Lydia Lunch

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Lydia Lunch
LydiaLunch.jpg
Lydia Lunch in 2005
Background information
Birth name Lydia Anne Koch[1]
Born (1959-06-02) June 2, 1959 (age 55)[1]
Rochester, New York, United States
Genres No wave, post-punk, industrial, avant-garde, spoken word
Occupations Singer, songwriter, actor, self-empowerment speaker[2][3]
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 1976–present
Labels ZE
Associated acts Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, 8-Eyed Spy, Big Sexy Noise, Harry Crews, Sonic Youth, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Cypress Grove

Lydia Lunch (born Lydia Anne Koch, June 2, 1959, Rochester, New York)[1][4] is an American singer, poet, writer, actress and self-empowerment speaker whose career was spawned by the New York No Wave scene.[5] The Boston Phoenix named Lunch "one of the 10 most influential performers of the 1990s."[6]

Her work typically features provocative and confrontational noise music delivery and has maintained an anti-commercial ethic[7] operating independently of major labels and distributors.[8] Lunch's moniker was given to her by the rock band Mink DeVille because she stole food for her friends.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Lunch moved to New York City from Rochester at the age of 16[4] in 1976 with what she described having nothing but "a small red suitcase, a winter coat, and a big fucking attitude."[9] Lunch moved into a communal household of artists and musicians in NYC. Soon Willy DeVille gave her the name "Lunch" because she often stole lunches from The Dead Boys.[10]

Music[edit]

After befriending Alan Vega and Martin Rev at Max's Kansas City, she founded the short-lived but influential No Wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, with James Chance.[11] Both Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and The Contortions, Chance's subsequent band, played on the No Wave compilation No New York, produced by Brian Eno. Lunch later appeared on two songs on James White and the Blacks album, Off-White.

Lunch's solo career featured collaborations with musicians such as J. G. Thirlwell, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Billy Ver Planck, Steven Severin, Robert Quine, Sadie Mae, Rowland S. Howard, Michael Gira, The Birthday Party, Einstürzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth, Oxbow, Die Haut, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Black Sun Productions, and French band Sibyl Vane, who put one of her poems to music.

In the mid-1980s, she formed her own recording and publishing company called "Widowspeak Productions" (also known as just "Widowspeak"), on which she continues to release her own material, from music to spoken word. Two albums published by Lunch's label were released in 2013: Collision Course & Trust The Witch, by Big Sexy Noise (released on Cherry Red), and Retrovirus (released on Interbang Records); both albums are by Lunch's musical projects.[12]

Lunch released her studio album Smoke in the Shadows in November 2004, through Atavistic Records and Breakin Beats, after a six-year break from music.[13][14] Nels Cline, the lead guitarist of alternative rock band Wilco, was featured on the album.[15] Smoke in the Shadows was met with positive reviews by Allmusic,[16] PopMatters,[13] and Tiny Mix Tapes.[17] In 2009 Lunch formed the band Big Sexy Noise. The group features Lunch on vocals, James Johnston (guitars), Terry Edwards (organ, saxophone and guitar), and Ian White (drums).[18] Johnston and Edwards were previously members of the band Gallon Drunk.[19] A six-track eponymous EP was released on June 1, 2009 through Sartorial Records,[20] and included a cover of Lou Reed's song "Kill Your Sons," as well as "The Gospel Singer", a song co-written with Kim Gordon.[15] The debut, self-titled album Big Sexy Noise was released in 2010, followed by Trust The Witch in 2011. For both albums, Lunch and her band completed tours throughout Europe.[21][22]

In 2010, The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project launched We Are Only Riders, the first of a series of four albums featuring Pierce's previously-unreleased works-in-progress. The album features interpretations of Pierce's work by friends, collaborators, and admirers, including Lunch.[23] Lunch also contributed to the second album from the project (The Journey is Long, released in April 2012)[24] and will appear on the project's third and final album, The Task Has Overwhelmed Us (due for release in late 2012).[25]


Lunch released the album Retrovirus (also the name of the band Lunch plays with) in 2013 on Interbang Records and ugEXPLODE (the vast majority of the album tracks are published by Widowspeak).[26] Together with band members Weasel Walter, Algis Kizys, and Bob Bert, Lunch performed a show following the album's release at the Bowery Electric venue in New York City, US in May 2013.[27]

Film[edit]

She appeared in two films by directors Scott B and Beth B. In the Black Box (1978) she played a dominatrix, and in Vortex (1983) she played a private detective named Angel Powers. During this time, she also appeared in a number of films by Vivienne Dick, including She Had Her Gun All Ready (1978) and Beauty Becomes The Beast (1979), co-starring with Pat Place.[28] In 2011, Lunch appeared in Mutantes: punk, porn, feminism, a film directed by Virginie Despentes, also featuring Annie Sprinkle and Catherine Breillat She also wrote, directed and acted in underground films, sometimes collaborating with underground filmmaker and photographer Richard Kern.

