VIDEO: Lois Wrote About the Farm

“Lois Wrote About the Farm” by Mecca Normal from “Water Cuts My Hands”(K Records, 1991). Jean Smith vocals. David Lester guitar. Painting by Jean Smith.

“Lois Wrote About the Farm”

America has named its chickens.
Two of them are called The Twins.

America strings its words together neatly;
it is hiding something big.

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.

 

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VIDEO: Dead Bird’s Feet

“Dead Bird’s Feet” by Mecca Normal from “Water Cuts My Hands” (K Records, 1991). Jean Smith vocals. David Lester guitar. Directed by Jean Smith.

Dead Bird’s Feet

Dead bird’s feet
mounted on the wall
they don’t have a right side up
they don’t have an up side down
they were something else
now they’re on the wall
on the wall

Wanting conflict to be neat
we name the opposition
forever it will be the things they do
that are wrong
that are wrong

Men hate women
making it easy for women to hate men
women hate men
making it easy for men to hate women
men to hate women

We are handing out stiff starched pajamas
to sex offenders
in concrete halls

We are wincing and creating opinion
slamming steel doors
and turning in the breeze
in the breeze

of right and wrong
of right and wrong
outside where air is pure
air is pure
air is pure

Right and wrong
outside
outside where air is pure
air is pure

 

 

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VIDEO: Not Standing Still

“Not Standing Still” by Mecca Normal from “Water Cuts My Hands” (K Records, 1991). Jean Smith vocals. David Lester guitar.

 

Not Standing Still

You might say,
“Why do I fight?
Change won’t happen.”

Well, not overnight.

Why do you think
we’re standing still?

We’re not standing still.

Change will happen.
Oh yes, it will.

 You might say,
“We’re standing still.”

 We’re not standing still.

 

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VIDEO: Water in a Bucket

“Water in a Bucket” by Mecca Normal from “Water Cuts My Hands” (K Records, 1991). Jean Smith vocals. David Lester guitar. Directed by Jean Smith

Images: Stock footage from Prelinger Archives. Flint faucet. Mecca Normal performing in Holland 1994 — using the visual portion of footage at Fast Forward Festival, Nijmegen. Direction and editing Remko Dekker. Cameras Bart de Keulenaar, Wilmer Hendriks, Remko Dekker.

Water in a Bucket

La la la my my my la la la my my my

Water in a bucket

down the street

You carry your water in a bucket down the street

La la la my my my la la la my my my

You carry your water too

in a North American city

in a North American street

Where the dream started

it started without you

I wanna get out of this dream

nightmare

I wanna climb out of this dream

this dream
this nightmare
nightmare

nightmare

It’s no dream

nightmare
nightmare
I wanna get out of this dream

nightmare

The dream started without you

It’s no dream

La la la my my my la la la my my my

 

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PopCon

SEATTLE Museum of Popular Culture (formerly EMP) Saturday, April 22, 2017, 5:15 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

16 minute film by Jean Smith for PopCon 2017, introduced by Evelyn McDonnell (Associate Professor of Journalism and New Media and Interim Director of Journalism at Loyola Marymount University in LA).

PopCon 2017 theme is music and politics.

The annual EMP Pop Conference, first held in 2002, mixes together ambitious music discourse of every kind in an attempt to bring academics, critics, musicians, and dedicated fans into a collective conversation.

Jean 1

Jean 2

Stills from the film. Jean Smith performing “The Dogs” outside Pages Books on Queen Street in Toronto circa 1993. Jean Smith being interviewed by Much Music inside Pages, talking about feminism and the increase of women in bands.

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VIDEO: Cherry Flowers

I made a video for the Mecca Normal song Cherry Flowers (Dovetail, K Records, 1992) fairly spontaneously. It’s a pretty song about springtime and I did a cherry blossom painting recently, so it occurred to me to connect them. But, as I was putting the elements together, I recalled more about the song’s meaning, which I don’t think I’ve ever been asked about or expressed.

That got me to thinking about all our songs and the various meanings tucked up into them, so I listed all the songs, created a song meaning legend and assigned codes to most of the songs with a note saying that some of the songs need to be reviewed due to their nature, which might be psychological, poetic or complex.

