Teenage Jesus and the Jerks
|Teenage Jesus and the Jerks|
|Also known as||Teenage Jesus & the Jerks|
|Origin||New York, United States|
|Labels||Migraine, ZE, Celluloid|
|Associated acts||8 Eyed Spy, Beirut Slump, Lydia Lunch, James Chance and the Contortions|
|Past members||Lydia Lunch
Infamous for playing ten-minute sets filled with thirty-second songs, they sought to take music beyond what Lunch saw as the traditionalism of punk rock.
Featured on the seminal No New York LP, a showcase of the early no wave scene, compiled and produced by Brian Eno, the group left behind little more than a dozen complete recorded songs. Most of the surviving titles were collected on the eighteen-minute career retrospective compilation Everything, released in 1995 through Atavistic Records. However, other studio versions of several songs exist, alongside a few live recordings.
The group disbanded at the end of 1979.
Musical style and philosophy
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and their comrade bands Mars, Contortions and DNA, defined radicalism not as a return to roots but as deracination. Curiously, the no wave groups staged their revolt against rock tradition by using the standard rock format of guitars, bass and drums. It was as if they felt the easy electronic route to making post-rock noise was too easy. Instead, they used rock's tools against itself. Which is why no wave music irresistibly invites metaphors of dismemberment, desecration, defiling rock's corpse.
Lydia Lunch has voiced her disdain for contemporary rock, claiming in Rip It Up: "I hated almost the entirety of punk rock. I don't think that no wave had anything to do with it. Who wanted chords, all these progressions that had been used to death in rock? To play slide guitar I'd use a knife, a beer bottle... glass gave the best sound. To this day I still don't know a single chord on the guitar."
Singles and EPs
Date Title Label Format Catalogue May 1978 "Orphans"/"Less of Me" Migraine Records 7" vinyl CC-334 April 1979 "Baby Doll" Migraine Records 7" vinyl CC-334 1979 Teenage Jesus and the Jerks Migraine Records 12" vinyl CC-336 1979 Pre Teenage Jesus and the Jerks ZE Records 12" vinyl ZE12011