Rock and roll and coffee table books aren’t the most likely combination, but, as promised, three members of The Jesus Lizard appeared at Word bookstore in Greenpoint last night to promote The Jesus Lizard Book — a wild history of a band known for abrasive music and relentless energy.
David Yow, David Wm. Sims and Mac McNeilly (who appeared sans guitar player Duane Denison) were interviewed by their publisher, editor-in-chief of Akashic Books, Johnny Temple. The band members recounted some of their most treasured experiences from the road — like when David Yow bought a thousand crickets at a pet store and unleashed them in Six Finger Satellite’s touring van, or the time he hung off a chandelier at a London club and the audience corresponded by tearing the venue to pieces in a near riot, or that other time he strapped fireworks to the engine of Six Finger Satellite’s touring van and their dashboard flooded with smoke.
Yow, who’s earned a maniacal reputation over the years for exposing himself on stage and finishing sets battered and bloodied, looked like a college professor last night in his tweed blazer, scarf and glasses.One member of the audience, which overflowed up the basement stairs into Word’s main entrance, noted that in The Jesus Lizard’s heydey, journalists and fans all assumed they were scary and intimidating.
“I don’t think we were trying to make scary music or be scary people,” McNeilly responded. “Most interviewers were surprised when they found out that we had manners, especially when we’d thank them for the interview.”
Another audience member detailed an experience his friend had approaching Yow at a pizza joint after a concert at CBGBs. The young man asked Yow who he looked up to musically. Yow responded, “Kid, at my height I look up to just about everybody.”
A fan asked Yow if he had any advice for young noise rock bands. Yow’s answer: “Take what you’re doing seriously but don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Another asked, “All those times you used to stage dive, did anyone ever grab your balls?” Yow was more than pleased to explain that his junk had been fondled by strangers on numerous occasions.
Will concertgoers ever get a chance to do this again? Asked by an audience member if they have plans for a new tour lined up, Yow was more than opaque: “Oh jeez, who knows? I hope not. But probably,” he said.