A Southern wind and turbulent twang. A reverb induced hollow body stomp, A grind of a metal slide hisses and hums into the swampy night and warms the barrels of oak bourbon in the cajun night. We are here to indulge in the sound.
Beyond Lafayette in the black bayou construct. Birthed within the Acadiana culture lies a hitting sound of Americana folk train hopping slide. Wordly story telling and a punk rock spirit sure to get even the meekest of lonesome souls to dance into the majestic colors of the song. Brother Dege ( Dege Legg ) made a explosive mark into the music scene in the 1990’s with his alt rock outfit Santeria.
A folk artist and trailblazer, Dege is a published author, skater at heart, and has been touring the world for the past decade. No matter if its with his band or solo, his roots grow deep into the louisiana soil and ascends spiritual branches in the tree of life.
RM: First off, thank you for doing this interview with me, its something ive wanted to do since i first met you in 2007. You have a very exciting show coming up on feb. 11th. For the Slide Summit event. You stated your set will include some stories from the CABLOG. Can we expect stories from your book, or will this be more impromptu tales from your days as a cab driver?
BD: It’ll include loose retellings of some stories from the CABLOG book with some asides and other info, possibly not contained in the book itself. Background setting and stuff. I don’t like to do straight readings, because I think they’re a bit boring.
RM: You're a true talent for songwriting and storytelling. Can you share with us some of your influences in music and writing? I think the last time we rode together we were playing everything from black flag, to sabbath to Dylan.
BD: I like writers who are floral, but not too entertained by the sound of their own voice. But then again, I love Henry Miller, Celine, Bukowski. Anais Nin, Kerouac, Marquez, and a bunch of others. Musically everything between Black Sabbath and Sonic Youth and Blind Willie Johnson. I’m not orthodox according to one specific genre or style of music; I just like to hear the soul warbling around in whatever I’m listening to.
RM: This seems to be a very intimate gig in February. Is there a different feel when playing Lafayette, as opposed to other areas of Louisiana?
BD: Possibly, but hometown gigs are also sometimes annoying in that you’re not always fully appreciated there. You’re just that guy who lives up the street, plays guitar, and does some other weird stuff.
RM: Carnival time is coming. For years I have wanted to experience a Cajun mardi gras. Can you share some memories of mardi gras in the Legg family? Whether it be in the bayou’s or the city?
BD: Cajun Mardi gras is definitely a world away from the city version, which quite honestly bores me. Mardi Gras in general kind of weirds me out in that I don’t like to be around hundreds of drunk people at the same time. I get nervous. Probably
my own PTSD that is causing that. I tend to stay in or go do something out in nature for Mardi Gras. I have mixed feelings about all that stuff. People catching plastic thrown at them by faux royalty. Drunken shenanigans. Blah, blah.
RM: You have done some intense world touring over the last 10 years or so, sometimes jamming with a new band in different countries. What is the process you have for doing international gigs? Is it a different mind set and song list in different areas? Do you approach the gigs any differently?
BD: Been a lot of different Brethren in the crew over the years. Some band members can do certain parts of the tour. Some can’t. The approach is the same with every show; give them a completely different experience of “southern music.” The sets will change only in that some guys know certain songs better than others. But I like to wing it as well.
RM: I'm a guitarist and gear nerd, your setup has changed throughout the years, what types of amps and pedals are you using these days? I noticed your electric hollow body seems to be more involved in the sets these days.
BD: It’s an endless quest, trying to make a Dobro sound good & authentic through an amp and PA. They feedback a lot, moreso with the full band. And the better crafted Dobros tend to feedback even more, because they resonate like tuning forks. I thought buying a National would clean it up. Nope. More honking. If you’re not damping the strings, a plugged in Dobro sounds like a VW horn. It’s not great, especially when you’re trying to sing and move around freely. So I started using a Gibson 335 to find some middle ground between a Dobro and an electric guitar. It’s still an experiment in progress. Unintentionally, I painted myself into a corner of honking, amplified Dobros. It’s insane and cacophonous. Dobros are there to serve the songwriting, not honk at me to death.
RM: You're one of the most driven and creative people I have ever met, I see that you are filming a video for Black Flowers. What else can we see on the horizon for you 2023?
BD: Thanks. Art is therapeutic for me. I just do it because it helps me process things, and makes me feel sane and somewhat normal. Otherwise I don’t feel normal at all. And when I think of the normal things normal people have to do to survive, and the normal stuff they watch on TV, I get scared and weirded out.
2023. Hopefully good things. New album, I think. It’s been in the can for over a year. Depends on vinyl supply chains. More videos and stuff do go along with it. I’ll be releasing the record on an official record label this time, instead of my own imprint. So that’s kind of cool. There were a few label offers this go around. Other than that, I’ll try to find time to edit and revise the next book I’m working on, which is titled ROADLOG. Overall, I just want to live in peace and be quiet sometimes. Drink a little wine, have a good conversation with a beautiful woman, and pee outside in the grass.
Do not wait any longer, dive head first into the southern folk mad fuel of the Brethren. For additional information on Brother Dege, visit brotherdege.net
I am Ryan McKern, and have a wonderful carnival season. Laissez les bons temps rouler