by Dege Legg


Digital Tip Jar

Being a musician in 2013
Is like being a blacksmith
In 3049 A.D;
Nobody cares,
Because everything is plastic.

We roll out of Lafayette
I-10 East
In the Don Quixote Econoline machine.
I got the trio with me,
Which consists of
Me: vocals, guitars, Dobro
Stephen Gardner: drums
Chris Deshazo: bass
It’s an experiment.
Maybe a doomed one.
We’re all in bad shape
From the get go on this one.
Our collective health status is poor.
I’m struggling through
Some kind of freaky summer virus cold
With no singing voice and a cough.
Shazz is on crutches
After twisting his ankle
Three days prior to tour.
And Stephen?
He’s fine as long as there’s beer
In the ice chest.
So that helps.
The first gig is awful.
First off,
I can’t sing worth a shit
Because of the summer cold thing.
I literally sound like Seth Putnam
From Anal Cunt
Trying to sing my own shit.
It’s also hilarious.
But the jokes on me.
I’m playing and I’m trying to singing.
But it’s laughable.
Even I’m laughing.
The gods have taught me many lessons
Over the years.
This is just another.
I suck so bad tonight.
Rock & roll.
It’s not always pretty.
That’s the gamble.

Everything in Alabama
Is covered in creosote.
The state tree is creosote.
The Deep South is a fascinating wasteland
Of dead cars, fried chicken,
Trailer shacks
And dudes in wife beaters
Pulling shit out of the back
Of trucks
Along the side of the road.

We arrive at the club.
We mingle with the natives,
Smoking outside the club,
I overhear a guy say,
"Birmingham is broke...for the next 50 years."
He then walks off. Silent. 
Scuffing his blue jean sneaker boot
Kick gravel shuffle off into the distance.
I nod, pensively,
Taking in the wisdom of his wizened words.
After which
I explore a trash filled alley
Adjacent to the club.
I gaze upon the greasy trash
Of the modern age
And know that it is good.
We play ok.
Place is dead.
We play better than the previous night.
I think we make $50.

We played with a really cool band
of dudes from NC
called Drunken Prayer. 
Check'em out.
Good dudes.
Good tunes.

Rock & roll always looks more glamorous
From the outside.
When you’re sweating it out
In the engine room
Of the machine
Turning wrenches
And fisting putrid things
In the commodes of Sodom,
It feels a lot different.

Shazz on the rock & roll trail of tears

Pulled off highway to get gas.
In Montgomery.
At the end of the off ramp,
Some fool
In a junked Mercury Topaz
Comes skidding, grinding and flying
Past us at 60 mph.
Black dude.
Windows down.
Dents all over.
Hubcaps flying.
What a clown!
Look at this guy. 
He jumps a curb.
He runs a red light
He flies into oncoming traffic.
Jumps another curb
Cuts right.
Skids out hard.
Oncoming cars
Are breaking and skidding
To get out of his way.
He comes within inches
Of smashing head-on
Into two cars.
Then he swerves again
Jumps another curb
And pulls back
Right side of road.
Everybody freezes
As this dude sheepishly
Pulls back into traffic
As if nothing crazy
Just happened.
No collisions.
I love it.
If nobody gets hurt,
And nothing gets rammed,
Just pretend it didn’t happen.
And so he does.

I fell asleep on the couch
In the green room.
Woke up.
We played.
My voice still sucks.
But it’s not as bad.
Crashed at an old friend’s house.
Good people.
Living the good life.
They were very nice to us
And treated us like human beings.
We hung out there for a day
Rode bikes, 
A kid's scooter
Farted around. 

Drummers are a strange breed.
My drummer Stephen is a true
Rock & roll monster.
Great drummer with good feel.
Kind of nutty.
All musicians have quirks.
Stephen’s got an interesting one.
He keeps his pockets stuffed
At all times
With all kinds of crazy shit
That he finds and collects.
I guess you would call him
A “pocket hoarder.”
At this point in the tour,
Out of curiosity,
I made an inventory
Of all the weird stuff in his pockets.
This is what we found.
Piece plastic (found of ground)
International coins
Toenail clippers
A knife
A Gumbi doll
Guitar picks
Some kind of Masonic medallion
A marble
Motel room key
Acoustic guitar peg
Beer tokens
A washer

