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September 10, 2007



I knew Miss T. quite well. She lived in my neighborhood and we shared the same landlord. She will be missed, as will Algebra Suicide.

RIP - Lydia T.

fatty jubbo

i uploaded a live Algebra Suicide video the other day:

Rick Ele

This is a real bummer. My fascination with females with Midwestern accents probably began with hearing Algebra Suicide on the radio as a teen. She was like a female version of jeweler and improbable pitchman Tom Shane, but with an emotional detachment that was oddly exciting for me. I'd listen to those tapes I made with Algebra Suicide songs and wonder about that voice.


There's a lot of questions in that song to which she now knows the answers. I'd never heard of her before now and I wonder if I ever will again.


i was just watching the gabrielle coverage on the news this weekend, and 'tropical depression' started running through my head. keith baker and i reviewed the 7" that song was on (flock of crows) in an early issue of yet another fanzine - she and don sent a thank you note. even emotionally detached midwesterners are nice!
man, that myspace page has just about every 80's experimental and experimental pop band you'd dare to name being 'friends' or dropping in to say hi. hope she knew how much the band and her work mattered.

man, i've gotta stop reading botb - starting to be a consumers' song.


Shocked to hear about Lydia's passing... met her at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle School of Design around '77... she was a Ukrainian girl from the Village who went out with Camilo for awhile... the last time I saw her many years ago, Algebra Suicide played a Christmas show at Phyllis's Musical Inn, when she sang G-L-O-R-I-A (in excelsis Deo)... a person of rare, insightful intelligence, who will be missed.


I too am devastated. I knew Lydia for about thirty years. She was fiercely smart, insanely creative and a joy to be around. Remarkable, given all she's been through. The world is a darker place without that atomic-powered bunsen burner of a brain of hers. I'll miss that smokey little girl voice.


true sadness here in chicago... i've kept in touch with her over the years, keeping her stocked in CD's as she moved around... when i heard from don, my first thought was that we should have been on vacation...

Mark Hansen

Damn, this is horrible news. Lydia was a wonderful person, I used to talk to her quite often at Dreamerz, she was always fun to talk to. I loved her poetry. The world feels like a much smaller place now, without her in it.

Derek in DC

When I heard "Little Dead Bodies" for the first time on Mike's Marathon premium from a couple of years ago, I remember this odd feeling of some big secret being revealed to me. It's one of those great WFMU "Test" songs. When you play it for people, you learn a lot about them from their reaction to it.

Brant Lyon

A mutual friend heard LDB on WFMU a few days ago and told me he thus learned of Lydia's passing. Sad. Very sad. I am a poet-musician who first met Lydia in her more subdued (if such is possible) NYC days around 1996, which, compared to her salad days touring Europe just before, must have seemed like Antartica for her, though her kooky-noirish-fatal charm was still oozing from every pore. We became fast friends, and discovered we both liked Paul Lynde, astrology, and kissed all our letters (even Con Ed bills) before we dropped them in the mailbox--with or without a return/forwarding address. Though we dropped contact after she vamoosed to Arizona, I'd thought of her often and fondly since that time, and will continue to do so. A great, original talent gone too soon.

Luge boy

I didn't reaize how much I missed Lydia and Don until hearing about her passing. The friend who told me had attended Lane Technical High School (Chicago)with Lydia (and maybe Don?)in the 70's. She must have been one of the first girls admitted to what was an all-boys school (and sports powerhouse) all the way into the early 80's--that had to have made her strong, and taught her to detach emotionally from what had to have been a wierd scene--one of only a few girls in a former macho fortress. I had the priviledge of seeing Algebra Suicide many times in small clubs and art galleries in Chicago in the 80's. They were always very friendly and talkative with fans. They even kindly invited me to a house-warming party when they bought a building on I think it was Chicago ave---well before the Yuppie invasion. There was nothing like their performance vision in the Chicago area then or now. Club Lower Links was a basement spot that hosted Chicago perfomance art, and fringe/outsider music. It was also a place for Art Institute students to try-out new material. People like David Sedaris had their beginnings there, and a few other places like it. When it looked likely to close, Lydia and Don thought it was too important to close, so they took it over and tried to keep it afloat. I have to dig out all of that old vinyl and have a good cry.

C. J. Laity

Rest in Peace Lydia. I knew Lydia for many, many years. We used to perform together at Lower Links, before she bought the place. She helped me get a cheap studio on Chicago Ave. in Ukrainian Village next door to her two flat graystone. I lived there for several years. After she moved to New York, I came out to Manhattan to visit her three times, but lost touch with her after a while and only heard through the grapevine that she had moved to Arizona, I think to be with her mom. Lydia Tomkiw was a pioneer in the Chicago Poetry Scene. She was one of the first I know of to recite poetry with music, before the Loofah Method was doing it and before any of the various poetry bands that exist in Chicago today were doing it. She was also one of the most talented poets I've ever met.


I met Lydia on the Subway about the year 2000. I knew her briefly but lost touch. I googled her the other day and learned the sad news. It really bummed me out. Lydia was one of a kind. The world has lost a special person.

kevin gilmore

My aunt let me listen to this cassette when I was about 12. My mom caught wind of the name "algebra suicide with the first track - little dead bodies..." and sort of banned me from listening... but i'll never forget the way it sounded to me. 20 yrs later, i googled the song and am sad to hear this brilliant little song's maker has passed. Thanks for the creativity Lydia!

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