With all the extracurricular stuff that surrounds Weedeater, sometimes it's easy to forget that they actually play music. Anecdotes about the band abound — run-ins with the law, onstage barfing, national tours with no driver's licenses, that time the singer shot his big toe off, et cetera. With an infamous appetite for booze and drugs, Weedeater's hard-hitting brand of sludge metal is also about hard living, and the band has been road-dogging it with few breaks for the better part of two decades. So far, they've managed to not kill themselves. Somehow.
But that's not from a lack of trying. Before recording their latest slab of self-described "weed metal," 2011's Jason ... the Dragon, trips to the studio were delayed by drummer Keith "Keko" Kirkum's torn meniscus, guitarist Dave "Shep" Shepherd's broken finger and bassist-vocalist "Dixie" Dave Collins' missing toe. Kirkum's knee and Shepherd's hand eventually mended enough to help lay down the band's best album since 2003's Sixteen Tons, injecting new life into a strand of Southern metal that has a tendency to get stagnant. Collins helped do that too, but he also earned a lifetime of answering questions about his foot.
"On New Year's Eve, I guess I put one shell in [my shotgun] to shoot it into the air and I passed out, never shot it," Collins later explained to AOL Music's Spinner site. He forgot about the shell when he was cleaning the gun days later. "I was walking across my living room with it pointed down at my toe, just pulled the trigger, blew my toe off."
Dixie Dave also spends his limited downtime managing a head shop, something that no doubt just adds to his legend. With his body writhing and face contorted, Collins commands most of the attention onstage. He's also the one responsible for the vomit — one of the band's promo shots is of him with a stream of grayish-green puke cascading from his face. But he's said that the barfing isn't from the booze that's never far from him during the set. It's from the bottle of cough syrup taped to his amp with the straw inside that he visits between verses to coat his smoke- and liquor-scorched throat. Not one to shy away from a joke, Collins recently recorded a video with Vice's Noisey in which he sampled various cough syrups paired with cheeses.
That goofy sense of humor finds its way into Weedeater by way of silly puns (... And Justice for Y'all, "For Evan's Sake," God Luck and Good Speed, etc.), but the rest is visceral anger. It's a continuation of the violent menace Collins pioneered with North Carolina sludge-metal crew Buzzoven and lends to the burly supergroup Hail!Hornet. Priority No. 1 is to be heavy, but what made Jason ... the Dragon a success was tracks like "Homecoming," which hinted at what a "mature" Weedeater might sound like.
But nearly 20 years in, you know what you're getting with Weedeater. And even if the band members have to start acknowledging limits they didn't worry about as younger men, it's not like they're suddenly going to start taking care of themselves.
"I don't think that we start drinking as early as we used to," Collins told Indy Weekly in Durham, N.C., after the release of Jason. "We will still finish our bottle tonight, and our beer, just like we do every night."
well fuck you anon! Go and Catch fire!
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