Audacious; outrageous; and with a wit so charmingly contagious, poetic provocateur Lydia Lunch ensures a teasing taste of turbulence and a stimulating sprinkling of sensuality are always on the menu! As she continues to cook up a feast of fanciful flavours for her imminent Retrovirus Tour, Lydia will once again play hostess with her infectiously impacting mystique and catapulting charisma.
“I love playing in Australia; I love playing with Australians – and you know we say it’s the last Retrovirus tour, but we have other things to bring; so don’t think you’ve seen the last of us yet,” she says.
As a notable singer, composer, poet, author, actress and master of Spoken Word, it’s the remarkable synergy amongst Lydia’s lilting lineup that is an undeniable catalyst for the success of Retrovirus so far.
“In this instance, it’s just, Bob Bert, who I have known for 35 years or more, and was in Sonic Youth and Pussy Galore; Weasel Walter, who has been following my work since he was fourteen, living in the mid-west and is a master composer, guitar player and drummer; and he brought in Tim Dahl. The combination is just so ecstatic to me because we can honour what it originally was, but take it some place so much further.”
With a decorative career spanning over forty years, Lydia’s banquet of delicacies includes the moody and broody Lady Scarface, rising with a tempestuous piano trail; and standing as an enduring testament to her talent; even as a nineteen-year-old.
Now, some four decades afterwards, Lydia lists her generous gamut of genres as being “absolutely, you know, unbearably brutal No Wave; to Blues-Goth like with Rowland S. Howard; to Swamp Rock; Psycho-Ambient; Jazz Noir… and what’s interesting about Retrovirus is they’re really three amazing musicians who can facilitate going into these different genres; making something new and vital of them; without losing the original flavour. Some of the songs are from 1980 all the way up to, you know, the present day.”
Together with her musical tour, another tantalising treat for Lydia’s smorgasbord of euphoric extravaganzas is currently simmering, offering a fresh appetiser for Australian audiences.
“I really want to bring my spoken word workshops; I really want to come back with me, Weasel and Tim – Weasel has his own band, The Flying Luttenbachers; Tim has a band called GRID which I perform with… we will come back in different configurations,” aspires Lydia, who has recently returned from a Rowland S. Howard Tribute in London and Paris. Earlier in her career, Lydia’s literary leanings also led her to create a collaborative comic book with Nick Cave.
With a constant concern for the human condition and worldwide affairs, Lydia translates her daily deliberations.
“Right now, considering the global disasters we’re all facing on so many levels, I think it’s time to just f***ing ROCK! Truly, truly. On so many fronts, we’re really in a contagious period right now, so obviously with a name like Retrovirus, I mean I wish our disease was the cure… we have to rebel somehow, so we will rebel with rock!”
As the subject of a film entitled The War Is Never Over by Beth B, Lydia’s compelling catchphrase has seemingly inspired a veritable revolution of pacifist philosophy.
“I am like the town crier – I mean, I feel like I’ve been that way since the age of nine. The only thing missing is a bull horn from my mouth, standing on a mountain top screaming into the void…but eventually, somebody’s got to hear what I’m saying.”
While rationalising that “war in the traditional sense is never over”, Lydia campaigns that a liability which “contaminates the planet” is a cause for continual musical escapism.
“Who hasn’t been traumatised at this point… by bullies, by prejudice, by poverty. We are all fighting something… but that’s why, when night rolls around, honey, you’d better take off your shoes and put on your high-heels! You’ve got to become a hedonist! You’ve got to have fun; you have to have community; you have to meet with your friends; you have to have a drink; whatever the hell else you want to do. You can’t let this ruin every minute of your day and of your life.”
The positive pandemic of Lydia Lunch’s Retrovirus shall continue to spread its vivacious vitality!
Lydia and her gang take to the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on Friday, February 28 & Castlemaine’s Theatre Royal this Saturday, February 29.
Written by Renée N. Abbott
Photo by Jasmine Hirst