|Birth name||Lydia Anne Koch|
|Born||June 2, 1959|
Rochester, New York, U.S.
Lydia Lunch (born Lydia Anne Koch, June 2, 1959) is an American singer, poet, writer, actress and self-empowerment speaker. Her career was spawned by the New York City no wave scene in the 1970s, predominantly as the singer and guitarist of Teenage Jesus and the Jerks.
Her work typically features provocative and confrontational noise music delivery, and has maintained an anti-commercial ethic, operating independently of major labels and distributors. The Boston Phoenix named Lunch one of the ten most influential performers of the 1990s. Her collaboration with Sonic Youth called "Death Valley '69" was named one of "The 50 Most Evil Songs Ever" by Kerrang!.
Lunch was born on June 2, 1959, in Rochester, New York and is of German and Italian descent. She moved to New York City at the age of 16 and eventually moved into a communal household of artists and musicians.
After befriending Alan Vega and Martin Rev at Max's Kansas City, she founded the short-lived but influential no-wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, with James Chance. Both Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and the Contortions, Chance's subsequent band, played on the no wave compilation No New York, produced by Brian Eno. Lunch later appeared on two songs on James White and the Blacks album, Off-White.
Lunch's solo career featured collaborations with musicians such as J. G. Thirlwell, Exene Cervenka, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Bob Bert, Nick Cave, Marc Almond, Billy Ver Planck, Steven Severin, Robert Quine, Sadie Mae, Rowland S. Howard, Michael Gira, the Birthday Party, No Trend, Sort Sol, Einstürzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth, Oxbow, Die Haut, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Black Sun Productions, and French band Sibyl Vane, who put one of her poems to music.
In the mid-1980s, she formed her own recording and publishing company called "Widowspeak Productions" (also known as just "Widowspeak"), on which she continues to release her own material, from music to spoken word. Two albums published by Lunch's label were released in 2013: Collision Course & Trust The Witch, by Big Sexy Noise (released on Cherry Red), and Retrovirus (released on Interbang Records); both albums are by Lunch's musical projects.
Lunch released her studio album Smoke in the Shadows in November 2004, through Atavistic Records and Breakin Beats, after a six-year break from music. Nels Cline, the lead guitarist of alternative rock band Wilco, was featured on the album. Smoke in the Shadows was met with positive reviews by Allmusic, PopMatters, and Tiny Mix Tapes.
In 2009 Lunch formed the band Big Sexy Noise. The group features Lunch on vocals, James Johnston (guitars), Terry Edwards (organ, saxophone), and Ian White (drums). Johnston, White and Edwards are members of the British band Gallon Drunk. A six-track eponymous EP was released on June 1, 2009, through Sartorial Records, and included a cover of Lou Reed's song "Kill Your Sons," as well as "The Gospel Singer", a song co-written with Gordon. The debut, self-titled album, Big Sexy Noise, was released in 2010, followed by Trust The Witch in 2011. For both albums, Lunch and her band completed tours throughout Europe.
In 2010, The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project launched We Are Only Riders, the first of a series of four albums featuring Pierce's previously-unreleased works-in-progress. The album features interpretations of Pierce's work by friends, collaborators, and admirers, including Lunch. Lunch also contributed to the second album from the project, The Journey is Long, which was released in April 2012.
Although the Pierce Sessions Project's third and final album, The Task Has Overwhelmed Us, was due for release in late 2012, the schedule was changed after the release of the second installment. Glitterhouse Records, the label producing the collection, instead released a third album titled Axles & Sockets in May 2014, on which Lunch performs "The Journey Is Long" with Pierce's recordings. The label explained that the third album has become the "penultimate" full-length release of the Project, but did not name the final album, or its release date.
Lunch released the album Retrovirus (also the name of the band Lunch plays with) in 2013 on Interbang Records and ugEXPLODE (the vast majority of the album tracks are published by Widowspeak). Together with band members Weasel Walter, Algis Kizys, and Bob Bert, Lunch performed a show following the album's release at the Bowery Electric venue in New York City, in May 2013.
She appeared in two films by directors Scott B and Beth B. In Black Box she played a dominatrix, and in Vortex she played a private detective named Angel Powers. During this time, she also appeared in a number of films by Vivienne Dick, including She Had Her Gun All Ready (1978) and Beauty Becomes The Beast (1979), co-starring with Pat Place. In 2011, Lunch appeared in Mutantes: punk, porn, feminism, a film directed by Virginie Despentes, also featuring Annie Sprinkle and Catherine Breillat. She also wrote, directed, and acted in underground films, sometimes collaborating with underground filmmaker Nick Zedd and photographer Richard Kern.
Lunch has recorded and performed as a spoken word artist, collaborating with artists such as Exene Cervenka, Henry Rollins, Don Bajema and Hubert Selby Jr. as well as hosting spoken-word performance night "The Unhappy Hour" at the Parlour Club.
In 1997, Lunch released Paradoxia, a loose autobiography, in which she documented her early life, sexual history, substance abuse and mental health problems. Time Out New York gave it a favorable review, while Bookslut ambiguously concluded "It's to the reader to determine whether Lunch's study goes deeper than that, or if instead, it's a kind of literary and philosophical repetition compulsion, a reprisal of greatest hits from male nihilists, sexual adventurers and chroniclers of deviance." PopMatters called it a "brutal but boring and predictable circus, about which Lunch shows no emotions. Only fatigue seems to have given her pause."
Additionally, Lunch has authored both traditional books and comix (with graphic novel artist Ted McKeever).
In 2013, Lunch ran self-empowerment workshops in locations such as Ojai, California, US and Rennes, France. In regard to the Rennes workshop, her inaugural self-empowerment event, Lunch recalled: "Every day people would come in that would have to get a hug. I felt like mother India." In April of that year, Lunch said that she is the producer of the Emilio Cubeiro album Death of an Asshole. In 2014 Lunch shot a series of photographs with Austin, Texas-based artist, Darla Teagarden.
In 2019 Lunch started the podcast The Lydian Spin. Lunch hosts each weekly episode with bassist Tim Dahl.
In 2020, Lunch appeared on the album Against All Logic "2017–2019", by producer Nicolas Jaar.
In 2004, she left the United States to live in Barcelona. She returned to the United States in 2017 and lives in Brooklyn.
(both written, acted, directed and produced with Emilio Cubeiro)