The runaway, singer and counter-culture icon is hitting 60 – and is as incendiary as ever, touring and raging against polluters and politicians in a rip-roaring book
Lydia Lunch turned 60 this year, but age has done little to dim this counterculture icon’s lust for life. Decades after her start as the nihilist 16-year-old frontwoman of 1970s no-wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, the New York-born “apocalyptician” is a revered veteran of the US underground: a writer, spoken-word performer, musician, actor and artist. Lunch’s style is raw and incendiary, all sex and death and taboo-busting feminist rage. And in 2019, the sexagenarian is as unapologetic and active as ever – still writing, touring, collaborating and performing.
Lunch is in Colchester when we speak, luxuriating in a “fabulous cottage-type hotel” conveniently situated near the cultural centre where she’s set to play that night with her band, Big Sexy Noise. On the stage and the page, she’s a formidable presence – seducing, goading and tongue-lashing her audience. In conversation, via Skype, she’s surprisingly jovial: affable, accommodating, disarmingly witty, a potty-mouthed doyenne dealing out double-entendres. Is she misunderstood? “Oh, chronically! But I get off on it. I’m not a miserable person, I just deal in miserable subjects.”
Let’s have a party and celebrate the fact we’re still alive in spite of this nightmare