Born in Rochester, US, Lydia Lunch left home at the age of 16 and moved to New York City in the mid-70s. Within a year, she formed the no-wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. Regularly described as daring and a “confrontationalist”, Lunch’s lyrics and fearless delivery with the band challenged traditional rock music and simultaneously rebelled against the stereotypical depictions of women. In 1978, after hearing the band perform, record producer Brian Eno included them alongside contemporaries Mars, DNA, and James Chance & The Contortions on his anthology LP No New York which later came to define the no-wave scene.
After the band parted ways, Lunch continued to make music, releasing her first solo debut album ‘Queen of Siam’ in 1980 which combined different musical styles and led to influential collaborations with a range of artists including Nick Cave, Sonic Youth, Kim Gordon and Cypress Grove amongst many others.
Lunch has received international recognition for the innovative quality of her work across a variety of mediums, not just for her music, including books, film, photography and poetry. She founded her own record label, Widowspeak, in 1984 and it became home to her experimentations with spoken word, brought together on the album ‘The Uncensored Lydia Lunch’. As a writer, Lydia has also published several books including “Paradoxia” (2007) and “Will Work for Drugs” (2009).
The band Big Sexy Noise, formed in 2009, was another one of Lunch’s many creative ventures. The band released a six-track EP including the song “The Gospel Singer”, co-written by Kim Gordon. Following this, the band released their eponymous debut album ‘Big Sexy Noise’ in 2010 and embarked on several European tours.
Lunch continues to tour the world with numerous creative projects as well as record and perform with her new band Retrovirus. As Adam Lehrer wrote in an article for Autre Magazine (Oct 2016): “Lydia Lunch is the closest thing that American transgressive art has to an icon. Lydia finds herself a symbol of everything that society doesn’t want her to be: loud, intelligent, brash, lewd, angry, righteous”.