Brother Dege / Dege Legg Bio
Pronounced: Deej - Leg
Brother Dege (AKA Dege Legg) is one of the best kept secrets in the Deep South; a musician, writer, workingman and heir to a long line of unusual characters born and raised in the southern U.S. Like the mad lovechild of Son House, Faulkner, and Patti Smith, Legg has burned a crooked trail to the Promised Land. Avoiding traditional career paths, he has spent as much time exploring the backwoods weirdness of his home state as he has forging his own brand of incendiary, "psyouthern" roots music. The journeys are parallel. Since the late 90s, Dege has pushed slide, resonators, and the deep south, kicking and screaming into the 21st century, melding elements of folk, Delta blues, punk, rock, metal, hippie ragas, and outlaw county into one blasted, raw whole.
Full of raging, dirt-earth pounding slabs of swamp heat, haunted redemption, and bell towers of experimentation, Brother Dege's album Folk Songs of the American Longhair is a tour de force artwork that rages from barn burners to ancient Delta meditations to whirlwind slide-loop hurricances. Like the Delta masters, it is emotion-packed, imperfect, flawed, desperate, yet insanely alive and vibrating with an X-variable hidden deep in our human core. Recorded in a shed behind his house in Louisiana, Legg composed the ten original tunes in the slide-Delta tradition, painstakingly paying tribute to the old masters while tossing faux-retro, hillbilly hokum into the trend hopping dust bin that it belongs.
Much like the field recordings of Alan Lomax, the album tunnels into the ancient mysteries of pre-war blues and its devil-obsessed masters. In a return to the crude basics, almost all of the tracks feature only one vocal, one slide guitar and one foot stomping. Folk Songs of the American Longhair could possibly be the Delta-slide, millennial reboot for generations to come.
The journey continues...
Born and raised in southern Louisiana, Dege Legg is of Cajun-French, Irish, and Native American ancestry.
To support his creative obsessions, Dege has worked many odd jobs over the years, including cabdriver, machinist, case worker in a homeless shelter, delivery driver, dishwasher, tire mechanic, fry cook, journalist, and many other jobs.
Obsessions: art, creativity in any form, Dobros, Pablo Picasso, Don Quixote, Vincent van Gogh, Henry Miller, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Bukowski, Faulkner, Black Sabbath, Blind Willie Johnson, Sonic Youth, UFOs, junkyards, zero point energy, kindness, barbarism, crop circles, sitars, psychic telepathy, quantum metaphysics, rodeo clowns, living a good life, service to others, the great unknown, etc.
In 1994, Dege Legg founded the underground, southern psych-rock band Santeria, which toured and gigged in relative obscurity for 10 years, pounding out a strange variety of swampedelic, "psyouthern rock" that relied less on chest-thumping and beer guzzling, and more on quasi-mystical attempts at hayseed transcendence.
In 1997, Dege Legg recorded and released Bastard's Blues, a hand-dubbed cassette release. The album in many ways has served as the blueprint for all his following solo releases.
In 1999, Dege Legg self-released a crudely recorded, 4-track concept album on CDR titled Love Letters & Suicide Notes.
In 2002, Santeria released the landmark, underappreciated album House of the Dying Sun. Five months later, after a west coast tour, the band went on indefinite hiatus amidst a string of bad luck and hardships that were sometimes seriously, sometimes comically, attributed to a voodoo curse believed placed on the band.
In 2003, Dege Legg lived in cheap, low-rent motels for nine months and wrote about the experience before eventually moving into a trailer park.
From 2003-2004, Dege Legg worked as a nightshift cabdriver for a City Cab Co. in Lafayette, LA. His experiences on the job were documented for blog and book form (Cablog: Diary of a Cabdriver).
In 2004, Dege Legg improvised and recorded an album (Trailerville) of "guitar scapes" in the trailer park where he lived.
Link: Trailerville by Dege Legg on iTunes
In late 2004, Dege Legg briefly moved to Los Angeles to record demos in a development deal. He abandoned the project and moved back to Louisiana three months later after realizing he was a willing participant in making "the worst music ever made by humans."
From 2004-2005, Dege Legg joined swamp rocker CC Adcock's touring band The Lafayette Marquis.
In 2005, Dege Legg founded the 6-piece ensemble Black Bayou Construkt and released the album Kingdoms of Folly in 2009
Link: Kingdoms of Folly by Black Bayou Construkt on iTunes
In 2007, tiring of forgettable gigs in half-empty clubs, Dege Legg began playing short live and improvised sets in non-traditional venues and filming the proceedings on cheap digital cameras. The venues included open fields, abandoned houses, backwoods alcoves, caves, cheap motels, dumpsters, gullies, parking towers, public bathrooms, sheds, and ponds. The results were posted to YouTube.
Link: Santeria Band Youtube Page
In 2007, Dege Legg lived in a homeless camp and wrote a feature story on the experience titled Slipping through the Cracks for the Independent Weekly in Lafayette, LA, which won a Louisiana Press Award.
In 2009, Dege Legg began recording songs for the album Folk Songs of the American Longhair in nontraditional spaces (elevator shafts, open fields, abandoned houses) before eventually recording the tracks at home and in a shed behind his rent house.
In 2010, Dege Legg released the slide guitar album Folk Songs of the American Longhair under the name Brother Dege.
In 2011, Dege Legg began working full-time in a men's homeless shelter.
From 2011-2012, Dege recorded the songs for How to Kill a Horse (the follow album to Folk Songs) in an empty warehouse in Lafayette, LA.
Dege Legg is the author of nine albums and two books (The Battle Hymn of the Hillbilly Zatan Boys and Into the Great Unknown)
Brother Dege's music has been featured in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained as well as the Discovery Channel and the National Geographic Channel.