Category Archives: Radio

CKUT interview

Download or listen to the podcast of this broadcast here (available for 6-8 weeks after broadcast date). If the podcast doesn’t run smoothly (or disappears) I made a YouTube video of it using random Mecca Normal-related footage.

David Lester Mecca Normal

Jean Smith Mecca Normal CKUT

This is Vince Tinguely’s last ever show on CKUT in Montreal! He’s been on the air every Tuesday since 1995… is that even possible? What a great time talking with him for TWO hours this morning (now that’s a proper interview!) interspersed with tracks from our new album Mecca Normal LIVE in Montreal, 1996 (Artoffact Records, 2019).

VIDEO: CKUT interview audio mash-up with Mecca Normal footage.

NEW ALBUM: LIVE in Montreal, 1996 from the Brave New Waves Sessions series on Artoffact Records, 2019

Recorded live in 1996 for broadcast on iconic CBC radio show Brave New Waves.
Jean Smith – vocals
David Lester – guitar
Peter Jefferies – drums

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Sook-Yin Lee CBC radio interview


AUDIO: Sook-Yin Lee talking with Strombo about Mecca Normal in this national (Canadian) radio interview (CBC)

Sook Yin Lee (Canadian broadcaster, musician, filmmaker, actress) discusses her early musical projects, lessons learned from Mecca Normal’s Jean Smith, punk rock and existentialism.

3 hour, 27 minute, 30 second mark

“Mecca Normal led by Jean Smith, who was considered the god-mother of the riot grrrl movement. She was always somebody on stage, it was her and David Lester playing this very urgent and energetic beautiful but rusted passionate music that was very political and artful. Both of them are visual artists as well and I think they were part of the Black Wedge Tour, that was a very political movement of art and culture, and resistance, activism. Activism was key in that community growing up, and so yes, she was always on stage. And she was one of those people who half of the punks hated her and couldn’t stand the singing, “What is that noise?” and so many people loved her. They did feel to me in the very early days that they were kind of, you know, on their own path. Not necessarily of the crowd and completely full of conviction. This song is a beautiful song, its called “Throw Silver” and there’s something in Jean Smith’s voice that is like an injury, it’s like a wound, but it’s a wound that is healing, that is like a shard of glass that is beautiful. She encompasses these paradoxical gorgeous elements and she’s a real powerful, dynamic woman of words and painting and song.” – Sook-Yin Lee

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Rabble Interview: David Lester

AUDIO: the radical origins of Mecca Normal guitar player David Lester – long time mixer of art and politics, profoundly influenced by the Emma Goldman bio “Living My Life”


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Live album out March 22, 2019

MN-poster-in-Montreal-1996-WEB-version CORRECT spelling JEFFERIES

Mecca Normal live in Montreal (1996) album (LP, CD, extra tracks on BandCamp) will be released in early 2019.

2017: Dave found the tape last week and we took it into a studio yesterday to listen to it. Finally, a live album from that era, and it sounds incredible. Until now, not releasing a mid-90s Mecca Normal performance has been one of my biggest regrets.6878

LP tracks

1. Water Cuts My Hands
2. Prize Arm
3. Don’t Shoot
4. Tower Island
5. Revival of Cruelty
6. The Dogs
7. Drive At / Peach-a-Vanilla
8. Ribbon
9. Man Thinks Woman / Strong White Male / I Walk Alone
10. Armchairs Fit through Doorways
11. Are You Hungry Joe?

Rough mix


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David Lester interview on CBC radio

“Comics are a form of social activism,” says graphic novelist David Lester in a GREAT interview with the CBC’s Sheryl MacKay about “The Battle of Ballantyne Pier” — David’s contribution to the anthology Drawn to Change: Graphic Histories of Working-Class Struggle.

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Review: Mecca Normal – Calico Kills the Cat

By Levi Fuller | Published: May 15, 2014

What a happy coincidence! When I began my usual internet research for this week’s piece on Northwest heroes Mecca Normal, I fully expected to find the usual nostalgic laments for a great band that was no more. How wrong I was! Not only is the two-piece guitar/voice unit of Jean Smith and David Lester fully operational – with a Facebook page and everything – but they have a new album coming out this fall, produced by Kramer! (See my previous post on B.A.L.L.’s Bird for more on Kramer.) Exciting times. It appears most of the KCMU DJs circa 1989 would be thrilled with this news as well.

“A K band from Vancouver BC. Just him playing elec. guitar + her singing. Her voice is odd + abrasive, as is, now that I think about it, his guitar playing. I like it a lot + seems to get better w/repeat listenings.”

“A great cover. Jean did it herself!”

“KCMU welcomes on part of the Black Wedge Tour w/Sang & Peter Plate. An eve. of music, politics & poetry @ the O.K. Hotel, on 5/6. All ages!” [This appears to have been the third Black Wedge Tour, according to this in-depth Mecca Normal history blog.]

“Drawn whilst sitting on the pot I’d say. If Billy Bragg had a little more talent, he might do something like this.” [Look, I’m not sure why we have to go slagging the great Billy Bragg just in order to praise these guys. Can’t we all be friends?]

“This is great!”

“Oh-oh-Brian Zess likes this!”

“Sounds great – if Calvin was a [female symbol]. (Are they cotton?)”

“Reminds me of early Penetration.”

“If Billy Bragg had more talent – are you serious Scotty? I guess we’re lucky he doesn’t. I like this – but I wouldn’t want to have [illegible] w/ [illegible – hot sauce?]”

“The songs are short, sharp + sometimes shocking – great minimalist sound – vocal + guitar. Try ‘Blue TV.’”

“Hey, I used to do this while drinking cheap tequila in high school. We’d sing-scream til I puked on my guitar then we’d all fall asleep. What fun!”

“But they released a record and you didn’t.”

“Thank God.”

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live on KCRW LA

A live set of songs from Who Shot Elvis? live on KCRW. Sound quality is kind of lousy, but we perform well. I particularly like my guitar on The Way of Love (third song in).

LA 1990 – 94

8121 Club (LA)
“Cardboard Box House of Love” 7” released by K Records
35 shows played in 1990
16 interviews in 1990

Rhino Records (LA)
Raji’s (with Distorted Pony and Slug)
Shamrock (with The Enemies)
“Water Cuts My Hands” released by K Records
“Narrow” on Kill Rock Stars compilation
“Bright Like Ice” 7″ released on Smarten UP! Records
“I Can Hear Me Fine” 7″ released on Smarten UP! Records
“Orange” 7″ released by Harriet Records
52 shows played in 1991
20 interviews in 1991

Munchies (Pomona)
Rhino Records (LA)
live set on Andrea ‘Enthal’s 12 O’Clock Rock on KPFK
Club With No Name
Jean turned down interview offers from the Maury Povich Show (talk show format)
and Esquire Magazine
Jean on Jane Whitney Show
Jean produces Cub’s first release “Pep” a 7” EP for Mint Records
“Rose” 7″ released by K Records
Armchairs 7″ released by K Records
“Dovetail” LP released by K Records
split 7″ with Kreviss released by Sub Pop singles club
“Carboni Angel” Jean Smith solo 7″ released on Kill Rock Stars
USA Today interviews Jean on Riot Grrrl
LA Times interviews Jean
Spex (Germany) interview with Jean
47 shows played in 1992
38 interviews in 1992

Munchies (Pomona)
Jabberjaw (with Distorted Pony, Morning Champ)
“I Can Hear Me Fine” Jean’s first novel, published by Get to the Point Editions
“Jarred Up” compilation of singles LP released by K Records
“Flood Plain” LP released by K Records

Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone photo shoot – photo by Robert Karpa
The New York Times interviewed Jean
56 shows played
30 interviews

Alligator Lounge
Rhino Records (Pomona)
71 shows played in 1994
? interviews

Reviews, articles and interviews between 1990 – 94:
Flipside, Option, LA Weekly, Seventeen Magazine, Raygun and Rolling Stone.