Ok, I have to check my lipstick for the tape recorder.
: Is underground music completelly over for you ? NO
you dont want people to still have this image from you...
no my image is... you know, what is my image for each person ? I still
am doing music. I have a new Cd out in 2 weeks, its called "matrikamantra",
it means mother of all sons. I hope to come to Europe next year in the
summer with this music. But music its not the priority, its
one one the many things I do. Now I am doing photo exhibitions, and
also exhibitions with body cast, and boxes I make with skulls and voodo
boxes. I am writting comics. I am writting my books. I am doing spoken
- The music that
is coming out, "matrikamantra", is what I call overstated
word. The music is very disturbing psycho ambiant with hypnotic lyrics,
no bass-guitar or drums. Different intruments, piano and samples and
just very seductive, but disturbing. So Im never stopping one
form of art. Its just at certain period things take a priority.
Its also its have being difficufor me to tour much of the
music Ive done because my intention is not to tour music its
to document a concept, to make a record and only with one record I have
ever tour, "the shotgun weeding". Ive done musical tours,
but not make an album make a tour. Its, to me, very... I would
rather make a tour, perfect the music and make an album and then put
down this over. Its my concept.
the different shapes of expression you use, Ive always think that
the writting was the most important. Absollutelly,
the words are always what influence the music when I use music, if I
need music , if I want to do music, if I have the rigth collaborators
avaliable for music, but every thing always comes from the words, the
passion of the words, the obsession. Obsession is always what the words
are about so its always the circle, with every form of art to
you always write ? Yes,
was it different to try to write stories ? Mean
like this book ?
No, it was
very natural because its only the story of my life, its
all true. So its no different because always when I was writting
speaches, or stories, or lyric it was always autobiographical . You
know, viewpoint. Always from my view point of L.A. , always dealing
with the truth as I know it, as I see it, so this was very natural.
And also this Creation Books company have been comming up to me 5 years
ago, every time I was in England, « would you like to write a book »,
« I have no time » I said. And then they have not enought books out.
So 5 years later they have 60 books out, its 2 people running
the companie, books from the marquis de Sade to Salvator Dali, to anonymous
erotic pornography, to new writters, these all thing. And to me then
I had the time, I had the place in my head, I knew what I wanted to
write, I knew what I had personnaly archieved because I am principally
dealing with my obsessions in this book so I knew the place in my reality
too that would make sense to write this book, otherwise before that
doesnt have. The last chapter which to me is the punchline, the
progress trough all this insanity. It mean its fine to document
insanity but what it ultimately the point ? To me in that book is that
we live in a society of glouttonry. We all goal for something. Some
gloutton for punishment, some for drugs, some for alcool, some for useless
stimulation, some for sex. We all gloutton for something. Ok ? Consuming,
wanting. Having so much energy I need a lot of energy back. So this
is a mutual vampirism. An extrem vampirism because of how much energy
I have and I had to come to point point where I realise this unbalanced
lost and of course that with glope me, turny things whatever alcool,
drug, sex. You consume so much that actuallly you just become sick and
you have to realise that you have to detox from all af this and fill
your, hun, vacancy, fill the void, not with men, not with sex, not with
drugs, not with alcool, not with other people, not with destruction
but with yourself and thats realy the point of this book, but
descripting everything I filled myself with and then comming to this
it help, writting all these things ? Yes.
But no, with this book I was already at the place, I was already at
a recovering place. So to write it was very natural it was not as if
I all I worte I was exorcising myself at the time because the exorcise
had already happend. Yes after 20 years, just hard to belive, after
20 year of creating. Of course, you know these forms of art, of course
its help, of course it makes me as sane I appear to be. My friends
might tell you otherwise. The man I live with might tell you completely
otherwise. I think Im sane. Tonight youll hear me telling
my own satinty. I mean, beside helping myself, beside I have my public
psychotherapy for 20 years as my artistic attitude, I think it also
help people. I think there is a huge minority of people, a huge of intellectual
and sexual minority that it also helps because Im explaing exactly
their obsessions. Well that I might have the voice to articulate. So
yes gropy alley sure, I hope, to some degre.
you have the felling that you were living all this in order to collect
material ? Well,
thats what some of the men I was with have accused me of. This
is a great view point you have, because Ive heard for a few men
« Im not just an other story ». Well every one that have said
that to me is just now a a fucking story, of course they were stories.
Well I mean it wasnt as if, yes it was always an experiment, my
life has always been an experiment based on heavy and intensive experiment.
I want intense experiment, because Im an intense person. Of course
I frequent intense people, but the goal was not just to « oh well this
is an interestin caracter, I think Ill make a story ». But evantually
it is, but it isnt... Yes, of course, because my life is this
open book, many open stories Ive already told and I feel no taboo
in my personnal life. I feel that every trauma or every obsession or
every horror story that may be mark with my identity is still universal.
Ok you might not having gone at the points Ive gone trough but
still there is some points you can reliate to. There are minor things
that may be kept personnal, but I never feel anything was a taboo. I
will tell all and this is what I am admiting here to, that I will always
admit anything. And for most people, most men especialy, its to
much. They dont want to hear every thing, they dont want
to hear the most incriminating things. Well, thats what I have
to admit, its important to me to revale but may be a burden to
the or just the audience is burden to, I am burding you with this but
hoping we both come trough this, so, there is a duality in this.
you read a lot ? I
read a lot in faces, you know. When I was writting my book I couldnt
read anything, even the newspapers. I read in a short spence, I would
go trough reading 3 books at the same time at one time and read 10 books
in 2 month and then I would not read again. It go trough on me, it always
go trough on me. Again a gluttonry, an intellectual gluttonry. I never
want to read fiction. When I read people who wrote fiction like Selby,
I dont think thats fiction its realy details hes
then fictionalising. I prefer, you know not realy philosophy, not realy
realy existantial writers, but for exemple my fafourite writter is (...)
E.M. Cioran. I discovered him a few years ago in London because in america
there are only a few books of him translated in English, now they are
just starting to come out of universities. But after one goes trough
Bataille and Blanchot, and Foucault, and De Sade, and Miller, and Selby
and then we end up at Cioran. When we are at Cioran, you would never
have to read another after you read one on these books. This to me is
just the must beautifull sarcastic, glorious wit. Hes just my
absolute favorite. And the book, "the hig summit of despair ",
written when he was 19... If he nerver worte another book it was a great
archivement. So these are the type of book I like to read. Once they
are speaking directly to me, with sarcasm and intensity and a philosophy
thats not realy a philosphy, a philosophy without dogma. It uses
a langage that is so beautifull . And this type of writting is very
difficult, there is few people that realy write like this. Im
very specific for what I want to read, its almost like... because
I dont want fiction. I dont have time for the peoples
imagination. The only fiction I have enjoyed its James Ellroy,
the american crime writter because its near to his own personnal
life. And "my dark places ", I dont know if you read "my
dark places" ? ? Its perfect, its what Im for
, so beautiful... I go trough phases, right now Im touring, I
dont, I never read because all you seem inactive, you are on the
train, you fly. I just need time to be blank, no more information, just
no thinking. Its sometimes very healing.
seen a few weeks ago the movies you did with Richard Kern, and I taugth
they were more close from written text on picture than a real movie
and I find that the feeling was very close to Bataille. Thank
you, hin, hin.
