Normal History Vol. 708: 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’ve paired David’s wonderful drawing of a librarian returning books to the shelf and our song “The Orbit.” Why? Why? Why? You may ask how I’m going to connect the two?

“The Orbit” is slow, and slow is more difficult than fast, which is one reason punk is fast. I play guitar on it, and when we play it live, I sing and play guitar at the same time, which is not my thing. It was my thing in 2 Foot Flame, but that was different. In that configuration, I used a glass slide and an open tuning and I played by ear, moving the slide to the right notes by listening (as opposed to knowing chord structures).

“The Orbit” was more precision driven. I played a succession of notes related to what Dave was playing. Dave being the only other instrument onstage, of course.

So, here we have the librarian whose job it is to install the book in its exact position between the correct Dewey Decimal numbers on either side. No wiggle room. No glass slide. No listening for the right note.

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