Lydia Lunch (1959)
Thanatopsis (1991) with Beth B
Lydia Lunch (born Lydia Anne Koch, June 2, 1959, Rochester, New York) is an American singer, poet, writer, and actress whose career was spawned by the New York No Wave scene. The Boston Phoenix named Lunch "one of the 10 most influential performers of the 1990s."
Her work typically features provocative and confrontational noise music delivery and has maintained an anti-commercial ethic operating independently of major labels and distributors.
Lunch moved to New York City from Rochester at the age of 16 in 1976 with what she described having nothing but "a small red suitcase, a winter coat, and a big fucking attitude." 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. 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. 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.
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.
In the mid-1980s she formed her own recording and publishing company called "Widowspeak" on which she continues to release her own material, from music to spoken word.
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. She also wrote, directed and acted in underground films, sometimes collaborating with underground filmmaker and photographer Richard Kern and more recently has recorded and performed as a spoken word artist, again collaborating with such artists 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. Additionally, she has authored both traditional books and comix (with award-winning graphic novel artist Ted McKeever).
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. Nels Cline, the lead guitarist of alternative rock band Wilco, was featured on the album. Smoke in the Shadows was met with positive reviews by Allmusic, PopMatters, and Tiny Mix Tapes.
In 2007, Lunch appeared on a viral video that was recorded backstage after a Joe Rogan comedy show, in which she confronted Joe Rogan for making jokes about "dumb women" in his comedy act.
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). Johnston and Edwards were previously members of the band Gallon Drunk). A six-track eponymous EP was released on June 1, 2009 through Sartorial Records. The EP included a cover of Lou Reed's song "Kill Your Sons" and "The Gospel Singer", a song co-written with Kim Gordon. In 2010 she released, with Big Sexy Noise, their first album. In 2011, they released Trust The Witch, her second album with Big Sexy Noise. For both albums, Lunch and her band have made concert tours around the world.
In 2010, The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project launched We Are Only Riders, the first of a series of three albums featuring Pierce's previously-unreleased works-in-progress. The album features interpretations of Pierce's work by friends, collaborators and acolytes, including Lunch. Lunch also contributed to the second album from the project (The Journey is Long, released in April 2012) and will appear on the project's third and final album, The Task Has Overwhelmed Us (due for release in late 2012).
In 2011, Lunch appeared in Mutantes: punk, porn, feminism, a film directed by Virginie Despentes, also featuring Annie Sprinkle and Catherine Breillat.
Lydia Lunch in UbuWeb Sound