Written by Walter Pierce Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The Ind’s own Brother Dege Legg preps for a solo tour in support of his new record with a CD-release party Saturday at Blue Moon.
Every office, like every extended family, has a character. Dege Legg is ours. Part rocker, part writer, Dege is one of those always questing, often cresting, rocking and rolling spirit people who at once keep us guessing and keep us sane. And, in his latest incarnation as thawed-raw Delta blues hippie Brother Dege, he’s about to leave us here at 551 Jefferson St. for a tour in support of his new record, Folk Songs of the American Longhair. We’ll have to make do without him for about a month.
Dege has been a wrought-iron fixture on Lafayette’s independent music scene for 15 years, breaking in with Santeria in ’94, breaking out with Black Bayou Construkt a decade later, and breaking away as Brother Dege, a solo venture.
Now he’s ready to subject himself to the road burn of a tour. No biggie. “I can sleep on a rock. Eat anything. Shower in a truck stop,” he says. “It’s good to get out of town — your problems shrink in size, and you put the world in perspective. Also, I’ve got more fans outside of Louisiana. I can’t keep making records, which I think are pretty good, and have them fall in to the black hole of obscurity six months after they drop. I’m not a great ass kisser or an exceptional networker, so the best thing I can do is just kick out the jams and accept the way it’s received. There is no agenda; I’m into making art, not running for office.”
Dege toured Europe with C.C. Adcock & The Lafayette Marquis in 2006, and has threaded the tread on band vans before and since. Santeria and Black Bayou Construkt still play gigs. As Brother Dege, he will embark on his first solo tour, just a resonator guitar, an amp, and an attitude. “A Dobro is the coolest looking guitar ever — like a time-machine/death ray that makes this twangy music,” he says. Folk Songs of the American Longhair is also a musical departure from the dark, Southern tribalism of Santeria and the art-roots of BBC. “No music has as much emotional impact with the least amount of fuss,” he says of Delta blues, which serves as the armature upon which Brother Dege drapes a black and blue, tie-died tarpaulin. “I started playing slide 12 years ago, more like a hobby than an artistic pursuit. Just kept doing it for fun. My strength is song writing. So I wrote my own slide songs; kind of like 21st century Delta blues — dark, apocalyptic, and heavy more so than the happy pappy stuff. Doing this kind of Delta blues is tricky though because white people have historically ruined a lot of the blues with mid-life crisis cheese, fedora hats and bad song writing.”
Brother Dege’s tour commences April 29 and will take him up the Appalachian Trial and along the east coast to Boston before heading west to Cleveland and Chicago and then back down through the Midwest. In the meantime, he performs at The Blue Moon Saturday, April 17, for his CD-release party.
BROTHER DEGE (Santeria opening) Saturday, April 17 10 p.m. Blue Moon Saloon
POSTHASTE WITH BROTHER DEGE
[Editor’s Note: We’re turning the tables on the Degester. Post Haste is one of his signature contributions to The Ind. Let’s see how he handles it from the other end.]
You could be the next musical van Gogh, but will the van go? You never know if you’re Van Gogh or William Hung. You’re up there thinking you’re destined for greatness, but maybe you’re just a deluded idiot. That’s the gamble in being an artist.
What are the most appealing aspects of being a bearded dude? They keep your face warm in the winter. You don’t have to shave every day. You save money on those insanely priced blades. And depending on what you’re wearing, they make you appear either mildly professorial or kind of scary.
You were a cab driver in another life. What was your creepiest fare? The time I got robbed and the guy pointed his gun in my face and, just like in the movies, all you see is the black hole of the barrel — like some ominous porthole to the next life — staring back at you. Trippy.
Ron Paul hires you to write a campaign jingle. What’s the first stanza? I don’t do jingles, but I was one of only 900 people in Louisiana who voted for Ron Paul in 2008. So I think I can swing it this one time — ’80s hardcore punk rock style…
(GUITARS = CHUG, CHUG, CHUG, CHUG) Everything’s a rip, a racket, and a sham Bush, Obama, Counsel on Foreign Relations — a scam Garbage men starving in the streets while Bernanke gets a tan Legalize freedom before the New World Order’s got us chipped and scanned. Abolish the Federal Reserve you f***ing jackasses! (and vote for Ron Paul)
Worst gig ever? Worst gigs are the best gigs, because you remember them the most. And they’re funny after the fact. In the early ’00s, Santeria drove to a gig in New Orleans in July in a van that kept overheating. Scorching hot summer. We had to crank on the heat to keep the van from catching on fire. It was like the movie Das Boot, but with dudes in a van thinking the ship was going down any minute. Miraculously, made it to the club. Played to 10 people. Left owing the sound man $125. Drove home in the same van with the scorching heat blasting. Rock and roll is not all it’s cracked up to be.
If you could replace one bad habit with another, what would they be? I’d trade smoking for road rage.
There’s a shotgun and rifle on either side of you on your album cover. Flowers protrude from the barrels. Why are you a socialist? I’m a Libertarian. Screw the false left/right paradigm — it’s just a shell game at this point with two teams playing the same game with different sponsors. The flowers in the barrel hark back to the ’60s protest days, when hippies put flowers down the barrels of soldiers’ guns. I love that stuff, but I also think people should be able to own guns and protect themselves. But love is the only way to live. Not fear. — WP
Is it a crime for citizens to photograph, video, or take notes of a police officer in the line of duty, or a right protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution? Locally, such activity, as witnessed recently, will at the very least result in a night spent behind bars.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
Episcopal School of Acadiana’s Dr. Joshua Caffery, chair of the school’s English Department, is headed to Washington, D.C., and the Library of Congress as the latest winner of the Alan Lomax Fellowship in Folklife Studies.