13.13/The Agony Is The Ecstacy

(Los Angeles Spring - November 1981 / UK November - December 1981)


13.13 #1 @ the Underground NYC 17-June-1981
 13.13 #1 @ the Underground NYC 17-June-1981:
(l-r) Greg Williams (bass)/ Lydia Lunch (vocals)/ Alex MacNicol (drums) and Johnny Nation (guitar).
Photo credit: unknown.

Chronology: a chronological overview of known concert dates (some with setlists and/or ads), 
dates of studio recordings, all line-ups and other trivia related to the American band 13.13. 
Date format is DD-MMM-YY.

-Information in grey italics is uncertain-

13.13 - 1981
The year in which the band is founded, records an album, tours the US and folds.

From August/September 1980 Lydia Lunch resides in Topanga Canyon (The Snake Pit area), Los Angeles. Later Lydia moves to a house in the Venice/Highland Park area of Los Angeles where she stays until February 1982.

She forms this band with Johnny Nation [ex- Bags, ex- The Cyclones, later Endless Banana] and [ex- Weirdos] Greg Williams and Alex MacNicol [later Green On Red] who had just split up. Johnny Nation was in 1979 briefly in The Cyclones with Jeffrey Lee Pierce and is also the brother of ("Fingered" , Kern/Lunch's movie) star Marty.

Line-up #1 (Los Angeles: June 1981 - July 1981):
Lydia Lunch (vocals)/ Johnny Nation (guitar)/ Greg Williams (bass) and Alex MacNicol (drums)

Los Angeles Spring 1981

US CA,Los Angeles,Silver Lake,O.N. Klub

Setlist: Stares To Nowhere/ ?/ Teenage Twilight/ and more...

Review: Review by Byron Coley taken from new York Rocker September 1981.

Note: Debut concert at a club which started as THE place for the Californian Mod/Ska scene, but by 1981 was equal parts reggae club, new wave/ska club, and retro-soul dance club.

San Francisco 06-Jun-81

US CA,San Francisco,Elite Club
[with The Dead Kennedys and Lockjaw]

Flyer: Scan of flyer. Photo of alternative flyer .

Ad: Scan of advert, taken from San Francisco Examiner 06-Jun-81.

New York 14-Jun-81

US NY,New York City,Bond International Casino,Aluminum Nights
The Kitchen's birthday party and benefit
[with Glenn Branca, Raybeats,DNA,etc..]

Flyer: Scan of flyer.

Photo: Taken from "Sonic Youth etc..: Sensational Fix" book, credit Paula Court.

US NJ,Trenton,City Gardens

New York 17-Jun-81

US NY,New York City,The Underground
[with Mission Of Burma]

Handbill: Original handbill.

Boston 18-Jun-81

US MA,Boston,The Spit

Ad: Scan of ad, taken from Boston Rock #18 (04-Jun-81).

US PA,Philadelphia,Starlite Ballroom
[with Jeff and Jane Hudson, Impossible Years]

San Francisco 20-Jun-81

US DC,Washington,9:30 Club
[with Vietnam]

Flyer: Photo of flyer.

San Francisco 22-Jun-81

US CA,San Francisco,I-Beam
[with D-Day]

Poster: Photo of poster.

Ad: Scan of advert, taken from San Francisco Examiner 21-Jun-81.

July 1981
Johnny and Alex are replaced by two more other ex-Weirdos Dix Denney and Cliff Martinez [later Red Hot Chili Peppers]. Alex MacNicol joins Green On Red, he died in 2004 at the age of 44.

Line-up #2 (Los Angeles: July 1981 - November 1981):
Lydia Lunch (vocals)/ Dix Denney (guitar)/ Greg Williams (bass) & Cliff Martinez (drums)

Hollywood 07-Jul-81

US CA,Hollywood,Cathay De Grande (@ 1600 N. Argyle Avenue at Selma Avenue)
(2 sets)

Poster: Photo of poster.

San Diego 11-Jul-81

US CA,San Diego,The Spirit
[with The Unknowns and The Brat]

Ad: Scan of ad from newspaper 09-Jul-81, courtesy of Mike Ziegler.

Sun Valley July 1981

July 1981
US CA,Sun Valley,Perspective Sound (@ 11176 Penrose Street),recording the "13.13" album.
Engineered by Steve McDonald [later bass in Redd Kross and OFF!]. During this month the Adolescents recorded their EP, "Welcome to Reality", at the same studio.

Photo: Google street view, 2014.

Hollywood 24-Jul-81

US CA,Hollywood,Whisky a Go Go (@ 8901 W. Sunset Blvd)
[with The Bush Tetras]

US CA,Hollywood,Whisky a Go Go (@ 8901 W. Sunset Blvd)
[with The Bush Tetras]

Ad: Scan of ad taken from the Los Angeles Times 05-Jul-81.

US CA,Hollywood,Cathay De Grande (@ 1600 N. Argyle Avenue at Selma Avenue)
[with Fibonaccis]

August 1981
US CA,Woodland Hills,Preferred Sound,recording the "13.13" album.
Engineered by Thom Wilson [Dead Kennedys]. Willie Basse [Black Sheep] bought this private studio.

September 1981
US NY,New York City,Blank Tapes studios,mixing the "13.13" album.
Engineered by Bob Blank.

Boston 09-Sep-81

US MA,Boston-Allston,Streets
[with Specimens]

Ad: Scan of ad, taken from Boston Rock #21 (03-Sep-81).

Review: Scan of review, taken from Boston Rock #22 (01-Oct-81).

Note: Streets opened on 12-Aug-81, after The Underground (on the same avenue) closed on 14-Jun-81.

US PA,Philadelphia,East Side Club
[with Georgia's Side Effects]

Washington-Georgetown 14-Sep-81

US DC,Washington-Georgetown,The Bayou
[with Romeo Void]

Ad: Scan of ad, taken from American Eagle 11-Sep-81.

New York City 18-Sep-81

US NY,New York City,Mudd Club (@ 77 White Street)

Ad: Microfilm image from the Village Voice September 1981, courtesy of Jonathan Luftig.

US NY,New York City,Club 57 (@ 17 Irving Place)

Setlist: ?/ Stares To Nowhere/ This Side Of Nowhere/ 3X3/ ?/ ?.

Note: Club 57 was opened on February 8, 1978 by (Polish expat) Stan Strychacki and managed initialy by Chris Gremski and later in 1979 by Ann Magnuson and her collaborators (such as Eric Bogosian and Joey Arias). It was a hangout and venue for performance- and visual-artists and musicians, such as Keith Haring, John Sex, Wendy Wild, David McDermott, Jean-Michel Basquiat etc..

Club 57 operated at the same time at 2 locations. One (focussing on film/video screenings and "neo-Dada cabaret") was located in the basement of the Holy Cross Polish National Church @ 57 St.Mark's Place. Photo of the exterior of Club 57 credit Harvey Wang. The other (for larger live concert shows on Fridays and Saturdays), starting on July 14, 1978, was @ an old Polish dance hall called the Irving Plaza @ 17 Irving Place. The St.Mark's Place location ran until 01-Feb-83. The Irving Place location closed in 1986 and was re-opened in April 2007 as the "Fillmore New York At Irving Plaza".

US/CA Supporting Siouxsie and the Banshees on some dates of their long (25 dates) tour.

Pasadena 14-Oct-81

US CA,Pasadena,Perkins Palace
[with Quiet Children, support for Siouxsie and the Banshees]

Photos: Taken from LA music mag, showing marquee and Lydia and Siouxsie backstage.

US CA,Los Angeles,Club Lingerie (@ 6507 Sunset Boulevard)

US LA,New Orleans,Jed's University Inn
[with The Front]

Setlist: 3X3(*)/ Snakepit Breakdown/ Stares To Nowhere/ Lock Your Door(*)/ Suicide Ocean/ Afraid Of Your Company/ I Fell In Love With A Ghost(+)(*).

Note: (+) In March 1982 Lydia recorded this track with Rowland S.Howard and released it on their "Some Velvet Morning" 12". (*) released as extra tracks on "13.13" album CD reissue (Widowspeak 2017).

New York City 31-Oct-81

US NY,New York City,Chase Park
[with Suicide and Ike Yard]

Ad 1: Scan of ad, courtesy of Weasel Walter.

Ad 2: Scan of advert from Village Voice/Soho News.

Note: Chase Park was atop an old Chase Bank on Broadway & Houston St. (a slightly “Diamond Doggish" affair). After the show, Lydia asked if Ike Yard could be her backing band. They did not accept.

US NY,New York City,Peppermint Lounge
[support for Siouxsie and the Banshees]

New York City 14-Nov-81

US NY,New York City,Peppermint Lounge
[support for Siouxsie and the Banshees]

Setlist: Snakepit Breakdown/ 3X3/ Stares To Nowhere(*).

Photo: Credit Catherine Ceresole, taken from "Beauty Lies in the Eye", photobook (Edition Patrick Frey 2013).

Note 1: The set is cut short by a visit from the fire department. Lydia then announces they are only going to be able to play one additional song, which they start and stop. Siouxsie plays as scheduled. (*) released as extra track on "13.13" album CD reissue (Widowspeak 2017).

