After 42 years of performance art, music, photography and so much more, Lydia Lunch has seemingly put it in hyperdrive. New York University just purchased her archive, a documentary film about her life and career is premiering this week and she has been stirring the pot on a new podcast called The Lydian Spin. PKM recently caught up with the whirlwind artist.
Lydia Lunch is a witch. An exorcist. A necromancer. A sorceress. But definitely don’t call her a punk. Approaching life as a positive negativist—the philosophy of thinking critically and realistically about society while remaining optimistic about one’s own existence and endeavors—Lunch’s work is provocative, truthful, and acerbic. She is unrelenting because she has so much compassion and an extraordinary gift for turning her trauma into art.
As a 17-year-old high school dropout stirring up hell in New York City, her seminal, experimental, mid-70s band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks prefaced the transgressive guitar-based anti-rock of the rest of the decade and beyond. It presaged the popularity of noise rock, foretold the rise of riot grrrl, and truly freaked people out (and still does).
Now a sexagenarian, the prolific and outspoken artist has amassed a body of work that includes the release of 35 music and spoken word albums, while appearing as a collaborator on at least 40 more. She’s performed in 30 films, written two, composed for at least nine. She’s been the subject of more than 10 movies, narrated three, authored two plays and 10 books. She’s produced a confounding amount of work and many people still don’t know that she’s also worked in visual art outside of film— photography and montage—for the last three decades. It’s weird to even call her prolific, because it’s just what she does.
And she doesn’t care if she’s popular or well-liked. The people who get her, get her. The people who don’t, don’t. She’s going full-force regardless. Within the last decade, she’s published books, toured the world, and hosted workshops to empower women artists who’ve felt damaged by the “brutarian practices of a kleptokratic patriarchy,” (www.lydialunch.net).
Recently, New York University purchased Lydia Lunch’s entire archive. And, on November 9, The War is Never Over, a documentary about her 42-year career by Beth B. premieres at the Doc NYC Film Festival. Not to mention, in July, the Lydian Universe orbited a podcast into cyberspace called The Lydian Spin, where she does what she does best: banters provocatively with relentless and subversive underground artists whose work she admires, resonates with, and champions.
Her production team has churned out a handful of episodes each month and they have no plans to slow down. So far, she and co-host (also, bandmate) Tim Dahl have spoken to creators across genres and generations. They kicked off their first episode featuring actress and burlesque performer Kitten Natividad. Since then, they have spoken with L7 band member Donita Sparks, controversial cartoonist Robert Williams, Mexican filmmaker Eva Aridjis, and songwriter Sylvia Black—among many others. The conversations touch on topics from artists’ work and processes to social and political issues from various perspectives.
To me, I don’t give a shit. I’m notorious. I’m infamous. I’m not famous. It’s like whatever. All of my heroes were literary, and they never got recognized in their lifetime.
And now, with her new podcast, she’s finally logged onto social media. A belief she repeats throughout her interviews and writing is that to her, making art is a human response to suffering, a cry to relieve the pain of living, that true artists create for survival, not notoriety. It is an idea that resonates in both her output over the decades and the work of the guests she invites on the show.
Last week, I had a chance to connect with Lydia to talk about The Lydian Spin. We tried to stay on topic best we could, but this is what transpired. Turns out, there’s really no great way to talk about a podcast. You’ll just have to listen to it.
PKM: Where are you living now?
Lydia Lunch: I’m not living anywhere yet; I’ll be moving this week.
PKM: You in New York?
Lydia Lunch: Yeah, I’m in Brooklyn.
PKM: I thought you were in Barcelona…
Lydia Lunch: It was quite a while ago; I was there for 8 years. I’ve been a nomad for the past 8 months. I was living in Brooklyn for 2 years. I was a nomad for 4 years. And before that I was in Barcelona for 8 years.
PKM: What are the pros and cons of living the nomad lifestyle?
Lydia Lunch: You know, after living in Barcelona, you don’t really want to live anywhere. You know what I mean? That was kind of an issue. I certainly didn’t want to come back to New York. I only came back to work with Retrovirus and Weasel Walter and Tim Dahl.
It’s interesting, I’m finding quite a few female artists who are nomads now the same way the Beat writers in the ‘50s used to be nomads. It’s like… I mean, where to live? I’ve always moved every 2 to 4 years. And I think after living in Barcelona for 8 years, I’m like I don’t want to live anywhere now. So I just jumped around. Plus, I have to go to Europe so often. Because that’s where I do most of my performances, that it just didn’t make any sense for a while to be paying rent.