Spoken word[edit]

Lunch has recorded and performed as a spoken word artist, collaborating with artists such as Exene Cervenka, Henry Rollins, Juan Azulay, Don Bajema, Hubert Selby Jr., and Emilio Cubeiro, as well as hosting spoken-word performance night The Unhappy Hour at the Parlour Club.[29]

Literature[edit]

In 1997, Lunch released Paradoxia, a loose autobiography, in which she documented her early life, sexual history, substance abuse and mental health problems.[30] Time Out New York gave it a favorable review,[31] while Bookslut ambiguously concluded "It's to the reader to determine whether Lunch's study goes deeper than that, or if instead, it's a kind of literary and philosophical repetition compulsion, a reprisal of greatest hits from male nihilists, sexual adventurers and chroniclers of deviance."[31] PopMatters called it a "brutal but boring and predictable circus, about which Lunch shows no emotions. Only fatigue seems to have given her pause."[32] Other reviewers praised Lunch's candor while expressing reservations about her prose.[33][34]

Additionally, Lunch has authored both traditional books and comix (with award-winning graphic novel artist Ted McKeever).

Other work[edit]

In 2007, Lunch appeared on a viral video that was recorded backstage after a Joe Rogan comedy show, in which she confronts Rogan for making jokes about "dumb women" in his comedy act. The interaction becomes inflamed when Rogan takes exception to Lunch's confrontational approach, whereby she asks the comedian to make eye contact and comments: "I was going to put my cigarette up his nose, but that's okay." Lunch then withdraws from her initial approach, claiming that her cigarette comment was not serious.[35]

In 2013 Lunch ran self-empowerment workshops in locations such as Ojai, California, US and Rennes, France. In regard to the Rennes workshop, her inaugural self-empowerment event, Lunch recalled: "Every day people would come in that would have to get a hug. I felt like mother India."[3]

Personal life[edit]

In 2004, she left the United States for Barcelona, her residence as of December 2013.[3]

Discography[edit]

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks[edit]

  • No New York, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (compilation Antilles 1978)
  • Babydoll b/w Freud in Flop, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (7" / Lust/Unlust, 1979)
  • Orphans b/w Less of Me, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (7" / Migraine, 1979)
  • Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (LP / Migraine, 1979) originally released on pink vinyl
  • Pink, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (12" / Lust/Unlust, 1979)
  • Pre-Teenage Jesus, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (12" / ZE, 1979)
  • Everything, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (CD re-issue / Atavistic, 1995)
  • Shut Up and Bleed, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and Beirut Slump (CD re-issue / Atavistic, 2008)

8-Eyed Spy[edit]

Solo[edit]

  • Queen of Siam, solo (LP / ZE, 1980)
  • 13.13, solo (LP / Ruby Records, 1981; re-issue Widowspeak/Le Son du Maquis, 2011)
  • Drunk on the Pope's Blood/The Agony Is the Ecstacy, solo (split 12" EP w. The Birthday Party / 4AD, 1982)
  • In Limbo, solo (12" EP / Widowspeak, 1984)
  • Hysterie, compilation of recordings 1976–1986 (LP, 1986 / Widowspeak Records)
  • Honeymoon in Red, solo (LP, 1987)
  • Unearthly Delights, solo (7", 1992)
  • Twisted, solo (7", 1992)
  • No Excuse b/w A Short History of Decay, w. Lee Ranaldo) (7" / Figurehead, 1997)
  • Matrikamantra, solo (double CD, 1997)
  • Widowspeak, solo best-of compilation (2CD / NMC, 1998)
  • Smoke in the Shadows, solo (CD / Atavistic, 2004)
  • Willing Victim (The audience as Whipping Boy), Recorded live at Festival des Masochismus, Graz, Austria, June 21, 2003 (DVD / Atavistic, 2004)
  • Deviations on a theme (A retrospective of the artist's career), solo best-of compilation (double CD / Wildstar World & Provocateur media, 2006)
  • Big Sexy Noise, w. James Johnston[disambiguation needed], Terry Edwards, Ian White (CD / Sartorial Records, 2009)
  • Trust The Witch, w. Big Sexy Noise (CD / Le Son Du Maquis, 2011)
  • Retrovirus, Recorded live at the Knitting Factory, Brooklin, NY, Nov 15 (2012) (CD / Widowspeak, 2013)

