Lydia Lunch (born Lydia Anne Koch, June 2, 1959, Rochester, New York)[3][1] is an American singerpoetwriter, and actress whose career was spawned by the New York No Wavescene.[4] The Boston Phoenix named Lunch "one of the 10 most influential performers of the 1990s."[5]

Her work typically features provocative and confrontational noise music delivery and has maintained an anti-commercial ethic[6] operating independently of major labels and distributors.[7]


 [hide*1 Biography


Lunch moved to New York City from Rochester at the age of 16[8] in 1976 with what she described having nothing but "a small red suitcase, a winter coat, and a big fucking attitude."[9] Lunch moved into a communal household of artists and musicians in NYC. Soon Willy DeVille gave her the name "Lunch" because she often stole lunches from The Dead Boys.[10] After befriendingAlan Vega and Martin Rev at Max's Kansas City, she founded the short-lived but influential No Wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, with James Chance.[11] Both Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and The Contortions, Chance's subsequent band, played on the No Wave compilation No New York, produced by Brian Eno. Lunch later appeared on two songs on James White and the Blacks album, Off-White.

She appeared in two films by directors Scott B and Beth B. In the Black Box (1978) she played a dominatrix, and in 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.[12]

In the mid-1980s she formed her own recording and publishing company called "Widowspeak" on which she continues to release her own material, from music to spoken word.[13]

Lunch's solo career featured collaborations with musicians such as J. G. ThirlwellKim GordonThurston MooreNick CaveMarc AlmondBilly Ver PlanckSteven SeverinRobert Quine,Sadie MaeRowland S. HowardMichael GiraThe Birthday PartyEinstürzende NeubautenSonic YouthOxbowDie HautOmar Rodriguez-LopezBlack Sun Productions, and French band Sibyl Vane, who put one of her poems to music. She also wrote, directed and acted in underground films, sometimes collaborating with underground filmmaker and photographer Richard Kern and more recently has recorded and performed as a spoken word artist, again collaborating with such artists as Exene CervenkaHenry RollinsJuan AzulayDon BajemaHubert Selby Jr., and Emilio Cubeiro, as well as hosting spoken-word performance night The Unhappy Hour at the Parlour Club.[14]Additionally, she has authored both traditional books and comix (with award-winning graphic novel artist Ted McKeever).

Lunch released her studio album Smoke in the Shadows in November 2004 through Atavistic Records and Breakin Beats after a six-year break from music.[15][16] Nels Cline, the lead guitarist of alternative rock band Wilco, was featured on the album.[17] Smoke in the Shadows was met with positive reviews by Allmusic,[18] PopMatters,[15] and Tiny Mix Tapes.[19]

In 2007, Lunch appeared on a viral video that was recorded backstage after a Joe Rogan comedy show, in which she confronted Joe Rogan for making jokes about "dumb women" in his comedy act.[20]

In 2009, Lunch formed the band Big Sexy Noise. The group features Lunch on vocals, James Johnston (guitars), Terry Edwards (organ, saxophone and guitar) and Ian White (drums).[21] Johnston and Edwards were previously members of the band Gallon Drunk).[22] A six-track eponymous EP was released on June 1, 2009 through Sartorial Records.[23] The EP included a cover of Lou Reed's song "Kill Your Sons" and "The Gospel Singer", a song co-written with Kim Gordon.[17] In 2010 she released, with Big Sexy Noise, their first album. In 2011, they released Trust The Witch, her second album with Big Sexy Noise. For both albums, Lunch and her band have made concert tours around the world.

In 2010, The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project launched We Are Only Riders, the first of a series of three albums featuring Pierce's previously-unreleased works-in-progress. The album features interpretations of Pierce's work by friends, collaborators and acolytes, including Lunch.[24] Lunch also contributed to the second album from the project (The Journey is Long, released in April 2012)[25] and will appear on the project's third and final album, The Task Has Overwhelmed Us (due for release in late 2012).[26]

In 2011, Lunch appeared in Mutantes: punk, porn, feminism, a film directed by Virginie Despentes, also featuring Annie Sprinkle and Catherine Breillat.[27]


In 1997, Lunch released Paradoxia, a loose autobiography, in which she documented her early life, sexual history, substance abuse and mental health problems.[28] Time Out New York gave it a favorable review,[29] while Bookslutambiguously concluded "It’s to the reader to determine whether Lunch’s study goes deeper than that, or if instead, it’s a kind of literary and philosophical repetition compulsion, a reprisal of greatest hits from male nihilists, sexual adventurers and chroniclers of deviance."[29] PopMatters called it a "brutal but boring and predictable circus, about which Lunch shows no emotions. Only fatigue seems to have given her pause."[30] Other reviewers praised Lunch's candor while expressing reservations about her prose.[31][32]


Teenage Jesus and the Jerks[edit]Edit

  • No New YorkTeenage Jesus and the Jerks (compilation Antilles 1978)
  • Babydoll b/w Freud In Flop, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (7" / Lust/Unlust, 1979)
  • Orphans b/w Less of Me, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (7" / Migraine, 1979)
  • Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (LP / Migraine, 1979) originally released on pink vinyl
  • Pink, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (12" / Lust/Unlust, 1979)
  • Pre-Teenage Jesus, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (12" / ZE, 1979)
  • Everything, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (CD re-issue / Atavistic, 1995)
  • Shut Up and Bleed, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks and Beirut Slump (CD re-issue / Atavistic, 2008)

8-Eyed Spy[edit]Edit


  • Queen of Siam, solo (LP / ZE, 1980)
  • 13.13, solo (LP / Ruby Records, 1981; re-issue Widowspeak/Le Son du Maquis, 2011)
  • Drunk on the Pope's Blood/The Agony Is the Ecstacy, solo (split 12" EP w. The Birthday Party / 4AD, 1982)
  • In Limbo, solo (12" EP / Widowspeak, 1984)
  • Hysterie, compilation of recordings 1976-1986 (LP, 1986 / Widowspeak Records)
  • Honeymoon in Red, solo (LP, 1987)
  • Unearthly Delights, solo (7", 1992)
  • Twisted, solo (7", 1992)
  • No Excuse b/w A Short History of Decay, w. Lee Ranaldo) (7" / Figurehead, 1997)
  • Matrikamantra, solo (double CD, 1997)
  • Widowspeak, solo best-of compilation (2CD / NMC, 1998)
  • Smoke in the Shadows, solo (CD / Atavistic, 2004)
  • Willing Victim (The audience as Whipping Boy), Recorded live at Festival des Masochismus, Graz, Austria, June 21 2003 (DVD / Atavistic, 2004)
  • Deviations on a theme (A retrospective of the artist's career), solo best-of compilation (double CD / Wildstar World & Provocateur media, 2006)
  • Big Sexy Noise, w. James Johnston[disambiguation needed]Terry Edwards, Ian White (CD / Sartorial Records, 2009)
  • Trust The Witch, w. Big Sexy Noise (CD / Le Son Du Maquis, 2011)
  • Retrovirus, Recorded live at the Knitting Factory, Brooklin, NY, Nov. 15 (2012) (CD / Widowspeak, 2013)

Harry Crews[edit]Edit

  • Naked In Garden HillsHarry Crews (1987; re-issue Big Cat records, 1990)


Appears on[edit]Edit

  • Try Me b/w StaircaseBeirut Slump (7" / Lust/Unlust, 1979)
  • Off WhiteJames White and the Blacks (LP / ZE, 1979; also credited as Stella Rico)
  • Der Karibische Western, Die Haut (12" EP, 1982)
  • Thirsty AnimalEinstürzende Neubauten (12" EP, 1982)
  • Boy-GirlSort Sol (7", 1983)
  • Dagger & Guitarsort Sol (LP, 1983)
  • Death Valley '69, w. Sonic Youth (7", 1984)
  • A Dozen Dead RosesNo Trend (LP, 1985)
  • Heart of Darkness, w. No Trend (10" EP / Widowspeak, 1985)
  • Death Valley '69, w. Sonic Youth (12", 1986)
  • King of the Jews, w. Oxbow (LP/CD, 1991)
  • A Girl Doesn't Get Killed by a Make Believe Lover...'cuz its Hot!, w. My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult (CDS, 1991)
  • Head OnDie Haut (CD / Triple X, 1992)
  • Sweat, Die Haut (CD / Triple X, 1992)
  • Unhealthy, w. Lab Report (CD / Invisible Records, 1994)
  • York (First Exit To Brooklyn), w. The Foetus Symphony Orchestra (CD, 1997)
  • Brooklyn Bank, w. Here (CD / Invisible Records, 1998)
  • OperettAmorale, w. Black Sun Productions, compilation tribute album to Bertolt Brecht, featuring Lunch's interpretation of "The Ballad Of Sexual Dependency" (CD, Divine Frequency, 2005)
  • The Impossibility of Silence, w. Black Sun Productions (Double CD, Black Sun Productions, 2006)
  • We Are Only Riders, The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (Compilation CD/ Double LP / Glitterhouse Records, 2010)
  • The Journey Is Long, The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (Compilation CD/LP, Glitterhouse Records, 2012)
  • The Task Has Overwhelmed Us, The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project (Compilation CD/LP, Glitterhouse Records, due for release in late 2012)