Note 2: "A year later [after Siouxsie's first US tour in November '80], I was back in America with the Banshees, and 13.13 supported on a couple of shows. We ended up at Studio 54 of all places, and Lydia made a move on me, and, for the next week, she moved into my hotel room. When I headed back to London, she came with me." Murray Mitchell [Siouxsie's roadie], quoted in "Lydia Lunch- The War Is Never Over", a book by Nick Soulsby (Jawbone, 2020).

November 1981
US NY,New York City, Lydia is offered the open for both the Birthday Party and The Cure on their UK tours. She breaks up 13.13 and asks Kristian Hoffman [The Mumps/Swinging Madisons] to join her, Murray Mitchell and Steven Severin for her "The Agony Is The Ecstacy" performance.

The Agony Is The Ecstacy 1981
 Passport picture for UK/Europe 1981 tour.

The Agony Is The Ecstacy - 1981

Line-up (UK: November 1981):
Lydia Lunch (vocals)/ Steven Severin (bass)/ Murray Mitchell (guitar)
and Kristian Hoffman (drums), with backing tapes.

UK London-Westbourne Grove,Venus Hotel-Room 9

Note 1: "[Lydia and Murray] moved into a really sleazy hotel on Westbourne Grove that, for some reason, I've always remembered the name of: the Venus Hotel. She had just abandoned 13.13 -at the time, she told me that she didn't want to have to pay to get them to Europe, even though they already had shows booked as support for The Birthday Party and The Cure. I imagine that was supposed to be 13.13 doing the gigs- I can't imagine they meant for 13.13 to break up and Lydia to start an entirely new band to do the gigs! She and Steve Severin had already cooked up what was going to happen. He was somewhat obsessed by Lydia at the time. That led to Lydia asking me to be in the band. I'm guessing it was just convenient because we were shacked up, plus it helped financially. Next thing was, she got Kristian Hoffman to come over, and that was the band: Lydia, Steve, Kristian, and me. " Murray Mitchell, quoted in "Lydia Lunch- The War Is Never Over", a book by Nick Soulsby (Jawbone, 2020). On 21-Dec-81 Lydia Lunch writes some poetry that would later appear on pages 94-95 of her "Adulterers Anonymous" book (with Exene Cervenka).

Note 2: In the 80's, when Latif Gardez personal life hit a downward spiral, the band Mystery Slang was born. He found himself staying at a flophouse in Westbourne Grove called The Venus Hotel where his fellow hostellers were all shades of dodgy. The six months he spent there later became the main source of inspiration for the first album "Venus Grove" (released in '91).

November 1981
UK London,a studio,the band (without Steve) rehearse and record a thirthy-minute backing track for their "The Agony Is The Ecstacy" performance. They improvise over an LP record with sound recordings from the Arab-Israel Six-day war (June 1967) "Lydia read little bits from her diary, lay on the ground, moaned, and just sort of flailed around." [Kristian Hoffman 2009]

Cure tour 25/30-Nov-81

UK Sheffield,Lyceum
[support for The Cure, with And Also The Trees]

Setlist: The Agony Is The Ecstacy.

Poster: Photo of poster.

Note: First date of supporting The Cure on some dates of their (8 dates) "Eight Appearances" tour. "The first [..] gig in Sheffield, Steve, Kristian, and me- we were all meant to wear these leather gimp masks, but I ended up being the only one wearing one. I was probably the most nervous. It was all totally freeform feedback with Lydia ranting over the top. To say it wasn't well received is an understatement. " Murray Mitchell, quoted in "Lydia Lunch- The War Is Never Over", a book by Nick Soulsby (Jawbone, 2020).

London 26-Nov-81

UK London,The Venue
[support for The Birthday Party and with Material]

Setlist: The Agony Is The Ecstacy.

Photo: Credit David Corio. Sourced from Gettyimages/Redferns music photo libraries. Another photo, credit unknown.

Ad: Ad, taken from UK mag 28-Nov-81.

Review: Review, taken from The Guardian.

Note: Complete performance (18 mins) available on the split "The Agony Is The Ecstacy" 12" (4AD 1982), other side by The Birthday Party recorded on the same date.

UK Manchester,Rafters
[support for The Birthday Party]

Setlist: The Agony Is The Ecstacy.

UK London,West Hamstead,Moonlight Club
[with UT]

Setlist: The Agony Is The Ecstacy.

Cure tour 29/30-Nov-81

UK Stoke-On-Trent,Queens Hall
[support for The Cure, with And Also The Trees]

UK Coventry,Apollo
[support for The Cure, with And Also The Trees]

Setlist: The Agony Is The Ecstacy.

Ad: Taken from a UK mag Nov-81.

Brighton 01-Dec-81

UK Brighton,Dome
[support for The Cure, with And Also The Trees]

Setlist: The Agony Is The Ecstacy.

Poster: Photo of poster.

London 03-Dec-81

UK London,Hammersmith Palais
[support for The Cure, with And Also The Trees]

Setlist: The Agony Is The Ecstacy.

Ad: Taken from a UK mag Nov-81.

Note:"By the time we got to the Hammersmith Palais there were three thousand people chanting 'Fuck off 'Fuck off!' Which I thought was quite wonderful, to get that intensity of dislike. Usually, Lydia was first offstage, then the rest of us would follow, and maybe Kristian would stay, thumping a beat out, but that night I was the last one to leave because it was my home town, and I was really soaking up having this rammed venue all chanting 'Fuck off!' Steve baled as soon as we'd finished the gigs with The Cure. The thought of going to Europe in the middle of winter wasn't very appealing to him. There wasn't any question we weren't going to do Europe-Lydia was determined to fulfil the obligations that had been booked. We never thought replacing Steve. We were going to get the money." Murray Mitchell, quoted in "Lydia Lunch- The War Is Never Over", a book by Nick Soulsby (Jawbone, 2020).

December 1981
UK London, Steven Severin leaves the band halfway through the tour because he was too embarrassed with the material.

13.13 - 1981

Line-up #3 (Europe: December 1981):
Lydia Lunch (vocals)/ Murray Mitchell (guitar) and Kristian Hoffman (drums)

Start of their 10-date European tour, apparently ditching the "Agony Is The Ecstacy" material in favour of 13.13 songs. The band is also listed as "13.13" in the ads.

IT Roma,-

SE Malmö,-

Stockholm 10-Dec-81

SE Stockholm,Skeppet

Photo: Credit Mats Bäcker. Scan taken from Schlager magazine #32-33, 22-Dec-81.

Ad: Scan taken from Schlager magazine #30, 24-Nov-81, courtesy of Matti.

Stockholm 13-Dec-81

SE Stockholm,Berzelii Terrassen-BZ
[with The End]

Poster: Original poster, courtesy of Matti.

Note: At one of the Swedish shows they do such a horrible and embarrasing performance that Lydia has to go and hide for some time in the bathrooms. "I remember being in Sweden [..] In one place, we were barricaded in the dressing room as glass bottles were hitting door; there were these wooden steps up at the back of the stage, so the door to the dressing room was in full view of the audience but half a level. We put the sofa up against it until the promoter came to bang on the door to tell us it was all right. That wasn't an unfamiliar reaction. I don't remember any bottles thrown during the gig, though, because it was only a half-hour thing, the length of the backing cassette." Murray Mitchell, quoted in "Lydia Lunch- The War Is Never Over", a book by Nick Soulsby (Jawbone, 2020).

Amsterdam 15-Dec-81

NL Amsterdam,Paradiso

Poster: Credit Martin Kaye.

Ad: Scan of advert from Vinyl mag #9, Dec-81.

Review: Taken from Trouw newspaper 17-Dec-81.

Groningen 17-Dec-81

NL Groningen,Vera
[with E. Vocato Suicidato]

Review: Taken from Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 19-Dec-81.

Ad: Scan of advert, taken from Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 17-Dec-81.

Article: Scan of article, taken from Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 11-Dec-81.

Eindhoven 18-Dec-81

NL Eindhoven,Effenaar
[with The Signals]

Setlist: Rip It Up/ Stares To Nowhere/ Silent/ I Don't Know Why-Pools of blood/ Killing You.

Poster: Photo of poster.

Ad: Scan of advert from Vinyl mag #9, Dec-81.

Note: Broadcast by Dutch FM radio. Apparently a lot of new songs had been written which have never been recorded. In 2016 briefly available as download on Lydia Lunch's Bandcamp page.

NL Nijmegen,Doornroosje

Antwerpen 25-Dec-81

BE Antwerpen,Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten
[with Malaria! and Snowy Red]

Setlist: ?/ Silent/ What You See Is Not What You Get/ ?/ Stares To Nowhere/ Rip It Up/ I Don't Know Why-Pools Of Blood.

Poster: Photo of poster, part of the "PUNK GRAPHICS: Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die" collection.

Note: At the Royal Academy of Fine Arts around 3AM. Last ever 13.13 performance.
Also screening of Tod Browning movie "Freaks" and videos by Throbbing Gristle and Factory records.

UK Release of "The Agony Is The Ecstacy" 12" (4AD).

UK Lydia Lunch joins Robert Smith on The Cure's "Fourteen Explicit Moments Tour" and is alledgedly keeping a joint 'funeral diary' .

US Release of the "13.13" album (Ruby).

UK/DE Release of the "13.13" album (Situation2/Line).

FR Re-release of the "13.13" album (Le Son Du Maquis).

Rowland S.Howard (March 1982 - August 1982)

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Last modified 4th of November, 2020.