Stephen, drummer

Stephen's pocket inventory

Pensacola, FL
We van camp at a state park
Upon pulling in we ask the ranger,
“Where can we shoot the guns?”
No reply.
We don’t have guns.
But it’s a funny question to ask.
We set up camp.
Toss and stack gear to the side
So we can sleep in the van.
Shazz sleeps in a tent.
What a warrior old Shazz is.
I’ve been friends with him
Over a decade.
Since he played guitar
In a band called Frigg a-Go-Go.
Been friends a long time.
We were roommates for a year
In the late 90s.
We lived in a ghetto rent house
That caught fire
And almost burned down.
One thing about Shazz,
No matter what he does,
It’s really hard to get mad at him,
Because he’s like the freaking
Sweetest, chill dude on the planet.
He could shoot your brother
And you’d be like,
“Shazz! Why’d you do that???
Don’t do that again, ok.”
I’ve never been able to
Stay mad a Chris longer than
10 minutes
Because he is Shazzerine.
It’s impossible.
And everyone who knows Shazz
Knows that Shazz
That it is hard to get angry with him.
He’s got some kind of cloaking device
Over his soul that protects him
From everyday troubles.
Shazzerine does not care about money
Shazzerine does not care about bullshit things.
He likes to play guitar, play drums, and sing songs.
And drink beer
And hang out with his lady friend.
He also has a weird talent
For jumping into any conversation
And throwing in his two bits,
Which is cool.
Don’t matter the subject:
Roller derby, astrophysics, snapping turtles,
Or quantum metaphysics.
Don’t matter. He’s in.
That’s about it.
By the grace of god,
Chris/Shazzerine always finds a way
To get by.
On this tour,
Shazz offered to play bass.
He’s done pretty good.
He had to cram a lot of tunes
Into his head
He keeps a little note
By his amp with song notes.
You call out a song,
And Shazz will flip through
His notes, find it, scan.
And then play it.
On one foot.
Because he is on crutches.

Chris DeShazo / Shazzerine

Van camp, Pensacola, FL

Sometimes it’s an honor.
Sometimes it's a horror. 

Day off.
Stephen the drummer
Wants to go see a baseball game.
He likes baseball.
There’s a minor league team
Playing in town.
He searches the paper.
Times. Price of ticket.
It’s American.
I haven’t been to a baseball game
In 1000 fucking years.
I don’t think I’ve EVER been
To a baseball game.
I was too busy hanging vacuum cleaners
From the trees
And burning the sacred chalices
Of time to deal with baseball.
Let’s do some American Shit.
We drive to the baseball stadium.
Stephen buys the tickets.
I expect to be insanely bored,
But the game is kind of entertaining.
It’s like seeing a band live
Except it’s a bunch of dudes
In baseball uniforms and hats
Swinging bats
And throwing balls.
It’s a little tame,
But it’s cool.
It’s kind of slow paced, though.
Everybody’s drinking.
Fans are farting hotdogs.
Women wear sunglasses.
Lot of hats.
Everybody’s got a hat.
Players and crowd.
All of them.
They like baseball.
It’s cute.
Makes them happy.
It’s American!
Fuck yeah!
Hit a field goal.
Kick a homerun.
For kicks.
It’s fun.
You can drink beer
While you do it.
And there are chicks
And cheers and stuff.
We walk around.
Drink some beers.
Watch dudes we don’t know
Play baseball.
It’d be cooler
If all the players were
On acid.
It be cool, if the umpires
Made players do something weird
When they got to first base.
It’d be cooler, too
If a few guys on each team
Were clinically insane
And allowed to roam the field
At all times.
It’d be cool if
When you make it to second base
Maybe they give you a Roid shot
And a sack of live rats
That you have to run
Around the bases with.
It’d be cool if the third base guy gets
To carry a prop knife.
It’d be cool if
The pitchers were transvestites.  
It’d be cool if when you hit a home run,
You had to empty all your pockets
And give everything to the catcher
Who started a fire with it.
That would be insane.
That would be American.

We ditched van camp
At the state park
And sprung for a funky motel
Because “they wouldn’t let us
Shoot the guns.”
It’s called the Paradise Inn.
It’s like a motel, tiki bar,
And outdoor live music venue
All in one.
Not bad, America.
You drink all night

