In the latest episode of Fuse's digital series Backatcha, Gabby Glaser and Jill Cunniff—aka 2/3 of Luscious Jackson—recount some of their first albums, videos and major festival gigs. Somehow, it involves Debbie Harry clutching a terrified-looking puppy, but hey, rock n' roll is a crazy business.
"Sheryl Crow came on stage to play harmonica and our DJ didn't realize that she was going to play harmonica," says Glaser, recounting a stage flub right off the bat. "She's about to play, and then he put on the sample of harmonica... and she's like, 'What the heck is going on?!'"
Luscious Jackson were one of the acts to join the positive, feminist festival Lilith Fair in the '90s, and they share a shot of festival founder and organizer Sarah McLachlan practicing with them backstage. "She came out on stage with us pretty much every night," says Cunniff. "All the girls would sing, and they'd really show off!"
Looking back on 1992's In Search of Manny, Luscious Jackson's first record, they say the art was inspired by an unexpected muse. Glaser's mother dated a 17-year-old named Manny when she was 34, and photos of him around the house inspired the cover for their first album.
"He embodied our childhood in a way, that crazy '70s free spirit," recalls Cunniff. "We grew up in Greenwich Village and the Lower East Side in the '70s, and it was such a different time in New York. We were using '70s sounds on In Search of Manny—we used a lot of '70s funk sounds, and soul. I guess I responded to the fact that he was this major '70s character with the open shirt."
So how does Blondie work into all of this? Luscious Jackson were over at famed producer Tony Visconti's house recording "Fantastic Fabulous," and Harry "sang with [Cunniff] on the chorus and did a bunch of stuff. Amazing person."
Their first video, "Daughters of the Chaos," was shot on the sly without a permit, with Tamra Davis (Billy Madison; Half Baked) directing and Spike Lee on cinematography. "We just ran around L.A. in really silly clothes," says Gabby. "It was great kind of looking like hookers! Actually, when we look back on it, we did look like hookers, but we had no idea back then." Jill laughs. "We thought our style was really awesome!"