Normal History Vol. 706: 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.

The lines about Elvis being shot and the Kennedys being drowned could, these days, be regarded as misinformation. In this song (circa 1997), I was distorting U.S. history (culture and politics) to illuminate the point that basic facts are lost more through a lack of interest as opposed to the intentional manipulation we see swirling around us today.

In the set of David’s illustrations I made my selection from, there was one of a man lying, slumped on the ground that could have represented Elvis, but what purpose would that have served? Its usefulness ends by simply illustrating some of the words. I chose this one instead because it seems like what we regard as important often reaches us in gleeful whispers and is similarly passed on. These two could well be sitting in history class. Maybe the one is saying to the other, “Did you hear the Bikini Kill show … got re-scheduled?” Important stuff like that.

Who Shot Elvis?” from Who Shot Elvis? (Matador, 1997) (download):