[Editor’s note: Independent Weekly arts/entertainment writer Dege Legg is in the midst of a month-long music tour up the East Coast to Boston, west across the Upper Midwest and back down to Louisiana. His tour, in the guise of his latest musical persona, Brother Dege, is in support of his new record, Folk Songs of the American Longhair. Dege is filing reports of his experiences from the road throughout the tour. This is the third installment.]
A WALK IN THE DARK
Lake Anna State Park, Virginia.
I’ve got a day off between NC and DC
So I’m doing some R&R.
Crashing at Lake Anna State Park in Virginia.
Place is empty, because it’s midweek.
But it’s beautiful.
Big lake. Lot trees and trails.
Only two other campers in the camping lots.
Everyone keeps to themselves,
Which makes it extra quiet and isolated.
And kind of lonely.
But still pretty nice out here.
Night falls. I build a little fire.
It keeps me company
As the stars bloom and the night sounds rev up
Like a high-whining nature engine.
I boil water over the fire and cook up some noodles.
I question my decision to crash here.
It’s almost TOO quiet.
Like I said, it being midweek,
Everyone is working and the whole park
Is pretty empty.
To combat the weirdness of being alone out here,
I grab the flashing light and go for a long walk
Down a trail in the woods.
It’s pretty rad.
When you turn the flashlight off,
You’re floating in a sea of darkness
With night critters and tree ghosts
Wandering about you.
It’s fun to try to walk in total darkness
Through the woods.
The stars are bold and radiant,
Like a tarp thrown over with
Thousands of pinholes.
I return to the van.
Lay my head down.
Listening to the night sounds
Pressed up against the buzz of AM radio.
I wakehours later
When I hear a crazy noise
A bang of some sort.
I realize it must’ve been noise from a dream.
VAN CHORES & PUNK ROCK YOGA
Every morning I wake and do my “van chores.”
Check the fluids on the van.
Bag the dirty stuff.
Toss the trash.
Gobble some vitamins.
Charge the cell phone.
Eat a breakfast bar or some nuts.
Rearrange the back of van from Sleep Mode to Rolling Mode.
Drain water in the cooler.
Drop in a bag of ice.
Pensively smoke a cigarette and vibe my surroundings
While wondering what the day will bring.
I give thanks to God or the Higher Power Being of Unknownness
For the previous day and the coming day.
I try to tune my body to the natural order of the environment
And fit myself in there somewhere
In a harmonious way.
To where I don’t hurt anyone
And no one hurts me.
It doesn’t hurt to try.
Sometimes I even do some homemade windmill arm, yoga moves
That I made up.
I make sure no one is around while I’m doing them.
So people don’t think I’m crazy and call the cops.
It kind of looks like slow motion slam dancing.
But you’re just standing in place.
Punk rock yoga if you will.
Philly’s nuts as far as civil engineering goes.
At least from what I can tell.
In order to get from Point A to B,
You’ve got to jump from one nutty highway
Or interstate to the next.
Nerve racking when you’re in a big ass van.
Not a lot of people were very gracious
In the Merge Dept.
You’d think if you’re driving a big ass van
With Black Bayou Ministries on the side,
People'd throw you a bone.
They’re too wrapped up in the Rat Race Hustle
It’s “me first, you later” mentality
That I really dislike.
It brings out the “manimal” in me,
And I get angry.
Why are people so petty?
What is about driving on a freeway
That brings out the petty stuff in human nature.
Because if you want to play hardball,
And I will.
And then you can call your lawyer.
Or go home and watch re-runs of Home Improvement
And eat a TV dinner.
Got to the club.
Four bands on bill.
Unfortunately, I get to play last,
Which means a late night.
Cool dude name Yuri Gohen on the bill.
Play’s rad kind of psychic time machine folk.
I bang it out.
Too much beer.
The Greek owner, Billy, starts giving me
Free whiskey shots.
It gets sloppy from there.
I have to tell him to stop,
Because it could get weird.
I sit out in the back parking lot with the soundguy
After the show, talking 80s hardcore
Till 4 a.m...
Gang Green is playing the same club the night after me.
I park in an abandoned lot behind
A mom & pop corner grocery
And fall to sleep in the van.
I wake it’s hot.
Brush my teeth walking about the abandoned lot.
Old owner of grocery store, with a thick foreign accent, guy in his 70s
Comes out and tells me I have to move
I love this side of America.
You can’t park here!
You scare me.
Where is the “This land is your land?”
Now it’s “This land is my land and you scare me,
So leave or I will call the cops.”
At one time you could roam
And park and sleep almost anywhere.
Nowadays, you’ve got to creep around
Like a criminal just to find a secret place
To park and sleep.
They see a van and a guy sleeping in it
And they assume you’re Jed Clampett
From the Beverly Hillbillies
And you’ll be staying there a long time.
I tell the old man that I’m working,
I played a gig at the bar next door,
And will be leaving soon.
“Just so you stay on your side of lot,” he says.
“You worry about you and I’ll worry about me,” I tell him.
You gotta love it.
It's not Love it or Leave it, anymore.
It's "Don't park here. Just LEAVE!"
I stopped at a Chilli’s
To use the bathroom really quickly
And get back on the road north.
As I was walking toward the bathroom,
I noticed the “How Bizarre” song by OMC
Was being piped in over the house stereo system.
It was actually a hit sometime in the 90s.
Possibly the worst and most irritating song
Something about the freaking tune…
It’s so bad…
Whenever I hear it
It doesn’t leave my head for days.
It’s so awful.
And yet something in my brain
Grabs onto it and won’t let go.
I almost cried when I heard it,
Because I know I’ll be cursed
With it looping in my head for the next couple days.
How did that song ever become a hit???
I urinate and leave,
Trying to shake the song from my head.
But it’s no use.
Roll the eyes.