old small photos
Formation of the Lounge Lizards, with John and Evan Lurie, Anton Fier and Arto Lindsay. The story has been told elsewhere, mostly in interviews. It seems John was in a club and there was a band on stage, probably some rockabilly outfit. The background is provided by this article from the New York Times, a couple of years later... sub-header "Went to Work on Wall St."
"Playing fake jazz was Mr. Lurie's idea and grew out of his music for films. First he played informally with his brother and Mr. Lindsay, and then, just before the 1979 debut of the Lounge Lizards at Hurrah, Mr. Piccolo and Mr. Fier were brought in on bass and drums. Mr. Piccolo had studied and later played jazz but became disillusioned with music in the 70's and took a job as a Wall Street systems analyst. He used a borrowed bass for the first Lounge Lizards performances. Mr. Fier had also studied jazz, but he was working with the Feelies, a New Jersey-based rock group."
Copyright New York Times, 1981
Since our first gig was at Hurrah's, I like to think that the person Mr. Lurie was talking to on the night of the band's conception was Jim Fouratt, the guy who booked acts into this and many other clubs back in the day and a rarity in the music business, namely someone who actually cares about music, musicians and lots of other more important things. The story has it that John made a bet that in a couple of weeks he could put together a better band than the one on stage at the time.
I got a call from John asking me if I wanted to get back into music. We started rehearsing. There was a relatively clear idea right from the start. We were going to make fun of the brutalism of punk and so-called new wave while posing as jazz hipsters from the past. It would be loud, simple, violent even, mixing the willful ignorance of punk with the vital catharsis of free jazz. The strange and beautiful ethno-african subtext heard in John's later music with subsequent Lizard generations was there somewhere, but it didn't manage to make itself heard, probably because the rest of us were a bit relentless and heavy.
For the record, we did not think of the name of the band, which was probably one of its biggest assets. I remember that we considered the names Black & Decker and Rotary Power Tools. Luckily for everyone, a gentlemanly scholar named John Ende (I think it was him) who lived on 2nd Ave. came up with the LL name. Nobody knew what it meant. After he explained we agreed that it was perfect.