"None. That's a very important point. None," says Tommy Malone, vocalist and guitarist for the venerable roots-rock group. "It was all completely written and recorded long before [Katrina]."
As the CD's January 2006 release date approached, Malone and his bandmates considered the impact and connotations of the album's title.
"Certainly that's something we thought about," Malone says. "It's referencing one of the songs, which is the Papa Dukie song, talking about our playground as kids, literally the area called the batture behind the levee, which is where you get away from your parents and do all the fun stuff," he says. "We just thought with all the crap that everyone's going through this year, and the negativity attached to that word ' why not just do it and put a positive spin on that word 'levee.'"
And spin positively the 'dudes do. The first single, "Papa Dukie and the Mud People," recalls with nostalgia when two busloads of hippies set up camp in Wallace, one town over from Edgard where Malone and percussionist Steve AmedÃ©e spent their formative years. Eddie "Dukie" Edwards ' a professional drummer who returned home from Los Angeles with the hippies ' and his band set up a stage, threw parties and emitted smoke and patchouli.
"It was huge," Malone says. "It was like, I don't know, how do you describe that, when you're a teenager? That's like taking your first drink, or getting your first â?¦ you know. Girl. Or your first anything. It was real genuine stuff."
Most of the local folks were curious, and a few thought the hippies would corrupt their children. Malone says he and AmedÃ©e weren't corrupted any more than they wanted to be and points out that Papa Dukie did what they do now: "Ride around and set up and play music."
And when the subdudes come to town, a welcome wagon often precedes them. "Papa Dukie and the Mud People," with its infectious chorus of "na-na-nas," charted in the top five for AAA airplay, and Behind the Levee reached No. 1 on the Roots Music Report. Multiple tour dates on their current tour are selling out.
While the band's 2004's Miracle Mule CD was a landmark return after an eight-year hiatus, Behind the Levee signals the subdudes may be back to stay. Both albums contain some of the strongest material the band has offered since its 1987 inception, without a drastic change in sound. The lyrics are still simple, almost hymn-like, with the harmonies adding the depth, and the music is still built on the backbeat provided by minimal percussion while Malone's guitar and John Magnie's piano and accordion work augment the rhythm section. The subdudes' firm grounding in Americana continues to blossom with maturity.
"I think in the past we were a little guilty of not wanting to go back and rewrite," says Malone. "You know, it blurts out and then you leave it alone. I think we've gotten older, and we spend more time trying to fine tune it a little bit."
For Behind the Levee, the subdudes enlisted blues/pop singer/songwriter and guitarist Keb' Mo' to aid in the fine tuning, which fleshes out a stronger R&B flavor. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band contributes as well. Keb' Mo co-produced the album, plays guitar and mandolin for a few tracks and also played taskmaster.
"It was pretty intense; a lot of hours, a lot of pretty hard work," says Malone. "He's a pretty focused, hard working guy."
After their Festival International appearance on Thursday evening, Malone and company are looking forward to getting behind the levee at this year's New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
"I think it's gonna be very emotional for a lot of people," Malone says. "A healing thing. A coming together. There for bigger reasons than just getting up to perform their set."
Malone and bassist Jimmy Messa were both displaced by Katrina and have since returned home, but the work is still ongoing. "Jimmy just got walls up about a week ago. My downstairs is being rebuilt as we speak; I just got walls down there, too," Malone says. "Now we get to get it all nice and pretty and paint it and decorate it and put some furniture in there ' and then June 1 is hurricane season."
Thursday, April 27, 6 p.m.
Popeyes ScÃ¨ne International Stage
The circumstances surrounding the death last March while in the backseat of a sheriff’s cruiser of Victor White III, long a source of dispute by White’s family, have earned an investigation by federal officials.
With six of the LPSB’s nine members poised for Pat Cooper’s termination, a request was filed Tuesday for a fast-tracked hearing on the federal lawsuit calling for the disqualification of two board members from voting on the matter due to bias.
Louisiana's Republican Party has filed a complaint against Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu with the Senate's ethics committee about her use of private chartered planes.
An attorney signs up to run against LPSB's Mark Cockerham, and within a week a lawsuit is filed by a former LPSS employee in an attempt to disqualify him. Coincidence?
The Ragin’ Cajuns got off to a superb start Saturday night, and the Human Jukebox made the soaked season opener even sweeter for the third-largest crowd in Cajun Field history.
The Louisiana health department will follow a federal judge's order and refrain from immediately penalizing doctors who are trying to comply with a new abortion law that requires them to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, a spokeswoman said Monday.
While bogged down with qualifying candidates last month, Secretary of State Tom Schedler didn’t lose sight of the true endgame coming in November and December.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Stoned driving a concern when pot is legal; Detroit's bankruptcy trial; speed trap scandal in Florida and more national and international news for Tuesday, September 02, 2014.
A federal jury found attorney Daniel Stanford guilty Friday afternoon on eight of 13 counts for his role in the Curious Goods conspiracy.
Lafayette City-Court Judge Francie Bouillion has served on the bench for two decades since winning a special election to replace Judge Kaliste Saloom when he retired in 1994.
The magazine's senior football writer also predicts a break-out year for Saints fourth-year running back Mark Ingram.
Gulf Coast ceremonies marking the ninth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina have begun.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries says there is little known about the effects of tiger prawns on indigenous Louisiana shrimp. But, officials say the reports they're seeking will help state biologists monitor the distribution of the prawns and determine the possible presence of spawning populations.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh rested his regulars and watched with delight as Ray Rice's backups ground out 214 yards rushing in a 22-13 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
High-profile criminal defense attorney Daniel Stanford awaits his fate in the Curious Goods conspiracy trial.
The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is set to put the kibosh on the legal ownership of monkeys trained to help the disabled, and the agency wants to know what you think.
A federal judge on Thursday asked lawyers battling over Louisiana's new, restrictive abortion law for an agreement that apparently could let clinics stay open — at least for a while — after the law takes effect Sept. 1.
An abortion rights organization wants a federal judge to block enforcement of Louisiana's new abortion law while its lawsuit to overturn the law makes its way through court.
Republican presidential prospects Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal are planning to speak at an Iowa Christian conservative event in September.
The attention surrounding Victor White III has spiked with the release of last week’s autopsy report, which has raised a number of serious questions about the night of his death and has put the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office under an increased wave of scrutiny as more national media outlets are jumping on the story, most recently seen on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show.
A group supporting taxpayer-funded private school tuition vouchers is appealing a federal judge's order that Louisiana must provide regular reports to federal officials on the state's voucher program.
The Discovery Channel has canceled reality TV star Will Hayden's popular "Sons of Guns" show after his arrest on an aggravated rape charge.
The LPSB will finally hear from the attorney it hired to investigate the superintendent at a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m.
Authorities are investigating a report that a student there warned the principal of impending violence similar to that depicted in the movie "The Purge."