Jesus Lizard Extras!
The Jesus Lizard
Photo by Whitney O'Keefe
Tonight, March 26, members of Jesus Lizard will appear with Akashic Books head honch Johnny Temple for a Q&A at WORD Brooklyn, 7 p.m. Last week, we ran a feature story about the band's glorious new Book. Not everything fit. Here now, your Jesus Lizard extras!
See also: MUST OWN: The Jesus Lizard Book
David Yow on Book showing a different side of the band's personalities than just their "onstage menace": "I think we wanted to let people know who think...like, my girlfriend likes to quote how I would occasionally be called an 'unhinged madman,' and that plain and simply is not the case. I'm the second- or third-nicest guy in the world. I also think we wanted to not make it any kind of snooty 'woo-woo look at us' thing. I do think that as far as a rock band goes, our egos were intact more than they might otherwise have been, and that's something I'm really proud of. I think that's a good bragging point."
Duane Denison on Book's inclusion of a few pages of the band's infamous sketchbooks: "Some of those kooky drawings where, if you wanna put it under the microscope and say, 'This is sexist' and this and that, it's like, come on! We aren't saints. We were kinda immature adults if anything with too much time sitting in that van driving around, you know? There were notebooks full of those kinds of things far, far worse than that. That's how people's minds work when you're just trying to amuse each other while you're killing time in the van -- you draw cartoons of people you know doing unbelievably awful things. That's part of the experience and why deny that? This idea nowadays that everything has to be tolerable and you can't offend anyone, anywhere, any time, I don't buy it. But we're not Motley Crue, either. We were never as bad as them. Well, maybe once in a while, but not on a daily basis, as far as how we treated each other and treated other people.
"These [drawings], now they're in a book forever, fossilized for eternity...I think that anyone who ever saw that band play live knew there was an element of perverse humor there, and there's no denying it. So when you're looking at a book, you can't re-create a performance, so maybe this is the closest thing to showing that side of the band.
"Even my mom has looked at [the drawings] and gone, 'Oh, you boys....'"
Duane Denison on why it took more than three years to make Book: "We were just very aware of taking our time and not rushing, not just slapping something together just to get it out. We took our time going through the photos and finding the best of the ones people haven't seen and we went over the writing repeatedly to edit it down and distill it so it's very concise, no mistakes, no errors. When I see errors [in books] I think, 'What is wrong, do people not learn to write anymore?' We thought, if we're gonna do this, let's do it right and take our time."
David Yow on the process of designing Book: "For almost two years before even designing the book I was retouching and color-correcting photographs for it. And then, you know, it was actually becoming a strain on my relationship and I don't know InDesign well enough to do the complete job - I made a template of what I wanted to do and I spoke with [Chunklet's] Henry Owings and he's really good at that stuff, so I handed it off to him and he finished it.
"You spend so much time cleaning up pictures of yourself, it's kinda like looking in the mirror for a long time and I generally avoid mirrors. So that was kind of rough. But I think all four of us are very proud of almost everything we did and accomplished."
Duane Denison on being associated with the Jesus Lizard more than anything else in his music career: "The Jesus Lizard experience is a big part of my life, a defining part of my life in a lot of ways. I never wanted to be one of these types of musicians who is, for the rest of their life, that's how they see themselves - this cartoon character where they can't leave the house unless they look and act a certain way, you know? I don't wanna name names, but they're 55 and still wearing leather pants and eyeliner. I never wanted to get stuck that way. Keep moving, keep going ahead. You don't have to negate your past and you don't have to deny it, but it's like, 'OK, you did that, now maybe there's other things you want to do."
Members of the Jesus Lizard appear tonight (3/25, and at WORD Brooklyn (3/26) at 7 p.m. for a book signing and Q&A moderated by Johnny Temple.
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