'You should see her use a gun': Milwaukee's 6 favorite Jesus Lizard songs
Local musicians influenced by the Chicago noise-rock outfit share their favorites before tonight's show at Turner Hall
It’s wholly appropriate that legendary ’90s Chicago noise-rock outfit The Jesus Lizard is bringing its reunion tour tonight to Milwaukee’s Turner Hall. While the band faded away most every place else after breaking up in 1999, it has remained a vital influence on the city’s loudest and unruliest bands, which can trace their DNA back to Duane Denison’s blues-damaged guitar heroics and the thick, determined groove of bassist David Wm. Sims and drummer Mac McNeilly. Not to mention singer David Yow, whose infamous antics have inspired more than a few drunken local frontmen. Before heading out to tonight’s show, The A.V. Club asked local musicians for their favorite Jesus Lizard songs and the stories behind their choices.
“It was summer of maybe 1992 or ’93, 'Monkey Trick' was on, and it probably started my first, and only, fight while driving. I don’t even remember how it started, but at one point I was leaning out of the window and screaming at these guys, and probably hitting my car, and making a maniac out of myself. And this song was on as loud as my unbelievably crappy car stereo could push.”
2. Chris Schulist (The Mistreaters, Skull Time): “Boilermaker”
“This is my favorite because it's the first song I saw them play live. David Yow came stumbling out, cracked open a can of beer, and poured it down his throat and all over his head. Then he grabbed the mic and pounded it into his face. They only played five or six songs that night because he cracked open his head and was gushing blood all over the place. Still, hands down, the best show I have ever seen.”
“This one showcases one of the band's underappreciated qualities—their sense of humor. The song is basically a barely audible yet incredibly witty stand-up bit backed by the most vicious guitar/bass/drums that will probably ever exist. There are plenty of bands that hit hard, but most of them can't make you laugh. It's part of what separates The Jesus Lizard from the pack.”
4. Dave Clay (Lambs Of Abortion): “Gladiator”
"I've drawn blood playing this song. I've nearly vomited the whiskey back up. You can't hit anything hard enough. 'You should see her use a gun.' God, that turns me on."
5. Keith Vercauteren (Aluminum Knot Eye): “Pastoral”
"A glimpse of the Jesus Lizard's gentle side, 'Pastoral' is reminiscent of a scenic drive through a rustic rural landscape where all the local folks and their livestock are drunk to the gills on homemade hooch. That's a nice contrast. They played this the first time I saw them perform back in the early-’90s, and it was epic. A beautiful song that has been known to cause even the scruffiest roughnecks to cry like babies."
6. David Gregorski (The Mistreaters, Death Dream): "One Evening"
“I remember buying the Pure EP and really enjoying it, but found myself hoping that they would replace the drum machine with an actual living, breathing human being. Lucky for them, they found not just a drummer, but perhaps one of the greatest drummers of all time, and hearing him—subtly, but with great gusto—playing his ass off for the first time as the Head LP kicks off is something I'll probably never forget. And when that guitar part kicks in on the chorus? Forget about it, man, that shit gave me the chill bumps. For real. This song has every thing that I love about this band in one neat little package: crazed vocals, super-solid rhythm section, searing guitar work. Plus it's catchy as hell."