Duane Denison

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Duane Denison
Duane Denison practicing.jpg
Denison in 2017
Background information
  • Musician
  • songwriter
Years active1987–present
Associated acts

Duane Denison (born January 21, 1959) 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. [1]

The Jesus Lizard American alternative rock band

The Jesus Lizard is an American rock band formed in 1987 in Austin, Texas and based in Chicago, Illinois. They were "a leading noise rock band in the American independent underground…[who] turned out a series of independent records filled with scathing, disembowelling, guitar-driven pseudo-industrial noise, all of which received positive reviews in underground music publications and heavy college-radio play."

Tomahawk (band) American band

Tomahawk is an American rock supergroup. They formed in 1999 when singer/keyboardist Mike Patton met guitar player Duane Denison and the pair started swapping tapes with the intention of collaborating. Denison then recruited drummer John Stanier (Helmet), while Patton invited bass player Kevin Rutmanis (Melvins/ex-Cows). The group recorded three albums and toured extensively from 2000–2007 then went on extended hiatus, and reformed in 2013 with Trevor Dunn replacing Rutmanis.



Denison began his musical career by studying classical guitar at Eastern Michigan University. [1] His work with classical guitar helped influence his unique sound, which helped earn him a spot on Spin Magazine's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time." "Denison has played warped jazz-rock with Firewater, cool jazz with the Denison-Kimball Trio, experimental alt-metal with Tomahawk, rockabilly punk with Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers, and outlaw country with Hank Williams III. But the angular, metallic sheets of noise that Denison unleashed with the Jesus Lizard are what he’ll ultimately be remembered and revered for. Tightly controlled yet capable of ripping and tearing like a runaway chainsaw, Denison’s riffs influenced an entire generation of post-hardcore guitarists, including the burgeoning wave of noise-punkers like the Men and Roomrunner.” [2]

Legendary Shack Shakers American punk blues band

The Legendary Shack Shakers are an American rockabilly/blues band that formed in Paducah, Kentucky, United States, in the mid-1990s. They are inspired by rock and roll, country blues, old time music, carnival music, swamp rock, and other obscure Southern music genres. The band originally had a traditional rockabilly sound, but later began to rely more on its rock and roll and "southern gothic" influences.

In 1999 Denison moved to Nashville after The Jesus Lizard broke up in order to play with Hank Williams III's "Damn Band. [3] Soon after his move to Nashville Denison began collaborating and exchanging demo tapes with Mike Patton, whom he met at a Mr. Bungle show in 1999. [4] Denison started the demos on a 4 track tape machine and sent them to Patton who added vocals to the tapes and sent them back. After having a solid idea of what the songs should sound like they went into the studio and recorded what would become the first Tomahawk album which was released in 2001. [5]

Hank Williams III American musician and singer

Shelton Hank Williams, known as Hank Williams III and Hank 3, is an American musician, singer and multi-instrumentalist. Williams' style alternates between outlaw country, punk rock and metal. He is the principal member of the punk metal band Assjack, the drummer for the Southern hardcore punk band Arson Anthem, and was the bassist for Pantera singer Phil Anselmo's band Superjoint Ritual. He has released eleven studio albums, including five for Curb Records. Williams is the grandson of Hank Williams, the son of Hank Williams Jr., and the half-brother of Holly Williams.

Mike Patton American singer

Michael Allan Patton is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor, record producer, multi-instrumentalist and film composer, best known as the lead vocalist of the alternative metal band Faith No More. Patton is also the founder and lead singer of Mr. Bungle, and has played with Tomahawk, Fantômas, Dead Cross, Lovage, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Peeping Tom.

Mr. Bungle American band

Mr. Bungle was an American experimental rock band from Northern California. Known for a highly eclectic style, the band often cycled through several musical genres within the course of a single song, including heavy metal, avant-garde jazz, ska, disco as well as funk. Many Mr. Bungle songs had an unconventional structure and utilized a wide array of instruments and samples. Live shows often featured members dressing up and an array of cover songs.

