The Jesus Lizard – Mac McNeilly, Duane Denison, David Yow and David Wm Sims – are responsible for the some of the tightest, most angry music ever recorded. In terms of innovation this band from Chicago were the Led Zeppelin of the 1990s – their juggernaut rock music was nothing short of astonishing and these guys will never, ever be matched. This band is a shining example of a perfect marriage between music producer (Steve Albini) and a group of musicians – their albums leap out of the speakers and there isn’t a single note wasted throughout their extraordinary run of classic albums.
I am in complete awe of these guys and I spent a month or two several years ago scouring the internet for old interviews with the band – I wanted to know what kind of people they were around the time they made this shit-hot music. Each member excels in his role in the band – Sim’s is a classic post-punk bass player, Denison a formidable guitar player, McNeilly one of the hardest hitting drummers around and Yow as deranged and captivating as Iggy Pop in the 1970s. Like Zeppelin, this is a band made up of four distinct musicians who have left behind a jaw dropping body of work.
The JL were always good live and I have spent many a late night watching videos of these guys tearing up venues around the world during the 1990s. Their performances were sweaty, naked spectacles and David Yow used to spend large parts of the set surfing his sweaty body above the crowds. Check out a classic performance from New York’s CBGB’s above.
I met David Yow in Sheffield once when he was touring with the band QUI. He’s still a great performer. I got a photo with him – that made my year.
Intrigued? Check out one of their classic albums – go for either Goat, Liar, Down or Shot.