An Evening With Jesus Lizard

January 01, 2013

Jesus Lizard

Rox magazine,January 1993

"Shut the fuck up!" David Yow yowls at the talkative crowd, kicking off the evening's festivities.

"Fuck you," a couple of audience members yell back.

"Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you," Yow whines while bending around to straighten out his microphone cord.

Chicago's Jesus Lizard crashes into the first song. Guitarist Duane Denison rips out bayou-twisted Stooges chords while spacing out on the overhead lights, looking uncannily like Ron Asheton. At the opposite end of the platform, bassist David Sims holds rock steady, appearing thoughtful. Mac McNeilly is the drummer. Yow is the singer. I won't compare Yow to anybody.

"I think of us as just a rock band. If somebody asks me what kind of music we play I tell them 'loud rock'"--David Yow, Alternative Press

Yow, wearing blue jeans and no shirt, cavorts his body as if his lyrics are possessing him. He hocks a loogie on the floor, sings, hocks a loggie on the ceiling, grabs his nipples, and stage-dives into the audience. He floats on a sea of hands, not missing a word. He glides about, steering himself with his boots against the ceiling (next time in you're in Max's check out the ceiling stage front--most of he boot marks there are Yow's). Eventually the audience rejects him, throws him back onto the stage. He lands hard on his back, curls into a ball, then stands and looks up as if he's lost on the same thought Denison is on. He then screams and rejoins the song.

Jesus Lizard

ROX: Many people said you put on an incredible show here last August. Do you remember anything about Baltimore?

Sims: To tell you the truth, I don't remember that much about it. It seemed like a fairly typical underground rock scene kind of thing. We've played so many shows since then, it blurs in. It didn't really didn't seem particularly unusual.

ROX: What are some of the wildest places you've played?

Sims: we played Glasgow, and it was great. They were just out of control. Enthusiastic, loud, appreciative, physically demonstrative. Stage diving, cheering, yelling thought the whole show.

Jesus Lizard

We had bottles and ashtrays thrown at us in Edmonton, Alberta in a biker strip-joint metal bar.

ROX: Thrown out of enthusiasm?

Sims: No, out of waves of hate.

The loogie on the ceiling is starting to hang down, threatening to drop on Yow's head. A few people cheer. Yow grabs a hat somebody is wearing and puts it on, and the band kicks into a slow song. Yow sings to Denison, and Denison matches Yow's stare. The song ends and nobody claps.

"Oh thank you very much," Yow sarcastically says. "It's nice to be here back in, uh, Baltimore."

ROX: What tapes do you listen to in the van when traveling from show to show?

Sims: Oh let's see. They've been in there for a year. Led Zeppelin, Magazine, Hank Williams, Ramones, Motorhead, Roxy Music.

Yow heaves himself back into the crowd again and again, the sweat gleaming off of his muscle-bound torso. He grabs onto a stage light and holds on for dear life. He passes near to where I'm standing and grabs onto my shirt. When he gets passed over he looks straight down at me, still singing. The feeling is bizarre. He drags me around by my shirt and does not let go until he falls back on stage.

"Thank you very much," he says in his best Frank Sinatra coo. "Our next selection will be 'Rope." The band launches into its ode to autoerotica.

Jesus Lizard

Yow crowd surfs again and again. The last time Yow is thrown back on the stage, he lands pretty hard--even for him. He gulps a Rolling Rock, and sits on the floor, cowering out at the audience, giving them the middle finger. Later while noticing someone in the front row holding an unlit cigarette in his mouth, Yow reaches in his jeans and lights the man's cigarette. Yow then unzips his jeans and rolls his pants down to his pubes. A few blush, others laugh. A smoke bomb goes off in the club, but the band keeps playing . . . .

ROX: Where do you sleep when you're on tour?

Sims: Motel 6's! They're great; value for money. Check-out time at noon. The extra hour really makes a difference in today's rock world.