Why Jeffrey Lewis Rules by Mathias Kom and Ariel Sharratt (2015)

 In Why This Rules
Jeffrey Lewis & the Jrams

Jeffrey Lewis

Do you have ten dollars? Good. We will bet you ten dollars that after you go see Jeffrey Lewis at Kazoo Fest you will become a lifelong, dedicated, die-hard fan. The kind of fan that buys all his albums and comic books and knows all the words to his songs. And that’s a lot of words. If you’ve seen Jeffrey Lewis before, you won’t take the bet, because you’re already that kind of fan, because that is the only kind of Jeffrey Lewis fan there is. Are you ready to lose ten dollars, internet?

Way back in the year 2008 we drove down to New Jersey to see a Herman Dune show. Herman Dune was amazing, but Jeffrey Lewis was opening and after his set it was kind of hard to pay attention because we were too busy quoting Jeff’s lyrics to each other in whispers at the back of the room. Neither of us had ever seen or heard anyone quite like him, and we still haven’t.

We brought Jeff out to Newfoundland for the third installment of Lawnya Vawnya and he wowed the crowds with his funny, moving, hyper-literate songs and his large-format, illustrated low-budget movies about things like the history of communism or the story of The Fall. He riled them up with his political anthem What Would Pussy Riot Do, made them cry with When You’re By Yourself, and left everyone feeling like they had just seen the most engaging and original show they’d seen in years. Which they had. The next day, he gave an informal presentation about his comics and his work as a illustrator, and he sold out of all the comic books he had brought before he even finished speaking.

Whether singing or strumming or drawing, Jeffrey Lewis is unquestionably one of the most innovative artists on the planet. But you don’t need to take it from us. Jens Lekman says that Jeff is the only person he’s ever sent fan mail to, and folks like Jarvis Cocker, Will Oldham, and Robert Christgau sing his praises as well. Are you scared to take that bet yet? You should be.

Mathias Kom and Ariel Sharratt play in The Burning Hell and are co-founders of Lawnya Vawnya in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

thejeffreylewissite.com // bandcamp // facebook

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