Mysterious “Goodbye Horses” Singer Q Lazzarus Breaks Her Silence 30 Years Later
In 1991, director Jonathan Demme introduced to the world to Q Lazzarus and “Goodbye Horses.” It’s the song that’s playing in the iconic scene from Silence Of The Lambs when serial killer Buffalo Bill is applying makeup and talking to himself in the mirror: “Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me so hard.” As the story goes, Q Lazzarus was a cab driver in New York in the ’80s when she picked up Jonathan Demme. She played her demo tape for him in the taxi, and he was blown away. He put “Goodbye Horses” in his 1988 film Married To The Mob and 1991’s Silence Of The Lambs, included another Q Lazarrus track called “Candle Goes Away” in 1986’s Something Wild, and got her to cover Talking Heads’ “Heaven” in 1993’s Philadelphia.
Since then, “Goodbye Horses” has become a bona fide cult hit. Kevin Smith’s Clerks II and Family Guy paid tribute to the song and the famous Silence Of The Lambs scene it soundtracks, and artists including Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke, Wild Beasts, Jon Hopkins, and MGMT have all covered it. But Q Lazarrus herself all but disappeared from the public eye in the ’90s. There were rumors and discussions on Reddit of her being a drug addict, involved in a toxic, abusive relationship, or even dead. But finally, in the wake of a lengthy investigative feature in Dazed Digital earlier this year and a few tweets from an inquisitive fan, Q Lazzarus has broken her 30-year silence.
Late last year, writer and musician Kelsey Zimmerman, whose band wanted to cover “Goodbye Horses,” tweeted, “time to do my monthly google of whether anyone has heard from Q Lazzarus yet or not.” Two days ago, she tweeted about it again: “Time to check those reddit threads again.” And yesterday, someone actually responded, claiming to be Q Lazzarus. Zimmerman explains in a Facebook post today:
Yesterday out of nowhere, a woman claiming to be Q Lazzarus tweeted back at me saying she was indeed alive. I thought it was a joke, so I simply responded “you’re my new favorite account” and thought nothing more of it. This morning, that account tweeted “Any questions?” to which I responded “a whole email’s worth actually.” I then got a direct message stating the following:
“Hi, sorry to bother you. I just wanted people to know I am still alive, I have no interest in singing anymore. I am a bus driver in Staten Island (I have been for YEARS), I see hundreds of passengers everyday so I am hardly hiding (or dead!), I have given Thomas Gorton (Dazed) my fone number and address just to confirm I am ‘real’, sorry if this is a boring end to the story, I am going to come off twitter soon as I find it odd, please take note of this message incase anyone else is interested. THANK YOU”
Now, the bus driver part made sense to me because she was a cab driver when she was discovered–a logical step in the next direction, right? I still wasn’t entirely convinced, but the woman posted a selfie before deleting the account, of which I have a screen shot and it is indeed a woman resembling the rather mysterious looking (and notably rare) promo shots of Q from the late 80s. I decided to google “Diane Luckey” as that was the name the woman used as her Twitter display name, and AS IT FUCKING TURNS OUT there is a woman named Diane Luckey who filed a lawsuit against a Staten Island bus company in 2015 for not having a single woman driver. This was not widely reported on as lawsuits are totally common and boring, but I found the info on a few smaller Jewish news sites, as the bus company was Hasidic-owned. Here’s a link to the article:
So for this woman to have faked this all, she would have had to find a selfie of a woman closely resembling a mysterious one-hit wonder from the late 80s who has aged 30 years, found an obscure woman’s name who happens to drive buses in Staten Island and is only searchable by a minor lawsuit that happened in 2015, pretended to be that woman, made a twitter account for exactly one day, keyword searched herself and responded to three or four people trying to contact anyone who is interested and thought she was dead, then deleted the account to maintain anonymity while also wanting people to know she’s very much alive. Her whole impetus for doing so seems to be over upset with this Dazed article where it is presumed she is dead:
I’ll post screen shots of the conversation in the comments below, but I’m basically 100% sure the person who contacted me in in fact Q Lazzarus, and it’s blowing my fucking mind. “Goodbye Horses” continues to be one of my favorite songs of all time, and if this is all true, I’m so so happy to know someone I admire so much is living a happy, simple life away from the lechery of the music industry by choice. The song is haunting and iconic, and it’s the perfect happy ending to all the horrible rumors that she died in London in 90s or befriended a drug addict who abused her or got wrapped up in a bad marriage or any of the other conspiracies I heard.
The Twitter account claiming to be Q Lazzarus has since been deleted, but you can find Zimmerman’s tweets and post below.
time to do my monthly google of whether anyone has heard from Q Lazzarus yet or not
— Lucretia Boredgia (@KelseyChapstick) October 30, 2017
Time to check those reddit threads again
— Lucretia Boredgia (@KelseyChapstick) August 9, 2018
You’re my new favorite account
— Lucretia Boredgia (@KelseyChapstick) August 9, 2018
This article originally appeared on Stereogum.