Thursday, 15 December 2011

Interview with LYDIA LUNCH

The legendary Lydia Lunch appeared in the no wave music scene in the late seventies and was to become an underground myth, collaborating with the likes of Sonic Youth, Rowland S. Howard or Nick Cave. Lunch is one of the epitomes of uncompromising art with her explicit lyrics, far removed from radio-friendly diktat.

She was kind enough to answer a few questions at her last show in Paris at La Blanchisserie.

Lady Godiva: Hello, I’m Juliette, I’m honored.

Lydia Lunch: Hello, I’m Lydia Lunch, I’m pleasured.

LG: What brought you to Europe, Lydia? I know you live in Barcelona. Is it for musical or lifestyle reasons? Difference in crowds and approach to music?

LL: Like you, I’m a nomad. I move around a lot. I can’t support myself in the States. I couldn’t support myself in the States, I don’t know if I ever supported myself in the States and it makes no sense to live in a place that is a police state, as a matter of fact more so than ever, Bush was gonna steal the second election, so that was it, I had to get out and I stayed for as long as I did for two reasons: Hubert Selby to visit him a few times before he died and it was just over, you know. I kept everything that I do there in Europe, because there’s so many different places to approach whether it’s museums, solo shows or exhibitions.

I had an exhibition in a convent, in a monastery in a small town in Spain that was funded for doing hard big ass bold rock!

You know, it would be even harder to do ten shows in America with a rock band, not to mention all the other stuff I do. I do workshops and all of this.

Specifically, Spain drew me because I’ve been going there since 1984 and it’s changed a lot since then. It’s changed a lot in the seven years that I’ve lived there, to me as I left a country going into fascism to one that’s out of fascism for three decades. Of course not the recent elections, time will tell… doesn’t it always? But there’s so much that keeps me in Spain : the architecture, the history of the mania, madness of the persecution and then the history of the art: Goya, Dali and on and on and on, and then the spirit of the people, which is nothing caused by fucking war or poverty or famine, republicanism or fascism.

The spirit is nothing crushed and to me that’s really fascinating because that’s my struggle. It is to rise above.

LG: What do you think has changed the most in the music scene since you first started?

LL: My face!!! (But not my body!!!)


Look, I’m in the same ghetto as I always was, I mean I consider my career crap walk, a linear crap walk sideways, the low of the low of the underground, I mean the subterranean, the cryptic first of all, even below that.

You know, I’m so in my own trajectory, in my own world, doing what I do at my own pace that whatever goes on is outside. I know what’s going on but does it affect me? No, it annoys me, though. I don’t know, I mean it seems like in a circular, like there’s thieves, there’s liars, there’s good people. There’s people that just keep going, there’s independent people that continue, you just do what you do.

What changes in other rounds of it, so Lady Gaga’s got a new stylist. That’s the most worrying thing to me. Why is a middle aged woman running around on stage pretending they like to fuck everything that moves when they only fuck once in a while, that to me is a very disturbing trend.

I find it repulsive actually, it’s like seventies aerobic costumes pretending you’re doing what we did really in the seventies. Don’t stick it out if you’re not gonna share it, that’s what I said.

LG: I get it.

LL: I actually do, sista. Do you give it?


LG: Do you think it’s harder for a woman in this industry?

LL: In every fucking industry, I think it’s harder for a woman in every walk and aspect of life because it’s harder in every substrata of existence. I mean it’s harder for everyone except for the 1% of the 1%, crypto maniac homicidal rulers that are turning 2011 into 1513 or 1312, feudal times but one part of me of course takes great delight in the folly of men and their foolish need to destroy everything that fucking exists on this planet because one part of me laughs, like the cruel sadist I am, that some man kills and crushes and destroys. Haha, a little puppet!

You just reminded me what I’m here to do: ROCK!!!

Sings: There’s a murderer in the White House.

LG: Do you have a favourite motto?

LL: I’m talking, everyone else will shut up!

No, I have many favourite mottos.

LG: As a writer, is writing a kind of therapy to you? Is it like music? Are all forms of art complementary?

LL: I don’t keep volumes of one-liners because I don’t edit, so I accept to sit down and write, I’m smoking cigarettes, I’m drinking coffee, I’m cleaning every inch of the house. To procrastinate is the writer’s fault because when it’s time to do it, it’s like a vomitorium. I write in chunks but I’m not a trained writer, I write for conversation because I write for the stage. That’s kind of the way my bang works but I don’t sit around, think of lyrics ten minutes, sometimes less but it could take three four pages or three years, then it’s ready, it’s not like exercise where you have to force it.

LG: Of course you can’t force that, you can’t force something that’s soulful.

LL: Hubert Selby told me a great story. His last book took sixteen years to write.

LG: Oh my! It’s like being pregnant for eternity.

LL: He said it was sometimes like a physical block that would not allow it to go in, one book took six months, seven years, two years…

If it’s not ready, I’m not forcing it. You know everything I create is so instinctual and untrained and natural.

LG: That’s exactly what I appreciate about your art. It’s raw and genuine, just truthful, that’s what I like about uncompromising artists. There aren’t a lot of you out there. Rowland was one of the very last ones, the quintessential one. You are still there and I don’t know who’s gonna be there after you…

LL: I know, thank you very much, I really appreciate that. It really means a lot! I know what you’re saying, I know who impacted me and all that but the essence of their soul, I don’t see it anywhere else.

LG: That’s what worries me about the state of art or so-called art nowadays, I mean it’s not really art anymore, a lot of it is fake.

LL: Yeah, bullshit!

LG: Exactly! With all those hipsters who have taken over the world. Free us of those people, they’re everywhere!

LL: You know, I’m proposing and I think it’s going to happen in April or May of 2012, a worshop in Rennes, France, at this place I did Big Sexy Noise two months ago. It’s a place that artists took over and they incorporate and I proposed a women artist workshop for and by women only and it’s called closed catastrophy collaboration. One of my friends who got a spoken word with me and Bebe Hansen, who’s Beck’s mother and another artist who’s a musician but now does interiors, so bring in these artists to play in France, to inspire other women artists, to offer a sense of community.

I’d love to invite you to that, with other inspirational women artists. We have to find each other, we have to talk to each other, we have to come together. It’s kind of why we’re here together. In the past when we didn’t have techonology, we were forced to go to a city, to a different city, to make a community, to make a scene happen.

LG: Who were the people who inspired you, in music, literature or art in general?

LL: Hubert Selby inspired me a lot, all the pain he had to go through for years, the torture of writing a book for so many years and he was unrecognized completely.

LG: Europe loves Americans who are underappreciated back home.

Thank you queen witch! Trust the witch!

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