Tag Archives: Magnet Magazine

Video: In the Highly Nuanced Life of the Conqueror

We’ve started working on new songs! This is one of my favourites so far! Words arrived spontaneously while Dave played the fourth or fifth piece of music he’s been working on.

In the Highly Nuanced Life of the Conqueror

In the highly nuanced life of the conqueror

As you can imagine
all the features of life
your whims are manifested
by peons who do your bidding
or maybe you can’t

It’s not something I think about at all
I don’t know about you
It’s not an area of interest

World domination power over others
I could care less
but I guess
there are a lot of things that happen to us
we seek revenge in escape to fantasies
big and small

Where we wield the sword, shoot a gun, hurt someone
now they’re dead
then you move on to the next one
Ya ya ya ya
you’re gonna move on to the next one
and the mayhem continues
and are you feeling better as you move across the landscape
killing, maiming whatever pixels get in your fucking way
or turn the page in the book where the damsel is in distress again
and some guy on a horse is gonna ride by and grab her
and swing her up onto the antiquated saddle thingy

And they ride off and I guess you’re one of them
you’re the guy , you’re the girl, you’re the rescuer, you’re the victim
or sometimes a little of both
a little bit of each
at the same time
Ya ya ya ya
Are you feeling any better?

When you’re living out this violence
that you’ve ingested
instead of
finding other ways and other things to do
Ya ya ya ya
Are you feeling any better
about yourself and any others in your life
that you just can’t seem to talk to?
Ya ya ya ya

In the nuanced life of a conqueror
on a white horse, a black horse, some kind of tank thing
with a gun that’s shooting people that aren’t really people or so you say
or so you say
Ya ya ya ya

Are you feeling?
Are you feeling?
Are you feeling?
What the fuck are you feeling, man?
What the fuck are you feeling?
What the fuck are you feeling?
Are you feeling any better?
I don’t understand.
Ya ya ya ya

Are you feeling any better?
Now that you’ve slaughtered the lot of them
and they’re lying there dead
Ya ya ya ya
they’re lying there dead

Are you feeling any better?
Are you feeling any better?
Are you feeling
any better?

 

 

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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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“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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Opening for The Julie Ruin

Just as we were about to start the show in Portland, David said he didn’t see Pat Maley in the audience. I spotted him front and center and handed him Dave’s Sony (consumer) video camera as one does when in such situations. No advance warning or anything civilized like asking with a “please” attached to it. Doh. I haven’t seen Pat for a couple of years. He smiled and took the camera. What a guy! Next time I looked at him he was shooting with the Sony on one eye and an iPhone on the other, like some kind of weird binoculars. I had to look away. It was kind of comical, but mostly just slightly disturbing.

It’s a bit clunky for the transition from Sony to iPhone at 4:09 , but it looks and sounds great after that!

 New and unrecorded songs are marked *
* 1. Anguish/Misogyny 2:45
* 2. Invisible Girl 8:24
3. Attraction is Ephemeral 12:07
4. Strong White Male 20:29
* 5. I Am Here 23:47
6. Throw Silver 27:23
7. I Walk Alone 30:35
8. Beaten Down 34:17
* 9. The Ferry to the Launch 38:19

VIDEO: four individual songs

Kenny Mellman and Kathleen Hanna talking about Mecca Normal between songs in Portland at the Wonder Ballroom, October 9, 2016. Thanks to Pat Maley for capturing this! After Kenny says Mecca Normal is his favorite band, Kathleen tells the audience to but my paintings! She also does a brief imitation of me working at Home Depot! I was standing at the back of the venue feeling like this was part of a dream!

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The Jean Smith painting Kenny Mellman bought. “No Hat #46 (11 x 14” acrylic on canvas). $100 paintings currently available.

Mecca Normal (Jean Smith and David Lester) opening for The Julie Ruin at the Showbox in Seattle , October, 2016. Video by Connie Ostrowski

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Vancouver

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Mecca Normal and Kathleen Hanna at soundcheck in Vancouver

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Vancouver. Photo by Erik Iversen Photography

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David Lester of Mecca Normal pre-show in Seattle at the Showbox. Photo by Jean Smith

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Portland. Photo by Mary Sharp

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Portland. Photo by Mary Sharp

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Portland. Photo by Mary Sharp

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Portland

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The crowd (approx. 700 – 800?) from the balcony in Portland, waiting for The Julie Ruin to take the stage at the Wonder Ballroom.

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I was spontaneously gifted with a necklace by the mother of one of the two girls on the right after I signed their copy of Mecca Normal’s 7″ 1990-something EP Paris in April (K Records). Later, when I thought about the lyrics, I was happy they ended up with that one. The song is about a young woman who doesn’t want to be conventional; she wants to see travel, to see Europe in springtime.

jean-in-portland-2-web

Photos with fans!! Always a thrill! It was fun to get Pat Maley to sign the back of Calico Kills the Cat (K Records, 1989) since he recorded it! I think it’s the one we recorded in a (renovated) chicken coop in Olympia.

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Portland Motel 6

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A Condensed History of Mecca Normal

A brief history of underground rock duo Mecca Normal’s early years in TV news clips and live footage to give background and context to Jeans Smith’s ongoing $100 painting series.

Jean Smith paintings currently available

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Artist Residency, Miami, 2013

For more information on these photos see Jean Smith’s Magnet Magazine column History, Vol. 381 July 9, 2016

17Jean Smith in front of a blank canvas in the corner of the main room at the Artist Residency. Jean Smith’s current paintings

11

Christian Nerf with his art.

2

Christian Nerf’s work with obstacles at the Artist Residency Open House, February 15, 2013.

3

Judith Page and Simon at the Mikesells’ house.

4

Philip Topolovac at the Open House at the studios.

5

Jean Smith performing “Odele’s Bath” at the Open House in front of “No Coal” #1 and #2.

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Philip Topolovac at the Open House.1

Carlos, the Surfboard King of Miami, taking photos in the liveliest of studios. Love his wave-riding stance!

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Christian Nerf talking to a group of art lovers and collectors assembled at the Artist Residency.

8

I did not put the sign there. The sign was removed.

9

Phil installing his work.

10

Hew Locke and Christian Nerf at sunrise in Miami.

12

Phil Top through the flower.

13

Christian and Phil in the backyard.

14

View of the main room from my corner of it.

15

Hew and Phil at the Mikesells’ house.

16

The back yard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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All Albums

All Mecca Normal’s albums (except the most recent one) are somewhat-secretly archived, chronologically, song-by-song in Normal History the weekly column David Lester and Jean Smith collaborate on for Magnet Magazine.

 

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Normal History : The Art Of David Lester

Magnet Magazine Column

Every Saturday The Art of David Lester with illustrations by David Lester, free Mecca Normal mp3 downloads and “captions” by Jean Smith. The components are curated by Jean Smith.

 

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