As for Cherry Flowers (1992), it is about the geography of borders, clandestine crossings in vehicles (row boats heading for the united caves of america) laden with cherry flowers. Feel free to interpret what the cherry flowers are (maybe art and music?), but, in the song, “seven men in white shirts watch the needle on the gauge, rise and fall, swing and dive, on the border” using specialized equipment to assess the validity of those attempting to cross.

Painting by Jean Smith “Spring” (11 x 14″ acrylic on canvas panel) $100 USD

Song Meanings

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Song Meanings

6. One Man's Anger
Illo by Jean Smith
Normal History Vol 168 by David Lester
 Illo by David Lester

 

Mecca Normal songs listed alphabetically with predominant themes as per the legend. Songs without code need to be reviewed due to their nature, which might be more psychological, poetic or complex to assign code to at first glance.

LEGEND:

Activism related to Status Quo = Act
Apathy = Apathy  Anger = A
Capitalism = C
Empathy = E
Environment = Env
Feminism = F
History = H
Injustice = I
Language = L
Political (including Personal) and Protest = Pol & P
Relationships (romantic, interpersonal, family) = R
Social Justice = SJ

Utopian = U

SONGS:

12 Murders – F, SJ, Pol
20 Years / No Escape – Apathy, H, I, U
1922 – F, I, H, P, U
A Kind of a Girl – F, I, H, P
Accidently – L
Alibi – R
All About the Same Thing – R, H, C
Ancient Fire – F, Pol, H
Are You Hungry Joe? – SJ, I, H, Pol, A
Armchairs Fit – Act, A, Apathy, Pol, C
Arsenal – F, R, L, I, Pol
Art Was the Great Leveler – E
Attraction Is Ephemeral – R, Pol
Beaten Down – A, Pol, C
Beppo’s Room –
Between Livermore and Tracy –  B
lame the Glass Man – H, C
Blue Sky and Branches – A, R, H, Apathy
Blue TV – C, A
Breathing in the Dark – R
Broken Flowers – R, C
Cave In – A, Pol, C
Cherry Flowers – Pol, U
Clatter – C
Convince Yourself – E, C
Crimson Dragnet –
Current of Agreement – E
Cyclone – E  Days – Env
Dead Bird’s Feet – L, F, A
Deep Dark Secret –
Don’t Heal Me Like a Dog Just to Break Me Like a Horse – R
Don’t Look In The Mirror –
Don’t Shoot – Act, Pol, C, SJ
Drilling – Env, C
Drive At – H, Env, C
Echo –
Elemental Steamer –
Engine Rain – C, Env
Every Wrong Word – L, F, I
Excalibur – R
Fallen Skier – R
Family Swan – R
Fan of Sparks – Env
Fight for a Little – P, A, H
Flash Light –
Follow Down –
Forlorn – F, R
From the Surface –
Frozen Rain –
Gravity Believes –
Greater Beauty – Env
He Didn’t Say – F, R
Held –
Her Ambition – F
His Own Madness – R
Horse Heaven Hills –
How Many Now? – H, SJ
Hurricane Watch – E
I Don’t Get It –
I Don’t Need To Hold Your Hand –
I Hear You – E
I Know a Little Bit – C
I Walk Alone – F, A, H, Pol
I Went Away For A While –
Ice Floes Aweigh – R, H
I’ll Call You – R, F, A
I’m a Bit Confused – C
I’m Not into Being the Woman You’re with While You’re Looking for the Woman You Want – F, R, I, A, L, Pol
In Canada – R, H  In January – Pol, Res
Is This You? – E
It’s Called Rock ‘n Roll – H
It’s Important – E
Joelle – F, SJ, Pol
Kingdom Without Weather – Pol, U

