The Jesus Lizard



    With its debut LP, Head, the Jesus Lizard had added a human drummer who could do more with a drum kit than most mortals, let alone any machine. The addition of Mac McNeilly crystallized the band as a unit, providing the rare combination of chemistry on both a musical and personal level. Did Duane Denison want to play a jazz lick? McNeilly could back it up with an appropriate drum beat. Want a rhythmic track dominated by bass and drums? McNeilly could be the star of the show. Did the focus need to be on Dave Yow at this particular moment? McNeilly knew when to shut up as a drummer and let his singer take over.


    Needless to say, Head saw the band exploring its newfound versatility with the kind of rhythm-based tracks you’d never expect out of a noise rock band. “One Evening” is the all-encompassing opening track you never thought the Jesus Lizard would have in them, and “If You Had Lips” is the kind of sinister, bored and alone at night track pioneered by the Stooges, but using a newly uninhibited artistic license to take the trope to its extremes. Even the more traditional punk bile pieces like “My Own Urine” and “Waxeater” rank among the best of that era.



    Head was reissued alongside the other Jesus Lizard albums put out by Touch & Go. Click here for reviews of the Pure EP, originally released in 1989; Goat, 1991; Liar, 1992; and Down, 1994.