Denison and ex-Ministry bassist Paul Barker collaborated in 2007 to form a new band, U.S.S.A.. U.S.S.A. released one album in that same year, titled The Spoils .

Ministry (band) American industrial metal band

Ministry is an American rock band founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry's sound changed as they became one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the late 1980s. The band's lineup has frequently changed throughout its history, with the exception of Jourgensen who is the band's main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band's studio or live activities include Paul Barker, Martin Atkins, Bill Rieflin, Chris Connelly, Nivek Ogre, Mike Scaccia, Rey Washam, Paul Raven, Tommy Victor, Roy Mayorga, John Bechdel, Jason Christopher, Tony Campos, Burton C. Bell and DJ Swamp.

Paul Gordon Barker, also referred to as Hermes Pan, is the former bass guitarist, producer and engineer of the industrial metal band Ministry from 1986 to 2003. Prior to Ministry, Barker provided bass for the Seattle post-punk ensemble The Blackouts alongside future Ministry drummer Bill Rieflin and his brother, one-time Ministry touring keyboardist/saxophonist Roland Barker, from 1979 until 1985.

U.S.S.A. are a rock band formed by bassist Paul Barker and guitarist Duane Denison. After their initial collaboration, Barker and Denison recruited vocalist Gary Call and drummer Johnny Rabb.

From late 2008 until 2012, he played guitar for Nashville-based Legendary Shack Shakers. Denison supplied the lead guitars on EmptyMansions snakes/vultures/sulfate released on April 2, 2013.


Related Research Articles

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.

Prepared guitar

A prepared guitar is a guitar that has had its timbre altered by placing various objects on or between the instrument's strings, including other extended techniques. This practice is sometimes called tabletop guitar, because many prepared guitarists do not hold the instrument in the usual manner, but instead place the guitar on a table to manipulate it.

J. D. Wilkes American musician

Joshua "J. D." Wilkes is an American visual artist, musician, amateur filmmaker and author. He probably is best known as the singer for experimental rockabilly group Legendary Shack Shakers, and is also an accomplished harmonica player, having recorded for such artists as Merle Haggard, Sturgill Simpson, John Carter Cash, Mike Patton, and Hank Williams III in the American Masters film "Hank Williams: Honky Tonk Blues". His song "Swampblood" can be heard on the Grammy-nominated soundtrack for HBO's True Blood series. Wilkes is a resident of Paducah, Kentucky and is the author of two books, The Vine That Ate The South and Barn Dances and Jamborees Across Kentucky.

David Yow American singer

David Yow 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.

Joe Buck (musician) American musician

Joe Buck is the stage name of Jim Finklea, an American country and punk rock musician from Murray, Kentucky. His primary instruments are double bass and guitar.

<i>Tomahawk</i> (album) 2001 studio album by Tomahawk

Tomahawk is the debut studio album by American experimental rock band Tomahawk. Recorded after a meeting between vocalist Mike Patton and guitarist Duane Denison, the album features members of Faith No More, The Jesus Lizard, Helmet and Melvins. The band toured with Tool in support of the record, but were not well received by Tool's fans.

<i>Mit Gas</i> 2003 studio album by Tomahawk

Mit Gas is the second studio album by the musical supergroup Tomahawk. It was released on May 6, 2003, through Ipecac Recordings, the record label owned by vocalist Mike Patton. Mit Gas charted in several countries, reaching the top 20 in Norway's VG-lista and the United States' Billboard Independent Albums charts.

Jim Kimball is an American punk drummer. His virtual menagerie of former bands includes Laughing Hyenas, Mule, and The Jesus Lizard, as well as The Denison/Kimball Trio. The Laughing Hyenas were a seminal punk/rock/noise outfit. Kimball and Kevin Munro left to form Mule with Wig's P.W. Long in the early 1990s.


