“Like discovering an old pair of shoes in the back of your closet and putting them on and going, ‘They fit perfect and look great! I think I’ll go dancing.’ Or something like that.”

This is the way guitarist Duane Denison explains The Jesus Lizard’s reunion, as if it’s no big deal. “People had been mentioning it for years and we thought we might be that one band that never does the reunion. But we started getting some good offers and then the label reissued the back catalogue and it just kind of fell into place.”

Known for their primal, serpentine post-punk sound and unparalleled gigs led by the unhinged behaviour of inimitable (and sometimes naked) frontman David Yow, the Lollapalooza generation gets to revisit its most volatile act once again.

Denison says being in The Jesus Lizard now, ten years after they called it quits, is in some ways even better than before. “Everything that I always liked about playing with the band is still there, like the momentum, the intensity and all that good stuff. Plus, there was always pressure in the old days: you’ve got an album out and you want to play well so you can come back. Now we don’t think about that stuff. And the money’s good, so it’s just less of a grind than it used to be. If anything it’s been more enjoyable.”

To coincide with the reunion, the band’s former label Touch and Go has reissued the first four The Jesus Lizard LPs, which helped justify hitting the road once again. “The reissues just kind of happened to fall into the same time period,” Denison says. “The reissues were (Touch and Go’s) idea, and to remaster it and put goodies like photos, liner notes, bonus tracks, into it that weren’t there before.”

Those are the old records though. A band with as much cult appeal as The Jesus Lizard can’t come back from the dead without any sort of promise about what the future holds. Denison, however, seems hesitant to give any definite plans.

“We don’t want to overstay the welcome. One of the reasons this is going so well is because it’s our reunion but also kind of our last go around, the last chance to see us. There’s always a part of me that wants to leave the door open because everyone’s having a good time together, so who knows, maybe we’ll record something or do a special show. But then again, we think let’s not do that, let’s not milk it, let’s end on as good a note as we can.”

In concert

The Jesus Lizard performs tonight at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.

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