Bataille from a feminin point of view, a duality between a strong intellectual
with precise words and something very instinctive... Yes,
yes. Well to me big influences where Bataille and Genet. I mean Genet
was a huge influence and not so much his books, because I never read
so many of his books but his life, his attitude, his presence, more
so than even his writting, that was also beautifull, brilliant, I mean
his journal, that is one of my favorites.
you read when you where young ? Year,
thank Good. That was a good education in life. (...)
underground scene, do you think it was your youth ? I
think it was important at the time and I think especially I am very
greatfull that I have the opportunity to work with Richard Kern when
I did because to me the meeting with Richard Kern, to do these films,
at the point where I am at here, to go through the therapy and education
of those films help me to eke knowedged its what lead up to my
book now. I think, with « right side of my brain », which was the early
start of realy documeting what this book is about. Thats important
that I meet Richard Kern at that time and do those documents and thats
utimatly what lead me there some 10, 12, 14 years later, howerver many
years its been, to the place intellectualy that I am now.
where do you estimed you are now ? AHAHAHAHAHAHAH.
Beside sleeping on my seat, Im so tired. I think Im in the
best place Ive ever been in my life I am38 years old now.
you feel in peace with yourself ? More
peace, yes. And also more satisfaction and to me thats the goal.
The goal its not happiness, its not even so much peace,
its realy satisfaction, thats the goal. And it can be a
mysterious, an invariable lossif condition, satisfaction, because we
can try to satisfy ourself with any number of useless and irrelevant
obsessions and things. I think, ok, I have a 20 year history as a junkie
of many forms, which to me I can look at the sheet of paper that sets
every thing Ive done and feel completely divorced from everything.
I look at it as if you created all this body of work. I sometime feel
I have as much connections to all of these as I would if you did it
because to me it all came so naturally, Ive never struggled to
create anything. I had to struggle sometime to document it or sometime
to release the money to document it but I never have to struggle to
create it. I never have to struggle to write something. I never have
that artistic struggle ever, because to me its very natural. The
expulsion is very natural. I never struggle to. Well I dont paint
so I dont know that particular horror. I dont think I will
ever paint, its the one from I leave to old age. Since I never
had an artistic struggle, its as natural as a record or a conversation
with you. I fall in that book as a conversation that ran for 3 months.
Thats very unusual. Thats very bizarre, I think. As an artist
its a very bizarre position to be in. So my satisfaction does
not necessarly come by the amout of work Ive done, although I
should be satisfied this age even if I didnt created this body
of work until I was 60. And by the time Im 60 there will be of
course 3 time as much. But I feel satisfied in the accomplishment I
made when detailing what as obsesed me and understanding why it as obsesed
me, and understanding also that some of my obsessions pre-dated my birth.
- Ok, Im speaking
tripad here, Im speaking of the tradition of obsession from my
fathers family, ok, which is a genetic insanity that I was at
first resentfull of and then in this book I come to thank my father
for all the experience he gave me. He helped me to develop, what I had
to go trough, how I feel and think now, so this is a full circle thing.
Thats one thing. So I think, just the place I am rigth now, understanding
the ritual and habits that Ive fallen into, that we all fall into.
Understanding why one seek that, why one is attracted to that and been
able to be in control of your decisions because, first of all I execute
an incredible amount of control. I have an incredible amount of discipline
to have archive what I did, considering the insane community I occupied.
Ok, and that mentions being schizophrenic to some degre. So, somehow
I had an incedible hability to organise and an incredible amout of discipline.
And I have come to the place where I choose to execute control. But
its not even a decision, its very natural to realise that
you reach a point of saturation and to prevent yourself from drawning
you have to find a different landscape. So Im very happy now.
Im definitelly at the peak of everything and of course sexual
peak at my age.
you never had to struggle in your creative work because you have to
struggle for your life ? Exactly,
exactly. You know both throught been born into a very hard ghetto, a
very rought area till I was 13 or 14 old and moving to New York when
Im 16 wich is a massive ghetto, you know. So Ive been grew
up into that poverty, been also grew up into an intellectual poverty.
My parents werent not intellectuals, they were very low
working class. I dont think they ever read a book either of them.
And my rebellion of course to go to the opposite direction. So I think
every struggle I have to fight against was necessary for the delevopement
I am at now. I would not trade anything. I dont feel grate or
resentment of anything I had to exprience. It only make now my life
sweeter and my victory so much sweeter, because my victory and rebellion
is satisfaction and its self satisfaction, the ultimate rebellion.
