Akashic Books, P.O. Box 1456, New York, NY 10009, Usa, www.akashicbooks.com
If you’re a Jesus Lizard fan or worship David Yow, you’ll love this. The 176 page hardcover book (21,3 x 33,8 x 2,8 cm) contains photography, art, and other imagery with written pieces by all four members of the band. They cover almost everything, their biographical material starts in the childhood and ends with the breakup of the band.
It goes even so far that each song of every album gets some thoughts. There is also many more contributions – comments, short essays – by people that worked, played with or followed the group. Also included are many authentic Polaroids by David Wm. Sims and a list of every (!) show the Jesus Lizard (1988-1999) played. The band came from a indie underground of the early 1980s, they released their first bunch of records on Touch and Go, and a few others on some major labels.
Every piece written is paying homage, apart from the text by Steve Albini, that allows some very valid criticism. Also late drummer Brendan Murphy writes: „After requesting some vocals in the drum monitor at the first soundcheck, I was told it was a very bad idea. Personally, I’ve always taken vocal cues as an important addition to my monitor sound.
I learned that it was a huge mistake in the Jesus Lizard. I found that watching David sing or, worse yet, hearing him made it almost impossible to correctly play the songs. …. The chances of David getthing through any song the same way twice were slim and none.“ Some people probably thought because he never got thru a song the way he should made him a even better artist. If you are a fan, you should stop reading now…. Jesus Lizard was a american noise rock band with a strong DIY ethic and a drift towards going crazy on and off stage, especially their singer.
Their plan was from the start of the band to make a living, which they mananged to do and that is great. Unfortunally, since the band had almost nothing to say or no content-agenda, it is the same with the book. It has nothing to say, apart from their living and doing of a rock’n’roll band. Some people might love reading endless choruses of praise for their favorite band, others find that boring.
That happend to me and you will not be surprised to hear that I never was a fan of the band, for good reasons. Anyway, it is a well made book and it is „their“ book, so why should it be critical or have people write in it that think the band was overrated? One thing I found out that really did surprise me, while I was reading the book and looking at all those photos I would think to become familar with the individuals in the band, in the sense of looking at a photo and recognize who is who…. that did not happen – even in the end I did not know who is who….. 24,95 US $ (dolf)
[Trust # 166 June 2014]