Showing posts with label Lydia Lunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lydia Lunch. Show all posts

Monday, July 5, 2021

From the EVG archives: Q-and-A with Lydia Lunch, underground legend, town crier

"Lydia Lunch: The War is Never Over" is currently playing at the IFC Center (and on various streaming platforms) ... Beth B's career-spanning documentary retrospective is enjoying a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes...
Back in 2013, before an appearance at the Bowery Electric and the Pyramid, EVG correspondent Stacie Joy spoke with the singer, writer, poet, No Wave icon ... and you can find that interview at this link ... and some photos from her appearance at the Pyramid here.

Friday, May 31, 2013

At 'Don't Hide the Madness'

At the Pyramid on Avenue A last night, Lydia Lunch hosted "an evening of spoken word in the raw" titled Don't Hide the Madness. It was a benefit for Howl! Emergency Life Project.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy was there and shared a few photos from the evening...

Among the many performers...

Bibbe Hansen...


Tony O'Neill...


Nicole Blackman...


Our Q-and-A with Lydia is here.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Q-and-A with Lydia Lunch, underground legend, town crier

No Wave force of nature Lydia Lunch is the iconic singer (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, 8-Eyed Spy, Big Sexy Noise), poet, writer and actress. She also recently added cookbook author to her résumé. (Read more about that project here.)

And you'll soon have several chances to see the underground legend here. On May 30, Lunch hosts "an evening of spoken word in the raw" at the Pyramid on Avenue A titled Don't Hide the Madness. It's a benefit for Howl! Emergency Life Project. The night before, she'll be playing with her RETROVIRUS lineup at the Bowery Electric.

Lunch, who lives these days in Barcelona, spoke with EVG correspondent Stacie Joy before her return to the East Village.


Over the years you’ve had many labels. Singer, poet, actor, writer. Sex-positive rebel. Humanist. Confrontationalist. All still applicable?

Hey, thanks for leaving out some of the less flattering things I’ve been called! It all still pertains. Rebellious — yes. Sex-positive? Not so sure I’ve been labeled with that tag. In both the early Richard Kern films and much of the early spoken word and music, I was exploring the darker side of sexual obsession. Female predation. The Willing Victim Syndrome. Violent female urges. Revenge. Against the Father, God the Father, The Father of the Country. Or as I like to say, what is a father but a motherfucker?

But no matter what format I use to illustrate the issues I think need to be explored at the moment, whether it’s spoken or written word, music or even a photograph, I’ve always viewed myself more as a town crier, a hysterian ... a journalist in a sense — documenting a specific moment in history be it my own or the politics of the time in order to make sense of and empower one’s self out of life in the traumazone.

What stood out to you about New York City when you first arrived here from Rochester in the 1970s? What’s changed since then?

Rochester was pretty scuzzy, but New York was a magnificent wreck. It was grimy, dark, scarred and the crime rate was outrageous. Between the mafia, the dopers, the drug dealers, the arson and the muggings it was pretty fricking Grand Guignol. I had an advantage, though. I was fearless. Nobody ever even thought of preying on me. You can’t con a con. I felt right at home. I spent a lot of time perfecting petty street hustles. Pure instinctual survival mechanics put to good use.

I can’t speak about New York now. You tell me. I was here from ’76-81. In LA from ’81-82, London for two years, came back to New York and began curating a lot of spoken word shows, often at the Pyramid, stayed for a few ripe years during The Cinema of Transgression, post no-wave music scene of Sonic Youth and the Swans, etc., then left for good in 1990 for New Orleans, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, LA again to work with Hubert Selby and Jerry Stahl and left the States in 2004 when Bush stole the second election.

I’ve been living in Barcelona ever since. A country that was 40 years out of fascism as America went into what we now know is a police state. I can’t support myself as an artist in this country or even begin to find the proper venues to do all the different types of live performances I have the opportunities to do in Europe.

Do you have any advice for emerging artists?

Leave the country as soon as possible!

You were once quoted as saying, "I would be humiliated if I found out that anything I did actually became a commercial success." Does that still hold true today?

It's not a fear I need to entertain.

How can people support you and your work today? What’s next for Lydia Lunch?

I’ll be doing RETROVIRUS May 29 at Bowery Electric. A retrospective of sorts of my music from Teenage Jesus forward featuring Algis Kisyz (Swans) Bob Bert (Sonic Youth, Pussy Galore) and the indefatigable Weasel Walter. Really hot cock rock! My band Big Sexy Noise will release a double LP in September and the list goes on.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

“New York at that moment was bankrupt, poor, dirty, violent, drug-infested, sex-obsessed — delightful”

New York City during the 1970s was a beautiful, ravaged slag — impoverished and neglected after suffering from decades of abuse and battery. She stunk of sewage, sex, rotting fish, and day-old diapers. She leaked from every pore.
[Expletive] was already percolating by the time I hit Manhattan as a teen terror in 1976. Inspired by the manic rantings of Lester Bangs in Creem magazine, the Velvet Underground's sarcastic wit, the glamour of the New York Dolls' first album, and the poetic scat of Horses, by Patti Smith, I snuck out my bedroom window, jumped on a Greyhound, and crash-landed in a bigger ghetto than the one I had just escaped from. But with two hundred bucks in my pocket tucked inside a notebook full of misanthropic screed, a baby face that belied a hustler's instinct, and a killer urge to create in order to destroy everything that had originally inspired me, I didn't give a flying [expletive] if the Bowery smelled like dog [expletive].

That's part of an essay by Lydia Lunch included in “No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York. 1976-1980,” a visual history by Thurston Moore and Byron Coley. No wave gets the coffee-table book treatment this month. Ben Sisario at the Times takes a look at the book in today's paper:

Of all the strange and short-lived periods in the history of experimental music in New York, no wave is perhaps the strangest and shortest-lived . . .

With crisp black-and-white photographs and interviews with musicians and visual artists, the book is a loving reminiscence of a largely unheard period, as well as a look at a seedy, pre-gentrified Lower East Side. . . .

"New York at that moment was bankrupt, poor, dirty, violent, drug-infested, sex-obsessed — delightful,” Ms. Lunch said by phone. “In spite of that we were all laughing, because you laugh or you die. I’ve always been funny. My dark comedy just happens to scare most people.”

[Lydia Lunch photo by Julia Gorton]
Bonus: Teenage Jesus and the Jerks live