Live in Montréal 1996

23 years after the fact!  The only live album! Mecca Normal with Peter Jefferies on drums! Unlike most of the other albums in the Brave New Waves series, our session was recorded at a show and not in the CBC studios.

Available in early 2019 on CD // LP (fewer tracks) // BandCamp (Artoffact Records)

cover screengrab


1. Water Cuts My Hands (5:09)
2. Prize Arm (1:41)
3. Don’t Shoot (3:23)
4. Tower Island (3:00)
5. Revival of Cruelty (2:12)
6. The Dogs (4:16)
7. Drive At / Peach-a-Vanilla (3:31)
8. Ribbon (5:28)
9. Man Thinks Woman / Strong White Male / I Walk Alone (7:00)
10. Armchairs Fit through Doorways (4:28)
11. Are You Hungry Joe? (4:04)
12. Crimson Dragnet (5:00)
13. Mecca Normal, Brave New Waves CBC interview, 1986 (1:25)
14. You’ll Never Know (3:09)
15. Black Star (2:03)
16. Hideous (4:15)
17. Alibi (3:39)

Tracks 1-12 recorded live at The Cabaret in Montréal, Québec, April 16, 1996 for broadcast on CBC Brave New Waves.

Track 13 recorded at the CBC in Montréal with Brave New Waves host Brent Bambury in 1986.

Tracks 14-17 recorded by Kevin Komoda at DNA Studios in Montréal for a Mecca Normal Brave New Waves session with Patti Schmidt on September 21, 1993.

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Jean Smith’s $100 USD paintings (11 x 14″) on the LP insert and CD digipak interior

Mecca Normal poster Montreal, BNW, 1996

Rough mix. The song was originally released on a 7″ by K Records and then on the Jarred Up compilation, also on K Records.

Jean Smith – vocals
David Lester – guitar
Peter Jefferies – drums

LP and CD

Mecca Normal, Empathy for the Evil, CD cover art, M'lady's Records - Copy

CD and LP available online


Light in the Attic Records
in Seattle


Revolver USA
in San Francisco

M’lady’s Records
in Portland


K Records
in Olympia


Dischord Direct
in DC


Rough Trade
in the UK

Democracy Now! Interview

Watch the interview here.


“Democracy Now! could not have gone any better. Amy Goodman asked us about Malachi Ritscher, Riot Grrrl, our inclusion in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, David Lester’s “Inspired Agitators” poster series, the songs on the new album, our classroom presentation “How Art and Music Can Change the World” and a ton of other questions — then we performed Malachi, Attraction is Ephemeral and the new one — Anguish / Misogyny.” – Jean Smith, Mecca Normal

Mecca Normal, Empathy for the Evil, CD cover art, M'lady's Records - Copy

BUY THE NEW ALBUM “Empathy for the Evil” (M’lady’s Records).

NEW ALBUM / Pre Orders / Shows



PRESS KIT: Photos, Videos, Lyrics, Liner Notes

1 NEW March-2014



NYC — September 23, Trans-Pecos with Mount Eerie
NYC — September 24, le poisson rouge with Mount Eerie
Boston — September 25, Lilypad with E
Providence — September 26 at AS220 with Thalia Zedek Band and 75 Dollar Bill
Easthampton — September 27, Flywheel with 75 Dollar Bill
Hudson, NY — September 28, John Doe Records with 75 Dollar Bill
NYC — September 29, Troost with 75 Dollar Bill and Arrington de Dionyso
Philly — October 1, Random Tea House
DC — October 4, Back Alley Theater
Vancouver — October 18, Wrong Wave Festival, SFU
Vancouver — November 15, Media Club with Mirah

Seattle, July 14 Boating with Clyde
Seattle, July 15 at Hollow Earth Radio
Portland, July 16 at the Red and Black Café
Olympia, July 17
Anacortes, Washington, Friday July 18 at the Unknown Music Series

Check the Mecca Normal FaceBook page for updates and details.

Video: live in Seattle

July 15, 2014

“Super Valu Logo” was recorded at the same time as the new Mecca Normal album “Empathy for the Evil” (M’lady’s Records, September 2014).

PRESS KIT: liner notes, videos, lyrics, photos, liner notes

The lyrics for “Super Valu Logo” are directly out of Jean Smith’s novel “The Black Dot Museum of Political Art” (literary fiction). Jean Smith is represented by the Carolyn Swayze Literary Agency

Video by Jerry Massie

Newsletter March, 2014

David Lester poster and Jean Smith 7″ record cover art in 2014 Whitney Biennial, March 7 to May 25, New York City

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Exhibit at the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Click here for the online Press Release


Download poster FREE 

Malachi (18 x 28″) poster by Mecca Normal guitarist David Lester is included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

The exhibition also includes a recording of a live set performed by underground rock duo Mecca Normal, and both sides of the cover of the Mecca Normal 7″ record that includes the song Malachi about war protester Malachi Ritscher.  

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Exhibit with listening stations at the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

Whitney installation

Exhibit in the vitrine at the 2014 Whitney Biennial.


The painting on the record cover is called “Discovering Utopia”
by Mecca Normal vocalist Jean Smith.


Back cover with “Malachi” lyrics by Jean Smith.


Photo of Mecca Normal by Malachi Ritscher.

These four artifacts – and a photo Malachi took of Mecca Normal after he recorded the set at the Empty Bottle in Chicago in 2002 – are part of Public Collectors: Malachi Ritscher an exhibit curated by Chicago’s Marc Fischer about American activist and music documentarian Malachi Ritscher (1954 – 2006) who self-immolated on a freeway median outside of Chicago to protest the war in Iraq. Ritscher made a video of this action that was not widely seen.

“It was Malachi’s intention for the video of his protest, his death, to reach people through mainstream media, to jar them from complacency, to have them raise their voices to end the war. But that wasn’t what happened. The video was not released in that way. When we added our song – and the poster – to our performances and classroom events, we regarded them as extensions of Malachi’s intention. We had created documents about the documentarian whose final statement on war was not heard. We created art and music because Malachi’s voice was not heard.” – Jean Smith, from the 2014 Whitney Biennial catalog

“Art and music can express outrage, inspire action, or soothe and distract; please think about priorities and be involved in things that matter.” – Malachi Ritscher, from his website


Mecca Normal recorded an acoustic version of “Malachi” with KRAMER on bass and organ.

Download mp3 FREE “Malachi” (acoustic) on BandCamp


1 NEW March-2014


Empathy for the Evil will be released on M’lady’s Records
on September 16, 2014.


Jean Smith: vocals, piano, sax, guitar. David Lester: guitar, KRAMER: bass, mellotron, vibraphone and organ. Produced, mixed and mastered by KRAMER. Recorded by Rat Bastard at the Laundry Room, Miami Beach.




1. Art Was the Great Leveler 2:32
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal, KRAMER bass
2. What’s Your Name? 3:30
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal and sax, KRAMER bass
3. Wasn’t Said 4:26
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal and piano, KRAMER bass and organ
4. Between Livermore and Tracy 10:19
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal and piano, KRAMER bass, organ and mellotron
5. Normal 4:50
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal, KRAMER bass and organ
6. One Man’s Anger 3:35
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal and piano, KRAMER bass
7. Naked and Ticklish 5:50
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal and guitar, KRAMER bass
8. Maisy’s Death 7:51
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal, KRAMER bass and organ
9. Odele’s Bath 5:43
David Lester guitar, Jean Smith vocal, KRAMER bass

David Lester is a visual artist and the guitar player in the rock duo
Mecca Normal from Vancouver, Canada.

Jean Smith is a writer, a painter, and the lyricist/vocalist
in Mecca Normal.

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The photographer didn’t show up so Jean took this.

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Photo of Jean Smith and David Lester by Sean Raggett.

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Photo of Jean Smith and David Lester by Sean Raggett.

Friday July 18th, 2014 – Anacortes Unknown Music Series

3-day festival in Anacortes, Washington.
More shows to follow. Portland, Olympia, Seattle.
Any ideas for venues or bands to play with are welcome!

Mecca Normal FaceBook

Mecca Normal Archives

Newsletter Archives

How Art & Music Can Change the World
a classroom and art gallery event


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