Category: Music (Page 1 of 4)

‘I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone’ is a smash hit

By DeMatt Harkins. Special to the Clarion-Ledger Sunday print edition (July 30).
i'm just deadJim Dickinson and wife Mary Lindsay dine with Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler, famed producer Tom Dowd, Dr. John, and Mick Jagger at a Clarence Carter show. Was this a typical social occasion for Dickinson? Hardly. But his posthumous memoir, I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone(University of Press of Mississippi), demonstrates such a meeting is not surprising, either.

Father of North Mississippi Allstars principals Cody and Luther Dickinson, Jim Dickinson prospered as a music business triple threat–musician, songwriter, and producer. Beginning with a high school talent show, Dickinson’s adroit musical abilities developed relationships that made him an industry resource, first locally in Memphis and later nationally.

Although he would later produce Big Star, The Replacements, Toots & The Maytals, The Radiators, Albert King, Steve Forbert, and Beanland, and record with Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, and Mavis Staples, I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone covers Dickinson’s first 30 years through 1971.

Dickinson’s writing alternates between thematic directness and rapid-fire anecdotes that reveal a bigger mosaic. The prose is also regularly interspersed with his own poetry, further emphasizing the experience recounted. Part shoptalk, mostly shenanigans, I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone paints Dickinson as a eclectic, deft at spinning a yarn.

Dickinson explains his musical proclivity was no accident. Both of his maternal grandparents were in-home musicians, and his mother taught piano. Plus once they settled in Memphis, Dickinson’s parents frequently caught big bands at the Peabody, occasionally bringing Jim with them.

Ultimately Dickinson points to two episodes from his youth that crystallized a scholarly zest for the region’s music. While walking downtown Memphis with his father, the pair happened upon the legendary Will Shade & the Memphis Jug Band set up in an alley. They left Dickinson awestruck, and strangely it would be years before he learned who they were. Similarly in West Memphis another Saturday, he stumbled upon Howlin’ Wolf’s in-studio performance on KWEM. These were far from tuxedoed big bands, and left quite an impression.

Throughout his teens and early 20s, Dickinson hopped among overlapping local bands, playing guitar and keys on the party circuit, eventually making his way to the control room of several studios in town. He would come to know Memphis notables Sam Phillips, Steve Cropper, Chips Moman, Larry Raspberry, Sid Selvidge, Duck Dunn, and Don Nix. Dickinson bands opened for Bo Diddley and Jimmy Reed, and even played a real-deal chicken wire gig.

In time, homespun connections earned Dickinson sutdio experience in Muscle Shoals, Nashville, Miami, and Los Angeles. His achievements include Albert Collins’ “Trash Talkin” (R&B Instrumental of the Year Grammy nominee), Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans” (No. 18 Billboard Hot 100), and Aretha Franklin’s “Spirit in the Dark” (No. 2 R&B/No. 25 Pop) including “Don’t Play That Song” (Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy winner) and and uncredited back-up vocal on the Allman Brothers Band’s “Midnight Rider.”

Easily Dickinson’s most famous appearance is on the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses.” The story involves his buddy Stanley Booth from Memphis State, his wife’s station wagon, an in-tune grand piano, and an out-of-tune band.

For all his successes, Dickinson also divulges the disappointing or hilarious near misses. A Sam & Dave record, and a session with Duane Allman and Eric Clapton each sat on the shelf for decades. Lenny Kaye (later Patti Smith’s guitarist) interviewed Dickinson in New York for a feature in Esquire to promote his solo album Dixie Fried. On his way home, a mugger nabbed Kaye’s tape recorder. And Billboard Magazine named the New Beale Street Sheiks’ record its Pick Hit–three days before the Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan.

Despite the ups and downs, in I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone, Dickinson humorously reveals the secrets to finesse and savor a satisfying life following musical passions.

DeMatt Harkins of Jackson enjoys flipping pancakes and records with his wife and daughter.

Mary Lindsay Dickinson (widow of Jim Dickinson) along with their son Cody, will sign copies of I’m Not Dead, I’m Just Gone at the Mississippi Bicentennial and Mississippi Encylopedia Party on Thursday, August 17, at 5:30 p.m. at the Cathead Distillery (422 South Farish Street, Jackson). Also, Mary Lindsay will serve as a panelist on the “Celebrating Our Roots: A Tribute to Mississippi’s Musical Heritage” discussion at the Mississippi Book Festival on , Saturday, August 19, at 1:30 p.m. at the Galloway Fellowship Center.

ms book fest

Tales from the Tropics: 3 Nonfiction Recommendations for the Coming Summer

The days are getting longer, the temperature is rising, and thoughts turn to balmy beach vacation getaways. I have three nonfiction books recommendations that will be perfect for yourvacation, but despite their tropical setting, these books stray further and further away from the good life where the living is easy. The books are arranged from north to south in latitude, from the present to the past in setting (and publication date), and further and further into the ambitions of men.

Jimmy Buffett: A Good Life All the Way by Ryan White

good life all the wayJimmy Buffett is at the center of my musical taste, from way back when I was but a tiny child riding in the back seat of my mom’s Camaro. He’s known for his “deathless novelty songs” that were designed to fuel every tequila-filled Baby Boomer bacchanal since 1975, or perhaps for prefiguring Jay Z’s famous boast, “I’m not a businessman. I’m a business, man.” But he’s also been a fabulous songwriter and artist with songs on the level of his more respected contemporaries (and friends) Jerry Jeff WalkerSteve Goodman, and John Prine. I’ve been way deep into the Buffett mythos, from Buffet’s own travelogue A Pirate Looks at Fifty to William McKeen’s keen Key West history Mile Marker Zero, and I can say Ryan White’s new biography is the best book on Buffett I’ve read so far that balances the relationship between the songs, the legend, the man, and the ubiquitous Margaritaville brand. The characters that float in and out can be a bit confusing, but for the true Parrot Head believer, this book is a treasure.

The Fish That Ate the Whale: The Life and Times of America’s Banana King by Rich Cohen

This book is B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

This book is BANANAS!

The Fish That Ate the Whale tells the story of Samuel Zemurray, a.ka. Sam the Banana Man, a Russian immigrant who became one of the most powerful men in both the banana industry and Central American history. His journey from Selma to Mobile to New Orleans to Honduras and Guatemala is breath-taking in scope. Zemurray is depicted as highly intelligent, opinionated, and disdainful of ignorance and inefficiency. Cohen also thoughtfully explores the Jewish identity of a 20th century tycoon always on the margins of high society. This book pulses with vivacity and sweat, taking you through a tour of an undeniably great and sometimes terrible man. You will never look a banana in quite the same way again.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

lost city of zI’ve seen this book lurking around the store since I arrived here two years ago, but only felt compelled to pick it up due to the impending arrival of David Grann, who was here last week to promote his new book, Killers of the Flower Moon. Boy, am I glad I finally discovered The Lost City of Z…well, discovered the book anyway. It tells the captivating tale of Col. Percy Fawcett, a British explorer from the Royal Geographic Society who first comes to South America in search of adventure, and later becomes obsessed with finding a mythical city, representing for Percy the soul of the Amazon itself. This is the most captivating mystery in the jungle I’ve heard about since the television show Lost went off the air. Grann’s book is about obsession, history, geography, and the limits of what humans can ever empirically know. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Star-Spangled Eyes: John Fogerty’s ‘Fortunate Son’

Signed books written by celebrities are funny things. Most of the time, when we get signed books here at Lemuria, either through author visits or having them shipped by the publisher, the autograph is a bonus. An add-on. A superfluous treat. It’s an inducement to buy the book from us, as opposed to elsewhere, rather than not at all. When it’s a celebrity, rather than a capital-A ‘Author,’ it’s almost like you’re just buying the signature, and…hey, look, there’s a book attached! (Looking at you, specifically, Ethan Hawke).

fortunate sonI was excited when signed copies of John Fogerty’s biography Fortunate Son came in fifteen months ago, but my book-buying was a little out-of-control at the time, so I passed. When I saw that we were thinking about sending the last few back to the publisher, I finally pounced. I’m so glad that I did. (We do have a couple of copies left, however. See the end of the post for details.)

John Fogerty, if you’re not aware, was the driving creative force behind the legendary 60s rock’n’roll band Creedence Clearwater Revival—its singer, lead guitarist, and songwriter. I’ve been listening to Creedence songs since before I knew who they were, in the backseat of my mom’s Camaro with the radio tuned to Oldies 94. I later filched a copy of Fogerty’s 1998 live album Premonitionwhen I was in high school. Downloaded a copy of CCR’s greatest hits in college. So I enjoy Fogerty’s music, as well as any piece of classic rock’n’roll lore about bands that I love, but I haven’t thought about either in any concentrated way in a long time.

Fogerty has a very conversational writing style that’s easy to get into. It’s not difficult to imagine the book in the voice from the stage banter on the live album—simple, folksy, often self-effacing. You can tell Fogerty is very fan-oriented: he knows mostly what the reader wants to hear about, although there’s also a lot more he wants to get off his chest. He talks frankly about his time in one of history’s most famous rock bands, and tries to explain the process behind writing some of his most famous songs, especially the classic slice of Americana that is “Proud Mary.”

Rollin'...rollin'....rollin' on a river

Rollin’…rollin’….rollin’ on a river

He sure isn’t ambiguous about what he feels. Sometimes it justifies his actions, and sometimes it makes him look like a jerk, even to those who might deserve it. I have compiled a short list of things he mentions frequently, starting with sheer loathing and ending with extreme adoration:

  1. Saul Zaentz, longtime owner of Fantasy records
  2. the creative integrity of his bandmates
  3. Richard Nixon
  4. The Grateful Dead
  5. Bruce Springsteen
  6. the spirit of rock’n’roll
  7. his second wife, Julie

If you find yourself looking out your back door with nothing to do but watch a bad moon rising up around the bend, run through the jungle to your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy of Fortunate Son. I know I feel fortunate that I did.

Even though the file above is for the unsigned paperback, we do still have a few copies of the signed hardback editions as of the time of this post. To inquire about purchasing one, please call the store at 800-366-7619.

We Are the Music Makers

About a dozen years ago, my book pal Katherine Walton introduced me to the fine work of Tim Duffy. His first book, Music Makers, was nearing publication and she wanted us to become friends. I loved Tim’s first book so much that Lemuria kept it in our blues section until it went out of print. The effort in that first book was special; and it was my introduction to the music of Willie King of Macon, MS. Willie’s music is inspiring to me personally, and fortunately I was able to develop a friendship with him before he passed in 2009.


We Are the Music Makers is Tim’s new effort, put together with his lovely wife Denise, to celebrate the last 20 years of the Music Maker Relief Foundation and it’s work. Together they have helped over 300 musicians, arranged over 9.693 grants for artists, and have promoted 4,384 performances. They have produced CD’s and have released 1,996 songs by 365 partner artists. (A companion CD set is included in the new book)


On October 11 of this year, Music Makers had a fun-filled music weekend in North Caroline to celebrate their 20th year of work. I had the good fortune to attend and hear over 50 Music Makers musicians share their stories and tunes for 2 days.

group photo

Over the years with Music Makers, Tim has helped many Mississippi artists including Othar and Sharde Turner, Jack Owens, Joe Lee Cole, Como Mamas, Ironing Board Sam (of 930 Blues Cafe fame) and Willie King. Music Maker support continues, and two of their new artists are some of my favorites: New Orleans bluesman Ernie Vincent and my pal Willie James Williams, Willie King’s great juke joint drummer.


Another way Music Makers is celebrating 20 years is in their traveling photo exhibit, which will be stopped at the B.B. King museum in Indianola from October 23 to November 30. I was able to experience this exhibit while in North Carolina and it is reflective of Tim’s amazing contributions to music today.


On Wednesday, October 14 at 5:00, Tim will be at Lemuria to sign We Are the Music Makers. If you love the blues, come meet Tim and become a friend of Music Makers. I think it would be great fun for Mississippi to have more support for and with this fine organization.


We Are the Music Makers: Preserving the Soul of America’s Music                                                               Pictures and stories by Denise and Timothy Duffy                                                                                   Nautilus Press, 2014                                                                                                                                       $38

The “Hemphill Girls” of the Mississippi HIll Country

rosaleehillThese ladies, Rosa Lee Hill, Jessie Mae Hemphill, and Ada Mae Anderson, come from a long line of musicians.  They were all taught to play by their father and or grandfather.  When George Mitchell arrived in Mississippi he was introduced to Rosa Lee and her niece, Jessie Mae at Fred McDowell’s house.  He couldn’t believe he was meeting Rosa Lee Hill and asked if he could record her.  She tells him not tonight but then invites him to her house in a few days and maybe then.

Rosa Lee Hill was born in Panola County in 1911 and her father was Sid Hemphill.  Sid was a popular  jessiemaehemphillbrooksmusician in the Senatobia area.  He played every night to make money for his family and taught all of them to play too.  Rosa Lee began playing guitar at age seven and was  playing parties with other family members by the age of ten.  Jessie Mae was Rosa Lee’s sisters child and as soon as she was old enough was taught to play guitar by her grandfather, Sid.  She soon though started to beat the snare drum with some of the Fife and Drum bands that played at the picnics around the area.  Ada Mae Anderson was the daughter of Sid’s brother, George Hemphill,  she played with the Hemphill clan when she was young but also sang in a female gospel band.  Jessie Mae is probably the most well known of the adamaeanderson“Hemphill Girls” having collaborated on many albums and touring Europe and being featured in the documentary Deep Blues.  There is no doubt that the Hemphill Clan was an important and vital part of the history of the MS Hill Country Music history.



For your listening pleasure…Rosa Lee Hill singing Bullying Well.  This was recorded in Como, MS in 1967.



Othar Turner


otharturnerWhile Othar Turner was born in Rankin County, MS in 1907 he lived the majority of his life in Gravel Springs near to Como and Senatobia.  He grew up going to fife and drum gatherings and by watching other players he soon learned how to build and blow a cane fife of his own.  He often was seen playing drums with Napoleon Strickland’s band and when he was too ill to play Turner started his own band.  Turner upheld the tradition of the fife and drum until his death in 2003.  Sharde Thomas, Othar Turners granddaughter, was 12 years old when he passed away.  She took up the fife blowing in the Rising Star Fife and Drum Corps and continues to do so.

This is what Othar Turner says about how he learned to play music…

I started on a tin tub. Beat it with sticks. Take my hand and beat that drum and take me some sticks and went to doing just what the next fellow doing.  Practiced and practiced till I got my right lick.  Not just pecking on the drum, you got to play tunes on the drum.  That’s right. So I learned ’em.  I started playing on the tin tub when I was fifteen years old, and when I started playing the drum, I was seventeen.

And I learnt myself to blow the fice {fife}.

So I got me a cane and got me a nail.  Just plain cane.  Started to boring my holes; I couldn’t make none out of that.  so I went and got me a thick piece of wire and put in the stove to  burn the holes in there.  My mama then come: “Get out of the way, boy! What you doing?” I said, “I”m trying to make me a fice.”  “Oh, you ain’t going make you no fice. You don’t know how to make a fice.”  I said, ” Mama, I’m going make me a fice. I’m going learn how to blow this cane.” I learnt.

