David Yow

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David Yow
David Yow.jpg
Headshot by Rivka Rivera
Background information
Birth nameDavid Lambeth Yow
Born (1960-08-02) August 2, 1960 (age 59)
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Genres Alternative rock, noise rock, post-hardcore
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, actor
InstrumentsVocals, bass
Years active1982–present
Labels Joyful Noise Records
Rabid Cat
Touch and Go
Associated acts Scratch Acid
The Jesus Lizard

David Yow (born August 2, 1960) is an American musician and actor born in Las Vegas, Nevada and best known as the vocalist for the noise rock bands Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard. Yow's debut solo album, Tonight You Look Like a Spider , was released in June 2013 on Joyful Noise Records.

Las Vegas Valley Metropolitan area in Nevada

The Las Vegas Valley is a major metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The state's largest urban agglomeration, it is part of the Las Vegas MSA. The Valley is largely defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) basin area surrounded by mountains to the north, south, east and west of the metropolitan area. The Valley is home to the three largest incorporated cities in Nevada: Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas. Eleven unincorporated towns governed by the Clark County government are part of the Las Vegas Township and constitute the largest community in the state of Nevada.

Nevada U.S. state in the United States

Nevada is a state in the Western United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast, and Utah to the east. Nevada is the 7th most extensive, the 32nd most populous, but the 9th least densely populated of the U.S. states. Nearly three-quarters of Nevada's people live in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area where three of the state's four largest incorporated cities are located. Nevada's capital is Carson City.

Noise rock is a noise-oriented style of experimental rock that spun off from punk rock in the 1980s. Drawing on movements such as minimalism, industrial music, and New York hardcore, artists indulge in extreme levels of distortion through the use of electric guitars and, less frequently, electronic instrumentation, either to provide percussive sounds or to contribute to the overall arrangement.



In 1982, Yow formed the Austin, Texas-based punk/noise rock group Scratch Acid. The group's initial lineup featured Steve Anderson (vocals), David Wm. Sims (guitar), Brett Bradford (guitar), Yow (bass), and Rey Washam (drums). Anderson was kicked out of the band early in their career, prompting Yow to move to vocals and Sims to move to bass. After releasing three albums and developing a strong following, the group disbanded in 1987.

Texas U.S. state in the United States

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Punk rock is a rock music genre that emerged in the mid-1970s in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in 1960s garage rock and other forms of what is now known as "proto-punk" music, punk rock bands rejected perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock. They typically produced short, fast-paced songs with hard-edged melodies and singing styles, stripped-down instrumentation, and often political, anti-establishment lyrics. Punk embraces a DIY ethic; many bands self-produce recordings and distribute them through independent record labels.

David Wm. Sims American musician

David William Sims is an American musician, best known as the bass guitarist of the bands Scratch Acid, Rapeman, and The Jesus Lizard. He has also recorded or performed with Sparklehorse, Rhys Chatham, Shivaree, Pigface, Flour, and others. Sims currently performs experimental solo electric bass as Unfact.

Yow and Sims next formed The Jesus Lizard in 1987 with guitarist Duane Denison. The trio relocated to Chicago, Illinois, in 1989. They used a drum machine for their earliest recordings and performances before adding drummer Mac McNeilly after recording their first EP Pure . Yow achieved wide notoriety for playing shows completely drunk and incoherent. Of touring with Jesus Lizard, Yow said: "I enjoyed writing songs and acting like an idiot with those guys. To make enough money to support ourselves." The Jesus Lizard eventually landed a spot on the Lollapalooza tour and signed to Capitol Records, despite earning little commercial success. During the course of their career, The Jesus Lizard released six studio albums (the last of which featured Jim Kimball replacing McNeilly), three EPs and a live album before breaking up in 1999.

Duane Denison American musician

Duane Denison is an American guitarist best known for work with the avant-garde, influential rock band The Jesus Lizard. He is also a founding member of super-group Tomahawk.

A drum machine is an electronic musical instrument that creates percussion. Drum machines may imitate drum kits or other percussion instruments, or produce unique sounds. Most modern drum machines allow users to program their own rhythms. Drum machines may create sounds using analog synthesis or play prerecorded samples.

Mac McNeilly is an American musician, best known as the drummer for The Jesus Lizard. He also played drums in bands P.W. Long's Reelfoot, 86, Mouse, Mule, Come, and played bass in Phantom 309. He is known for his very powerful, solid and hard-hitting style. McNeilly first appeared with The Jesus Lizard on the album Head, the band having previously used a drum machine. He was replaced by Jim Kimball late in 1996. He rejoined the Jesus Lizard for their 2009 reunion.

In 1995, Yow collaborated with Helmet on a cover version of "Custard Pie" for Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin .

Helmet (band) band

Helmet is an American alternative metal band from New York City formed in 1989. Founded by vocalist and lead guitarist Page Hamilton, Helmet has had numerous lineup changes, and Hamilton has been the only constant member.

<i>Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin</i> 1995 compilation album by Various artists

Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin is a tribute album by various artists dedicated to Led Zeppelin, released by Atlantic Records on March 14, 1995. Many of the appearing artists were signed to Atlantic or an affiliate at the time of the release.

