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Poet, queen of rock. At 16, she ran away from her upstate-NY home
to crash in Chelsea. Got a job at CBGB's, and began setting words to
music - that was the start of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and "No Wave", a term she coined. Leader of the subsequent 8 Eyed Spy, and collaborator, variously, with Kim Gordon (in the Harry Crews one-off), Jim "Foetus" Thirlwell, Rowland S Howard (of The Birthday Party), Exene Cervenka, and others. Made a cameo appearance on
"Death Valley '69".

"And the less you think, the more they like you.
And the more they like you, the more I hate you."

(from Oral Fixation)

I first heard Lydia Lunch doing vocals with the Foetus Symphony Orchestra back when I was in University. I found her interesting enough to pick up more of her stuff, and soon started noticing her all over the place. Most of the time she appears in samples taken from her spoken word, but sometimes she'll show up in less ... conventional ways. For example, various industrial celebrities have their way with her in one of Richard Kern's films. Be forewarned that her stuff is very, very heavy going - I've had friends angrily make me turn her off. Nonetheless, I recommend that everyone hear her at least once, if only to experience art coming from such a dark, dark place.

Recommended listening:

Ms. Lunch is an exquisitely articulate, intrinsically feminist, prolific artist. To simply say she’s a poet and been in a couple of rock bands is to do her a gross injustice.

She was a purveyor of the "Spoken Word” phenomenon. She has written, directed and acted in many of her own films, which are often incorrectly labeled as porn, and has worked in tandem with innumerable artists over the years in both film and music, the least of whom include the magic/comedy duo Penn & Teller, Vivienne Dicks, Nick Cave, Terry Edwards, Jim Coleman and Glen Snyder. She has financed the publishing and documentation of every single one of her works from her own pocket, receiving her first grant from any source ever to speak, write or perform in the year 2000 from The Fund for U.S. Artists which was acquired for her by 11th Hour Productions on behalf of the Prague School of Poetics. Ms. Lunch has recently forayed into the field of photography and life-size sculptures made of unspecified liver and gypsum.

Quotes on her work from the artist herself:

“In my films and my spoken word I try to understand the drama of escalation, the psychology behind this violence which keeps women in the position of perpetual victims, not because they enjoy battery, but because they enjoy this escalation of emotions. If they began in their childhoods having their emotions raped out of them, then the only thing that might give them any emotional stimulation is violence. Even when I explain this as clearly as I just did, this aspect of my work often gets misunderstood. People say “You’re making these films and they’re pornographic and exploitative and how could you cast yourself in those positions?” Well, because I’ve been through it and so have a lot of other women that I know— and men. And the bottom line is to try and understand that psychology. In my films, I am talking about women who repeatedly get into violating situations because they haven’t figured out that they are addicted to escalation. It’s a real taboo. These films are brutal. They’re not softened. Fingered especially is an ugly, brutal film. People say they can’t take 25 minutes of it. Some women live that for forty or sixty years.”

“From my own experience, this is the bottom line: when you’ve been battered as a child, whether it’s psychologically battered, emotionally, or physically, you defense is to become numb. Is to become dead. Is to feel nothing. You go through that state for years, where you feel nothing. No highs, no lows. The only way that you can be stimulated, that you can feel anything, is when you’re threatened, is when you are once again being violated, because to feel pain, to feel horror, to feel terror, to feel fear, is better than feeling dead. There is nothing worse than feeling dead. That’s part of the "willing victim" syndrome. They know they should not be doing what they are doing, they know it’s a ridiculous situation. The other aspect is the addiction to this adrenal high. The whole psychology of an episode of battery— the forgiveness, the intimacy again, and then the escalation to the battery—that’s an addiction. That’s a real roller-coaster, which, again, is better than feeling dead.”

“I am always interested in the imbalance of power. To me, a conversation can be sadomasochistic.”

“All of the issues I am dealing with are personal issues of pain which I know affect many other people. People have asked me since the beginning, “How can you make those films, how can you tell these stories that are so personal, this is your abuse, how can you show it without fictionalizing it?” Well, my pain is a universal pain; it’s not so unique to myself. No pain is unique. Pain is a universal problem. Because I am willing to put myself on the stage or on the screen and use real experience, because I am not interested in fiction, I can only hope that gives power to other people. If people can’t relate because it’s too brutal, then they don’t have to. I’m creating for other people who have had intense highs and lows in their lives and are trying to find balance. My whole struggle has always been for balance even if it doesn’t appear that way. I am searching to understand my own obsessions, my own pain, and also how not to just carry on the cycle of pain. That’s really the goal. Whether I’ve achieved that or not is questionable. It might be a life long struggle, and I think I am far more balanced now that I’ve ever been. I’m not a miserable person, although I deal with miserable subjects. It would be hard to compromise my passion—it’s hard to contain it!”

-- quotes taken from an interview conducted by Gwen Albert at U Knihumolu in Prague on March 1, 1997 and printed in Jejeune: America Eats Her Young (magazine).

Discography (year; title; format; label; producers)

  • 2000- The Devil's Racetrack; CD; Almafame Ltd.; Lydia Lunch & Tom Garretson
  • 2000- New Coat of Paint (Compilation): "Heart Attack & Vine", featuring Nels Cline; CD; Manifesto Records; Lydia Lunch & Nels Cline
  • 2000- Princess Gothica (Compilation): "In my Time of Dying"; CD; Dressed To Kill; Jim Thirlwell
  • 2000- Rotunda * Recording of 'Crimes Against Nature'; CD; Soleilmoon Recordings; Lydia Lunch
  • 2000- Teddy Edwards Presents No Fish Is Too Weird for Her Acquarium (Vol. II): "This Has Been Forced Up", recorded live in Linz, Austria 1999; CD; Terry Edwards & Lydia Lunch
  • 1999- Crimes Against Nature (Re-issue); 3xCD; Atavistic; Lydia Lunch
  • 1999- Brooklyn Bank: "Cello", " Kimbo", "Missin'"; CD; Invisible Records; M. Teho T. and J. F. Coleman
  • 1999- Re-Up: "Sexodrone", Etant Donnes with Lydia Lunch and Mark Cunningham; CD; les Disques du Soleil et de l'Acier; Etant Donnes
  • 1999- Dirty Little Secrets: "Lydia's Lounge Mix" and "Kiss the Boys Mix"; CD; Rykodisc; Buzz McCoy
  • 1999- Original Soundtrack: The Blair Witch Project (Compilation): "Gloomy Sunday"; CD; Chapter III; Lydia Lunch & Bob Blank co-produced by Artisan & Chapter III
  • 1999- "Drinking from Puddles" (Compilation): Reading from "Paradoxia"; CD; Kill Rock Star Records; Lydia Lunch
  • 1999- Shotgun Wedding / Shotgun Wedding Live, Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard; 2xCD; Atavistic; Jim Thirlwell
  • 1999- Education in Infestation (Compilation): "Inverted Dream"; 2xCD; Deprogrammed Productions;
  • 1999- Yesterday's Zeitgeist (Compilation): 'Cesspool Called History / Harlem Nocturne' & 'Mystic & Most Toxic', Terry Edwards featuring Lydia Lunch; CD; Artlos; Terry Edwards & Lydia Lunch
  • 1998- Before the Balloon Went Up (Compilation): "In My Time of Dying"; 2xCD; DTK (licensed); Jim Thirlwell
  • 1998- Crippled Champions (Compilation): "Escape"; CD; Crippled Dick Hot Wax; Lydia Lunch
  • 1998- Gothic Erotica (Compilation): "Stinkfist", "Burning Skulls"; 6xCD; DTK (licensed); Jim Thirlwell
  • 1998- Il Juke-Box Del DiAvolo (Compilation): "Drunken Thoughts"; CD; Fridge Records; Jim Coleman
  • 1998- Here / Jim Coleman, Lydia Lunch with Jim Coleman; CD; Sonica / Mercury (PolyGram); Jim Coleman

Novellas and Comics

Selected Articles and Writing

Films (film, director, role)