Hang at the bar
Listen to the blues cover band
Yell “Whooo!” when the guitarist
Does a fancy lick.
Get trashed.
Look for a girlfriend.
Find none.
And then,
When you’re completely wasted
And useless,
You drunkenly scissor step
Your way
Back to the motel room
And pass out.
It’s the American way.
Everything is so damn American
In the America.
In the new wasteland.
You can’t walk 100 yards
Without having to salute
A homeless guy,
A banker,
Some chicks in bikinis,
Or a natural disaster.
It’s freaking AWESOME.
And there are cops everywhere
Telling you what to do.
You don’t even have to think much.
There are guys on motorbikes
Revving loud engine noises.
There’s a mangled shopping cart
On every block.
When you crap out of the game
They have these pills they give you
That make you happy again.
You can get back on the rollercoaster
And pop some suicide wheelies
With your grandma.
Get a credit check
And default on a Pay Day loan.
Everybody is stoked on a crime.
Can you take a punch?
You better!
No pussies allowed!
Suck it up, nerd.
Charge a casket on your credit card.
Nobody cares.
You deserve the best.
Ram two Twinkies in your eyeballs
And die for a good cause,
Because that’s the way you do it.
Grab a jackhammer
And write your name in the sand.
Hump a solid block of granite.
Get your teeth bleached
Before somebody knocks them out.
Get a tummy tuck
So that you can stuff
More chili dogs in that thing.
Pump. Up. The. Jam.  
When War War III hits,
There will be a lot more
Places to park.
You can do donuts.
So don’t sweat it.
Even hearses will have spoilers and fins
Because everything will be going so fast.
Traffic jam at the cemetery.
Get out of my way, jerk.
I’ve got things to do.
All Interstate highways will dead end
At the graveyard.
Where do we go from here?
Don’t worry about it.
Somebody will be selling
Day-Glo halos from a street cart.
They got your back.
Charge it.
It’ll be so easy
You won’t even have to try.
Easy street is a Toll Road now.
Pay up.
Luncheon loaf for President.
What’s the difference?
It’s all the same dude.
Playing for the same team.
Kick a home run.
Hit a touchdown
Run the wrong way
For the away team.
Nobody cares and everybody wins.
Fist pump.
Aggressively brandishing one’s fist
At a stranger
Will become the new “Hello, how are you?”
Go to an all-you-can-eat buffet
And take a dump
From the top
Of the tallest building in the world.   
We’re all special.
Did all your friends
Forget your birthday?
Text the coordinates
For the air strike
On your pre-pay phone. 
And take cover.
It’s a free for all
Flee market / swap meet / party hard
Kind of thing.
Just make up your own rules.
Or better yet, no rules.
Install a mechanical bull at the maternity ward.
Get them started early.
When your 1994 Ford Fiesta dies,
Ride the exercise bicycle to work.
When you lose your job,
Buy a pile driver,
To staple those resumes together.
Go big!
Put it in your living room.
Right next to the flat screen.
That’s right.
That’s the spot.
You’ll be alright.
You’re on fire.
Because you’re alive.
And America
Is your motel room.
So party.

Drive FL>GA
Hot van.
I toss a cigarette out the window.
Didn’t realize the wind
Blew it back in.
Stephen finds it
And tosses it out
Before it burns the van down.

Rat Motel, Valdosta, GA

Good gig.
Great crowd.
Small stage.
I can almost sing now.
Memorable moment.
End of the set.
A cute blonde girl jams out
At the front.of the stage.
I crawl down on my knees
To the floor of club
In front of where she’s standing.
Swing the Dobro around.
Her boyfriend gets uptight
And wants to fight.
I know this drill.
It gets defused.quickly. 
We finish.
Crowd is wasted.
Roll out.
Drive to a rat motel
Sleep among the city's forgotten.

We play at the National Whitewater Center
Which is like a big manmade water sports park
For adults.
Lot of adults running around
In river and repelling gear.
And life preservers.
Big jets blow water around
To mimic whitewater river currents.
We play on outdoor stage.
Big crowd.
We rock it pretty hard
For this crowd.
I was unsure how they’d respond
But they hang in there
And take the ride with us.
During the gig
There are storm and tornado warnings
Throughout the area.
Lot of adults with kids at show
So we have an impromptu
Dancing contest
During the solo-section of the set.
Kids bounce around.
It’s fun.
We close out the set
With new song “Judgment Day.”
As we’re midway through the song
Torrential rains begin to pour down.
The whole crowd vanishes
Except for about a dozen
Diehards who ride it out with us.
We slam the closing note
And all I can hear is
The cacophony of thunder and rain
And lighting coming down
Around us.
Everything is soaked.
Pedal boards
One of us fetches the van.
And we toss everything inside
In big wet piles
With no order
Or direction.
Just throw it all in there.
It’s pouring rain.
We don’t have time.
It’s the strangest load-out
I’ve ever done.
Massive sheets of rain coming down.
We pile in van.
Gear all around us.
We roll out
Into the rainy night,
Looking around at each other
Like, what just happened?

