Twenty years ago today: "I'm calm now / I've calmed down / but I'm shaking . . ."
(Some links may be NSFW)
On Oct 10, 1992, The Jesus Lizard released their third album, Liar
. The band, from Chicago by way of Texas, consisting of David Yow
(vocals), Duane Denison
(guitar), David Wm. Sims
(bass) and Mac McNeilly
(drums), was one of the most important and influential underground rock acts of the 1990s, and Liar
represents them at the height of their powers.
The band united two very contradictory sounds: the compositionally complex, machine-like assualt of the three instrumental players, and David Yow's vocals, which delivered disturbing lyrical imagery and stories of desperate characters in a uniquely unhinged, chaotic style. The sum of these parts was a force to behold.
Yow and Sims had previously played together in the seminal Texas art-punk band Scratch Acid
, which pioneered the whiskey-and-LSD aesthetic that the Jesus Lizard took to such glorious heights and depths of surreal psychedelic sleaze. Drugs
, bodily fluids
and visits from the police were the trappings of an average night with this band.
Inevitably, a major label contract came along to dilute their vision and energy, and the band broke up soon after. They reunited for a series of shows in 2009, but have said that this was probably their last fling together.
“Pattdown, the Jesus Lizard was easily the best group of musicians I’ve ever worked with in terms of aggregate talent and ability." - Steve Albini
"On the Jesus Lizard albums Albini recorded, singer David Yow sounds like a kidnap victim trying to howl through the duct tape over his mouth; the effect is horrific." - Michael Azerrad
"From the first few seconds, in which "Boilermaker" leaps out of the speakers like a crank-addled mugger armed with a tire iron, Liar
captures the Jesus Lizard in gloriously manic and muscular form, and if it sounds a bit less grimy and psychotic than Goat
, the album that preceded it, this is still the musical equivalent of a ranting lunatic you would never dream of sitting next to on the subway." - Mark Deming
Videos, for each of the songs on Liar
, in order:
(fan video, Exit/In, Nashville, TN 07/09)
(fan video, Satyricon, Portland, OR, 11/92)
3. "The Art of Self-Defense"
(cartoon fan video)
(odd fan video)
(Peel session, 1992)
(old west fan video)
10. "Dancing Naked Ladies"
(fan video, Metro, Chicago, IL, 12/09)