Monthly Archives: January 1991

YER 1991

Record “Water Cuts My Hands” album with Calvin and Patrick Maley in Olympia (January).

Jean’s favorite songs on the album: 20 Years/No Escape. The Dogs.

David’s favorite song on the album: Water Cuts My Hands.

Kathleen Hanna’s Bikini Kill fanzine (Olympia) features an interview with Jean headlined: “Mecca Normal: it makes me wanna cry, I am so glad they exist.”

Mecca Normal play Evergreen State College with Beat Happening and Bikini Kill.

“The stuff you recorded in Jan. has changed the quality of my life.” –postcard to David from Kathleen Hanna

“I Can Hear Me Fine” and “Bright Like Ice” 7”s released on Smarten Up! Jean hand painted every one of the “Bright Like Ice” sleeves.

“Bear with me, I’m going out on a limb here… the Melvins are the most revolutionary, thus under appreciated, band in the world today. (Let’s get ‘em on a bill with Mecca Normal – now that would be hardcore).”— The Rocket (Seattle)

“To me, Mecca Normal is one of the only true punk bands around, in that way they are totally subversive. Maybe that is why so many of today’s young white males and their friends enjoy telling me how much they suck. I can’t think of anyone else who writes more powerful songs about what it feels like to be a woman in a world of violence against women.” – Jigsaw fanzine by Tobi Vail (Olympia)

“Smith’s most telling new refrain: “In my mind my body aches.’ This music resonates with feminism’s understanding of the body as a locus of political meaning, a knowledge difficult for any woman walking down a city street to escape… I don’t know of any other rock ‘n’ roll so closely attuned to the realities of women’s rage.” –Village Voice

“Water Cuts My Hands” is a K/Matador co-release. It is only Matador’s 11th release. It is also Mecca Normal’s first album in the CD format.

Lois Wrote About The Farm
America has named its chickens
two of them are called The Twins
America strings its words together
it is hiding something
The check out girl says she can’t
quit smoking
she’d have nothing else to do
America — instigator of the dream
in my mind
my body aches

David designs a benefit poster for Kurdish refugees using a drawing by Jean.

“A very interesting two-piece outfit (Mecca Normal), combining a single heavily distorted electric guitar played at times with karate chops, mike stand and the stage floor and at others doing straight ahead power chords with bitterly intense vocals. They’d make an amazing full band, I think; ‘We are a band’, they responded when I said so.” – Noise (Vancouver)

Tour diary: After playing 3 shows in one day in Portland, Oregon on a Saturday, we can’t find a hotel with vacancies so we sleep in the car by a diner.

“This is even sparser and way more chilling than Mecca Normal’s last LP.”—Crank (Virginia) on “Water Cuts My Hands”

Mecca Normal plays at the 6 day International Pop Underground Convention (Olympia) put on by K Records Calvin Johnson and Candice Pedersen. Jean also performs solo as part of the women only “Revolution Girl Style Now” opening night show. A guy from Rolling Stone stops us in the street to get the correct spelling of our names.

Nirvana sends out newsletter to their fan club members claiming that Kurt will be doing a duet with Jean — “Islands in the Stream”

The Kill Rock Stars label created by Slim Moon releases its first album, a comp containing tracks by Mecca Normal, Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, Kicking Giant and Nirvana among many others. The album cover is designed and hand printed by Tinúviel.

“At the North Shore Surf Club, guitarist David Lester erected a complex one-man wall of sound, while singer-poet Jean Smith dramatically demonstrated her superb range and control, finishing off with a feedback dance (literally) on guitar.” – Ira Robbins on the International Pop Underground Convention (Rolling Stone)

Tour diary: 129 miles to Pittsburgh. Tire blow out (probably because of that muffler we ran over back in New York). Jean changes it on the side of the highway.

Sub Pop writes to ask us if we want to release a 7” as part of their SINGLES CLUB series.

Tour diary: After a show in DC we stay at the Pirate House talking with Ian of Nation of Ulysses. It is 3am and Jean asks, “Got any coffee” to a shocked Ian, “You want coffee?”. “Just kidding” says Jean.

Tour diary: Meet with Gerard at Matador in New York, who asks us if we want to do another album.

“David Lester could make a fortune giving guitar lessons to Thurston and Lee.” – Puncture review of IPU Convention show (Olympia)







Dirk Hugsam, a German fan, sends us a bag of Canadian money and a pack of Roth-Handle cigarettes. He says he wants us to send him what we can of our music. We will tour Eupoe about half a dozen times with Dirk as our manager, driver, booking agent, promoter and dear friend.



I Can Hear Me Fine


Artist: Mecca Normal
Label: Smarten UP!
Country: Canada
Catalogue: SU! 003
Date: 1991
Format: 7″
Title: I Can Hear Me Fine

A It’s Important – David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocals
B Follow Down – David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocals

Art by Jean Smith. Photos by Jon Snyder.
Recorded in Olympia, WA, at Yo-Yo Studios.
Produced by Calvin Johnson with Pat Maley

Run-out groove: “We plan an oval, draw it.” on the A-side, and “A circle is folded in my pocket.” on the B.

Water Cuts My Hands 1991

Mecca Normal – Water Cuts My Hands (K Records, 1991)