Othar Turner’s Rising Star Fife & Drum band (Turner, fife; G.D. Young, bass drum; E.P. Burton, snare; Eddie Ware, snare) playing a picnic at Othar’s farm. Shot by Alan Lomax, John Bishop, and Worth Long in Gravel Springs, Mississippi, August 1978.

Mississippi Fred McDowell

fredmcdowellWhile Fred McDowell was born in Tennessee, he lived most of his life in Como, Mississippi.  He is considered one of the ‘elder statesmen’ of the Hill Country and during the 60’s was the most well known outside of the area.  He began playing guitar at a young age for picnics and house parties and in 1959 Alan Lomax recorded him.  While he did play an electric guitar, McDowell always insisted that “I do not play no rock n’ roll.”  He passed away in 1972 just a few years after meeting George Mitchell.

When George Mitchell decided to make the trip to MS he called some friends for some leads to go about finding these “unknown” blues musicians.  He was given Fred McDowell’s name and told that he lived somewhere around Como.  He and his wife, Cathy, headed south hit I-55 and took Exit 52 and pulled into a Stuckeys to get some gas. George decides to ask the attendant if he knows McDowell and he says yes….

Do you know where I can find him? I ask.

You’re looking at him.

I’m taken aback. The first man we meet in Mississippi is Fred McDowell?! Damn! And he works in a service station?!

Mitchell tells McDowell what they are doing in MS, that they want to interview and record some unkown blues musicians from the area and Fred says that shouldn’t be a problem.  He then invites them to his house where he promises to have some folks for them to meet.  The rest as they say is history.

Mississippi Fred McDowell—Going Down to the River

Mississippi Hill Country Blues 1967 by George Mitchell

The Mitchells were cleaning out the house because after 35 years they were moving.  We all know what one can accumulate during that amount of time. George was surprised when came across a folder of negatives:

What’s this?  R.L. Burnside on a tractor with a bunch of his kids? right after I met him? I don’t even remember taking that. And this?! Rosa Lee Hill and Jessie Mae Hemphill dancing? Where are they anyway? At Fred McDowell’s? And there’s Fred, leaning over Othar Turner, who’s playing the guitar, showing his some chords or something.  I don’t remember that.   And here are so many shots I took at what is now called the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic-the first time it was ever photographed by a white person.  I didn’t know I took so many!

ms hill country bluesMitchell hadn’t even looked at these negatives in 40 years since he chose photographs for his book Blow My Blues Away and for album covers. In 1967 George and Cathy Mitchell spent the summer in Mississippi and 13 days of the trip were spent in the hill country with some of the finest musicians from the area. Mitchell was welcomed into the homes of many of the musicians and was able to spend time with them and as well as their family and friends.  He went to dinner in their homes, rent parties, and fife and drum picnics with the musicians posing for portraits and telling him stories. This book, Mississippi Hill Country Blues 1967, documents this time.

I really, really, like this book.  My husband and I love music, especially Hill Country Blues.  In fact, when we married in June of 2009, part of our honeymoon was spent at the North Mississippi Hill Country Picnic in Potts Camp, MS.   The festival line up always includes the descendants, friends, and disciples of most of the elder statesmen of MS Hill Country Blues.  R.L. Burnside’s, Junior Kimbrough’s, and Othar Turner’s families are always well represented.  It is really one of the most fun weekends of the summer in Mississippi.

Above right: Sharde Thomas, granddaughter of Othar Turner, at the 2013 Picnic.

George Mitchell will be at Lemuria on Wednesday, August 21 at 5:00 to sign and he will tell us a little something around 5:30.  We can sit around with some cold beers and talk the blues!

Here is the late great R. L. Burnside performing Poor Black Mattie in 1984.

Peppermint Twist: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the 60s

peppermint twist bookPeppermint Twist: The Mob, the Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the 60s

(St. Martin’s Press, November 2012)

by John Johnson, Jr. and Joel Selvin with Dick Cami

*     *     *

At a 1962 sixth-grade dance at the Riverside Park Clubhouse, I remember being 12 and trying to twist myself into being cool. I wasn’t alone. All my buddies and wanna-be girlfriends (the era of dog tags) were part of a national phenomenon, a craze that lit up all of America. The twist became a major catalyst to the sexual liberation of the ’60s.


The twist taught all of white America to loosen up, to shake your bootie. For once the girls did not have to follow their partners. Roots were planted for the women’s movement and the sexual liberation to come. The twist became a land mark in American music.

The Peppermint Lounge In New York

Ground zero for the “Twist Atomic Bomb” was the Peppermint Lounge, the center of its universe. The Peppermint Twist Lounge laid the blueprint for future night clubs. It was the first famous rock-n-roll club. Twisting waitresses were the prototypes of the 60s Go-Go Girls, who in white boots, pony tails and skimpy attire, were suspended in cages over the dance floor moving in the flashing strobe lights.

peppermint lounge go go

Johnny Otis discovered Hank Ballard and his gang The Midnighters (famous for “Work with Me Annie . . . give me all my meat”). In 1958, Ballard took his twist to the King record studio using a Jimmy Reed shuffle feel, and birthed his tune. King Records decided that a young chicken plucker named Ernest Evans should record Hank’s song. That young singer, Ernest, who needed a star’s name, sang a great Fats Domino impression. So his name was changed to Chubby Checker. The rest is music history.

chubby checker twisting

Dick Clark dug the Twist and used his American Bandstand to fuel the fire of Chubby’s craze. “Just pretend you are wiping your bottom with a towel and putting a cigarette out with both feet.” His record zoomed to maximum popularity.


Joe Dee and The Starlighters became The Peppermint Twist lounge house band. They hit it big with the Peppermint Twist. The Starlighters packed-house-jive was fueled by the Peppermint Twisters which led to rail dancing and eventually to the Go-Go Girls at L.A.’s Whiskey A Go-Go.

peppermint lounge rail dancers

Driven by the success in New York City, Peppermint Lounge Miami was next. Dick Cami brought his amazing success formula to the heart of the Chitlin’ Circuit. Miami Lounge became stops for Sam and Dave, The Coasters and other black entertainers.

peppermint twist joey dee

Celebrities from JFK to the Beatles, Frank Sinatra toting along his rat pack, Capote, Lenny Bruce, and many more all wanted to have fun under the candy cane ceiling. It was the coolest scene in the country. To say the Peppermint Lounge was ground breaking barely touches the influence of  this landmark in American culture. The twist loosened up the 50s and especially us white folks.

Although the music itself is reason enough to read John Johnson’s Peppermint Twist, you’ll be fascinated by cultural, historical, and business escapades. The cultural phenomenon that rose out of The Peppermint Lounge was never meant to happen. The lounge was actually created to be a front for the mob, place to hide their wheeling and dealing. This part of the story is also told in detail and makes this era’s tale Godfatheresque.

I’ve shared a few tidbits of info I gathered from this fine book. Treat yourself to Dick’s story, pull out your 45s and enjoy twisting the night away.

chubby checker twistin usa

Sonic Youth & Lydia Lunch

Several years ago I was in New Jersey visiting my lovely sister.  Each day as her and her then fiance (now husband) would cart off to work I would dutifully take the train into the city.  After a few days my wandering became isolated to the Chelsea area of Manhattan, with the train trips back to Jersey being consumed with the then brand new Sonic Youth biography Goodbye 20th Century by David Browne. What I started to realize on my trips home was that I was wandering around the stomping grounds of Sonic Youth thirty years too late.  I would read an address from a now defunct club and think, “I walked past that building today. I know exactly what that is, where that is.”  It certainly enhanced my reading experience.  If this had not been the case, I believe I still would have thoroughly enjoyed this biography.  Browne explains that Sonic Youth were not just a band.  They were a catalyst for a

“new generation of musicians (Nirvana, Cat Power), film directors (Spike Jonze, Sofia Coppola, Todd Haynes), actors (Chloe Sevigny), and visual artists (Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince).”

Goodbye 20th Century is just as much about the culture of the New York art scene as it is about Sonic Youth.  If you enjoy listening to Daydream Nation or Goo or Washing Machine, or you just enjoy New York  and 80s culture, this is a fantastic book to read.  It’s amazing how many people had their careers launched by Sonic Youth.  Drummer Steve Shelley discovered Chan Marshall, who goes by Cat Power.  If Sonic Youth hadn’t made the jump from indie label to major label, Nirvana probably wouldn’t be as iconic as they now are.  Sonic Youth actually pressured Geffen to sign Nirvana, implying they wouldn’t sign with Geffen if they didn’t.  Do not overlook this book.  

If I had not read this book, I probably wouldn’t know who Lydia Lunch is.  Lunch is portrayed as a real hard-ass New York artist type, at one point running away from home,

“earning spare change by pretending to collect money for cancer research on the streets of the Village.  A ravaged kewpie doll with a dark mop and a lasciviously smoky voice, she had no problem confronting local icons like David Byrne and Patti Smith guitarist Lenny Kaye on the street, where she would scream her nihilistic poems in their faces. “

She became a fixture in the New York scene when, together with James Chance, she started the provocative No Wave band Teenage Jesus and the Jerks.  Her success and influenced a young Thurston Moore at the turn of the 1980s. Prior to his marriage to Kim Gordon or his success with music, “Moore had idolized her from afar.”  After meeting Lunch, Moore was quickly swallowed up to play in a rhythm section of her band

“she likened to a good hate-fuck.  Just sort of relentless pelvic pounding.  The other part of his audition involved losing his virginity to Lunch – quite willingly, mind you. “

Moore admits

“She was very flirtatious.  She was kind of a man-killer.”

If it seems like I am rambling about crazy people, I am, but it’s for a reason.  Since reading Goodbye 20th Century  a number of years back, I have known who Lydia Lunch is.  When people ask I usually tell them she was a “musician, artist, anti-socialite kinda gal from the 80’s in NYC. Very edgy and counter-culture, ya know? ”

Okay.  Now that you are super familiar with who she is, I’m writing to you to tell you that she has a really strange new cookbook out called Lydia Lunch: The Need to Feed.  Lemme tell ya, this book is wild.  Aside from recipes, the book is littered with comic-style line doodles of food, body parts, animals, and sometimes naked ladies or murder scenes.  Each chapter suggests several songs to go along with the type of food you are making.  Occasionally the chapters have tag lines like 

“ass-kicking, blood-pumping, tongue-swelling recipes for the masochist in your life.”


“outrageously quick pick-me-ups for that chance encounter or unexpected late-night visitor.”

Just to give you an idea of the dishes.

You’ll Thank Me For Kicking Your Ass Curry
Curry recipes are like dirty uncles: everybody’s got one. 

6 organic chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry
4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, divided
2 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1 to 3 hot chili peppers such as Scotch bonnet or Piri Piri, seeded and chopped (depending on how much you want this to hurt…)
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro


Kill Billy With Beef In Chipotle Marinade
When you need a meat fix, this does the trick. 

4 tablespoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
2 tablespoons honey
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 pounds London broil, top round, or flank steak, about 1 inch thick
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Lime wedges for serving.

If you want to know how to actually make these dishes, you should come to Lemuria and buy the cookbook.

Both of these books perfect gifts for yourself, or for that edgy friend in your life.  They really are both enormously interesting on several different levels that are guaranteed to bring hearts to the eyes of anyone that looks at them.

Lydia Lunch: The Need to Feed–Recipes for Deeply Satisfying Foods by Lydia Lunch, Universe Publishing, September 2012, $35.

Goodbye Twentieth Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth by David Browne, Da Capo Press, 2009, $16.95.

by Simon

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