орлеан) (2015) – soundtrack.
  • E.A. Dupont's Variete (1925) (2015) – soundtrack.


  1. ^ Meads, Glenn. "Tiger Lillies play Queer Contact Date: 21 December 2011". What's on Stage. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  2. ^ Mann, Tom. "The Tiger Lillies – 20 years of deviant theatrics". Faster Louder. Archived from the original on 7 March 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  3. ^ McCall, Chris (15 July 2010). "Music Beyond The Edge: The Tiger Lillies". Fest. Archived from the original on 7 April 2016. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  4. ^ a b Goldsmith, Kenneth (13 May 1998). "Criminal Castrati: The Tiger Lillies". New York Press. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Interview: The Tiger Lillies". Deviant Nation. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Bios". The Tiger Lillies. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010.
  7. ^ "Mister Huge". The Tiger Lillies. April 3, 2012. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "Jonas Golland | Band | The Tiger Lillies". Retrieved 2016-01-13.
  9. ^ Cripps, Charlotte (11 November 2003). "Dark Tales of the Unexpected". The Independent. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  10. ^ Arthur, Tim (9 November 1996). "Time Out Review". Time Out London. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  11. ^ D., Keith. "FRINGE REVIEW – The Tiger Lillies Live in Concert (Pleasance)". Edinburgh Spotlight. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  12. ^ Cobley, Mike (4 October 2007). "The Tiger Lillies: Stories Full Of Eccentricity, Blasphemy & Weirdness!". Brighton Magazine. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Music review: The Tiger Lillies". The Scotsman. 23 August 2009. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  14. ^ Fractal, Suicide. "Interviews: Martyn Jacques of The Tiger Lillies". Suicide Girls. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Olivier Winners 2002". Olivier Awards.
  16. ^ "The Gorey End has been nominated for a Grammy". The Tiger Lillies. December 5, 2003. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010.
  17. ^ "ON TOUR: HAMLET as musical theatre by Olivier Award winners THE TIGER LILLIES and new Danish theatre Republique". Danish Agency for Culture. May 18, 2012.
  18. ^ Retrieved 10 April 2017. Missing or empty |title= (help)

External linksEdit