PKM: For sure… I mean, I don’t know that I want to live in this country…
Lydia Lunch: Hell no.
PKM: I can’t picture anywhere in America I really want to live… and I can’t imagine living in Europe and wanting to come back…
Lydia Lunch: This is why I have a carry-on bag ready at all times. Well, I’m back in New York because NYU bought my archives and I have to kind of supervise them because next September or October, they’re opening their new branch with my archives, and I’m going to have a big exhibition. So I kind of have to be here to help them with that. And you know a big part of my archives is that I have so many different formats, as one can imagine after 42 years of live performances on DVD, VHS, mini disc, etc.
For instance, the first time I went to Barcelona in ’84—and I knew I’d move there eventually—this professor taped my show, and then his student who also became a professor taped every show I ever did in Barcelona. So that’s just one example of the stuff I have. You know I didn’t even know I would manage to maintain or collect 42 years of materials because it was kind of all over the place. I had to articulate it with Weasel Walter. And then we had to hire some to articulate it. Then it took about 4 years to sell it.
I was ostracized both in New York and London because I wasn’t a junkie–
PKM: You’ve done so much, I can’t even picture all of your work in one place.
Lydia Lunch: Pfff, it’s ridiculous [laughs]. It’s ridiculous! One of the things I think is very interesting that I put into the archives is like 800 e-mails, mainly between certain people like Jerry Stahl or Karen Finley– like some that are very poetic. In a sense, it’s kind of the way Henry Miller and Anaïs Nin would write letters. I’ve got these incredible emails. I think they should be somewhere, in my digital museum for people to see the kind of poetry that can exist in whatever format that you decide to put it in.
PKM: These were just natural correspondences?
Lydia Lunch: Well, of course. There was a time when I was writing a lot of very poetic emails. There’s all kinds of things in the archives. You know, I’ve been doing photography since 1990. I had seven huge boxes of 3 x 5 printed photos since 1990. I first started doing photography when I was living in New Orleans. Wherever I lived kind of dictated the style or type of whatever I was photographing. In New Orleans, I started photographing teenage boys and girls to try to let them know what their power was, and abandoned shacks. When I lived in San Francisco, it was graveyards. When I lived in LA, it was a series of German Expressionists in black and white… and couples who kill. When I lived in Pittsburgh, it was sheds and crashed cars that were disintegrating. Then I went on to do montages. Then when I lived in Barcelona, I was constantly photographing what’s the largest remaining civil war battle zone in Europe, which is Belchite, between Barcelona and Madrid.
And also, people and stuff like that.
I had had all these collections of photographs but I didn’t really ever pursue it, because I never had the time or the interest until I started using them as backdrops in my live spoken word shows and started having a few exhibitions. I have so many photos I’ve done, so many different styles and subject matters, it’s just not something people really know about.
PKM: Yeah, I didn’t know about that…
Lydia Lunch: I’m very excited about that. I’m really interested in having a digital museum so people can go “1982, spoken word” ya know what I mean?
PKM: Something I’ve been wondering is… have you ever lived in a small town?
Lydia Lunch: Well I mean, no… I’m from a fairly small town [Rochester, New York] but not really. I lived in Pittsburgh for four years, but I wouldn’t really consider it a small town.
PKM: Yeah that’s definitely a city. I’m thinking like… weird backwoods rural small town?
Lydia Lunch: Nothing like that. I was in Louisville for a while. But it’s like no, I haven’t lived in the backwoods yet. I have a backwoods state of mind, though. That much is true.
PKM: For sure. That’s really exciting about the archive.
Lydia Lunch: It’s going to take them a long time to organize it all but I mean that’s one reason I have to be here. But yeah, I am really happy about it.
PKM: Are you working with someone you know?
Lydia Lunch: I’m working with someone who has a very good understanding of who I am, so that helps. I really like the guy who was pursuant of it, so that’s good.
PKM: Sweet. I’ve been listening to the podcast a lot over the last couple months. I feel like I’ve just been kinda hanging out with you and your friends…
Lydia Lunch: The Lydian Spin! What’s interesting to me is that, look, I’ve been interviewed a million times… how long did it take for us to set this up? It’s ridiculous… But you know all of these people are extremely unique, extremely stubborn, extremely independent. I’ve known most of them … they don’t all know each other… but there is a connective tissue of a certain independence and relentlessness that I think is great to expose other people to. You know there’s no real common connective thread other than really artistic radicals of all different sorts… I’m really enjoying the format.
