SLSY January 21, 2020

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The Living Underground: The punk, noise messiah of suckdog (&mascis)

Thurston's column "The Living Underground", published in March/April 2000 issue of Mean Magazine.

we went to see suckdog at cbgb in like 93 or something. we weren�t sure if lisa crystal carver (who IS suckdog) would be tripping on acid and running around the club nude or what. we did know she was probably a more complex individual than her exhibitionism may have led us to perceive. her reckless, giggling nakedness (as seen in her home-made videos and record covers) had blurred our capacity for organized thought.

as I approached the club she was hopping across the gritty, summer-stained Bowery in pink, filth-streaked bunny pajamas. this is true. once inside the club I sat down across from the bar on the pool table riser sorta next to where she had set up a small concession stand of cassettes and vids and maybe t-shirts. she was with costas, her infamous french sick-performance husband and a girl named puff. lisa looked at me and with her bunnytailed butt sticking waay out in a completely buzzed manner she said, in high-caffeinated new hampshire girl-tongue, �hi thurston moore�. this was an intoxifying moment, as heavy as having a smoke w/ patti smith or getting drunk one on one w/ nick cave but in a way even heavier as this was a relative connection to my environmental identity and existence.

this was the girl I would see in my new england high school getting in weird, crazy trouble and laughing her way in and out of detention constantly. now here she was in cbgb ready to show anyone that new england freak-life was potent and completely unhinged from the metromedia eye.

the only other new england act before this which had the authentic-organic new england freak vibe so scarily and post-ice storm blunderbuss�d (this is only counting post-77 music as there were plenty of freak-hippy new england rockers and folkers before this�another universe) would be lou-era dinosaur jr.

dinosaur jr had a steady diet of hi-c, tuna fish and jello (whipped into liquid) and a receptive sensor for 1st generation u.s. hardcore as vegetable-matter drug music. this was the discerning feature of sweaty summer and frozen winter next-door-neighbors to gg allin youth. mascis had the audacity and genius to do to hardcore what he did to jello - whip it, liquify it, eat it and then let the effect overcome him in his drooped slo-mo mind as his intellect burned and downhill slalomed. as much as the indie rock journalists of the day liked to portray j as the new sloth wonder of american earth punk he was actually quite a boy of action�a skiier, a skater, a fleet fingered fret burner�hence the strange unfounded world of complex superpost-punk hc. lou was a whole other trip�similar yet entirely more fragile and explosive. gg allin was new england as well but he�d been around a while and kinda crossed over w/ earlier biker/loser qualifiers which set him wildly astray from the final 20th century decade of profound new england radicals. with suckdog's �rape gg� lp and mascis� axe-accompaniment on gg�s 1st nyc gig (I was asked to do it and I cancelled cuz I had to stay in l.a. longer than expected�j took the gig)�gg can only be considered seminal to new england weirdo core in ways we haven�t even yet begun to figure out yet�but this is only cuz we don�t we really feel the need to�at this point, what�s the point?

lisa was talked about in hushed tones by those getting their heads milked in the new new england fug (which completely influenced that which was truly heavy in the pacific northwest�the 1st nirvana gig on the east coast at maxwells after their 1st single �love buzz� was out kurt, shaking and skummed, flat out asked j to join nirvana�of course j responded w/ nothing, just a very distant inside hum/gurgle)�lisa got drunk and stripped in the woods and took acid in new hampshire attic bedrooms and released her activities as an LP (the aforementioned �rape gg�). my god! what new england punker (pre and post!) did NOT do this. if mascis/barlow were emblematic of new england alien toad heart n soul than lisa was all else: the laugh, the fart, the make out, the beauty, the LIFE.

the gig at cbgb was fantastic�before suckdog could hit the stage they had to wait for some band from brooklyn to get done with their showcase. this band was completely pop mainstream and playing for a few select no-name entrepreneurs and the band members family and friends�all of which filled the seats in the club. all these people were straight and sub-yup. only a handful of us showed for suckdog so when it was time we went to the front and stood around the chairs these people had yet to vacate. it seems all these tourist onlookers were gonna stay there and maybe see what else was on for tonight�s entertainment. lisa and costas had a huge fucked up cardboard backdrop as if it was a french cabaret designed by john waters. pre-recorded tapes of cut-up yowls and french kiddie-opera music began to blast thru the room. over the next 30 minutes lisa and miss puff screeched and fell and yammered as costas bare-assed verbally harangued them in messages too arcane to decipher and it all culminated in a 10 minute ordeal of costas trying to stick store-bought chicken parts up his very skinny derriere. lisa and miss puff also tried to accomplish this but it all ended in an utter chaos of tape noise and broken mike stands and then just when you had forgotten about lisa as a potentially all-nude goddess/icon and were content in the reality that you were witnessing what may be the most spazzed performance piece of any genre she just whipped off everything and was full on NUDE. actually she threw her top off and then sat down and pulled her pants off, undies and all. and it was like instant all-natural flashback to the connecticut woods running and stripping and smoking many joints of medium-grade weed. we were stunned (I, at least, speak for myself and definitely bob bert who was consistently clued in to like-minded 7th heaven polemics)�lisa jumped into the audience of bedeviled question-mark-over-the-head brooklyn visitants and started hugging anyone who was in her path. it was fast and furious�all of 30 seconds and she was gone.

the look on the faces and the general weirded out vibe of the audience made me feel like yes the punk journey is now complete�it is back in my arms and I can continue my lifes work and love knowing that I was delivered into true faith by a messenger of god, an angel like no other, an angel for the future�thank you cbgb�s, thank you lisa, thank you all new england poets�the world is ours. fuck l.a.

thurston moore12/99 northampton, ma.

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