The walkout song is a time-honored tradition in MMA. It's also a delicate balancing act. The perfect song has to pump a fighter up while settling his/her nerves, appeal to the crowd without appearing to pander. "My Walkout Song" is where we ask MMA fans who also happen to be famous musicians what makes for great pre-fight music and what song they would choose to accompany their walk to the cage.
Lydia Lunch. You can't start a piece about Lydia Lunch without stating the name of the game, since the name says it all and will save you pages and pages of bona fides that establish first and foremost that first and foremost she can and will kick your ass. Not because she's a fighter necessarily, not in the sense that Fightland means it at least, but because she will, plainly put and simply stated, outlast you. On her own since she was 13 and weathering childhood sexual molestation, 1970s New York, 1980s New York (crack epidemic included), punk rock, No Wave, prostitution, drugs, mental institutions, lunatic men, and a raft of other life-destroying deals Lunch has turned around and pulled a really big rabbit out of a very large hat by not only continuing to exist, but by doing so in style. With marks made in music, film, TV, publishing, plays and performance the now-Barcelona resident Lunch maintains a heavy duty touring schedule and still has time left for the odd fight with UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
So we figured she'd know a few things about a few things. Specifically what would constitute the finest thing to be pumped out of a half a dozen line arrays to fill a coliseum with the sound of sonic terror and ass beating.
Artist: The Birthday Party
Lydia Lunch: Either that or my next LP: Music To Murder By … a punishing excursion of death grind horror core, an opera of sorts that illustrates the cleansing effects the correct application of a well-focused violence has on the individual psyche; in whatever shape it may take, be it music, madness, murder, or MMA. It’s a collaboration with Weasel Walter.
The music [in MMA] as it stands now seems to be pretty diverse, ranging from Hank Williams Jr.’s "I’d Love To Knock the Hell Out Of You" ... to cheese ball post-punk metal and every crappy genre in between. But great music always gets the blood pumping.
Fightland: Like the fact that Nick Cave is into paintballing, I'm having a hard time seeing you settling down to watch a fight. You check out the fights much?
Large men, gluttons for punishment, beating the shit out of each other: kind of like a dream. The punishment, I mean. Which is, of course: better to give than to ... end up with a broken jawbone because you can’t resist challenging not only the maniac in front of you, but ultimately yourself. I dig it.
But you know, having a mighty mouth and having a mighty right hook are two different things. However, in order to back up my mouth I have been boxing for years. More for endurance, strength, fun. And usually just against the bag itself.
You got into a well-publicized scrap with color commentator Joe Rogan and you more than held your own in it. What the hell was that about?
I have no clue … two button-pushers in a backyard scrape-up pissing on each other’s leg … whatever. We occupy completely different universes. Minor bullshit … means nothing to me. One evil clown to another.
Steve Albini thought/thinks that MMA or any sort of fighting is a genetic abnormality that we should try to move beyond. Are you finding yourself sharing any sort of similar sentiments?
Fuck no! For the most part I think well-applied discipline, which is what it takes to fight professionally in MMA, is a way to focus the natural pent-up animal aggression we as human beings have not yet had drugged out of us. I think when more kids play sports that challenge your physical endurance and channel aggression into a ritualized game, it can, in general, have a calming effect on the individual. Especially if it's martial arts, in which respect is a part of the training. It's not professional fighting that is the problem; it's the spectators that get so juiced up and decide to get into shoot-outs in the parking lot where in the trouble lies. But I see this happening with football way more than it does with MMA.
Check out these other installments of our "My Walkout Song" series: