Jeffrey Lewis Interviewed

Jeffrey Lewis
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The amazing all singing all comic book writing Jeffrey Lewis Interviewed

Having just finished a Europen tour promoting his second album on Rough Trade Records: 'It's the ones who have cracked that the light Shines through'. The amazing all singing all comic book writing Jeffrey Lewis took time out from his exile in a shack in Maine writing comics books to discuss life, music and of course comics:

1. Many people think that the art of being a comic book writer is a dying one if not already dead. What are your views on this?

I think it was Chris Ware who said that the comic book itself is an obsolete entertainment form, and has been for decades - meaning, it should have gone the way of radio dramas, vaudeville, cliffhanger movie serials, etc, when television took over. It is some bizarre quirk of culture that they have managed to hang on, even if in increasingly marginalized form. This is maybe because comics are sort of like "public access" television, or rock and roll - basically anybody canmake and manufacture the stuff, with or without a team of people or money. As far as "the art of being a comic book WRITER" specifically - it has barely been born! The visual part of comics has been explored a bit, and has had some amazing practitioners through the century, but the writing part has hardly been touched, really. Alan Moore is the only person who has ever even TRIED; Dan Clowes has the skill but he

music - The amazing all singing all comic book writing Jeffrey Lewis Interviewed
music - The amazing all singing all comic book writing Jeffrey Lewis Interviewed

doesn't have the scope of vision yet. He's working towards it - with the first issue of David Boring I thought he'd finally made it - but he always lapses into making his stories up as they go along. Lots of other folks have had a certain amount of vision, but not the skill. I sure am a nerd on this
stuff, don't get me started!

2. One of the best characters you draw and sing about: Champion Jim is someone who, no matter how much life kicks him in the teeth he keeps smiling and overcomes adversity, is this autobiographical?

Well, it's graphical.

3. Many indie & alternative bands are hypocritical in their criticism of manufactured boy and girl bands, as they are manufactured themselves with the use of drum machines, pre-recorded vocals and guitars. However, this cannot be said of you, so go nuts…. ?

Actually it's a pretty good system; just cuz someone has the right look or the right guitar playing or whatever why should that mean they can write their own songs? Why not make Frankenstein bands - with the best looking people getting their pictures in the paper, the best songwriters behind the scenes writing the songs, and the best musicians and singers doing the studio work? This worked great throughout recorded music, till Dylan and the Beatles wrecked it all by making performers egotistical enough to think they could write their own stuff!

4. What music do you currently listen to?

Hmmm, the "cooler-than-thou name-drop" section of the interview! Seriously, past year or so I'm listening to lots of the Fall, Ian Dury & the Blockheads, Diane Cluck, Herman Dune, Roky Erikson, Phil Ochs, Crass, lots of other stuff... recently this lo-fi punk band I don't know the name of,there's a bunch of songs on an unmarked cassette I found, someone must have left it at my house. I'll have to do some kind of internet search somehow, they must be known because I just heard a Yo La Tengo cover version of one of these songs!

5. Are you a fan of the cartoonist Larsson, as you seem to have a similar sense of humour to him?

Yeah I like that stuff but I certainly wouldn't consider it an influence.


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