Don't Hold Back, Jesster.

We have evidently ruined Jessica Hopper’s entire year by playing at the Pitchfork festival:

I saw the Jesus Lizard at least five times between the ages of 15-20, and my opinion (previously chronicled in Hit it or Quit it issues #3 and #4) still stands: a killer rhythm section and Yow furiously tugging on his own penis do not make for the best show I have ever seen. Not even top 50. I remember enjoying Rollins Band shows more than JL. The last time I saw JL, Tanner opened and were better. So, no, their reunion is not the highlight of my summer.

So, you’re saying we have a killer rhythm section, right?   Cool.  I think I missed that in my careful study of HIOQI issues #3 and #4.  See ya at Fucked Up!

(hat tip: flux-rad, for the link, and for the slightly incoherent props for “refusing neo-classical economic models of sustenance.” Hell, yeah, we did!  Jeez, Louise.)

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16 Responses to Don't Hold Back, Jesster.

  1. Hey you! what up? how did I not know you had a blog, an Athens buddy forwarded to me today the post with the joke about the boy’s first bass lesson…E, A, playing a gig. Good one. Will promptly add you to my blogroll.

  2. neil says:

    The form of tJL shows is distinct, and to be sure not for everyone. If penis yanking is not your cup of tea, and you can’t get past that, I’m sure these shows would not be enjoyable. If you can get past it, though, tJL are universally accepted as “great”. It’s not plausible to me that tJL went 0 for 5 over 5 years. Even if you don’t like the music, you just have to look around the venue and see clearly that *everyone single other person in the place* likes the music.

    Penis yanking was never my thing, but it never got in the way, either.

    In any case, I think minimizing and marginalizing tJL destroys the credibility of any music critic.

    Sounds like she’s just talking about what she personally likes in live music performances, and who cares about that?

  3. PHLP says:

    Hello David:

    Philip here. I’m the editor Jessica referred to in her original post; I work at the Chicago Reader. Honestly I think she was teasing me at least as much she was teasing you guys.

    What happened was this: She turned in a writeup on Fucked Up, in which she called them the best live band at the festival. In the process of editing it, I e-mailed her to ask whether she meant “best at the Saturday-Sunday festival” or also intended to compare Fucked Up to Friday night’s bands, specifically the Jesus Lizard.

    Jessica used my question as an occasion to express skepticism about the Jesus Lizard’s reputation for onstage prowess–I sorta became her stand-in for a hypothetical class of people who canonize the JL and give short shrift to more deserving current acts. She’s been doing a lot of thinking/writing about nostalgia lately, and seems to be generally anti-. (I’m definitely a Jesus Lizard fan, but I only got to see the band once, on the rather remote stage at the Vatican in Houston.)

    Jessica misread the intent behind my question, though that’s mostly my fault. I was kidding with her, but I did it clumsily: “Are you sure you meant to say that Fucked Up is a better live band than the Jesus Lizard? ‘Cause boy do I love me some Jesus Lizard.” Anyway, I didn’t mess with her copy. Her opinion is her opinion, and her edited writeup still says Fucked Up is the best live band at Pitchfork. I don’t have the right to overrule her on matters of personal taste! Different strokes for different folks, etc.

    I’m looking forward to Friday’s set at Union Park–and to the JL reissues. Bob Weston played me a couple remastered tracks from “Goat” at his studio during my band’s session in May, and they made me go weak in the knees. I know nobody cares what editors think, but man, the Jesus Lizard/Steve Albini combination produced what I’m pretty sure are the best-sounding rock records of all time.


  4. The Kids are Still Alright says:

    She was so bored by the Jesus Lizard she saw you at least 5 times?

    Must suck to have to go see a band you don’t like over and over so the
    “cool” people who DO like the band think YOU are cool as well….seen or be scene!

    Welcome to indie rock! Same as it ever was! Blechh!!

    PS-Rollins band? Nuff said!

