Sometimes the eligible listener has to wonder where indie-rock bands get their peculiar names from. There are the typical “The -” bands, inspired by legendary British formations, bands with names that come from confusing and sounding word-collages of home, family name, favorite bar, etc., and those who have borrowed their names from a certain “intellectual scene” of literature , philosophy, as well as film and television. The Austrian formation Naked Lunch definitely belong to the latter.
In this manner, the Naked Lunch borrowed the name from the respective book title of the American author William S. Burroughs. The popular novel of the beat generation includes topics of taboo-less depths, which turn into a story with a cut-up method of content. In a certain sense, this also describes the musical career of the Carinthian rock band. Since its beginning in the early nineties, the band has accumulated so many experiences, that this could easily fill a further novel. A musical life between highs and lows, from the beat generation to the beat of the new decade.
In the course of the band history, the band has travelled a long road with many dead ends, detours, highways and crossings. Starting from Klagenfurt, the initial formation around guitarist Oliver Welter included drummer Peter Hornbogner and bassist Georg Timber-Trattning, who left the band two years later to conquer the world. The fact that you can only achieve things with hard work, is something that the musicians were always aware of. However, at that point they had no idea of the many stumbling rocks, losses and emotional depths, that they would have to encounter in the course of their musical carreer. Nevertheless, Naked Lunch has never lost its courage and strength. The band travelled an immensely long journey, always with the memories of its successful times in the back of the head, from the first demo tapes which quickly led to a record deal, the debut album, “Balsam”, released in 1992, which especially attracted a lot of attention in England, as well as countless live sets, which the band soon got tired of. With Herwig Zamernik, the band quickly found a further member who now belongs to the core of Naked Lunch, together with Oliver Welter.
After a short break, Naked Lunch finally tried to make the international break-through. They flew to New York to audition at showcases, unfortunately without great success. In 1997, they travelled a second time to the major city, where they received the chance to collaborate with an icon of the music business, namely Alan Moulder (Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails). Yet the desired results of the released “Superstardom” (Mercury / PolyGram) failed to appear, sales numbers remained small, but the frustration of the musicians grew steadily. This great discomfort had to find its outlet. During their world tour, they stopped in Sao Paolo and liberated themselves from their aggressions by completely battering the stage, which ultimately got them arrested at their second home in London. After this rockstar-like “faux pas”, the light finally started to shine for Naked Lunch. First of all, the trio gained with keyboard player Stefan Deisenberger a new band mate. Then their contacts to the German band “The Notwist” paid off and resulted in Olaf Opal’s collaboration on their electronic-tinged third album “Love Junkies”, from which the single found a good number of listeners. However, the remaining songs on the album were not well received, with the result that the record label, management and agency dedicated themselves to other projects and Naked Lunch had to once again start from the beginning – back from the cities of New York and London into the calm of Klagenfurt, into the ruins of their past achievements.
After a long period of tristesse – uncertain future, the tragic death of the former band member Timber-Trattning, depression and alcohol addiction – it took 4 years for Naked Lunch to finally venture a new beginning. With the album “Songs for the Exhausted” the band began the trembling search for a new record company. A whole year passed before the German label Motor Music finally signed them. With “Songs for the Exhausted”, Naked Lunch pitched their most sinister chapter – the newly healed wounds of the past were torn open again, but this did not interfere with their commercial success. Just as their fast downfall, they made their way up equally fast. Editors wrote their fingers to the bone with positive criticism. After this special type of “music therapy”, the band had a much more positive approach to their most recent album. “This Atom Heart of Ours”, a work full of pathos, makes one sense the constant ups and downs of the band. At the same time Naked Lunch created the soundtrack of the award-winning episodic film “Universalove”.
Things are different now, and these burnt children of indie rock have now grown into mature men. Instead of meticulously holding on to the initial formation, the band members simultaneously work on solo projects. Herwig Zamernik now performs as the alter ego Fuzzman, a superman with a wool cap, Stefan Deisenberger recently released an album with Jacob Kubizek under the project name “Love & Fist”, and while working on the new album of Naked Lunch, the front man Oliver Welter sometimes performs solo on stage. The musicians have finally left their turbulent past behind them and keep looking towards the future. No one else than Naked Lunch can say it better: There is no end, there’s no beginning, we’re right here in the middle, in the middle of this heat … ” (“Military of the Heart”).