Things you can’t learn from celibacy: Catching up with the transgressive no wave artist and Lower East Side raconteur.
Everything you always wanted to know about sex, drugs and urban decay, but were afraid to ask — or, welcome to a chat with a true countercultural icon (who’s humble enough to hate that word). Lydia Lunch began her career as a confrontationalist in 1976, acting as primal screamer and guitar guerrilla for seminal NYC no wave band Teenage Jesus & the Jerks. Lunch left the Jerks to form various projects before launching her solo career in 1980 with Queen of Siam. With a big-band cabaret sound provided by the Billy Ver Plank Orchestra, the critically acclaimed record proved Lunch could take her music in any direction. After 1982’s 13.13, Lunch began a long series of collaborations with Nick Cave and the Birthday Party, Einstürzende Neubauten, Jim “Foetus” Thirlwell, the Swans’ Michael Gira and Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon. Founding her own Widowspeak label in 1984, Lunch jumped into spoken word and fiction writing, continued her acting career, relocated to Spain for a decade and, eventually, came back to Brooklyn. Most recently, she’s playing her own version of “cunt rock” with Big Sexy Noise, exploring her own catalog with Retrovirus and appeared as a guest and narrator in the final, unfinished episode of Anthony Bourdain’s travel show.