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Duane Denison on Possibility of New Jesus Lizard Music: “It’s Not Impossible”


Tomahawk and The Jesus Lizard guitarist Duane Denison was our guest on a recent episode of The MetalSucks Podcast to discuss Tomahawk’s new album, Tonic Immobility, and a number of other topics, including what working with Mike Patton is like and the status of possible new music from the Jesus Lizard.

Denison had some interesting insight to share on Patton’s lyrical prowess and the qualities that make a good vocalist in general. When asked if a song on Tomahawk’s new album, “Doomsday Fatigue,” was written recently (based on its lyrical content) as opposed to any other time within the past several years between albums, he responded:

“Yes, yes it was, and the concept of ‘Tonic Immobility’ and ‘Doomsday Fatigue,’ that’s from Mike. He definitely came up with it during that time and it reflects that.

“I think Mike writes really good choruses and I’ve told him this. To me, that’s the hardest thing to do. Writing verses is just like you’re talking or something and they kind of go in one ear and out the other most of the time but choruses are hard. It’s hard to come up with something that’s repetitive and has a rhythmic quality to it that isn’t stupid or that bears repetition.

“Mike doesn’t consider himself a great lyricist and a lot of times he’s just going for the sound or the rhythm of things. [But] I think he does come up with good stuff. When I think of the people who are great lyricists, usually the music isn’t that good, the music isn’t that interesting. Like, I can’t really listen to a lot of say, well, Bob Dylan or someone like that. I don’t care how good the lyrics are, I just find the music sort of pedestrian and it doesn’t grab me. You know, we kind of always split the difference.”

Speaking on the possibility of new music from The Jesus Lizard, which would be their first since 1998, Denison explained:

“I wouldn’t say I’m always working on new stuff, but almost always. And so for me, I divide my music time between practicing and keeping technique and that kind of thing, going and improvising, playing along with recordings or whatever, and composing, coming up with and developing new ideas. So I’m always kind of working on something. It depends on what opportunities come up and how I can, you know… ‘OK, now I have a concrete thing to apply these new ideas to’ and start channeling it that way.

“The Jesus Lizard guys, we are all still around and in reasonably good health and we get along and we talk somewhat regularly so it’s not impossible that we might work on something. We’ve been playing shows and they’ve been going really well. It’s possible [that we’ll release new music]; it’s not impossible, certainly, let’s put it that way.

“And I’m always working on stuff and I, like a lot of people I think right now, I’m happy to stay in, quiet, and play acoustic. And I don’t necessarily mean folky music but just acoustic stuff. And it’s nice to just, not using any electricity, sit around and play some guitar stuff that way. Or even with hybrid acoustic electric guitars which I’ve got a couple here.

“So there’s always something new brewing and I just kind of work away and try to stay ready so when an opportunity shows up, I’m ready. I’ve got some new ideas, my chops are relatively up and I can go with it. 

You can listen to our full chat with Duane below or here.

Tomahawk’s forthcoming album, Tonic Immobility, comes out March 26 via singer Mike Patton’s Ipecac Recordings. It can be pre-ordered here. We’ll post the two singles released so far below as well.

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