Renowned ”No Wave’ singer, songwriter, authoress, actress and daring provocateur Lydia Lunch has very kindly penned below a list of her ten favourite songs, exclusively for Louder Than War. It’s an enthralling collection of thrillingly eclectic compositions and artists, that all offer some perspective on Ms Lunch’s creative and personal Herstory.
Since she first emerged from the wreckage of the so-called No Wave New York scene in the mid 1970’s, Lydia Lunch has always actively avoided any stigma of being simply labelled as a ”post punk’ rock singer. Yet Lydia will on occasion embrace rock music, but always on her own terms and at a time of her choosing. She has always demanded a reaction, either positive or negative, in a succession of inimitable and groundbreaking groups (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Beirut Slump, Eight Eyed Spy, Harry Crews, Big Sexy Noise) in film performances (in particular with notorious super 8 film maker Richard ”Fingered’ Kern), through her many writings (Incriminating Evidence, Paradoxica: A Predator’s Diary) and vitriolic spoken word recordings (The Uncensored Lydia Lunch, Oral Fixation).
As well as producing classic recordings under her own name (her 1980 No Wave-jazz-noir recording Queen of Siam is a masterwork), Lydia has produced numerous exciting musical collaborations with a myriad of artists including Clint ”Foetus’ Ruin, the late, great Rowland S. Howard (a haunting 1982 version of Lee Hazlewood’s and Nancy Sinatra’s “Some Velvet Morning’ and the 1991 juju spooked blues album recorded in New Orleans, Shotgun Wedding), Sonic Youth (”Death Valley 69′) and Die Haut (”Der Karibische Western’). The 1998 Lydia Lunch Widowspeak double CD compilation, coupled with the Eno produced 1978 No New York compilation (featuring Teenage Jesus and the Jerks), offer a comprehensive introduction to her work for the uninitiated.
Lydia Lunch’s Big Sexy Noise’s new LP, entitled Trust the Witch, comes out at the end of August, through Le Son du Maquis (who have recently re-released Lunch’s classic 1982 album, 13/13). Lydia and the band (which features James Johnston, Terry Edwards and Ian White of Gallon Drunk) will be touring across Europe during the autumn in support of the record. A Lunch collaboration with Cypress Grove will be released next year.
Lydia Lunch – 10 favourite songs (in no particular order)
Foetus – Here Comes the Rain
This song embodies the unending, thrilling genius that is JG Thirlwell. Gorgeous, frightening, funny, surreal, sexy, death defying and beautiful. Both the man and his music. My hero.
Monster Magnet – Power Trip
Sheer outrageous unapologetic cock rock of the highest order. Makes me feel like a teenage terror again. Which was what I was when I met Dave Wyndorf & Phil Caivano whose first band Shrapnel dressed as teenage vets, sang about ”Combat Love’ and would open for the Ramones at CBGB’S in the late 70’s.
Geraldine Fibbers – A Dragon Lady
Carla Bozulich, now of Evangelista, has the best voice in rock. Soulful, sweet, sassy, smart, sexy, my darling sister, how I love her so.
Dr John – Zu Zu Mamou
Spooky, kooky, hoodoo voodoo brings me back to a New Orleans that I was lucky enough to spend 2 glorious years in, long before the man made disaster that was the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, which ripped the soul right out of the place. New Orleans just like this song, once it’s in your blood remains a low-grade infectious fever causing night sweats, palpitations and an overwhelming urge to grind your hips into the nearest thing.
Irma Thomas – Ruler of My Heart (version from 1963)
Her voice smiles and cries at the same time. Heart breaking, uplifting, mournful yet hopeful and fucking majestic.
Richard Hell & the Voidoids – Blank Generation.
The charisma of Richard Hell, the psychosis of Robert Quine, a classic song that sums up the born to lose / can’t be bothered to give a shit / fuck you too / get your fucking greasy eyeballs off my ass you asshole / disaffected youth of the late ’70s.
Van Morrison – T.B. Sheets
Coming in at over 9 minutes long, a bruising tale of longing, sadness, death and decay. I was once trapped in this song as it cycled on replay and set the mood for a soul crushing six hour binge of cocaine, cognac, Ecstasy, sex and madness which I fear I have never fully recovered from. In an attempt to dislocate myself from the original trauma, I’ve recorded a cover version of it with Cypress Grove, which will come out next year. Enjoy the pain.
Iggy Pop & James Williamson – Johanna
SEX. SAX. INSANITY ON WAX.
Dolly Parton – Jolene
The voice of an angel with busted wings and dirty feet. Real-Southern-Down-Low- American-Gothic-Backwoods-Cuntry-Blues. Got to love a lady who admits she used to wet the bed to try to keep warm in the one room shit shack, which the writing of this song helped her to escape from.
Janis Joplin – Ball and Chain
The Queen of Psychedelic Blues. Drips pathos. Pure unadulterated pain.
Prodigy of Mos Def – Mac 10 Handle
Sleazy, creepy, itchy under the skin, like a canker sore on the soul of gangster rap.