Single of the Moment

Rolling Stone - April 1st, 1993.

It's the Jesus and Nirvana Chain!

By Greg Kot.

For teeth-rattling guitar rock, itís difficult to imagine a more explosive pairing than Nirvana and the Jesus Lizard. The mutual admirers deliver back-to-back knockout punches on a new split single released by Chicago indie Touch and Go, a limited-edition coupling of Nirvanaís previously unreleased dirt-metal romp "Oh, the Guilt" with the Jesus Lizardís art-punk slamfest "Puss."

The most accessible track from the Jesus Lizardís third Touch and Go album, 1992ís Liar, "Puss" is a pile driver with cascading guitar swirls around agitated vocals - a perfect fit with the Nirvana track, which was recorded last April in a Seattle studio called the Laundry Room. In contrast with the musicís grit and menace, the singleís cover painting, Old Indian and White Poodle, is serene and enigmatic, the work of British ťmigrť Malcolm Bucknall, whom Lizard singer David Yow and bassist David Wm. Sims met when they lived in Austin, Texas, with their former art-metal band Scratch Acid. "We thought his paintings were cool, and we always wanted to use one on an album;" says Yow. "I like stuff thatís weird and not easily explained."

The split-single concept came to Yow at a 1990 gig with Nirvana. "I got the idea from Sub Pop, which had put out a split single before with Mudhoney and Sonic Youth," says Yow. "At the time, there wasnít much out of Seattle that I was too wild about. But I liked Nirvanaís songs, so after the show I said to Kurt [Cobain], ĎLetís do a split single on Touch and Go.í"

Cobain was immediately behind the joint venture. It was his "moaning and groaning:" says Yow, that kept the project alive through difficult negotiations between Touch and Go and Nirvanaís current label, Geffenís DGC, which wanted to manufacture the single itself in order to limit its release. Cobain and Yow insisted that the disc remain with Touch and Go, which ultimately agreed to a sales cap of 100,000 units.

Even so, the Lizard - Yow, Sims, guitarist Duane Denison and drummer Mac McNeilly - will probably gain a few fans as a result. "It canít hurt," Yow says. "A lot of people may think we're trying to cash in on Nirvana. But this has been in the works for two and a half years, and I still think itís a good idea."