Charlotte: Before
Charlotte: During
Charlotte: After.
Drying out gear after gig

Greenville, SC.
We do a radio interview thing
At a private college station.
I wonder if anyone
Ever hears this stuff.

Greenville, SC, college radio

While on tour,
Never change guitar strings
Until they break.

Greenville, SC.
Weird gig.
It’s a restaurant
That has live music.
Which means you play
To people sitting at tables
Eating food
That probably don’t give a shit
About you or your music.
For the most part
And would rather you just
Shut the fuck up.
I think these are called “Menu gigs”
Or something like that.
These kinds of gigs are hard
Because you have to play
Timid and soft
With no balls
And be extra civil
As people are dining.
It’s weird.
These kinds of gig are tailored
For two kinds of bands:
Mellow singer/songwriters
Cover bands.
And maybe Cajun bands.
I don’t know.
We launch into the set,
Playing quite and sedate
For dinner crowd.
Most of them did not come there for
Us or the music.
It’s not very comfortable setting.
But at least we get paid.
Midway through the set,
The diner crowd leaves
We end up
Giving up the polite act
And just blasting through
The rest of the set.
Sure people left
It works much better
That way.

Weathered set list

King’s club.
At this point the trio
Is pretty much hitting
On all cylinders.
Shazz is off his crutches.
My voice is back.
And Stephen is beating
The shit out of the drums.
It takes about two weeks
Of playing every night
For a touring band to jell.
Two folk acts open for us.
Then we rock
And it’s loud and insane.
At this point,
I’m not sure what I do is folk
Or blues
Or whatever.
I don’t know what it is.

King's Club, Raleigh, NC

I clean out the van
At this point
It’s all scum.
Rain water,
Split beer
Piss bottles
And plastic wrappers.
Love's truck stop beef jerky container converted into piss bottle

Drunk crowd.
Cool locals.
Rocked hard.
Made some new friends
Like Brent, the wizard of Raleigh.

The Wizard
Raleigh to Brunswick, GA
We Crash in the Super 8.
Flirt for sport
At  the Waffle House.

Drive day
Day off at the beach.
My buddy Krishna
Let us stay at his condo
Which is right by the beach.
We chilled.
And hung at the beach. 
I had a good day
Making a lot of sand art.
I think it's my new hobby.
I'd never done it before.
One day me and my kid
Were at the beach during summer 2012,
And I just started doing it.
Now I can't stop.
It helps me to relax.
Like meditation or something. 

Sand circle: Daytona Beach, FL
Old Head
Cyclops Man
EBE Bulbus
Sand art: foot

This is my first tour
As a single musician since 2006.
Although I miss the companionship
Of having a lady at home
I don’t miss having to talk them
Down from the random meltdown
When they’re pissed
And hating your guts
And thinking you are screwing around
On them.
It’s not easy on your partner.
I understand that.
But for now
That’s some other guy’s problem
To deal with..
Now I can fall in love 1-5x a day
With complete strangers,
Starring at them wistfully
And wondering what life with them
Would be like,
Filling in all the dreamy gaps
Living in a country house,
Having kids
Working jobs
Planting a garden
Cooking/eating dinner together.
I can make up
10 min fairy tales all day long.
It’s a fun creative exercise.
Then you’re gone.
And down the road.
And on to the next dream.

Food always tastes better
When you cook and eat it outside.
A hot dog is like a steak.


We’re bored.
Another day off.
We want to go out drinking
But only have two bikes at our disposal.
Stephen borrows
Or temporarily steals a girl’s mountain bike
From one of the condos next door.
We all roll out into the Daytona night
And go drinking at a shithole bar.
When we re get back from the bar,
He dutifully returns it to it’s place.
No harm done.
The Bicycle Thief
We play nightmare gig
At one of these neo biker barns
With old folks in leather
And store-bought, bandana do-rags.
It’s a different kind of weird.
There’s barely any PA.
Even before we start
I’m getting heckled by old farts
Asking me to “play some Stevie Ray Vaughn!”
Roll the eyes.
Great. Just great.
I already know what to expect
From this gig.
My old friend and band mate
Krishna booked this gig for us.
It was on short notice,
So I can’t razz him too much.
Krishna is the drummer from Santeria,
My old band.
He now lives in Florida.
Married. Kids.
He booked this biker barn thing.
I love him.
Great guy.
One of my true brothers.
Never Let Krishna Book Gigs.
I forgot that lesson and relearn it again.
He booked three gigs
Back in the Santeria days.
One was at a pizza place.
Back to the gig.
We crank into it.
It’s outdoors.
An old man biker man named Rod
Heckles me throughout the set.
“Play something good, goddamn it!”
He’s our only fan.
He’s number 1.
Weird guy. Drunk.
After about 20 min of heckling,
It actually became fun.
We had a running dialogue
Back and forth
Through the gig.
Just small talk.
“How’s it going out there, Rod?”
“Play some Stevie!”
 “Rod, grab me a drink.”
“What do you want?!”
“Vodka / Seven.”
“Coming up!”
I’d introduce the next song,
Saying, “This is a Stevie Ray Vaughan song.”
And then I’d play one of my tunes.
It was strange gig.
But by the end of the set
Rod the Heckler was my buddy.
But that became its own problem,
Because he really wouldn’t shut up.
He became the drunk guy
After the show
That wants to tell you every story
He’s got
And will ever know.
Rod the Heckler at the Biker Barn

