I’m not much for organized religion. Enough said about that.
For those not in the know, The Jesus Lizard is a band formed in the late 80′s. There are heavier bands out there in a number of genres, but there may not be or have ever been a scarier band than The Jesus Lizard. Their songs aren’t great. The singer is awful, most of the time. But when they lock into a groove, it will crush you, preform oral sex on you, kick you in the head, then get you in trouble with your boss. The riffs are absolutely undeniable. Seeing them live will set the bar for all other live shows for the rest of your life. What these guys can do with one bass, one guitar, one drumkit and one microphone is terrifying.
So as I may or may not have mentioned, I hit musical overload 7 or 8 years ago and quit cold turkey. It just wasn’t fun anymore. Since the pay is terrible, the hours are terrible, the chance of success is very low, you need to love music to keep doing it. I hit a point where it wasn’t fun anymore. Without the fun, there was no reason continue. All the equipment went into the attic and I didn’t touch a guitar or keyboard for years. And despite the lack of music, I was quite happy.
For the first time in my life, I truly became a music consumer. I bought cd’s of many of the bands I had been listening to on the radio for years. I replaced music long gone missing (where’d my vinyl and cassettes wander off to?): the Pixies, Faith No More, Fleetwood Mac…. all kinds of stuff. And of course, The Jesus Lizard.
The singer for The Jesus Lizard… David Yow. There are moments of brilliance, but they are surrounded by unintelligible, out of tune, poorly written, self-indulgent slobber. But when those brilliant moments do occur, they are spectacular (check out “Zachariah” – the most beautiful ugly song you’ll ever hear). He finds notes that don’t exactly fit, and barely, barely hits them. For the most part, I think I’d have preferred another singer for this band, but since it’s not my choice, I’ll rather listen to Yow than skip the band because of him.
Yow aside, the guitar and especially the bass and drums are what have always drawn me to this band. Their use of the space between the notes makes the notes huge, powerful, sludgy… the dissonance of the guitar gives the bass room to crawl; their use of rhythm is unsurpassed. Think about what the band that could destroy Rage Against The Machine would sound like. Monsters live in the basslines, and the guitars have learned to scream. And every hit of the drums has reason.
Alright, so you get the picture. When a friend called and said they were coming to town in Nov (2009), I knew I needed to go. And as soon as the show started, I knew I needed to play and write again.
Thanks Jesus Lizard, I owe you one.