The Tiger Lillies defy any singular description, operating within their own eccentric definitions. Formed in 1989, they have toured the world, developing a dedicated following from New York and San Francisco to St Petersburg. Their songs are captured on numerous self-released albums including Brothel to the Cemetery, Farmyard Filth, Ad Nauseam, Shockheaded Peter and Circus Songs.
The Tiger Lillies are an extraordinary three-piece band fronted by singer Martyn Jacques who trained himself as an opera singer with a castrati style voice whilst living alone above a strip joint in Soho. Accompanied by double bass player Adrian Stout and drummer Mike Pickering, Jacques plays accordion and sings passionate songs about prostitutes, drug addicts and losers. Ken Campbell has described him as “the criminal castrati”, and with his Dickensian style, long pigtails, corrosive lyrics and astonishing voice, he makes an indelible impression. Jacques sings about life at the bottom of contemporary Britain with the voice of an angel.
The music is a mixture of opera, gypsy song and left-bank Paris, but what causes this band to stand apart from any other is the emotional charge and raw passion of the delivery. Their reputation is spreading rapidly in the art culture underworld.