We've been eating like crap.
On tour you eat crap food.
Road food
Beef sticks
Truck stop hot dogs
Fast food cheeseburgers.
Two weeks on the road
And our bodies are lacking
In proper nutrition.
In fact, we’re all starting to get cramps.
One guy catches a cramp in the leg
Another guys laughs at him
And then all of a sudden
That guy’s got a cramp in the neck.
The road is strange life.

Stephen and chicken dinner

Yesterday’s Social Club.
Locals tell us that Skynyrd
Jacksonville is alright.
They love music.
Good people. Trevor and crew.
Good gig.
The bartender sells 20 CDs
For us while tending bar.
She’s a monster.

We crash at a motel.
Jacksonville was the last show
On this leg of the summer tour.
Then I’m off to do a solo tour
With Portland band Truckstop Darlin. 
Stephen and Shazz did good.
I had a pretty good time
Hanging with them.
Tours are always up and down affairs.
Good shows
Bad shows
You can't control it, really.
It just goes where it wants. 

Day off.
Then I fly to Portland
For next leg of tour.
I had an interesting experience today.
Couple weeks ago I was in Mobile, AL,
Peeping out a biography of John Kennedy Toole
(Author of Confederacy of Dunces)
titled Butterfly in the Typewriter
Weird thing is,
While I'm looking at the book,
The hair on my arms
Keeps jumping up & down,
Getting the chills like a crazy cat
As I'm trying to decide
Whether or not to buy this book.
I walk around the store.
I walk around. Keep looking.
Come back to the Toole book
And the hair on my arms stands up again.
I'm like, "I guess I’ve got to buy this now."
So I buy it.
I start read it in the van between gigs,
Filling in my spotted knowledge of Toole
Who lived in Lafayette,
And taught at UL in early 60s.
Book gets into the whole thing
About former UL professor & eccentric
Bobby Byrne (not Duquesne...as sometimes suggested)
Being the inspirational model
For Ignatius Reilly in Confederacy of Dunces.
Blah, blah.
So the book goes into detail
About how Byrne lived in this log cabin
Behind a house on Cherry St.
In Lafayette, LA.
Where he played medieval music
On out of tune harps
And did a bunch of other wacky stuff.
Brilliant guy from all reports.
I start thinking,
"Hey I live one street over from Cherry.
That's my hood! Where's this place at?"
I do some research.
Turns out the site where cabin once stood
The cabin's been torn down
And in it’s place is an outdoor shed
 (belonging to Andre Billeud).
File Under: FREAKY.
I take picture of the book and shed.
And post a little bit about the story
On Twitter and Facebook.
Even cooler,
Cory MacLauchlin,
The author of the book
Somehow sees the post
And responds.

The Ignatius Reilly / Bobby Byrne shed behind house

While on tour,
Sometimes in late June
I was informed by my bosses
At the homeless shelter I managed
That I no longer have a job there
And that my position had been filled.
This was while I was on a leave of absence
Specifically to do this tour.
If you enjoyed reading Roadlog 2013 Part I,
And you are feeling inspired,
You can now tip me
Through a new service called Digital Tip Jar
That works with Pay Pal & debt cards.
ALL MONEY goes to the artist
And you can tip whatever amount you'd like.
If you know anything about me,
You would know that I rarely ask the public
For handouts.
But if this little writing/donation experiment works,
And I can supplement my income,
You wills see a lot more writing from me,
More Roadlogs 
Cablogs (edited / uncensored)
Anatomy of a Scream interview series reprint
A Day in the Life Series (new)
and a bunch of other writing projects.
I've been doing these tour journals
since the year 2000,
That's freaking 13 years.
That's BEFORE they called them blogs.
It's been a long crazy road.
Strangely enough, it keeps going.


Digital Tip Jar

No comments: