For friends and fans of John Lurie, there’s a disturbing article in the current issue of The New Yorker. The title of the piece is ‘Sleeping With Weapons’ and it’s a strange and sad tale. John has been in hiding for the past 18 months to avoid a former friend who is supposedly stalking him. In addition, he has a mysterious illness that has kept him a virtual prisoner in his apartment for the past six years, until now
For those of you unfamiliar with Lurie’s history, he’s been a significant and prolific member of New York’s downtown art scene since the 1970s. His band The Lounge Lizard’s were at the forefront of the late 70s New York ‘no-wave’ music scene. He starred in Jim Jarmusch’s pioneering indie film Stranger Than Paradise, along with more than a dozen other films. He hosted TV’s Fishing With John, has done film soundtracks and is a highly regarded painter. Now his own life is taken on a melodramatic turn that seems like a performance from hell.
The alleged stalker, John Perry, was Lurie’s closest friend. The two had a serious falling out and Lurie feared that Perry intended to kill him. John fled New York and for awhile moved into the Big Sur home belonging to Flea, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bass player. He then moved to Palm Springs, California. He’s been incognito ever since. His relationship with Perry sounds like a romance turned extremely toxic, but Lurie has made it clear that this was no love affair. The dynamic is weird, to say the least. What the hell happened? It remains unclear.
I’ve crossed paths many times with John during late-70s and John’s no shrinking violet. This is not the kind of man who is easily intimidated. So, there must be something seriously wrong to compel him to leave his home and hide out. I noticed in the past year that his Facebook messages were often angry rants that sounded like he was in the throes of either drink, exhaustion or deep frustration…perhaps all three. I knew there was a problem. He has since deleted his original Facebook page and replaced it with another. Strange behavior for a man who has always managed to handle being in the public eye.
Proving that you’re the target of a stalker is difficult, particularly if you’re male. According to friends who have spoken to him in the past year, Lurie wants his nightmare to go public because it’s the only way the cops will take the whole thing seriously. On the other hand, is John Perry actually stalking Lurie? And why hasn’t he been heard from? How much of this is in Lurie’s head?
You can read the article at The New Yorker’s website but you have to subscribe. Pick up the print addition or wait until it pops up on the internet for free. I’ll publish a link to the full article on Dangerous Minds once it becomes available on the net.
Here’ a scene from Jim Jarmusch’s Down By Law featuring Lurie and Tom Waits, followed by The Lounge Lizards performing live in Germany in 1989 and a 1979 interview on French TV.