  5. kip says:

    I heart penis yanking. I always tell people that Fucked Up killed my Dad. My Father died on my couch last year while I watched Fucked Up play at MusicFestNW here in Portland. As great as Fucked Up are, TJL are the greatest live band EVER. I wonder which rhythm section was better, Sims/Washam or Sims/Mac?

  6. pickleman ticklefish says:

    Ms. Hopper brilliantly shits on the basic formula for some of the greatest acts in music history including Little Richard, Elvis, the Doors, the Stones, the Stooges, Zeppelin, etc.

    “… a killer rhythm section and (insert artist/frontman here) furiously tugging on his own penis…”

    It’s called Rock and Roll Jess. Perhaps you should look it up?

  7. jimdiggitydog says:

    david – your bass is responsible for the hearing loss in my right ear, and i had a dent in my shoulder for a month or two from yow’s pointy little boot.

    and your show was worth every little bit and probably more.

    best. live. band. ever.

    i’ve seen a lot, and your shows stand head and shoulders above the rest. i think yow turns a lot of people off – but fuck, man – that’s rock and roll. he’s rock. you’re rock. the whole freaking band is rock.

    if she (or anyone else for that matter) can’t dig the rock, they don’t deserve the rock.

    i’m eagerly awaiting your reunion tour coming to raleigh. i’ll be the doofus with the hearing aid…

  8. oh and that chick has no taste in rock.

  9. juanito says:

    I have to say, I always felt the Jesus Lizard was a band that made you feel excited as much as uncomfortable. David Yow always seemed to be having a nervous breakdown on stage and that type of reflection changed the way I viewed live performance. I never felt the fashionable singer behind the mic. I always felt David represented real shit. A real purging, no doubt. Never held back and captivated all. There are many rock cliches out there but there is only one Yow…and yes, the best rhythm section of their era!

  10. Tom says:

    TLJ is awesome, and was awesome in barcelona. Reunite when you want ;)

  11. Wes says:

    Funny, I just had a dream last night that I was at a show. Sweaty, shirtless Yow was in the crowd next to me, and I kept wanting him to get back up on stage.

    What does it mean? Not really sure, other than that the show in Baltimore on Nov. 20 is clearly invading my subconscious, as well as my conscious, thoughts.

    Never heard of Jessica Hopper until today.

  12. The Really Empty Bottle! says:

    I think the best “journalist” writing about the “best” bands playing at
    Pitchfork are……well, um…uh….the one who didn’t rock out to the Rollins Band!?!

    Fucked Up are good, though it’s a Black Flag hommage, kinda like Sha Na Na doing the 50s thing to the 60s crowd at Woodstock, but that’s cool cuz it’s sincere.

    Jes Hops is getting too old to be rockin’ out at Fucked Up shows though, she needs to start watchin’ that thingy…

    That’s entertainment!

  13. nurkin says:


    the Sims/Mac combo is literally in a different class then Sims/Washam…
    Washam is a great drummer but their is no comparison. in like, my opinion.

  14. kip says:

    nurkin, I disagree. I believe it is absolutely fair to compare the two. I also believe that Washam is the more talented drummer. That is no slight to Mac, it’s just that all you have to do is listen to any Scratch Acid or Rapeman album and you will hear the greatest rhythm section in rock history. Ever. Seriously, EVER. Also, in all fairness, my opinion.

  15. Dr. Mystery says:

    I’m a little confused by Jessica Hopper’s aesthetic. I know she hates great rhythm sections, but I’m still unclear as to whether she prefers haphazard penis tugging or no penis tugging at all. Is any non-furious penis-tugging okay? Should other body parts be furiously tugged instead? Ms. Hopper, I need clarification.

  16. Michelle says:

    I enjoy the penis tugging at JL shows. Best show I ever saw in Pensacola, Florida at Sluggo’s. Even the sweaty bear hug from Yow was not something to forget. You soaked my shirt. I liked it.

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