Normal History Vol. 421: 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.

It used to be that print media interviews were conducted in person or over the phone. Then email interviews took over. This is where a well-meaning journalist sends some questions for you to answer, and while that sounds reasonable, it can often go wrong—often because each question is jammed with a dozen or so sub-questions, and you end up feeling like you’re setting aside way too many hours to answer questions that took the journalist a few minutes to ask. All of which is fine, until you see the final version and they’ve only used a few quotes from the answers you gave.

Late last year I had the luxury of doing a phone interview about my painting with a journalist in Chicago who usually writes about art, but she’s a Mecca Normal fan, so the fact that I’ve been painting for the past year was interesting to her.

Because I’m not going to a job, I don’t talk to people much, so I went long on everything, trying to keep in mind that she was going to have to transcribe it, but I had a lot to say. I wasn’t sure what form her transcription would take. Maybe she’d just write out the sections she wanted to use for the piece. A month later, before the piece appeared, I decided to ask if I could get a copy of whatever she wrote out, and it turned out to be the entire conversation. Totally one-sided, but a document of where things were at the end of 2016.

“12 Murders” from the album Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989) (download):