  • 1997 Girls Girls Girls; Ellen Maki; Performed in Documentary
  • 1996 Visiting Desire ; Beth B.; Acted
  • 1996 Power of the Word ; Jeanne Harco; Acted
  • 1996 The Thunder ; Marta; Acted, Narrated
  • 1992 Malicious Intent ; Richard Kern & Chris Lovenko; Spoken Word
  • 1990 The Road to God Knows Where ; Uli M. Scheppel; Cameo Appearance
  • 1990 Thanatopsis ; Beth B.; Acted, Wrote
  • 1990 Kiss Napolean Goodbye ; Babeth & Lydia Lunch; Acted, Wrote, Co-Directed
  • 1990 BBQ Death Squad ; Penn & Teller; Acted
  • 1988 The Gun is Loaded ; Merill Aldighieri & Joe Tripician; Acted, Wrote
  • 1988 Mondo New York ; Harvey Keith(II); Appeared
  • 1987 Put More Blood into the Music ; PBS Documentary; Appeared
  • 1987 Submit to Me Now ; Richard Kern; Acted
  • 1986 Gang of Souls ; John Giorno; Spoken Word Documentary
  • 1986 The Invisible Thread ; Penn & Teller; Acted
  • 1986 Fingered ; Richard Kern; Acted, Wrote
  • 1985 Submit to Me ; Richard Kern; Acted
  • 1984 The Right Side of My Brain ; Richard Kern; Acted, Wrote
  • 1983 MTV's "The Cutting Edge"; MTV; Appeared in 6 Episodes
  • 1983 Like Dawn to Dust ; Vivienne Dick; Acted, Wrote
  • 1983 Vortex ; Beth & Scott B.; Acted
  • 1980 The Offenders; Beth & Scott B.; Acted
  • 1980 Liberty's Booty; Vivienne Dick; Acted
  • 1979 Beauty Becomes the Beast ; Vivienne Dick; Acted
  • 1978 She Had Her Gun All Ready ; Vivienne Dick; Acted
  • 1978 Black Box ; Beth & Scott B.; Acted
  • 1978 Guerillere Talks ; Vivienne Dick; Acted
  • 1978 Rome '78 ; James Nares; Acted
  • 1990 Smell of Guilt , Dance Theatre Workshop 10th Anniversary New York; Lydia Lunch & Emilio Cubeiro; Co-wrote, Acted, Directed, Produced
  • 1988 South of Your Border , New Theatre, New York; Lydia Lunch & Emilio Cubeiro; Co-wrote, Acted, Directed, Produced
  • 1998- Matrikamantra *Released simultaneously by Crippled Dick Hot wax (Germany); 2xCD; Atavistic / Figurehead; Joe Budenholzer & Lydia Lunch
  • 1998- Queen of Siam (Re-issue); CD; Atavistic; Lydia Lunch
  • 1998- Songs of the Witchblade (Compilation): "Witchy Woman"; CD; Dreamworks; Kat Bjelland
  • 1998- Uturn / Minox, Lydia Lunch with Minox; CD; Suite Inc 7; Minox
  • 1998- Widowspeak (Greatest Hits Compilation); 2xCD; New Millenium Communications, Ltd.; Pilot 9; Compiled by NMC
  • 1997- Kiss of the Vampire (Compilation): "Stinkfist" & "Some Velvet Morning"; 3xCD; DTK (licensed); Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard; Jim Thirlwell
  • 1997- Necromantic (Compilation): "In My Time of Dying"; 4xCD; DTK (licensed); Jim Thirlwell
  • 1997- Stiletto Vamp (Compilation): "Burning Skulls"; 3xCD; DTK (licensed); Jim Thirlwell
  • 1997- The Desperate Ones, Lydia Lunch / Glen Styler; CD; Atavistic / Truckstop Records; Jeff Treffinger, Rene Coleman, Glen Styler
  • 1997- Tribute To Jack Kerouac (Compilation): "Bowery Blues; CD; Ryko Records; Jim Sampas
  • 1997- York Foetus Symphony Orchestra featuring Lydia Lunch; CD; Thirsty Ear Records; Jim Thirlwell
