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On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast, we’ve paired the frontmen for two gruff-sounding, kinda scary noise-rock bands, but who as it turns out are a couple of sweethearts: David Yow and Andrew Falkous.
David Yow began his music life in the Texas band Scratch Acid, which built its own legend before burning out in the mid-1980s, and then took his maniacal presence to The Jesus Lizard. That band built a following in the next dozen years both for its confrontational music and for Yow’s intensity in their live shows. You’d often find him drunk and half-naked, howling into the faces of stunned crowds. First you were scared, and then you loved it. The Jesus Lizard benefited from the grunge explosion in the mid-1990s, but they were always too weird and scary for the mainstream—even when they got an inexplicable major-label deal with Capitol. (You know, home of the Beatles.) The Jesus Lizard split in 1999, but have reunited a few times since then, with demand for Yow’s insanity peaking every few years. There hasn’t been a Jesus Lizard show in a few years, though—or a “reenactment” as he calls their reunion shows—but Yow has been out recently singing for the early noise-punk band Flipper. You may also have seen him in bit parts in a few movies; the guy has led a varied, full life so far.
Andrew Falkous unfortunately just had to postpone his own US tour-slash-reenactment with his band Mclusky, which was originally active from the mid-90s until 2006. An illness has affected his Falkous’ ability to sing, but he’s planning to reschedule very soon. In the years after Mclusky, Falkous made similarly brutish-but-incredible records both as the frontman of a band called Future of the Left and as a sort-of-solo artist under the name Christian Fitness. But as the legend of Mclusky snowballed and the 20th anniversary of their absolute classic of a second album Mclusky Do Dallas approached, he was coaxed to relaunch the name and to play those old songs again. Here’s hoping for a quick recovery and new dates soon. Here’s a little taste of what was certainly Mclusky’s biggest song, the charmingly titled “Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues.”
In this spirited conversation, Yow and Falkous start by talking about Falkous’ recent battles with his own voice. They get into the nervousness of playing your first-ever show as a singer: Yow dealt with the jitters by handing out tabs of acid to the crowd, while Falkous wore a yellow T-shirt. They talk about beer and whether Australian children should be forced to live in wells. Yow casually slaughters some sacred cows of the alterna-rock world. And lest you think they’re too tough for their own good, you should know that I edited out 15 minutes where they talked about how much they love their cats. Enjoy.
Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Andrew Falkous and David Yow for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting service and check out all the goodness at this very site. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, and the Talkhouse theme is composed and performed by the Range. See you next time!