In 2006, Yow, Sims, Washam and Bradford reformed Scratch Acid for the Touch and Go Records 25th Anniversary Festival in Chicago. They also performed a series of reunion shows in Austin (09/02/06), Chicago (09/09/06), and Seattle (09/16/06).

Touch and Go Records is an American independent record label based in Chicago, Illinois. After its genesis as a handmade fanzine in 1979, it grew into one of the key record labels in the American 1980s underground and alternative rock scenes. Touch & Go carved out a reputation for releasing adventurous noise rock by the likes of the Butthole Surfers, Big Black, and The Jesus Lizard. Along with other independent American labels such as Twin/Tone, SST Records, and Dischord, Touch & Go helped to spearhead the nationwide network of underground bands that formed the pre-Nirvana indie rock scene. These labels presided over the shift from the hardcore punk that then dominated the American underground scene to the more diverse styles of alternative rock that were emerging.

Seattle City in Washington, United States

Seattle is a seaport city on the West Coast of the United States. It is the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 744,955 residents as of 2018, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. According to U.S. Census data released in 2018, the Seattle metropolitan area's population stands at 3.94 million, and ranks as the 15th largest in the United States. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate. Seattle is the northernmost large city in the United States.

In late 2006, Yow officially joined the two-piece Los Angeles band Qui as a full-time member, after playing several shows as a "special guest." Of his two bandmates, Yow said: "Well, they're both just fucking brilliant, y'know? I have never in all my years in the music industry encountered two guys with more talent, more vision ... and who are as driven to greatness as these two are." On January 25, 2008, Yow was hospitalized in Pittsburgh with a collapsed lung, following a Wrekmeister Harmonies performance at the Andy Warhol Museum. [1] He was released from hospital a few days later. [2]

Qui (band)

Qui are a rock group formed in 2000 in Los Angeles by Paul Christensen (drums/vocals) and Matt Cronk (guitar/vocals). A combination of punk, noise and experimental rock, they released their first full-length album Baby Kisses in 2003.

Pittsburgh City in western Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is a city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the United States, and is the county seat of Allegheny County. A population of about 301,048 residents live within the city limits, making it the 66th-largest city in the U.S. The metropolitan population of 2,324,743 is the largest in both the Ohio Valley and Appalachia, the second-largest in Pennsylvania, and the 27th-largest in the U.S.

Wrekmeister Harmonies, led by musician and composer JR Robinson, is an experimental music collective. Named after the Béla Tarr movie Werckmeister Harmonies, it combines elements of drone music, serialism, post-rock, and heavy metal. Wrekmeister Harmonies typically performs a single composition, often almost an hour in length, beginning with a slow build, shifting into a cathartic middle section, concluding with either a peaceful or disquieting resolution.

In 2008, The Jesus Lizard reformed with the classic lineup and embarked on several tours. They again lapsed into inactivity at the end of the following year.

Yow has also appeared live with other bands, including Cop Shoot Cop, Shellac, The Dicks, The Melvins, Girls Against Boys and has contributed vocals to various albums and recordings by Helmet, The Melvins, Pigface, Model/Actress, and others.

According to his close friend and recording engineer Steve Albini, Yow is an accomplished cook and has worked in several restaurants in Austin and Chicago. [3] Yow also has an extensive resume of graphic design work. He is known in his field for retouching photographs and is a former employee of Upshot, an advertising agency. Yow also recorded a commentary track for Tool's DVD single "Schism" in 2005. He appears as an actor in a few movies, including I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore , Southbound , Entertainment , Under the Silver Lake and Big Money Rustlas , with Insane Clown Posse.

His first New York solo art show opened at Fuse Gallery on August 2011 and ran until September 21, 2011.

In 2013, Yow released a solo album that had been in production for almost 15 years on Joyful Noise Recordings. The album—titled Tonight You Look Like a Spider —was released in a limited edition, where the vinyl album was delivered inside of a concrete monolith, instead of a normal record sleeve. Yow stated that he'd been inspired to do the album by Mike Patton, and described his compositional process in an amusing anecdote:

"I rented a saxophone for 2 months, I borrowed some guitars and some drums, I rummaged through the kitchen, I squeezed a fat cat, I poked and prodded and ended up with my very own music. It’s real good, if you like that kind of shit. I named it Tonight You Look Like A Spider after a spider I saw one night." [4]

Yow is an avid cat lover and has drawn cats for the last 30 years. In 2014, Akashic Books released a compilation of Yow's cat illustrations called Copycat: And a Litter of Other Cats. [5] Yow also exclusively interviewed Lil Bub for The A.V. Club. [6]


Studio albums


  1. Kharas, Kev. "David Yow hospitalised with collapsed lung". Drowned in Sound. Drowned in Sound.
  2. Kharas, Kev. "David Yow out of hospital, but Qui guitarist suffers three strokes". Drowned in Sound. Drowned in Sound.
  3. Steve Albini Talks of Food
  4. ""How My Solo Album Happened"" . Retrieved May 8, 2013.
  5. Dodero, Camille. "Q&A: David Yow on Cats". SPIN. SPIN. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  6. Modell, Josh. "Q&A: David Yow of The Jesus Lizard interviews Lil Bub, a cat from outer space". The A.V. Club. The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 7, 2018.

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