  • 1996- Out of Their Mouths (Compilation): "Red Alert", excerpt from "Universal Infiltrators", "The Crumb" Teenage Jesus & the Jerks; Lydia Lunch; and Lydia Lunch with Thurston Moore; 2xCD; Atavistic;
  • 1996- Home Alive (Compilation): "Why We Murder"; CD; Epic (Sony); Lydia Lunch
  • 1996- Uncensored / Oral Fixation (Re-issue); CD; Atavistic; Lydia Lunch
  • 1996- Flesheaters (Compilation): "In My Time of Dying"; 3xCD; DTK (licensed); Jim Thirlwell
  • 1996- Flesh, Fangs & Filigree (Compilation): "Stinkfist"; 3xCD; DTK (licensed); Jim Thirlwell
  • 1996- Undead (Compilation): "Twisted" & "Some Velvet Morning"; 3xCD; DTK (licensed); Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard
  • 1996- Universal Infiltrators; CD; Atavistic; Lydia Lunch
  • 1995- Rude Hieroglyphics, Lydia Lunch & Exene Cervenka; CD; Rykodisc; Lydia Lunch & Exene Cervenka
  • 1995- Teenage Jesus & The Jerks (Compilation Re-issue); CD; Atavistic; Lydia Lunch
  • 1995- The Drowning Of Lucy Hamilton / In Limbo Reissue; CD; Atavistic; Lydia Lunch & Lucy Hamilton
  • 1994- Crimes Against Nature; 3xCD; Triple X; Lydia Lunch
  • 1994- Transmutation & Shotgun Wedding Live *Compilation CD + Live CD; 2CD; Insipid Records; Lydia Lunch
  • 1994- Unhealthy *Appears as Special Guest Lab Report; CD; Devotion Records; Lab Report
  • 1993- Queen of Siam (Re-issue); CD; Triple X; Bob Blank
  • 1993- Shotgun Wedding Live, Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard; 2xCD; Insipid Records; Rowland S. Howard
  • 1993- Sweat Die Haut; CD; WSFA Records; Die Haut
  • 1993- Unearthly Delights; 7"; Clawfist Records; Styler & Baldwin
  • 1993- Welcome to My Nightmare (Tribute to Alice Cooper Compilation): "Black Juju"; CD; Triple X; Jim Thirlwell
  • 1993- 13 Above the Night "Dirty Little Secrets" My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult featuring Lydia Lunch; CD; Interscope Records; Buzz McCoy
  • 1992- Downtown Does The Beatles (Compilation): "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?", Lydia Lunch & Jim Thirlwell; CD; Knitting Factory Records; Jim Thirlwell
  • 1992- Head On Die Haut; CD; WSFA Records; Die Haut
  • 1992- Twisted; 7"; Insipid Records; Jim Thirlwell
  • 1991- Don't Fear The Reaper, Lydia Lunch & Jim Thirlwell; 12"& CDs; Big Cat Records; Jim Thirlwell & Lydia Lunch
  • 1991- POW; CD; Soho Publishers, Amsterdam; Lydia Lunch
  • 1991- Queen of Siam (Re-issue); CD; UFO; Bob Blank
  • 1991- Shotgun Wedding, Lydia Lunch & Rowland S. Howard; CD; Triple X; Jim Thirlwell
  • 1991- Trying To Make It To The End Of The Century; LP; G3G Records; Lydia Lunch
  • 1990- Our Fathers Who Aren't In Heaven, Lydia Lunch with Hubert Selby Jr., Henry Rollins, Don Bajema; LP / CD; Widowspeak; Lydia Lunch
  • 1990- Naked In Garden Hills, Lydia Lunch & Harry Crews; LP; Big Cat Records; Lydia Lunch & Kim Gordon
  • 1990- Conspiracy Of Women; LP / CD; Pathological / Widowspeak *Recorded Live in Berlin 12 April, 1990; Lydia Lunch
  • 1990- Stinkfist & The Crumb (Re-issue); LP; Widowspeak; Jim Thirlwell

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