Harry Crews[edit]

  • Naked in Garden Hills, Harry Crews (1987; re-issue Big Cat records, 1990)

Collaboration[edit]

Appears on[edit]

Other[edit]

  • Devil Dogs (live in Italy / unreleased, 1981)

Spoken word[edit]

  • Better An Old Demon Than A New God, Giorno Poetry Systems comp. f/ William S. Burroughs, Psychic TV, Richard Hell and others (1984)
  • The Uncensored, solo (1984)
  • Hard Rock, solo (split cassette w. Michael Gira / Ecstatic Peace, 1984)
  • Oral Fixation, solo (12", 1988)
  • Our Fathers who Aren't in Heaven, w. Henry Rollins, Hubert Selby Jr. and Don Bajema (1990)
  • Conspiracy of Women, solo (1990)
  • South of Your Border, w. Emilio Cubeiro (1991)
  • POW, solo (1992)
  • Crimes Against Nature, solo spoken-word anthology (Tripple X/Atavistic, 1994)
  • Rude Hieroglyphics, w. Exene Cervenka (Rykodisc, 1995)
  • Universal Infiltrators, (Atavistic, 1996)
  • The Devil's Racetrack (2000)
  • Flood Stains, w. Juan Azulay (2010)

Filmography[edit]

Actress[edit]

  • She Had Her Gun All Ready: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1978)
  • Guerillere Talks: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1978)
  • Rome '78: Directed by James Nares (1978)[36]
  • Black Box: Directed by Scott B and Beth B (1979)
  • Beauty Becomes the Beast: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1979)
  • The Offenders (1979–1980): Directed by Scott B and Beth B
  • Liberty's Booty (1980)
  • Subway Riders: Directed by Amos Poe (1981)
  • The Wild World of Lydia Lunch: Directed by Nick Zedd (1983)
  • Like Dawn to Dust: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1983)
  • Vortex: Directed by Scott and Beth B (1983)
  • Submit to Me: Directed by Richard Kern (1985)
  • The Right Side of My Brain: Directed by Richard Kern (1985)
  • Fingered: Directed by Richard Kern (1986)
  • Hardcore Extended: Richard Kern (includes all movies of R. Kern with L. Lunch) (DVD / Le Chat qui Fume, 2008)
  • Mondo New York (1987)
  • Invisible Thread: Directed by Bob Balaban (1987)[37]
  • Penn & Teller's BBQ Death Squad (198?)
  • Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends (1990)
  • Kiss Napoleon Goodbye: Directed by Babeth vanLoo (1990)
  • The Road to God Knows Where: Directed by Uli M. Schüppel (1990)[38]
  • Thanatopsis: Directed by Beth B (1991)
  • Visiting Desire: Directed by Beth B (1996)[39]
  • Power of the Word (1996)
  • The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things: Directed by Asia Argento (2004)[40]
  • Kill Your Idols: Directed by Scott Crary, also known as S.A. Crary (2004)[41]
  • Psychomentsrum (unreleased)
  • Godkiller: Walk Among Us (2010): Voice role
  • Mutantes: punk, porn, feminism: Directed by Virginie Despentes (2011)[42]
  • Autoluminescent: Directed by Richard Lowenstein (2011)
  • Blank City: Directed by Celine Danhier (2012)[43]

Writer[edit]

  • The Right Side of My Brain (1985)
  • Fingered (1986)

Composer[edit]

  • The Offenders (1980)
  • Vortex (1983) (with John Lurie, Adele Bertei, Pat Place, Beth B and Scott B)
  • The Right Side of My Brain (1985)
  • Goodbye 42nd Street (1986)
  • Fingered (1986)
  • I Pass for Human (2004)
  • Flood stains (2010)

Subject[edit]

  • The Wild World of Lydia Lunch (1983)
  • Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends (1987)
  • Put More Blood into the Music (1987)
  • The Gun is Loaded (1988–1989)
  • The Road to God Knows Where (1990)
  • Malicious Intent (1990)
  • The Thunder (1992)
  • Totem of the Depraved (1996)
  • Paradoxia (1998)
  • Lady Lazarus: Confronting Lydia Lunch (2000)
  • Kiss My Grits: The Herstory of Women in Punk and Hard Rock (2001)
  • DIY or Die: How to Survive as an Independent Artist (2002)
  • Kill Your Idols (2004)

