Jeffrey Lewis to play Rock Beyond Belief

Jeffrey Lewis to play Rock Beyond Belief October 13, 2010

Plug in your speakers and shove the next song up your mind.

You Don’t Have To Be A Scientist To Do Experiments On Your Own Heart

Jeffrey Lewis

Jeffrey Lewis, anti-folk musician and critically acclaimed singer-songwriter has joined the lineup for the Freedom Festival.

If you have no idea what antifolk music is, Wikipedia sums it up nicely:

Anti-folk is a music genre that takes the earnestness of politically charged 1960s folk music and punk and subverts it. The defining characteristics of this anti-folk are difficult to identify, as they vary from one artist to the next. Nonetheless, the music tends to sound raw or experimental; it also generally mocks seriousness and pretension in the established mainstream music scene.

I met up with him on his current national tour in support of The Vaselines. Really down to earth kind of guy, but hyper intelligent and super dorky about music (same here). Just a few minutes into our conversation, he had already agreed to play the festival. “Oh, it’s next year? My calendar is completely empty all year. I’m there.”

As customers were approaching his interestingly stocked merch table, I backed off. He consistently promoted his hand-drawn comic books more often than his music. Keep in mind, this is one of my all time music heroes. I knew he was into comics, but one glance immediately reminded me of American Splendor styled observational humor, but drawn in the style of Marvel comics circa 1990. I decided to ask him about his comics, and at one point he said, “Oh yeah, this music thing really helps me put this out.” He pointed right to his latest issue, and I was dumbfounded. All I could say was, “That is how you feel about all of this?” Waving my hand at the classy vinyl records, and other musical trinkets. His music blows my mind, and he is clearly not even trying.

He is one of the most prolific and clever songwriters of our generation. Balancing songs about deep philosophical introspection and the meaning of life “Throw out some past and make room for some future… I see a better person waiting his turn to be me.” with songs about zombies, girls and/or punk rock. His lyrics are the lead instrument in his songs, and they are not always delicate. He isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo on any particular subject, but he always carries it all off with charm and honesty. Honesty and self-reflection are his mainstays. It’s no wonder he often writes an accidental secular anthem or two.

For example, look at this excerpt from the middle of his song, ‘Life’
Jeffrey Lewis – Life

Songs are just something to waste your time
I listen to yours and you listen to mine
Before we know it the day’s gone by
Songs are just something to waste your time
So is everything else to do whatever makes you feel Fine

God’s just a story someone made up long ago
Before they had books and tv shows
I don’t believe in him and I ain’t afraid to say so
You know god’s just a story someone made up long Ago
But it’s hard not to be superstitious despite all you Know

Everyone’s born and everyone dies
Everyone has a time and wonders why
The ocean’s blue so is the sky
Everyone’s born and everyone dies
The old lady cries, the new baby cries…and sighs

Kisses are weird but they can be fun

Instead of shaking hands it’s like shaking tongues
I wish I got to do it more when I was young
Kisses are weird but they can be fun
I hate going over a month without kissing anyone

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  • John N


    It looks like you are getting a great lineup for the festival. Keep it up!