Normal History Vol. 700: The Art Of David Lester

Every week, 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 39-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

I have no idea what information is being shared by the people in David’s drawing. I have a feeling he’s left it open to interpretation. I feel a sense of responsibility not to misrepresent either him or the women (however fictional they may). I won’t say they are talking about a mass movement to legalize abortion on demand, but they probably are.

It’s a kind of political art/activism that David and I create in this space every week. It begins with me picking a drawing of David’s to collide with a Mecca Normal song (in sequence from the albums) that then requires me to come up with words. David trusts what I do in the same way that he writes a song on guitar and plays it for me to sing words in a secondary melody that I create. It’s a strange balance because it seems like the singer has extra clout with both words and melody. It seems fair though, considering I’m a woman and he’s a man. A man who must control the volume on his guitar to allow my words to be heard. Together we are frequently impacted by the mindset and choices made by sound people at live events and sound engineers in the studio. Additionally, we need to hear ourselves and each other in order to make the thing that we want others to hear. Try doing that 35 years fast.

Trapped Inside Your Heart” from Sitting On Snaps (Matador, 1995) (download):