The Rules of the Road According to Weedeater’s Dixie Dave
Anyone who’s seen North Carolina stoner-metal band Weedeater can attest to the wild and zany nature of the trio’s bassist and frontman “Dixie” Dave Collins. His overtly expressive on-stage persona brings extra dynamism to their already exuberant, stony riff-filled performances: He’s kooky and spontaneous, using funny dance moves and cross-eyed facial expressions to accentuate the high points of each riff onstage. His other claims to fame include duct taping a bottle of cough syrup to his amplifier so he can intermittently take sips during the show without letting go of his bass, working at a head shop in his North Carolina hometown when he’s not on tour, and missing part of his toe due to an accident involving his “favorite” shotgun.
Above all else, though, the quirky, wild-eyed frontman is a wizened road warrior who has learned many lessons after years of traveling around the country with Weedeater and his former sludge-thrash band, Buzzov*en. As such, he has a few rules of the road that he abides by while on tour, and he shared them when he sat down with Kerrang! after Weedeater’s set at their recent show in Portland, Oregon with Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar, and Mothership.
Here are the rules of the road, Dixie Dave style.
1. Don’t drive.
Dixie Dave is adamant about not getting behind the wheel. It’s not that he can’t drive — he’s totally capable. But at the end of the day, he says you should let driving be someone else’s problem. “Be kind to everyone and people should be kind to you,” Dixie says. “But most importantly, throw the tour manager the keys.” Or the merch guy, since Dixie says their merch guy Ben Jones also handles the wheel, too.
2. Try to appreciate where you live.
Dixie has lived in Cape Fear, North Carolina since he was three years old. It’s a beautiful place where lakes meet the beach in a southern paradise. He’s toured the world over the course of 25 years but to him, there’s no place like home. Others may not see it that way, but it’s always in his sights. “People where we live don’t appreciate it, and they feel like they need to get out of there,” says Dixie. “I’ve been out of there. Whenever you get out, you don’t want to come back, but I love living where I live, and I’ll stay there forever if I can.”
3. Silence or softness in the van.
If your whole world is centered around the chaos of music, it makes sense to value the stillness of silence. Dixie Dave lives by it. “During the day I listen to silence,” he says. “It’s mandatory in the van. No music.” Occasionally during the day, if he’s feeling “frisky,” he’ll throw on some of the stuff he’s been listening to since he was a kid: Bad Brains, Corrosion of Conformity, D.R.I., Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath. It’s a whole other story at night time—John Prine, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, or “mellow stuff that makes you dance, like maybe Lou Armstrong, Cab Calloway or stuff like that.”
4. Diaper it up.
If you’ve ever taken a road trip, you probably understand the annoyance of relieving yourself, especially when it comes to the ol’ number two. There’s usually a long stretch of road before encountering the next rest stop or public bathroom and when you do, it’s likely rated a one or two on the sanitary scale. If you’ve got to get somewhere in a hurry — like, maybe your next gig — the need for speed and less breaks are even more important.
Dixie Dave and the Weedeater dudes have employed another solution to this, and it’s just as foul as you imagine it to be. “We use Gatorade bottles for the pee-pee,” says Dixie. “But right when we left town for this tour, a friend of ours gave us a whole bag of Depends. If you have to shit really bad, just put on some grown man pants, man. Really, really grown man pants, elder man pants — that’s a really great name for a band, Elder Man — and then put them in a bag, tie them up and throw them out.”
5. Don’t shower… or wash your clothes.
With traveling comes a layer of grime chock full of germs from the places you’ve been. It may sound gross, but Dixie Dave swears that grime layer can be put to good use. “Don’t shower too much or you’ll wash off your armor and get sick,” he says. “I finally turned it into not showering at all. I just jump in pools, lakes and rivers and such with no soap. It sounds disgusting and it actually is. When I get home, my girl wants nothing to do with me.”
On a European tour one time, Dixie claims he went 34 days without showering, changing or washing his clothes. “I’d wash all my clothes and take a shower back in the day and next thing I know, I’d be sick,” Dixie says. “It happened many times on the road, so finally I just decided to be a disgusting person while I’m on tour. You get used to it.”
6. Spring for the jacuzzi.
When you’re performing every night, you’re going to start to hurt. Instead of dropping beaucoup bucks on massages and spa days, there’s a much cheaper answer to ease the pain. “I refuse to stay in a hotel that doesn’t have a hot tub,” Dixie says. “If you’re getting a hotel, it costs $5 more to get a hotel with a hot tub. If your bones hurt — and eventually they will — you might want to spend that five bucks. I’m just saying.”
7. When heading up north, pretend you’re Audioslave.
Apparently, Canada has some fairly strong feelings about Americans and Audioslave. As Dixie puts it, “If you attempt to get into Canada, sometimes they can be dicks about it. I’m not knocking on their customs, I’m just saying. If you’re trying to get into Canada, tell them you sound like Audioslave because for some reason those agents love Audioslave.” He’s definitely not knocking the band either, but he apparently got the hot tip from an unnamed friend in the music business. He gave it a shot and it works.
WORDS AND PHOTOS: Cervanté Pope