PKM: Do you think if you put them all in a room together, they’d get along?
Lydia Lunch: Abso-fucking-lutely. Why wouldn’t they?
PKM: Yeah, they’re your friends…
Lydia Lunch: I don’t not get along with anybody. All my enemies are dead.
I’m not called “Please Kill Me” … It’s like [my ex-lover] used to say… “Lydia, where are the bodies?” I’m like… “why would I tell you??”
PKM: Well, I’m not a cop… but, I did get to see Desolation Center last night.
Lydia Lunch: What’s that?
PKM: A new documentary about the early ‘80s shows in the Mojave Desert…
Lydia Lunch: Oh nice.
PKM: Yeah, you were mentioned in it.
Lydia Lunch: That’s amazing… great.
PKM: And two of the guests on your podcasts… Ron [Athey] and John [Tottenham] were interviewed. I didn’t really know who they were before your podcast so it was cool for me to see them in it…
Lydia Lunch: You should know who Ron Athey is. I mean, he was one of the four people banned by the National Endowment for the Arts in the 90s.
PKM: Yeah, it’s like you said, the podcast has exposed me to a lot of radical people… there’s people that I kinda knew about or things they were doing but didn’t know their names… or I didn’t realize I knew them… never heard them interviewed. It’s helping me really connect the dots. [Author’s note: I had read about Ron Athey in a queer theory class in college, it just took me until after this interview to realize it].
Lydia Lunch: It’s difficult right now. There’s so much on the Internet…
PKM: Maybe too much…?
Lydia Lunch: But there’s not really one great magazine or website that goes to expose you to these people the way there might have been in the past… early Spin magazine, CREEM magazine, or any of these rock and roll magazines. I’m hoping that Lydian Spin serves that purpose.
PKM: Yeah, that’s what I’m getting from it… what is your overall goal?
Lydia Lunch: Just to keep going. I mean until we run out of people. The goal is to keep getting people on there. It’s important… whoever is into me for whatever reason… who the hell knows what that is anyway… it’s a good idea to expose them to new people. Even to you, who knows an incredible amount of people…it’s not like you’re culturally deficient… but if you’re finding people you didn’t know about and it’s exciting you, then that’s the point of it. It’s what you do as well…. It’s exactly what you do. Now we are starting to video tape. So the second season we are going to video tape. So, we’ll see what happens with that.
PKM: You’ve been going to visit people, right?
Lydia Lunch: No, they’re coming to me. Well, actually, it depends. When we were in LA, we went to some of their places, they came to some places, we were set up. When I move this week, I will be set and so people will be able to come to me and that will be great. The Lydian Universe.
PKM: Any surprises? Anything you didn’t know about any of these people?
Lydia Lunch: Well it’s always surprising, because how much can you know about anybody even if you know them well. I keep close contact with my friends but that doesn’t mean I know everything about them. And it’s great, I have the producer Simon Slater, and he digs up things I might never even thought of asking. Tim Dahl is so incredibly intelligent he will just come out of left field all the time.
PKM: Yeah he’s great…
Lydia Lunch: In my band Retrovirus, he’s the bass player. He’s played with an unbelievable amount of people. He has his own band Child Abuse. His other band, GRID, I just recorded with. They’re like out-there jazz. They have a new album coming out soon, we have a single.
PKM: Do you edit anything?
Lydia Lunch: I don’t edit anything. I don’t even listen to them, look, I don’t have time. We don’t edit much. We record for one hour and they end up being about 40 to 50 minutes. I’m not the one editing, though.
PKM: I heard a wine cork pop in one of them… do you guys just hang out and drink and talk?
Lydia Lunch: That happens a lot. I like wine but I don’t know what anybody else does. I’ll have an occasional glass of white, thank you very much.
PKM: Something I love is that you do, you did it when I’ve seen you perform, in your spoken word, on the podcast, even since we’ve been talking, is change the pitch of your voice.
Lydia Lunch: Honey, I’ve been talking for almost 50 years. My guess is it changes a lot. I’m a functioning schizophrenic, there might be many characters coming out of this throat [clears throat].
I am excited about the Beth B. documentary which has its premiere at the New York Film Festival November 9th.