Well you are not only so satisfied but self sufficient. Thats
the ultimate rebellion, then youre in your universe.
now what do you still want to accomplish ? Ah
! Ah !
a fucking question. Well,
I feel, yes, Im in such great health, and Im trully am,
Im never sick, I have incredible health now, have to be sick for
the firt 30 years of my life with many operations, and sicknesses and
psychosomatic sicknesses and the sickness of reality and psychological
torture. Now that I have 30 years of ill, now Im working on the
next 30 years positive health. I think that there are many things I
will archive that I cant even imagine at this moment because everything
will come in time. I have to concentrate on whats set here. On
the last year for instance, you know, doing « paradoxia », doing this
comic with Ted Mac Keever, "Toxic Gumbo", doing this new cd
"matrikamantra", doing full solo exhibitions of photography
and sculpture thats all in the last year and a half. I cannot
tell what the next next year and a half will bring, just to continue
and I hope to have a book of photos published with texts, I hope to
continue doing art. I hope to start writting another book this summer,
making more music, and continuing to explore every form of art that
interess me when its necessary to accentuate the power of the
you feel trapped in this image you give for a period ? No,
because the image... What is the image ? Everyone as a different idea
what my image is, whats the image I made ? The image is a different
work a different sort, a different look, a different record... So what
is the image ? People still think I Iive in New York. I havent
live there for 7 years. I also lived in London, Los Angeles, San fransico,
New Orleans, Pittsburg, you know people think I have black haid I havent
black hair for 10 or 12 years, you know, people think... I have no idea,
everyone has a different view. I hope of what they think I am, they
just think oh, agressive, hard, harsh. I think, my viewpoint is passionate,
agressive, truthfull, brutally frank, thats my version of myself.
And this kind of icon step beside for myself, this kind of Lydia Lunch
icon wich we have very few exemples, female exemples of. Diamanda Galas,
ok, shes very strong and powerfull but its completely totaly
different, shes a specialist, Im a juggler, shes a
specialist. Nina Hagen, who as a very strong image but her music suffers
in some way of just bad taste or bad production, but still has a great
aggressif look. Carol Finnley, theres some similarity there, but
shes also a specialist in performance, shes aslo a painter,
so I mean as a multimedia jugguling, creative aggressiv angry women
there is very few icons which as pre-dated these ones I just said. People
are used to, well, for instance its no big deal to have someone
like Kurt Cobain when we have Jim Morrison, when we have Elvis Pressley,
when we can go beyon that. With women its always so unique because...
Who was the first agressif female, we have Janis Joplin, this is far
back as we go, and a self destructive loser. So thats the problem,
you know, people try to paint you with a certain coulour, with a certain
paint brush because your agressivness terrifies them or alienetes them
because there have almost have been no strong women. Theyve been
denied by the press, theyve been denied the intention, theyve
been called the muses of other artists. And then this is a hitorical
problem and thats why its my job to shit in the face of
history and to weigth every form of art I find feet to in, store myself
in all of this forms of arts, to break trought and assauwith my passion,
forget anger and aggressivness. Yes its there too, but passion,
which especially in America we have no concept of passion or sarcasm,
which is another alienating thing, because I am very sarcatic, I am
very cynical, but Im not better. So this is a duality which is
hard to understand, how sarcatic and cynical is not realy better. I
mean my world view is better but as a human being Im not fucking
better, as a human being Im not angry, Im passionate. I
dont have the energy to be fucking angry, I use my energy creativly
and other to communicate to either one or one hundred or what ever.
so people like to pigmy you because its easier to put you in a
small categoric that they think they can comprehend then. Then thats
it, they dont have to think further on this image, you know. Common
garisher. Thats fine. What can I do about it ? Teint blond and
wear a happy face, dress in pink ?
do this as a women maybe its harder and also more exciting ?