Pegboy is an American punk band from Chicago, Illinois with a relatively large cult following. They were founded in 1990 by John Haggerty, along with his brother Joe Haggerty, Larry Damore (vocals/guitar), and Steve Saylors (bass). Both Damore and Saylors had been members of Chicago-based hardcore band Bhopal Stiffs, whose 1987 demo had been produced by John Haggerty. Pegboy's 1990 debut EP, "Three-Chord Monte", was also the first release by Quarterstick Records, an offshoot of Touch and Go Records. Steve Saylors dropped out in 1992 after job commitments prevented him from touring. Steve Albini, a longtime friend of the band, filled the bass slot on the "Fore" EP. Former Naked Raygun bassist Pierre Kezdy became the permanent bass player in 1994. After the reformation of Naked Raygun, Mike Thompson took over for Kezdy on bass.

<i>Anonymous</i> (Tomahawk album) 2007 studio album by Tomahawk

Anonymous is the third studio album by the musical supergroup Tomahawk. It was released on June 19, 2007 through Ipecac Recordings, the record label owned by Tomahawk vocalist Mike Patton. Anonymous charted in Australia, Norway and the United States.

Mark Robertson (bassist) American musician

Mark Robertson is an American musician and record producer. Robertson is most well known for being a member of Rich Mullins' backing band, A Raggamuffin Band, the frontman of This Train, and bass player and producer of Legendary Shack Shakers. He has also played bass for Brighton, Altar Boys, Flesh Vehicle, JD Wilkes & The Dirt Daubers, The Dixiecrats, The Eskimo Brothers, Derek Hoke, and his newest band Prayer Flags, in which he is the frontman. His primary instrument is upright and electric bass, though he has performed lead and backing vocals for notable projects, including Rich Mullins' final album The Jesus Record and This Train. He produced Rich Mullins' Canticle of the Plains album, Mitch McVicker's first solo recording, Without Looking Down, as well as albums by This Train and The Legendary Shack Shakers.

<i>Oddfellows</i> (album) 2013 studio album by Tomahawk

Oddfellows is the fourth studio album by musical supergroup Tomahawk. The album is the first to feature new bass player Trevor Dunn, who has replaced previous member Kevin Rutmanis. Oddfellows was recorded live in the Easy Eye Sound Studio in Nashville, Tennessee, after a brief period of rehearsal. Guitarist Duane Denison favored the location as its cheaper studio costs allowed for longer periods of song-writing.

The Denison/Kimball Trio were a musical duo consisting of guitarist Duane Denison and drummer Jim Kimball. Their music was completely instrumental and heavily influenced by jazz, the avant-garde and movie scores. The group's debut album was the soundtrack to Walls in the City, a short film directed by independent filmmaker Jim Sikora and featuring Jesus Lizard front-man David Yow in a bit role. The band's name was changed to DK3 with the release of their third album Neutrons, which included Ken Vandermark on reeds. The members parted ways in 1999 to pursue other interests, with Denison touring for Hank Williams III and forming Tomahawk in 2000.

This article details the complete oeuvre of American guitarist Duane Denison. He is recognized for his work with the bands The Jesus Lizard and Tomahawk as well as his collaborations with drummer Jim Kimball in The Denison/Kimball Trio. He has also recorded with Firewater, Revolting Cocks and Pigface.

Mouth Breather single by The Jesus Lizard

"Mouth Breather" is a 1990 song by the band The Jesus Lizard, from the album Goat.


  1. 1 2 Prato, Greg. "Biography: Duane Denison". allmusic . Retrieved May 8, 2010.
  2. "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Spin. May 3, 2012. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  3. "Interview: Duane Denison (of Tomahawk)". Consequence of Sound. January 28, 2013. Retrieved 2018-06-28.
  4. DeRogatis, Jim (November 2, 2001). "Super Models: New Bands Show That Supergroups Can Get It Right". Chicago Sun-Times . Archived from the original on June 10, 2014. Retrieved August 27, 2001.(subscription required)
  5. "tomahawk, 15 Years Duane Denison Interview". faith no more followers. October 30, 2016. Retrieved 2018-06-28.