New Yorker Lydia Lunch is often described as a polymath, with her career spanning performance artist, singer in the band, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, poet, writer, actress and speaker.
Lunch came to prominence in downtown New York during the transformative time of no wave, a movement that railed against the desperation of the city at the times and as a pun against the mainstream New Wave music of the time.
Born into a German/Polish family in Rochester in western New York state in the late fifties, Lunch is unique amongst her peers in that she has remained relevant today, due to an impressive work regime and self discipline.
“I have done over 235 podcasts by now and I interview people every week, not only for my own mental health, but to expose people who stubbornly continue to create,” Lydia Lunch, performer said.
“I consider it my social duty.”
“What is exciting for me is that I am bringing Joseph Kechler with me and he is just so charismatic and seductive,” Lunch said.
“We are dealing with subjects on the darker side of obsession and romance and the injustice and the misappropriate balances of power and sexual relationships,” Lunch said.
“I think that I have a humorous side that rarely comes out, and when I throw a punch line people think that it is going to be a physical thing.”
Like Lunch, Kechler is something of a polymath known for his voice and stream of consciousness monologues and who has recently toured with Sleater-Kinney.
Things quickly turn to the current state of American politics and Lunch is forthright about the current players.
“All of these octogenarians and mentally impaired men have got to go at some stage, and now is the time for them to go,” Lunch said.
“For all of the technological advances we have made we have made very few advances in politics. I am not running for office, I am running away from their office.”
Lunch has toured Australia numerous times and has a devoted following from her work with guitarist Howard S Rowland, one of the original guitarist for the Birthday Party and subject of the current documentary Mutiny in Heaven.
In 1991 Lunch and Rowland recorded the nine-track album Shotgun Wedding in Memphis.
“Working with Howard was fantastic,” Lunch said.
He was a funny and romantic artist who knew all about the economy of sound and I wish that more guitarists knew that,” Lunch said.
“He was a master of sound and wrote beautiful songs.”
Lunch thinks for a moment when asked how she has survived when so many of her New York City colleagues did not make it.
“What’s the choice?” Lunch said.
“You have to sell the book.”
Lunch was as equally sanguine about the demise of New York alternative art scene.
“In the past you only had creativity in an area for a finite amount of time,” she said.
“Once the internet came in things were more dispersed and you got bigger festivals and the elimination of smaller clubs.
“It’s all in a cycle, so who knows where it will go, I don’t follow trends so I don’t know.”
We do know where Lydia Lunch will be in March, and that is in two great small venues in Sydney.
Lydia Lunch and Joseph Kechler
Phoenix, Central Park, 49 O’Connor St, Chippendale
The Great Club, 160-164 Livingstone Rd, Marrickville