Lydia Lunch  

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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. Her collaboration with Sonic Youth called "Death Valley '69" was named one of "The 50 Most Evil Songs Ever" by Kerrang!.

She is known for such recordings as "Stained Sheets" (1979) and "A Cruise to the Moon" (1980).



After arriving in New York City at the age of 16, Lunch moved into a large communal household of artists and musicians in NYC, including Kitty Bruce, daughter of Lenny Bruce after reading Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. Soon after she earned the surname "Lunch" by regularly stealing lunches for her (often starving) artist friends. After befriending the 'godfathers of punk' Suicide at Max's Kansas City, she founded the short-lived but influential No Wave band Teenage Jesus & the Jerks in 1976 with her artistic partner, No Wave punk-funk-jazz musician James Chance. Both appeared on the seminal No Wave compilation No New York. Lunch later appeared on two songs on Chance's album Off White (credited to James White and the Blacks; Lunch used the pseudonym "Stella Rico") in 1978.

She appeared in two films directed by the husband and wife film-making team of Scott B and Beth B; In the short film Black Box (1978) she played an unnamed torturer, and in the feature length, neo-noir thriller Vortex (1983) 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 the mid-80's she formed her own recording and publishing company called "Widowspeak" on which she continues to release a slew of her own material from songs to spoken word.

A self-avowed 'confrontationalist' identified by the Boston Phoenix as "one of the 10 most influential performers of the 90's", Lunch's solo career featured collaborations with musicians such as J. G. Thirlwell, Kim Gordon, Thurston Moore, Nick Cave, Billy Ver Plank, Steven Severin, Robert Quine, Sadie Mae, Rowland S. Howard, Michael Gira, The Birthday Party, Einstürzende Neubauten, Sonic Youth, Die Haut and Black Sun Productions. She also acted in, wrote, and directed underground films, sometimes collaborating with underground film maker and musician Richard Kern (including several films such as Fingered in which she performed unsimulated sex acts), and more recently has recorded and performed as a spoken word artist, again collaborating with such artists as Exene Cervenka, Henry Rollins, Don Bajema, Hubert Selby Jr., and Emilio Cubeiro, as well as authoring both traditional books and comix (with award-winning graphic novel artist Ted McKeever).

Simon Reynolds, author of Rip It Up and Start Again : Postpunk 1978-1984 , wrote

And although "affection" is possibly an odd word to use in reference to a bunch of nihilists, I do feel fond of the No Wave people. ... there are great moments throughout Lydia Lunch's long discography. [1]

Selected quotations

I'm nihilistic, antagonistic, violent, horrible - but not obliterated, yet.

I would be humiliated if I found out that anything I did actually became a commercial success.

There’re enough happy assholes out there, why should I be another one in the line...

It seems to me, that for over two thousand years now; mad-men, maniacs, and would be messiahs have been pilfering, have been pillaging, have been plundering, and have been raping the entire planet; and the way I see it, Mother Nature is getting pretty pissed off.

No pornography exploits women. It exploits men. It’s the men that are made to look stupid, silly and ridiculous, chasing after the golden elixir. Women look beautiful, do what they wanna do and get paid for it.



  • "No Excuse" (1997)
Compilation albums
Video albums
  • Willing Victim (The Audience as Whipping Boy) (live in Graz, Austria, 2004)

Teenage Jesus and the Jerks

  • "Baby Doll" (1979)
  • "Orphans" (1979)
Compilation albums
Appears on

Beirut Slump

  • "Try Me" (1979)

8-Eyed Spy

  • 8-Eyed Spy (1981; reissued as Luncheone in 1995)
  • Live (1981)

Harry Crews

  • Naked in Garden Hills (1987)

Big Sexy Noise

  • Big Sexy Noise (2009)
  • Trust the Witch (2011)


Appears on

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