Interviews The Jesus Lizard

Published on December 7th, 2017 | by Darren Paltrowitz


The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow & Duane Denison Talk About Their 2017 Reunion, Future Projects & Favorite Songs To Play Live

Formed in Austin in 1987, The Jesus Lizard is an influential noise-centric rock band. Stereogum has dubbed The Jesus Lizard “one of the greatest live bands ever” while Rolling Stone has written of its “shattering live performances.” The quartet worked with producer Steve Albini long before it was one of the cool indie-rock things to do, and had the distinction of releasing a split single with Nirvana in 1993 on an indie label while Kurt Cobain and crew were still signed to Geffen Records. The Jesus Lizard finally joined the major label ranks in 1995, inking a deal with Capitol Records. Shortly after leaving Capitol in 1999, The Jesus Lizard broke up. A reunion happened in 2008, lasting through 2009; a 2013 booking for an All Tomorrow’s Parties event was cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

2017 has brought an unforeseen regrouping of vocalist David Yow, bassist David Wm. Sims, guitarist Duane Denison — who plays with Faith No More’s Mike Patton, John Zorn collaborator Trevor Dunn and former Helmet drummer John Stanier in Tomahawk — drummer Mac McNeilly. This reunion is set to last from December 8 through 17, kicking off with a gig this Friday at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom. No further Jesus Lizard activity has been announced, so with great urgency, I submitted an interview request to speak with someone from the group. Mr. Denison and Mr. Yow answered some questions for The Hype Magazine, giving the smart-ass yet honest answers that one would hope for. For updates on all things Jesus Lizard, one can visit the band’s official page on Facebook.

I believe your upcoming dates will be the first touring from The Jesus Lizard in seven years. Had you guys been in regular communication during this hiatus? Is there a Jesus Lizard group text?

Duane Dennison: We chat fairly regularly, have business dealings to agree on, etc., so we talk fairly often.

Will you be focusing on a particular era from your career on these upcoming dates? Playing from your whole discography?

Duane Dennison: A bit of everything, from start to finish.

David Yow: We’ll be playing from the whole discography that has Mac on drums.

Do you have a favorite song to perform live?

David Yow: Nah.

Duane Dennison: No, I have lots of different guitar bits — noisy parts, weird chord shapes, solos, etc. –that I enjoy doing, but they’re all spread out so I don’t have a particular favorite, no.

No dates have been announced beyond December. Is this a limited run? Are there plans to record more as a band?

Duane Dennison: No plans, but you never know, do you?

Upcoming reunion tour aside, what is coming up for you work-wise?

David Yow: Some acting, a lot of photo-retouching.

Duane Dennison: Well, I have a group called Tomahawk that’s working on its fifth album, and I’ve been writing new material for what may be a solo album as well. We’ll see.

When not busy with music, how do you like to spend your free time?

Duane Dennison: I drink wine out of skulls and enjoy random S&M encounters. I also work in a library.

What has been your favorite album of 2017?

David Yow: Whatever record Dead Rider put out.

Duane Dennison: None yet. I’ve been listening to older stuff recently — Television, Philip Glass, etc.

Finally, Duane, any last words for the kids?

Duane Dennison: Save us! Somebody think of something!

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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