Mecca Normal started in 1984 with the express purpose of changing the world. Writer Jean Smith turned her zine Smarten UP! – A How to Change the World Publication – into a record label to release the first Mecca Normal LP in 1986.
“Arguably the greatest rock band without a rhythm section ever, the duo of acid-voiced singer Jean Smith and guitar hero David Lester must be seen to be believed.” – Douglas Wolk
In April 2009, Mecca Normal celebrated its 25th anniversary with 25 shows in 25 days, including university and high school presentations of “How Art & Music Can Change the World” – a lecture intending to inspire audiences to consider adding political content to their creative self-expression.
Mecca Normal is known as a fore-runner and inspiration to the riot grrrl movement in the 90s. As part of the regional D-I-Y scene at that time, Mecca Normal co-founded the Black Wedge – anti-authoritarian poets, minimalist musicians and community activists “setting wild hearts free, spreading the damn difficult word of how to combine poetry with activist resistance culture”.
In 2010, Smith and Lester launched The Black Dot Museum of Political Art with a four-person exhibit in Olympia. In 2012, The Black Dot Museum of Political Art returned to Olympia for a month long show.
Guitar player David Lester is the author of a graphic novel called The Listener (Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011) and The Gruesome Acts of Capitalism (Arbeiter Ring Publishing) – profit from sales have raised over $2000 for the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture. David is the publisher at Get To The Point Editions – a small press publishing poetry, graphics and fiction by community activists. His ongoing series of Inspired Agitators posters are featured in both the lecture and the Black Dot Museum of Political Art.
Vocalist Jean Smith is the author of two published novels and a two-time recipient of Canada Council for the Arts Awards as a professional writer of creative fiction. She runs Smarten UP! Records, a D-I-Y label for poets and minimalist musicians.
Mecca Normal has released thirteen albums on Kill Rock Stars, M’lady’s Records, Matador, and K Records.
Mecca Normal inspires, agitates and instigates on many frontiers.
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