Book Review: The War Is Never Over

Nick Soulsby’s illuminating book on Lydia Lunch, which accompanies the feature film by Beth B, just released in the United States to great acclaim, is an uncomfortable ride.

The War Is Never Over drops the reader headfirst into the tough life and career of singer, artist, actor, writer and podcaster Lunch with accounts from her friends, peers, collaborators and fellow survivors, and it’s as unflinching and fascinating as Lunch herself, with the kind of relentless energy, wit and fury we’ve come to expect from her music.

Photo by Annie Sprinkle

A survivor of incest (her father,a Bible salesman, molested her as a child while her mother worked nights as a nurse) Lunch fled to the heart of New York’s underground music scene, found kindred spirits in Suicide band members Alan Vega and Martin Rev, and decided to form her own noise/ poetry band, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. This began a career which inspired thousands of women to pick up instruments and tell their own stories. But few have been as independent or outspoken as Lunch.

Forty years later, her career endures. She’s currently touring with Retrovirus. This book explains why she’s still thriving, and is a hugely insightful look at a woman who has the chops to speak loudly, who makes art on her own terms.

Lunch always moves forward to the next project without compromise, fear or a reliance on fleeting trends and acceptance. She doesn’t trust hype machines or social media soundbite culture. She’s all about the deeper dive. Lunch, like the best artists, has never fitted in and has no desire to do so. And why should she? It’s working pretty well so far.

Contributors such as Beth B, Thurston Moore, Jarboe, Mick Harvey, Bob Bert, Vivienne Dick and JG Thirlwell, among many others, explain why she was and is such an unstoppable force, and how you can never second guess her next move. Long may she provoke, rant, and speak the truth to power.She has earned her stripes.

Photo by Anders Thessing

Available now through Jawbone press

For more information on Lydia Lunch head to:

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