The Jesus Lizard

All hail the second coming

The Jesus Lizard

Saturday, 8:35pm, Black Stage

It's only fitting that the second coming of the Jesus Lizard follows in the wake of Scratch Acid's blistering return three years ago.

"They were my favorite local band," reflects guitarist Duane Denison, who was playing with Biscuit's Cargo Cult at the time. "They were different than everyone else. They were a little smarter, a little funnier, and a little meaner. I thought, 'That's for me.'"

Armed with only a drum machine and a mini-Fender PA, the nascent Jesus Lizard cut its teeth in an empty East Austin house in which the electricity hadn't been turned off, Denison's spiral guit-architecture bleeding into Scratch Acid bassist David Wm. Sims' leeching lines and David Yow's vocal confrontations.

"It wasn't abandoned, just vacant," Denison clarifies.

The scathing glory of what transpired, beginning with the 1989 Steve Albini-produced debut EP Pure, has just been remastered by original label Touch and Go (see "Fun Fun Fun Fest Phases"). Along with offers from Mike Patton and All Tomorrow's Parties, the reissue campaign prompted a reunion of the Lizard's classic four, anchored by drummer Mac McNeilly, after a 10-year hiatus.

"The fact that a band that was fairly abrasive and noisy and dissonant with these not-always-terribly-melodic vocals could actually leave its mark is sort of a testament to what we accomplished," says Denison, who has kept busy over the years with Tomahawk, Th' Legendary Shack Shackers, and the Denison-Kimball Trio, among others. "There's nothing fake about it. In some ways I think [these reunion] shows are some of the best we've ever played. We re-hearsed, but we didn't over-rehearse. Yow's as reckless as he ever was. We have a lot to live up to, and we want to push it a bit further."

As for recording some new material, Denison remains torn.

"We've always had ideas tucked away fermenting, and things are no different now," he reveals. "A part of me wonders, 'Why don't we knock one out and leave it at that?' A final statement. Who knows?"

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Jesus Lizard
Playback – Typecast: David Yow & Brett Bradford
Playback – Typecast: David Yow & Brett Bradford
Scratch Acid and the Jesus Lizard in their new roles, plus a Twin Peaks themed concert

Kevin Curtin, Sept. 21, 2018

Off the Record
Off the Record
Music News

Austin Powell, Dec. 5, 2008

More by Austin Powell
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
New Austin Music Worth Your Bandwidth This Week
What we’re playing

July 31, 2020

Record Review: The Young
Record Review: The Young

Aug. 22, 2014


Jesus Lizard

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle