Jesus Lizard fans who missed the alt-rockers’ 2008-2009 reunion tour probably won’t get another chance to see the band, and they shouldn’t hold their breath on hearing any new recordings. Guitarist Duane Denison tells Rolling Stone that, given his optimistic-turned-futile efforts to get the band back in the studio, the band is, for all intents and purposes, once again defunct. Jesus Lizard originally broke up in 1999.
“That reunion tour went so well – we kept it brief, and we didn’t extend it – that it just seemed natural to some of us to just go, ‘Well, let’s do an album. We all can still play, we get along, let’s do it,'” Denison says, explaining that “certain members” of the band started dragging their feet and hemming and hawing at how they lived too far apart and didn’t want to go the cliché route of a post-reunion LP. “Well, it’s a cliché only if you make it a cliché and you put out a shitty album,” Denison argues. Eventually, the guitarist gave up on trying to lure his bandmates back to the studio, a prospect for which he had started writing material for after the reunion tour.
“I thought, ‘Alright, I’m not gonna twist anyone’s arm to make this happen,'” he says. “I was the one that pushed it to get it going in the first place! So I said, “Fine, I’ll take my ideas with me,” and that turned into other things, and that’s just how it works.”
Denison says that while the other members of Jesus Lizard never really gave concrete explanations for their reluctance to write and record new material, they did want to continue playing shows on the indie-rock nostalgia circuit.
“The ones that we really would’ve liked to do didn’t really materialize – like Australia and Japan – and then the ones that we weren’t so into, like in the U.S. or whatever, where it’s just kind of grinding it out, I didn’t want to do,” Denison says. One such offer – a 2011 reunion show at festival celebrating the long-shuttered L.A. indie haunt the Jabberjaw, and a gig Denison’s bandmates really wanted to take – brought the situation to a head. “I said, ‘I’ll do it if we play some new songs. You know, let’s make a deal here.’ Nothing. No. That killed that.”
“In a way I thought, ‘Well, why spoil it?” he says. “The reunion went so well, but personally I am tired of playing those songs and I don’t wanna play them anymore … I’d be perfectly fine with, ‘Let’s leave it at that, leave it on a good note, we’re all still friends.'”
Club, a DVD capturing Jesus Lizard’s first U.S. reunion show, came out last year, while a coffee-table book titled Book – rife with writings, archival photos and, according to Denison, perhaps an accompanying live DVD – is due out on August 7th.