The Jesus Lizard Biography

Formed in 1989, the Jesus Lizard originally comprised David Yow (2 August 1960, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; vocals), David William Sims (bass) - both formerly of the Austin, Texas act Scratch Acid - and Duane Denison (guitar), with the help of a drum machine. Pure, their abbreviated debut, maintained the uncompromising style of their former incarnation with its ponderous basslines, growled vocals and crashing guitar. The set was produced by Steve Albini (ex-Big Black), with whom Sims had worked in the controversially named Rapeman. Albini engineered and co-produced the full-length Head, on which the Jesus Lizard was joined by drummer Mac McNeilly. The sound remained as powerful and compulsive as ever, although some critics detected an artistic impasse and remained more impressed (or scared) by the band’s live act, during which Yow would regularly strip naked and throw himself into the crowd.

The continuing presence of Albini as producer helped Jesus Lizard reach an artistic peak of sorts on two early 90s releases, Goat (1991) and Liar (1992), the two albums that came closest to approximating the band’s live sound. Jesus Lizard would join Nirvana on a joint single (‘Puss’/‘Oh The Guilt’) that broke into the UK charts in 1993, but Down saw the band maintain a ferocity that deemed them very much a cult concern. They planned to expand their fanbase by signing to Capitol Records in 1995, but both Shot (1996) and Blue (1998) showed little sign of compromise. Their strength remained as an exciting live act, with frontman Yow a formidable if often incomprehensible singer and showman. The band split-up in 1999. Yow, after a period spent working as a photo retoucher, returned to music as the frontman for Los Angeles based scuzz rockers Qui.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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