  • Devil Dogs (live in Italy / unreleased, 1981)

Spoken word[edit]Edit

  • Better An Old Demon Than A New God, Giorno Poetry Systems comp. f/ William S. BurroughsPsychic TVRichard Hell and others (1984)
  • The Uncensored, solo (1984)
  • Hard Rock, solo (split cassette w. Michael Gira / Ecstatic Peace, 1984)
  • Oral Fixation, solo (12", 1988)
  • Our Fathers who Aren't in Heaven, w. Henry RollinsHubert Selby Jr. and Don Bajema (1990)
  • Conspiracy of Women, solo (1990)
  • South of Your Border, w. Emilio Cubeiro (1991)
  • POW, solo (1992)
  • Crimes Against Nature, solo spoken-word anthology (Tripple X/Atavistic, 1994)
  • Rude Hieroglyphics, w. Exene Cervenka (Rykodisc, 1995)
  • Universal Infiltrators, (Atavistic, 1996)
  • The Devil's Racetrack (2000)
  • Flood Stains, w. Juan Azulay (2010)



  • She Had Her Gun All Ready: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1978)
  • Guerillere Talks: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1978)
  • Rome '78: Directed by James Nares (1978)[33]
  • Black Box: Directed by Scott B and Beth B (1979)
  • Beauty Becomes the Beast: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1979)
  • The Offenders (1979–1980): Directed by Scott B and Beth B
  • Liberty's Booty (1980)
  • Subway Riders: Directed by Amos Poe (1981)
  • The Wild World of Lydia Lunch: Directed by Nick Zedd (1983)
  • Like Dawn to Dust: Directed by Vivienne Dick (1983)
  • Vortex: Directed by Scott and Beth B (1983)
  • Submit to Me: Directed by Richard Kern (1985)
  • The Right Side of My Brain: Directed by Richard Kern (1985)
  • Fingered: Directed by Richard Kern (1986)
  • Hardcore Extended: Richard Kern (includes all movies of R. Kern with L. Lunch) (DVD / Le Chat qui Fume, 2008)
  • Mondo New York (1987)
  • Invisible Thread: Directed by Bob Balaban (1987)[34]
  • Penn & Teller's BBQ Death Squad (198?)
  • Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends (1990)
  • Kiss Napoleon Goodbye: Directed by Babeth vanLoo (1990)
  • The Road to God Knows Where: Directed by Uli M. Schüppel (1990)[35]
  • Thanatopsis: Directed by Beth B (1991)
  • Visiting Desire: Directed by Beth B (1996)[36]
  • Power of the Word (1996)
  • The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things: Directed by Asia Argento (2004)[37]
  • Kill Your Idols: Directed by Scott Crary, also known as S.A. Crary (2004)[38]
  • Psychomentsrum (unreleased)
  • Godkiller: Walk Among Us (2010): Voice role
  • Mutantes: punk, porn, feminism: Directed by Virginie Despentes(2011)[39]
  • Autoluminescent: Directed by Richard Lowenstein (2011)
  • Blank City: Directed by Celine Danhier (2012)[40]


  • The Right Side of My Brain (1985)
  • Fingered (1986)


  • The Offenders (1980)
  • Vortex (1983) (W/John Lurie, Adele Bertei, Pat Place, Beth B and Scott B)
  • The Right Side of My Brain (1985)
  • Goodbye 42nd Street (1986)
  • Fingered (1986)
  • I Pass for Human (2004)
  • Flood stains (2010)


  • The Wild World of Lydia Lunch (1983)
  • Penn & Teller's Cruel Tricks for Dear Friends (1987)
  • Put More Blood into the Music (1987)
  • The Gun is Loaded (1988–1989)
  • The Road to God Knows Where (1990)
  • Malicious Intent (1990)
  • The Thunder (1992)
  • Totem of the Depraved (1996)
  • Paradoxia (1998)
  • Lady Lazarus: Confronting Lydia Lunch (2000)
  • Kiss My Grits: The Herstory of Women in Punk and Hard Rock (2001)
  • DIY or Die: How to Survive as an Independent Artist (2002)
  • Kill Your Idols (2004)


  • American Fame Part 1: Drowning River Phoenix, dir. Cam Archer (2004)
  • American Fame Part 2: Forgetting Jonathan Brandis, dir. Cam Archer (2005)
  • Wild Tigers I Have Known, (Scenes Deleted), dir. Cam Archer (2006)


(both written, acted, directed and produced with Emilio Cubeiro)

  • South of Your Border (1988)
  • Smell of Guilt (1990)


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