For lack of actually being able to attend, I hope to spend the better part of this week prior to leaving on tour to giving a little bit of a tribute to Touch & Go. I’ve had a pretty lucky streak over the years of supporting – and thru the process getting to know – many of the label’s formidable artists. So in honor of that, I thought that I’d dig thru my boxes of photos and tapes to give yet another glimpse of the label. For this time, well…duh, I have to give it up to the undeniably mighty The Jesus Lizard.
After graduate school, I moved back to my mom’s house in Pennsylvania and subsequently spent countless hours driving all over the east coast to see The Jesus Lizard. The early tours (’90-’92) were great for me because they’d do a routing like, Richmond, DC, Newark, Baltimore, Philly, Trenton, Hoboken and New York. To think about it now is mind-numbingly impossible, but thanks to a shit-box car and no real life to speak of, it was easy to go see them. And why the fuck not?! They were (and some would argue still are) one of the best live bands to ever walk on the planet.
I remember the first time seeing them was at the Upstage Lounge in Pittsburgh on their second tour with Pegboy (who’d just released their astounding debut 12" on T&G, still a classic in my mind) and the Northern Bushmen (featuring Pat Morris, later of Don Caballero) opening. It kind of became a blur for a few years there. I was lucky enough to see the Lizard probably 40 times and I would always try to be front and center whenever possible. The photos for this entry were taken at Max’s on Broadway in Fells Point which butts right up to the Chesapeake Bay. This particular show had Arcwelder and Liquor Bike open and was notable primarily because the low ceilings allowed Yow to literally walk on the ceiling during their set….. Yes, walk on the ceiling. To this day, I’ve never seen another human do that stunt with such dramatic flair. But then again, that’s Yow for you.
I really don’t know if I ever became a peer to The Jesus Lizard during their original (and some would say only "true") line-up, but I certainly became more friendly with them toward the end of their career. The most surprising realization was that David Yow was not only a pussy cat off stage, but usually the first one to say a joke that everybody would laugh at. Then again, I still hang out with folks who think fart jokes are high comedy, so what do I know?
Since the band’s demise in ’98, I’ve kept in touch with Yow and Duane. Duane went on to be the guitarist for Hank 3 (whose popularity can only be explained by genetics and not by talent amazingly enough) and Tomahawk and we’d always catch up when he’d be in town. Yow was (and continues to be) a high-end photo retouch stud who now lives in Los Angeles. I heard Sims is an accountant in New York (no surprise there) and Mac lives in Evanston on the same block as Mr. John Mohr from Tar and is an at-home dad (thanks Mouse).
In recent years, Yow has been seen doing the rare performance on stage. Around 98, he performed Sex Pistols songs with Shellac. And as many know, he’s also made a few cameos on stage with The Melvins. Upon seeing him at ATP a year or so ago while filming the Buckshot Boys DVD, Yow and I spent over an hour talking Photoshop and then he confided in me about the impending Scratch Acid reunion… I heard Yow’s doing sit-ups to condition himself, but well, when you’re Yow……well, you know……
The Jesus Lizard – Boilermaker (live in Baltimore 92)
The Jesus Lizard – Mouthbreather (live in Baltimore 92)
The Jesus Lizard – Seasick (live in Baltimore 92)
The Jesus Lizard – Dancing Naked Ladies (live in Baltimore 92)