Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 25-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.
Smith: Munich, sometime in the 1990s. When we arrived for soundcheck, the booking guy had the microphone in pieces: bare wires. The PA was a pile of crap. I don’t think we even got a soundcheck. The club was packed, and management was pressuring us to start the show. The set was pretty intense—wild. At some point, the booking guy started coming up to me while we were playing to tell me management wanted us to stop; we were well short of completing the set. I probably told him to fuck off. He came up and said if we didn’t stop, we weren’t getting paid—and the money was good in Europe. They pulled the plug on their shitty PA, which suited me just fine. The mic had been an obstacle impeding my ability to be heard. Free of it, I stepped off the stage into the audience of beer-drinking Bavarians and sang right in their faces. Dave’s guitar was still coming through his amp. The DJ put the music on to drown us out, and the booking gu said we weren’t getting paid. I found the manager and yelled at him until he got out some money and threw it at Dirk, our tour manager, who we’d known for about two days. Dirk didn’t speak English at this point. We had to push our way out, lugging guitars, amps and merch through the crowd the whole length of the bar. Dirk had the car out front. There were about six of us, and we went to a restaurant and met some record store people and journalists. Dirk seemed upset—he was concerned that I was really upset—and I was like, “Hey man, this is what we do. That was great!” And our excellent friendship began.