Narrator[edit]

  • American Fame Part 1: Drowning River Phoenix, dir. Cam Archer (2004)
  • American Fame Part 2: Forgetting Jonathan Brandis, dir. Cam Archer (2005)
  • Wild Tigers I Have Known, (Scenes Deleted), dir. Cam Archer (2006)

Plays[edit]

(both written, acted, directed and produced with Emilio Cubeiro)

  • South of Your Border (1988)
  • Smell of Guilt (1990)

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Martin Charles Strong. The Great Indie Discography. 2003, page 85
  2. ^ Hans (August 20, 2011). "Lydia Lunch Filmography". From The Archives. Retrieved January 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Lydia Lunch Through the Years". New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Masters, Marc. No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007, p. 73
  5. ^ "New York Times". Movies.nytimes.com. 2007-01-18. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  6. ^ "Lydia-lunch.org – The Official Lydia Lunch Website – Biography". Lydia-lunch.org. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ Masters, Marc. No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007, pp. 73–108
  8. ^ Stephen Holden. "New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  9. ^ "Lydia Lunch Interview << Money Jungle Safari". WordPress. October 16, 2008. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Lydia Lunch biography". Artistwiki.com. 1959-06-02. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  11. ^ Masters, Marc. No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007, p. 82
  12. ^ "Widowspeak Productions". Discogs. Discogs. 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Horning, Rob (January 27, 2005). "Lydia Lunch: Smoke in the Shadows < PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Lydia Lunch – Interview – MagnaPhone Magazine – Pure Music". Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b Hectic, Gerry (June 27, 2009). "Lydia Lunch – Big Sexy Noise". Fly. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  16. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Smoke in the Shadows". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Lydia lunch – Smoke in the Shadows". Tiny Mix Tapes. 2004. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  18. ^ Guy Manchester (June 30, 2012). "Big Sexy Noise & Rock in Your Pocket: Bristol – live review". Louder Than War. Louder Than War. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Meltdown: Lydia Lunch's Big Sexy Noise + Cindytalk". Time Out. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  20. ^ "iTunes – Music – Big Sexy Noise – EP by Lydia Lunch & Big Sexy Noise". iTunes. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Home". Lydia Lunch Official Site. Lydia Lunch. 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  22. ^ "Big Sexy Noise live". Songkick. Songkick. 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  23. ^ "The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project". Glitterhouse Records. Glitterhouse Records. November 1, 2010. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  24. ^ Phil Newall (February 9, 2012). "Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project to release second album...". Louder Than War. Louder Than War. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  25. ^ "Nick Cave and Blondie's Debbie Harry duet on The Gun Club tribute album". Uncut. IPC MEDIA. Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  26. ^ "Lydia Lunch – Retrovirus". Discogs. Discogs. 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  27. ^ elementallfilms (1 June 2013). "Lydia Lunch / Retrovirus - at Bowery Electric, NYC - May 29, 2013" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  28. ^ Masters, Marc. No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing, 2007, p. 160
  29. ^ "Tales and Cocktails – Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. December 9, 1998. Retrieved April 3, 2012. 
  30. ^ Nothing's Shocking: An Interview With Lydia Lunch, Drew Fortune, July 18, 2008]
  31. ^ a b Brown, Liz (2007-10-04). "New York Time Out". New York Time Out. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  32. ^ Kantor, Matthew. "PopMatters". PopMatters. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  33. ^ "Feminist Review". Feministreview.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  34. ^ "Lydia Lunch's Autobiographies". Enjoy-your-style.com. 2013-02-22. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  35. ^ uwho22 (20 February 2007). "Joe Rogan VS. Feminist" (Video upload). YouTube. Google, Inc. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 
  36. ^ "Film Search: Rome 78". Chicago Reader. Sun-Times Media, LLC. 2013. Retrieved July 13, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Full cast and crew for Invisible Thread". IMDb.com. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  38. ^ "Full cast and crew for The Road to God Knows Where". IMDb.com. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Full cast and crew for Visiting Desire". IMDb.com. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Full cast and crew for The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things". IMDb.com. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  41. ^ "Full cast and crew for Kill Your Idols". IMDb.com. IMDb.com, Inc. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  42. ^ "Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)". Coffee, Cake & Kink. Coffee, Cake & Kink (UK) Ltd. 3. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 
  43. ^ David Marren (June 15, 2012). "Blank City – film review". Louder Than War. Louder Than War. Retrieved November 2, 2012. 

External links[edit]