The Jesus Lizard Book
Legendary indie rockers the Jesus Lizard present an idiosyncratic, impassioned document of their rock and roll conquests.
What people are saying…
Featured as a “This Week’s Reading/What We’re Loving” pick at The Paris Review!
“If you’re a Jesus Lizard fan or a David Yow devotee, you’re sure all over this. But even if you’ve never heard of the band, the book stands as one of the best ways to experience being in a tight, cohesive band. You get everything except the sweat, spilled beer, and blood. It’s a fun ride, and the closest thing possible to getting in the van with these guys.”
“The Jesus Lizard Book is a beautiful document of a band that wasn’t afraid to be abrasive, chaotic, brutal, and sometimes, ugly.”
—The Chicago Tribune/Printer’s Row
“These guys deserve to pat themselves on the back . . . If the spectacular photography in The Jesus Lizard Book is to be believed, their shows resembled nothing more than that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where some poor dude has his still-beating heart removed in an elaborate ritual.”
—The Paris Review
“The gorgeously crafted, 176-page hardcover Book . . . dives deep and candidly into the Jesus Lizard’s first decade and touches a bit on that 2009 coda, too. Through many thousands of words, hundreds of photos, and collected ephemera, it celebrates the sweat, menace, humor, musicianship, lasting power, and genitals of one of the best bands ever coughed up by the rock underground.”
“Book is a valuable document that brings us back to the era when artists were conditioned to practice the art of self-defense.”
“Crawling out of the same noisy, punk and hardcore indie underground of the early 1980s, Dinosaur Jr. and the Jesus Lizard took somewhat similar paths on the road to becoming two of the most influential bands of their generation . . . Now the two bands have something else in common: books. Two beautiful volumes, The Jesus Lizard Book (Akashic) and Rocket 88‘s Dinosaur Jr. scrapbook . . . Both are loving tributes to two very unique bands.”
“Imagine a round table discussion with the Jesus Lizard in a dark bar drinking all afternoon, listening to all the war stories.”
“A series of essays and photos that illuminates the Jesus Lizard—humorous, jolting, sometimes surprisingly moving.”
—The Chicago Tribune
“If there is any recurring theme within the 176 pages of the newly released The Jesus Lizard Book it’s this: The Chicago-grown noise rockers will be remembered as one of the greatest live bands to ever grace—or very well desecrate—the stage.”
“Book is pretty much the sort of thing you would want from any band you adore: thoughtful, articulate comments from all of the players, short essays, some only a few lines, from various folks who knew or worked with them and a ton of excellent photos.”
“The Jesus Lizard Book by The Jesus Lizard (out now). Much like Dinosaur Jr., the band has created a detailed, full-color hardcover for its fans. And as a bonus, members are reuniting to promote it at South by Southwest and elsewhere.”
—Pensacola News Journal
“Impressively candid, informed and informative history of a remarkable group of musicians. A ‘must read’ for their legions of appreciative fans . . . Highly recommended.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Book is FULL of cool shit: silly pictures, lots of stories, full band member auto-bios, and the band’s narrative.”
—The Stranger Slog
“The only way to truly do this band justice in book form is with exactly the kind of energetic and engaging visual weight that Book provides.”
—KGB Bar Lit Magazine
“There is finally a book that captures the godhead megalithic monstrosity that was the Jesus Lizard . . . know this is going to be one of my favourite books of all-time.”
—The HuffPost Music (Canada)
“The deluxe coffee-table book about The Jesus Lizard that we can’t believe exists.”
—Oregon Public Broadcasting/NPR (editorial mention)
Included in “A Book I’d Read” at the Washington City Paper/Arts Desk
“Book suits the Jesus Lizard as well as, say, The Dirt suits Mötley Crüe . . . Everyone I know loves the Jesus Lizard, and all those same folks are going to love Book.”
—Hank Shteamer, Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches
“It’s less a compendium of traditional rock band hedonism and more of an example of how things can be done right.”
—Stand Up, Hippy!
“Stunning new work of popular culture historiography . . . The Jesus Lizard Book is a work of art, and it should be treated as such.”
“The big, beautiful Jesus Lizard Book . . . delivers a fun, albeit wild ride fans are sure to enjoy thoroughly.”
—BookPeople (Austin) blog
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE LIMITED EDITION SIGNED PREORDER PACKAGE FOR THE JESUS LIZARD BOOK IS NOW COMPLETELY SOLD OUT; THIS PAGE IS FOR THE REGULAR HARDCOVER EDITION OF THE BOOK.
Also check out David Yow’s forthcoming book of cat portraits, Copycat: And a Litter of Other Cats.
The Jesus Lizard Book is a coffee table affair of exclusive photography, art, and other imagery with written pieces by all four members of the seminal indie rock band the Jesus Lizard. The layout is stylish and elegant, particularly in contrast with the harshness of much of the band’s music. Included are many Polaroids by David Wm. Sims, a delicious recipe by David Yow, a concise list of every show the Jesus Lizard played, and writings by two producers who recorded the band—Steve Albini and Andy Gill. There is biographical material of each member that covers childhood to the demise of the group. Other contributors include, Mike Watt, Alexander Hacke, Steve Gullick, Rebecca Gates, Jeff Lane, Sasha Frere-Jones, KRK, Bernie Bahrmasel, and many more.
The Jesus Lizard (1988–1999) hailed from Chicago by way of Austin, Texas. They released seven records on the independent record label Touch and Go, and a few more on different major labels. Many have called them the best live band of the 1990s. Unlike most of their contemporaries, the Jesus Lizard managed to create a beast, an entirely autonomous being, an entity who outgrew and is very likely to also outlive its makers. While each and every personality in the group is an integral part of its mentality and thus ultimately irreplaceable, it is the rapport and friction between them which makes the music possible, allows it to blossom and eventually break free.
It was not just David Wm. Sims’s Monolithic basslines, but the stance he took in order to deliver them. Like a sailor manning a raft through a storm at high sea, he took position at stage left and pounded away at his instrument—stoic, reliable, and unwavering. Mac McNeilly’s drumming didn’t merrily serve as a time-giver, but as a display of unrestrained energy and a joyously bouncing, good-natured spirit. Somersaulting patterns and probability-defying breaks were stacked on top of one another, made to tumble and fall only to be caught again, as if a boxer was juggling dishes while pummeling an already delirious opponent. Duane Denison shaped his guitar work like a taxidermist dissecting a puppy. With cruel precision, he stabbed and sliced and inserted the limbs of chord progressions with bolts and rods and wire, smiling dreamily while his riffs danced around onstage like biomechanical freaks of nature. Then there was the man who is the embodiment of the band’s name, the tormented soul thrown about and struggling to withstand the torrent in the tornado of the music: David Yow spilled his insides while he spent most of the shows in—no, on—the audience, being lifted and carried by the masses that were groping and ripping at him, trying to be a part, greedily looking to get a piece of the action. He was the ingenious saboteur, the anarchistic oddball in this form of modern theater with the other three serving as the perfect “straight men” to his madness.
Check out this enhanced event listing at Brooklyn Vegan.
Read an interview with David Yow at Noisey (Vice Media Group).
Check out some Jesus Lizard “extras” at The Village Voice!
Read a feature on The Jesus Lizard Book at Newsweek.
Check out drummer Mac McNeilly’s and guitarist Duane Denison’s week-long guest editing of Magnet Magazine Online.
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