Lois Wrote About The Farm – L, C, Apathy
Maisy’s Death – E
Malachi – Pol, Emp, Act
Man Thinks Woman – F, I, L, A, H, Pol  Medieval Man –
More, More, More – C
Mrs. McGillvary –
Museum of Open Windows – Pol, A, SJ
My First Love Song – R
Naked and Ticklish – R
Narrow – R
No Mind’s Eye – R, L
Nobody’s Asking –
Normal – Apathy
Not Standing Still – Act, Apathy, Pol, P, H
Not With You – R, F  Not Yet – R
Now That You’re Here – R
Odele’s Bath – E
OK, Here We Go – E
On the Row of Dials –
Once – H, Env
One Man’s Anger – F, Pol
One More Safe – Emp, Pol, L, Act
One Woman – F, Act, H
Only Heat – E
Orange Sunset – A, F, L
Pamela Makes Waves – F, H  Paris in April – F, H
Peach-A-Vanilla – Apathy, Act
Phone’s Unplugged – I, R
Pocket Of Scribbly Gums –
Prize Arm – A, C, Act
Revolution#Pine – Pol, Act
Ribbon – Pol, Act
Richard – C
Rigid Man in an Ice Age – H, L
Rose –
Scare in the Hallway –
Sha La La La – Pol, Act
Smile Baby – F, SJ, Pol
Something to Be Said –   S
Step into My Sphere – F, R
Straying to Summer – SJ
Strong White Male – Pol, F, C, I, H
Taking The Back Stairs – Act, Apathy, A, C, E, H, I, P, SJ, U
Texada Warns Me –
The Caribou & the Oil Pipeline – P, A, C, E
The Dark Side of Maria – R
The Dogs – C, L
The Message – Pol, SJ, Act
The Observer – H
The Orbit – R
The Revival of Cruelty – Pol, Act, C
The Way of Love – R
Then – A, H, Pol
This Is Different – E
This Is My Summer Vacation – C
This Machine – E, Apathy
Throw Silver – R
To Avoid Pain – Apathy
Tolerate Me – A
Trapped Against – Apathy
Trapped Inside Your Heart – R
Upside Down Flames – U
Vacant Night Sky – E, R
Waiting for Rudy – C, SJ, Pol
Walking the Walls – Apathy
War Between the Neighbours – C, R
Wasn’t Said – R
Water Cuts My Hands – Pol, C
Water In A Bucket – H, I, Pol, C, E, SJ, U
What About the Boy? – SJ
What’s Your Name? – Apathy
When You Build a House Without Doors – Pol
When You Know – R
Who Shot Elvis? – H, Pol, C
Who Told You So? – H, A, Pol
Will He Change? – SJ, Pol
Women Were King – H, F, Pol, U
You Heard It All – Pol, H
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“We Oughta Know” by Andrea Warner

An entry in an appendix of Canadian women in music, in the book “We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the ’90s and Changed Canadian Music” by Andrea Warner (Eternal Cavalier Press, 2015)

Mecca Normal, 1984 – present
Key 90s songs:
“Vacant Night Sky ” from Sitting on Snaps (Matador Records, 1995)
“Waiting for Rudy” from Flood Plain (K Records, 1993)

“Underground art-punk rock duo Jean Smith (vocalist) and David Lester (guitarist) have been crafting weird, tightly coiled but loosely structured songs about gender, feminism, politics, and social justice isues since 1984. Anybody who knows Beat Happening, Bikini Kill, and Sleater-Kinney should know Mecca Normal, almost nobody does. I’m ashamed to admit that up until last year, I barely knew them either. They’re a hometown band and I’m a feminist who writes about music and still I never came across Mecca Normal until someone alerted me to their existence after I wrote an essay about how much I missed the political fire of music from the ’90s. Mecca Normal were riot grrrl and DIY before those movements existed, and they were tireless in their commitment to their art, releasing seven records in the ’90s alone. In fact, Mecca Normal were basically doing the 90s in the 80s. Consider the still-relevant subject matter of their mid-’80s tunes like “Smile Baby,” which calls out street harassment (yes, three decades ago), “More, More, More” which addresses the privilege of white men and the American Dream, and the simple, chilling, and inspiring “I Walk Alone” which affirms a woman’s right to safety in a public space. It’s important music that still matters today.” – Andrea Warner

 

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Feminism was not a phase or a failed experiment

Feminism was not a phase or a failed experiment. We are here!”

On International Women’s Day, I edited, uploaded and shared a snippet of a very new song on both my page and the Mecca Normal page on FaceBook.

Snippet of “I Am Here” from the show in Portland, October, 2017, opening for The Julie Ruin.

I’m always interested in seeing the reach and reaction to what I post, so, here below are the stats for these two posts. These are high viewing numbers for us.

video 2

Jean Smith FaceBook page = 1879 views

video

Mecca Normal FaceBook page = 2343 views

View video on YouTube

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