Normal History Vol. 419: The Art Of David Lester

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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

I’m never crazy about reviews and articles that say no one knows who Mecca Normal is just because the journalist writing the piece doesn’t know who we are. Granted, she’s into Alanis Morissette, so I can see how we weren’t on her radar. Although, some people quietly asserted that Alanis basically swiped my look and stage moves, but whatever. I’m happy to be included in the appendix of CBC radio personality Andrea Warner’s 2015 book about Canadian women in music in the ’90s within which she claims that our two key songs from that era are “Vacant Night Sky” and “Waiting For Rudy.” Good choices, yup, but neither is about feminism, so, that kind of bugs me, too.

“I’m ashamed to admit that up until last year, I barely knew them either. They’re a hometown band and I’m a feminist who writes about music and still I never came across Mecca Normal until someone alerted me to their existence after I wrote an essay about how much I missed the political fire of music from the ’90s. Mecca Normal were riot grrrl and DIY before those movements existed, and they were tireless in their commitment to their art, releasing seven records in the ’90s alone. In fact, Mecca Normal were basically doing the ’90s in the ’80s.” —Andrea Warner appendix excerpt from We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled The ’90s And Changed Canadian Music (Eternal Cavalier Press, 2015)

“I’m A Bit Confused” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):