You Say It's Your Birthday: Lydia Lunch

Today is the birthday of singer and guitarist Lydia

Lunch, who was born in 1959 in Rochester, New York.

Confrontational, unabashed and unapologetic, Lunch has

made a name for herself as a vocalist of considerable clout as

well as a performance artist to rival Madonna at her most

bawdy. At 16 she joined her first band, Teenage Jesus and

the Jerks, using her stark vocal range to alternately shriek or

chant in monotone. In 1980 she left the group and began

recording solo records, beginning in 1980 with Queen of

Siam. Lunch continued working with other musicians in a

number of projects, including 8 Eyed Spy and the Devil

Dogs, before moving to California and starting her own

band, 13.13.

Lunch also collaborated with California folks like the

Birthday Party on their EP, The Agony is the Ecstasy, and

with Exene Cervenka in a book called Adulterers Anonymous. Throughout the 1980s Lunch

gave spoken-word performances, leading to the formation in 1984 of Widowspeak Productions

for the release of her own and others' writing. Lunch also appeared in two films by underground

producer Richard Kern, including Right Side of My Brain, with Henry Rollins, and Fingered,

and in Beth B's Thanatopsis

Lunch has continued to write, record and collaborate; in the late 1980s she formed Harry Crews

with Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon, and recorded The Crumb with Sonic Youth's Thurston

Moore. She's taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and in 1993 released a three-CD box set of

her spoken word performances called Crimes Against Nature. In 1995 Lunch again hooked up

with Cervenka to record Rude Heiroglyphics.

Other birthdays: Charlie Watts (Rolling Stones), William Guest (Gladys Knight & the Pips),

Antone "Chubby" Tavares (Tavares), Marvin Hamilisch, Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet),

Michael Steele (Bangles) and Tiffany. -- Beth Winegarner