Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Photo source: http://www.whitesparrow.com/Shack%20Shakers/pg8.html
In the not-too-distant past, I happened to be rummaging through my oversized loose change jar and came across a ticket stub from Sleazefest–one of the all-time great, now non-existent, garage-rock/rockabilly musical festivals of decadence which happened to take place right down the road in Chapel Hill.
Sleazefest usually took place in mid-August, frequently coinciding with the French Broad stage race in the Asheville vicinity. French Broad was usually run as an omnium and I dutifully took advantage of its a la carte racing menu to forego the Friday TT and Sunday crit to partake in the yin and yang balance of health and decadence in a single Saturday: brutal road racing in the mountains in the am and hours of an ear-shattering, eye-popping, rock n’ roll freak show replete with cages alongside stage for go-go dancers, Beatle Bob, more ink than a Bic factory, more wallet chains than Sturges, all fueled by gallons of watery beer and buckets of greasy french fries in the pm. I’d leave Durham at the crack of dawn, race my bike about 70+ miles, drive back home, then immediately head off to Chapel Hill for an evening of ill repute.
And any time I’m reminded of Sleazefest, I immediately think of the one and only time I witnessed Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers live in person. At Sleazefest, appropriately enough. Colonel J.D. Wilkes, pictured on the right wearing some fetching lederhosen, is a front-man of unparalleled charisma, verve, and manic energy. I’m almost certain he was dressed just as he appears in that photo while playing in Chapel Hill. And as one can tell, Mr. Wilkes is freaky skinny. And when he sucks in his non-existent gut to take a deep breath a gap forms at the waist between his torso and said lederhosen waistband. And I’m pretty sure J.D. is sans undergarments, to boot. For what I witnessed, at the crescendo of a Shack Shaker number, was Colonel J.D. Wilkes’ hand reaching inside his lederhosen and emerging with a clenched fist full of pubes freshly ripped from his loins which he proceeded to sprinkle on the heads of those brave souls pressed against the stage. Un-fucking-believable.
But let’s not forget the guitar player…a certain David Lee. For some inexplicable reason, I happened to be on the band’s website and there was a mention of David Lee leaving the band earlier this year. And in the message board,the reasons mentioned were that Lee needed some more time to pursue other musical opportunities…and cycling. Digging a little deeper, I discovered that David Lee indeed has a passion for riding: it seems that Lee would ride his bike all over the place snapping photos while the band was touring in Europe plus there was an account of Lee being hit by a car a few years ago while out on a 100 mile training ride (thankfully he wasn’t too seriously injured, but fundraisers were necessary to defray his medical bills). And through the magic of the internets, it seems that the former Legendary Shack Shaker guitar player rolled up to the start line of 35+ crit nationals last year and did all right.
How about that, a pretty fast Cat. 2 who’s also living the rock n’ roll life. But of course, I’m late to the party. The Bike Game already knew this 2 years ago.
*An actual Colonel J.D. Wilkes quote upon taking the stage.