Category Archives: DAVID LESTER ART

Normal History Vol. 444: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Flashlight
Flashlight tamper with the past
Jitter tight around the blade
Fire swing on the mountain
Weather moving fast from the day

Silhouette of a lamplighter on an elephant in chains
To reach the wick from the darkness
Yellow moving slow
Ignite the grey

“Flashlight” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 443: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Funny experience that pops into my mind from time to time: In 2002, Mecca Normal played the Middle East in Cambridge, Mass., opening for a band featuring Damo Suzuki. This was a total thrill!!! We played, then they played—then Damo jumped off the stage, strode right up to me and kissed me! This is how I recall it anyway. I see elsewhere it has been documented as a hug, but I believe it was a kiss … Or maybe I’m thinking of the Fall’s bass (?) player at the Knitting Factory in L.A.

So, Damo kisses me, and I can’t believe it! But then he goes around the room and kisses and/or hugs everyone there.

I imagine my brain is trying to tell me something when it pops this memory into my awareness.

“Jean,” it’s saying. “Everything in the present will soon be affected by the future. Just you wait and see!”

Also, I doubt it is without meaning that Amidst The Waves has a tiny rowboat with crew members abandoning the listing ship off its starboard side. Nor would it be without meaning that I painted two creatures that look alike embroiled in conflict, claws out Sandhill Cranes.

Dear subconscious,
I appreciate the work you do. Please forgive me if I’m too busy to notice all the little things along the way. At some point we’ll have to have a good old-fashioned catch-up.
Yours always,
Jean

“Clatter” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 442: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Drilling
Fishing for gems offshore
When the season’s right
Bringing back sundrop
Loaded up ripe

Drilling for the right time
Drilling for the right time again

Coming up the long way
On the north slope

Trees are fine today

Drilling for the right time
Drilling for the right time again

Running with your eyes closed
Seeing without hearing
The oncoming wave

It’s alright

Drilling for the right time
Drilling for the right time again
Time again

“Drilling” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 441: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Once
Once there was the soft glow
of a flare sent

Amber fragment
knocking out the sky

Then there was the darkness after too much light

Arc fallen
wading through the snow

Find the steel
sunk below

Fire in a half plan
shimmer up the cold

Find the steel
sunk below

“Once” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 440: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Not Yet
You hold down my hand
I take what I need
not you
and none of us seems taken in that way

Touch

Where will you go
and then where will you go?
I am waitingin a place I am not yet

Touch

“Not Yet” from Not Yet (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 439: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

This Machine
Making it anything
so it isn’t nothing now
I am touching at the future
with a tin edge hollow stamp

I wove the spin of endurance
knots hanging in black twine
jarred up on a plank shelf
oiled to a (dull) shine

I am wanting (watching)
I am wishing
for wind
to knock this stillness out

Making it anything
so it isn’t nothing now

Screaming on track
pounding up loud
dreaming down pipe on a sigh
sifting on freight tight
this machine rides

Making it anything
so it isn’t nothing

“This Machine” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 438: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Cherry Flowers
Gliding through the rings the oars make
on the water

Rowboats heading for the caves
they’re filled with flowers

Seven men in white shirts
watch the needle on the gauge

Rise and fall
swing and dive

“Cherry Flowers” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 437: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Held
You’d be surprised alright
where you could be held
there
pinned in an updraft
back against the clouds

Holding sirens’ rage
on a tangle pain
you didn’t know was there
you didn’t know it was there

Gridwork set up for your wing on rise
to a place
where you will be held
back against the light

Hammer on, hammer on
towards never getting back
never getting back
hammer on
hammer on

“Held” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 436: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Excerpt from my YA novel-in-progress from 17-year-old drummer Curt Frost’s perspective:

Chapter 25
Some kids just want to be old enough to buy booze. Me? I just want to be in a band.

Leaving Carol and Dorkface’s house was weird. So much happened there. It feels like we were there a week, not just overnight. It seemed OK to hug Carol goodbye, but then I went and hugged Dorkface and he gave me a couple of solid thumps on the back that felt like he thought he was someone more important to me than just an old guy whose house we crashed at. When he let me go, he actually looked a little choked up. Carol was laughing and babbling with Allison and Hannah. Nate was already in the driver’s seat of the van. Static was standing on the sidewalk beside the rental car with her arms folded, waiting. And somehow I got sucked into a weird emotional space that Dorkface was generating. I almost thought he was gonna say he was quitting his job at Microsoft to come with us.

What’s even weirder is that we’ve been on the road about an hour and all that intensity—Lizzy and the booze, Roland turning our T-shirts pink, Carol offering Isabella a job, Lizzy falling down the stairs—seems like a month ago. It’s funny, though; Static telling me I should be tour manager seems like it was five minutes ago.

“Throw Silver” from Dovetail (K, 1992) (download):

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Normal History Vol. 435: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, 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 33-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

Excerpt from my YA novel-in-progress from 17-year-old drummer Curt Frost’s perspective.

Chapter 24
Some guys want to own a hot car. Me? I just want to be in a band.
Normal people make plans. They plan to go to college or they plan to get a job. They know what they’re gonna do after they graduate. I can’t seem to get past just wanting things to happen. Like wanting to be in a successful band. And by successful I mean one that writes decent songs, records and tours. There’s no point in planning to sell a million records. It’s really hard work and luck. Apollo 13 is exactly the right band for me, but it seems like every time I turn around there’s someone or something ruining everything.

I get up from the table.

“You’re not going for a swim are you?” Static asks.

“No,” I say with a laugh. “I’m gonna go get those clowns out of the pool and try and get us out of here.”

As I walk toward the open sliding glass door, Lizzy steps inside wearing her dripping wet clothes.

“Go back outside,” I say. “I’ll find you a towel.”

I turn around and practically bump straight into Carol who’s holding a stack of neatly folded, navy-blue towels.

“I’ll take those,” I say, extending my arms.

“Thanks, Curt!” she says, handing them to me. “You’re a good egg.”

“You’re a good egg,” Lizzy says, mocking me in tone of voice I’ve never heard her use.

“Better than being a rotten egg,” I say, holding out the towels for Lizzy to grab one.

“Speaking of rotten eggs,” Lizzy says. “Did you see that blinding yellow swimsuit Isabella’s got on?”

“I did, actually. Yes,” I say, still holding out the stack of towels. “But at least she put on a friggin’ swimsuit before she went in the friggin’ pool, Lizzy.”

“Oh, Curt,” she says, sounding like she’s gonna cry. “I’m such a friggin’ mess.”

“Come on, Lizzy,” I say. “Take a friggin’ towel. I’m standing here like I’m some sort of glorified pool-boy/butler. Help me out!”

She laughs, wipes her nose with the back of her hand and takes a towel, but she just stands there holding it. I set the remaining towels on the back of the couch, take her towel and swing it over her shoulders.

“There,” I say. “Now go get a shower and stop drinking.”

“Sure, Curt,” she says, reaching behind the pillow on the couch. She grabs the whiskey, tucks it under her towel and heads for the stairs.

“Lizzy!” I hiss in a half-whisper. She ignores me. I go after her. She’s nearly halfway up the stairs when I accidentally step on the corner of the towel trailing behind her. She falls backward, silently, toward me. I try to grab her by the arm as she tumbles past me, but I can’t get a grip. She lands in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. The bottle of whiskey rolls across the fake wood laminate flooring until it is stopped by Nate’s right foot.

“Deep Dark Secret” from Water Cuts My Hands (K, 1991) (download):

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