PKM: Tell me about [The War Is Never Over]…
Lydia Lunch: Well, imagine trying to condense a 42-year career into 72 minutes. It was a big chore for Beth B. Most of my work was already done. What’s interesting is the whole script is kinda flipped with Tim Dahl again. It’s like ¾ of the way into the film there’s a lot of hardcore spoken word and music and interviews with people and I have a running interview that goes throughout. Tim just tells this story about how much compassion he feels I have. And you kind of go “whoa.” Then Kembra Phfahler comes in and talks about what she learned or gained from me and it’s very beautiful. It’s like suddenly you have a take a different stance– just saying if you don’t like really know who I am. You suddenly go, here’s this strong talented man, kinda choking up about my compassion, while to the average person it might just seem I’m a hardcore tyrading prophet-on-the-hill town crier. Well hello, why is that? Because I have an incredible amount of compassion, you assholes.
PKM: There’s all these different facets of you and different people see different things. And I think you’ve said this before– people see whatever it is they want to see…
Lydia Lunch: The other side of that is that people that don’t get me, they paint their fear on my face, so they think I’m this raging bitch, I must be a nightmare. I couldn’t have collaborated with all the people I did— and some of them for decades– if that fear that they’d like to manifest that I possess was true. It’s like I’m the fucking cheerleader. I’m the den mother. I have to be very patient and very complementary to the people I work with because they are all extremely sensitive musicians. I’ve worked with a lot of very sensitive people. For instance, Rowland S. Howard, Thurston Moore, JG Thirlwell– these are all very sensitive men. These are not brutes.
The reason I was able to work with them for years and over and over again is because I had to kind of baby them. My ego doesn’t need to be stroked. I don’t need to be babied. But I need to baby them because I try to set up a creative space where they are free to take both of our essences to another degree that might not be reached if we weren’t there together. It’s a very special kind of sacred marriage and it’s a safe space, where I want to push people to be the “nth” of what they can be. That’s the basic bottom line of what I do. With the people I work with. [Deepens voice] kind of the secret Lydian Universe.
PKM: Yeah, that’s love…
Lydia Lunch: It’s true love. I love them all. And when you see the documentary you’ll see, they all fuckin’ love me… whatever.
PKM: I admire how you’ve been able to have all of these relationships over the years and collaborate with all of these people and maintain those friendships along the way… it’s amazing.
Lydia Lunch: Well, I mean one of the reasons is… my ego is secure and I don’t want it at the expense of anyone else. I’m very secure in who I am and what I do and I want other people to feel that way, too. It’s like so many artists are so fucking insecure… they all think they should be more popular. It’s like, look, I’m still amazed I’m still going. If I had ten people in my coven, I’d be happy. I’m not jaded and I’m not disappointed that I don’t have any bigger of an audience than I had 20 years ago. I might have a bigger audience than 40 years ago, but not by much. It’s like who do you want to be popular with? If the people you respect respect you, who else do you need in your corner? It’s hard to survive economically as an artist… that’s why I’m a fucking juggler.
My ego doesn’t need to be stroked. I don’t need to be babied. But I need to baby them because I try to set up a creative space where they are free to take both of our essences to another degree that might not be reached if we weren’t there together.
That’s why I have to do spoken word, that’s why I do music tours, that’s why I perform in Europe. That’s why you know… you couldn’t accomplish the amount of work I do without having an extreme discipline and a basic fuck you I don’t fucking care I’m going to do it whether you like it or not. That was able, especially early on, to find a way to release all of the records without any sponsorship or backing. I was able to license a lot of the stuff, but everyone knew they weren’t going to sell that many copies. And that I own everything that I’ve done, it’s kind of miraculous.
I hope to be in that sense… an example. For instance, someone like Weasel Walter has released over 200 CDs of his own material and should be you know the king of the compositional universe, but still, other than in Europe, people don’t have any idea what he’s accomplished. To me, I don’t give a shit. I’m notorious. I’m infamous. I’m not famous. It’s like whatever. All of my heroes were literary, and they never got recognized in their lifetime. It’s like you liked Albert Ayler, and you expect to be popular, what are you talking about? You know, that’s kind of one of the battles I have to face when dealing with people. They don’t know how to juggle as well as I do so I bring them into the Lydian Universe and do what I can. Blah blah blah.
PKM: You mean, people feeling entitled to having an audience?
Lydia Lunch: Yeah! [Screams] It’s like excuse me youngsters– I’ve been at it 42 fucking years and my audience hasn’t expanded. I think I’m one of the most articulate, necessary female voices on the planet. Oh-fucking-well. I know what I am.
PKM: It’s a weird distinction. It’s like, while popularity isn’t important, it is important for your voice to be heard…
Lydia Lunch: And the right people hear it! You can’t try to convince people who don’t get it. If more people hear it, GRAND, but you know… my book that just came out… 26 rejections. Twenty-six American publishers rejected my book of essays with an intro by Anthony Bourdain. And I’m happy to have that printed that on the back cover. (It reads “THE BOOK REJECTED BY TWENTY-SIX AMERICAN PUBLISHERS”). Because then the people who picked it up… Seven Stories… have published Angela Davis and Noam Chomsky. It’s just like suck a mother fucking dick mother fuckers, I don’t give a shit. You know my book of sexual horror-scapes, Paradoxia, has been translated into 12 languages… but how many years did that take? What-ever.
PKM: What you are saying is so important! Those essays are so important… it is mind-boggling that so many publishers wouldn’t want to put it out…
Lydia Lunch: I’m hardcore in this day… I guess because I’m a pathological truth-teller and we have all these pathological liars now… it doesn’t make any sense. I don’t give a shit. It’s available. Buy it or don’t. I don’t care. It’s available on Audible.com as well. Whatever. I’m not stopping. The song does not remain the same– I’m not going anywhere.
Lydia Lunch explains why she’s a “confrontationalist” on an Australian talk show called Denton, 1994:
PKM: Do you ever go through phases where you don’t create?
Lydia Lunch: Honey, I am the laziest bitch in the whorehouse. Some days of the week, you wouldn’t believe how much I love bed. Sleep is another issue, I don’t do much of that. It’s not that I am possessed to create every minute. When something needs to be done, when I have a musical concept, when I have to get out of the country, when something has to be compiled, I do it. But I don’t feel I’m obsessed to create. I know people like that. That if a day goes by and they don’t create, they have some Protestant work ethic– which is bullshit– it’s like I love to laze around, I’m a hedonist, I love to do [deepens voice] nothin’… but it’s just when I do something, I do more of it that most people. Maybe my nothing is more than most people.
PKM: It just comes out?
Lydia Lunch: It just comes out…. It just comes out… [laughs]. Well, I saved a lot of time by not being a heroin addict. I didn’t have to go to rehab like 20 times or like 250,000 times— I guess I saved a lot of time by avoiding heroin. I didn’t like it. It was boring. Fucking bo-ring.
Lydia Lunch: I was ostracized both in New York and London because I wasn’t a junkie– oh yeah? Fuck off! You’re ostracized for not being fucked up? It’s like fuck you, oh I can do drugs and handle it? And I don’t like heroin, you know you can suck a dick.
PKM: Did they think you were a nerd?
Lydia Lunch: No, it’s just like they’re suspicious if you aren’t as fucked up as they are.
PKM: Well, maybe it’s like they think you are keeping tabs on them or something…
Lydia Lunch: And certainly, and I’m done resuscitating a dying man.
PKM: Fair… So to go back to the documentary… I know it’s premiering in New York… is there a plan to take it across the country?
Lydia Lunch: We are waiting to get the distribution. I’m sure it will. There’s people very interested. We’ll see what happens. We’ll get it out November 9th and see what happens… Beth has been relentless in perfecting what she wanted to cover. It talks about trauma and survival– beyond survival, striving to thrive, and you know, the creative process. It’s very emotional– a lot of people cry when they see it, which is great. I love it when they cry when I do my spoken word. It’s a relief. I am not trying to make people cry, but that’s a great release, it’s a relief. I’ve been dealing with universal subjects since the beginning. We all have some kind of trauma, pain, whatever it takes– that’s been my subject matter. How do we go beyond it? You know, you are not alone. I was the first person to speak about incest. It was like 1982 or something. No one was speaking about that shit then.
PKM: Yeah, seems like people were really repressed. You know, I was really taken aback by Ron [Athey’s] story about his family and [Pentecostal] upbringing on the podcast. So intense…
Lydia Lunch: Yeah. Oh so amazing. The hardest thing I ever had to write was the introduction for Ron Athey, for his piece that I have in Will Work for Drugs (“The Violent Disbelief of Ron Athey”). But it was the hardest because I love him so much. I think he is so brave and incredibly creative. It was really a labor of love to try to really express who he is and what he’s come through…
PKM: Was any of that in your intro to that episode in the podcast?
Lydia Lunch: Oh yes, the intro was kind of an edited version of that.
PKM: I thought that was a very beautiful intro…
Lydia Lunch: Thank you very much. Capable of beautiful poetry occasionally.
PKM: It’s all beautiful… some of the language is very harsh, but it’s all very true and really and that is what is beautiful…
Lydia Lunch: Thank you very much, Jen. I mean you know I have to. The poetics in brutality is very important, because, first of all, I mean what I’m saying. But there is an innate poetry in a lot of it because there just… is. There has to be. I have to take what is heinously… and this is one of the reasons I started doing photography, specifically started doing a lot of photography in Belchite, this Spanish Civil War ghost town. I had to take what man destroyed and make something beautiful from it. My speeches are not necessarily beautiful, but if the beauty is only in the power of the language and passion which I bring to it… that’s what I am trying to imbue it with. That’s very important to me. It’s not just a rant. The only people who are ever offended are men who are too macho to understand I am more macho than they are. Like bow down… eyes down. I’m hard in my personality… I’m rather diverse.
PKM: Gender is weird. It’s a weird thing…
Lydia Lunch: I mean [laughs]… tell me about it, honey. I’m sitting here with my legs spread because my balls are so big they can’t fit in a pair of pants. As someone who had a twin male brother born dead, or murdered, or consumed, I have always felt equally as male as female. It was only recently that I saw his face. They talk about if you have a living twin and it dies, you feel a loss. I never felt a loss, I felt a doubling. And maybe that’s why I can do as much work as I do. I’m not half of what I should have been, I’m twice as much. Because either I consumed, I murdered, or I absorbed this male presence in the womb. Face it, if there was going to be one of us, it was going to be me… he would have been a fucking monster.
I have been trying to find any articles on this. There’s a lot of articles on twins’ loss. There’s meetings for people who have lost their twin– [raises voice to a shout] there’s not meetings for people who have absorbed their twin. Maybe I’ll start one. That will be me, myself and I– that’s three of us. It’s very strange.
The only people who are ever offended are men who are too macho to understand I am more macho than they are.
There were a few twins in my family line. I have twin cousins that I went and lived with for a while—they were men. From a very early age, I always felt this doubling. First of all, I am equally male as female—whatever gender means. I can be hyper feminine, I can be hyper masculine or some weird combo of both—I am comfortable in both skins. And therefore, people who don’t want to define their gender feel comfortable with me, because they recognize something that someone might be afraid to see.
For instance, when I am in Louisville, Kentucky, and I see a redneck trucker and he’s like giving me the eye, I’m always like “ooo, he’s seeing the faggot in me.” Why would a redneck be interested in me?
PKM: You don’t think he’s seeing a gorgeous lady?
Lydia Lunch: Well I mean, beyond his comprehension, perhaps, but I have a feeling they’re seeing something else. Maybe they are seeing something the average man is too frightened to see– my Big Lou personality if you know what I mean.
PKM: Wait… so how did you see your twin brother?
Lydia Lunch: I had a hallucination of him while I was under acupuncture and needles flew out of my head across the room… yeah yeah… we are not going to go into that.
PKM: Have you communicated with him in other ways?
Lydia Lunch: He tried to communicate with me under this trance… but there was nothing really to say. Having seen his face—which was like Otis Toole (a serial killer), it was like… I had to let him go. My mother had a miscarriage before, after, and then I had the dead twin with me. I definitely needed to be born, even though I was surrounded by death.
Hence, why I have no fear of death. I was surrounded by it; I was born with it. Call me a natural born killer. I am comfortable with death, because we all do it.
PKM: You said you took a lot of photos in cemeteries in San Francisco?
Lydia Lunch: Yeah I did, it was just that phase.
PKM: Do you go to cemeteries everywhere you are?
Lydia Lunch: No, I’m not visiting cemeteries everywhere I go… it was just a phase. Well I mean Pittsburgh and San Francisco. Pittsburgh was interesting because there were these pyramids and mausoleums… It’s beautiful, I love it.
In Barcelona, when you first see the cemeteries from a distance, it looks like rows of TVs stacked on top of each other for a block long. And there’s glass windows where the caskets are inside and the glass windows are memento mori and little trinkets from the people shoved behind the glass. They look like little TV sets, very bizarre.
I went to the catacombs in Palermo– I photographed the mummies.
I was at a place outside of Prague, called Kutna Hora, which is a bone cathedral, where they made chandeliers and reliefs of all the bones of the Plague which I photographed before, which is amazing. Actually I am going to send you a photo of one of my montages that features these skulls… it’s called “MY AMERIKKKA”…