easier and of course its exciting. It could be harder but it could
be easier in one sense, because theres less competition, most
women in this field, unfortunatelly. I whish that wasnt. I wish
there are a thousand. I wish on stage there have a hundred women. One
time on stage I had a show, a few shows, with ten women on stage, doing
courses of my speches, that was fantastic, a great course. I wish that
in 20 years my influence was such that every city I have gone, there
have then a premediadly, audience to which maybe therell have,
ok, 50 to 150 or 300 women. Ok ? In an audience. If 10 % of them then
said if Lydia Lunch can do it I can fucking do it, then I will feel
my influence, culturaly and impressibility. I dont feel that influence
now. My influence is not feyet. My influence is not the fuckin
Riot Grrrls, my influence is not Courntey Love, thats not a crime
Im willing at for. I dont see my influence and thats
the only frustration as an artist I have, but like De Sade, like Miller,
like many painters, like Francis Bacon, like many artist its often
after your death, 20, 30, 50, 100 years you influence, and your fact
is truly feand because the people... The next generation maybe have
less fucking bullshit on mind side. My favourit artists or writters,
most of them are dead, with very few exceptions. Ok, so for me, fine...
in 20 years, 50 years, 150 years, it doesnt matter. I know the
place I leave in history, doesnt matter if I cant see my
influence now. Yhear I wish there is a true Riot Girl revolution, but
its bad fucking losy music that make no fucking point to me, its
pointless, its not enougth to have bad music with a soapy concept.
Its the antithesis of what Im about. So thats the
only disapointment as an artist, I whish there should be some more immediat
results, I know Im influencing women. Women came to me and say
« thank you », « this is very empowering ». Its just that I dont
know what they are doing, they could be doing any number of great fucking
things but theyre not getting attention, theyre not getting
interviews. So I know my effect is feepersonnaly with women and with
men, thats beautifull. Just culturally I dont see it. Which
is fine. No one come and voice me so maybe when Im 60 there will
have a lot of little Lydias. We can have girls for very different periods.
Oh, these is the lydia from the 70, this is for the 80,
this is for the 90. Here is the cult, year, now show the concourse
think most of the people we find great witch are dead now, they didnt
see their cultural influence, they tried to... Year
and also as a writter how can you see your influence on people who are
reading your book in their home, and the reading of books its
a private thing. (...) Thats why I love book to me Ive done
enought CDs. Which does not mean I wont do more. To me a
book its the most important form of creation. Its that that
I respect the most. I respect a book more than I respect paintings,
movies, anything. Its the private experience. Its one to
one, you and the readers fucking mind. That to me is direct communication,
thats mind fucking, thats the most urgent form, and in no
delay I want to create another book as soos as possible, thats
the most important form, because it is the private thing its a
one to one experience, thats beautiful. Beautiful.
and in creation you just make marks, its just marks... Exactly,
your own mark, you put it on floor and people can find it... Exactly
and to me Im happy with the plateau Ive been since 20 years.
Its the same, I have the same amout of people on my shows, I have
the same amout of attention. Thats fine to me. Im dealing
with. These are the people I want to come to my shows. Not 200 or 300
more people who are there because its saturday night, only there
cause « oh its a wild woman ». People that come have to make a
point, an effort to know. Not every one comes to my fucking show. I
think that most of the people that are coming are coming with a true
intention, wanting to investigate and to get into the psyche, wanting
this relive and thats beautifull. Thats to me, thats
just perfect because to me the perfect form of spoken word, the perfect
communication was traditionally the salon, this is my ideal, « the 120
days of sodom », this is my ideal. Heres the living room, tell
the stories, thats beautiful, thats fucking beautifull...
interview was conducted at the PEZ NER of Villeurbanne the 18 th of
november 1997. The author thanks Marie Claire Cordat and the PEZ NER
for their support.
translation in French will be published in the French Rock & Comics
magazine JADE . edited by Six pieds sous Terre editions in january 1998.
part of this interview can be published or used in any way, excepting
personnal use without written permission of the author.