Larrissa Strickland (above, foreground), former guitarist for the Laughing Hyenas and L-Seven, passed away yesterday.
Along with former partner John Brannon, Strickland was a pivotal figure in one of America’s most ferocious live bands. Through 3 albums and 2 EP’s for the Touch & Go label, Strickland at first listen seemed like a Midwestern answer to Rowland S. Howard or Andy Gill, but her playing increasingly took on a life of its own — she was higher on invention than technique, but that’s not to say she lacked for technique in the slightest. Though I wish I could get through this paragraph without a mention of drug problems, there was no shortage of those, either.
Larissa was an amazing musican and for a brief spell in the late 1980’s, the Ann Arbor-based Hyenas were unbeatable, onstage or on wax. My thoughts are with her friends, former colleagues and fans. Lullaby and goodnight.
7 thoughts on “Larissa Strickland, RIP”
Larissa was an exceptional musician, especially considering that she did not take up the guitar until her and John were forming the Laughing Hyenas. She rolled on pure instinct and never lost that attribute, and indeed, the Hyenas were one of the most truly unnerving and intense bands of the post-hardcore milieu. I had met Larissa when she visited Philly (roadying with Negative Approach and with the Hyenas), and had found her to be very personable and appreciative to those whom enjoyed her music. I am very saddened to hear of her passing. RIP.
Totally OTM…never a technician of any sort, but her playing was proof positive that invention (as you put it) is more important at the end of the day.
They were the shit, no question about it.
Man hold up now this has me fucked up. Just heard the word. Laughing Hyenas were the first band I ever booked, Erie, PA 1989. I saw them at least 15 times before the Hard Times era kicked in. Then a few times after. Ferocious is the word. She was the sweetest. I was like 15 and she was like 30 and she’d act like my mom when she’d see me like “Maaaaaattttty come here and sit and talk to me.” And I learned a lot about drugs from her. Like, not to ride the horse and such. Seeing them in their prime was like, unbeatable.
Favorite band ever and truly a “Guitar Goddess.”
HoustonSoReal Eulogy in the works.
I love you Larissa.
I just got done watching my VHS videotapes of the Laughing Hyenas in Boulder in the early 1990’s including ones of them playing at my poetry series, truly original & one of a kind, Larissa kicking ass on guitar in a plaid wool skirt, everyone in the band a true individual at the time when the media was packaging the “alternative” in a way saying “hear you can be unusual in the exact same way as everyone else,” it is a little sad seeing all the plaid flannel shirts, but this was an all ages show, The Hyenas really woke this sleepy town up & Larissa stayed with me and said I could be sure of her respect because they hardly ever left a town without some of their hosts belongings’ but this time they would not & she wanted me to know that this was a compliment of the highest order, later we were to have Thanksgiving with ethnomusicologist Harry Smith at my sisters house were John & Harry discussed Led Zeppelin while sharing a pipe, Larissa & I ate at 7-11 most of the weekend and The Hyenas played a few venues that promised no more amplified music ever again & when they opened for Soul Asylum even the sound men lost some of their eardrums that night…
They were true outlaws…
Please to transfer said VHS to YouTubage thanks!
Twas Tuesday when I got the news of Larissaâ€™s passing. I generally dont post stuff on places like this but in this case felt compeled to do so. Iâ€™ve been involved in the PR/HC scene in one capacity or another in Detroit since the Freezer-Clubhouse days. Many a energy filled night I spent seeing bands like L-seven,N.A. and the Hyenas. Those times and that energy helped shape the person I am today. Despite what others have said in regards to the â€œLife styleâ€â€¦i.e. substance abuse stuff in all of this, does that really matter? Does that diminish the the fact that Larissa was a strong women, extremely talanted, groundbreaking, kind and compassionate human being? The influnce and affect she had on countless others is reason to celebrate what she was in life..and I for one would like to see this done in public in our communityâ€¦A memorial to celebrate her life. Maybe itâ€™s already in the works??? Thanksgiving weekend is a time when alot of people â€œCome homeâ€ and would seem like good time to have a Detroit get-together to do so. John and Easy Action I belive will be coming home from touring about that time. If you would like to see something get together and would like to help do something in this regardâ€¦please leave a post here.