The Dirty South

Southern Rock Opera

Release Date: 2001 - Soul Dump Records
Rereleased 2002 - Lost Highway Records
This one shouldn't have ever been released in any other format than vinyl. The album was set in the 70's, recorded like it was the 70's and ...well you know. If you can find one from the original issue, it had a great 24 (or so) paged "libretto" which I take to be italian for "booklet telling about it". Lost Highway didn't bother to reproduce that when they did the reissues last summer, but it's still way better on vinyl.
This album put us on the map and while it's far from my favorite of our albums, it changed my life forever (long before it was even finished) and since I lived to tell the tale, I'm proud of the tale I told.
- Patterson Hood


Side 1: 1. Days Of Graduation
2. Ronnie And Neil
3. 72 (This Highway's Mean)
4. Dead, Drunk And Naked
5. Guitar Man Upstairs
6. Birmingham
7. The Southern Thing
8. Three Great Alabama Icons
9. Wallace
10. Zip City
11. Moved

Side 2: 1. Let There Be Rock
2. Road Cases 2:42
3. Women Without Whiskey
4. Plastic Flowers On The Highway
5. Cassie's Brother
6. Life In The Factory
7. Shut Up And Get On The Plane
8. Greenville To Baton Rouge
9. Angels And Fuselage


Act I

It's the summer after high school graduation and our hero hasn't played his guitar in two months. His band was over the night that Bobby died. No more partners in crime. At night he dreams he's fronting his ultimate rock and roll band. All their equipment stacked atop their Anvil cases. (What better way to measure a band's worth to an eighteen-year-old.) The highway's calling, but it sure ain't as romantic as it once seemed.

It's 1979. The seventies last rites are being read by the very same assholes who killed them. Disco has driven a fork into rock's heart and within a year, video will dissect every little tissue until it is as meaningless as the rest of the fucking world. "Video Killed the Radio Star". No shit!

There's this legend (myth?) (truth?) about Lynyrd Skynyrd that claimed that Ronnie Van Zant was killed by a strike on the head from the on-board VCR mounted in the back of the plane, directly behind his seat.
By the early 80's, Skynyrd's crowd was being run out of town, There was no place for big, masculine looking, hairy men with beards and guts and sweat and spit. Not on TV. Sure the hell not on MTV.
Our hero grew up in North Alabama. He came of age in the seventies. He remembers the Watergate hearings interrupting his mama's soaps. Standing in line with his daddy at the Shoals Theatre to see Walking Tall, cutting class to go to the state line with Bobby. (Home was a dry county, but have no fear; the Tennessee state line is just fifteen minutes away if you haul ass.)
He listened to Lynyrd Skynyrd, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Who, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, The Sweet, Ted Nugent, Queen, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, CCR, The Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Lot's of Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Years pass. Our hero moved to the city, then a couple of more cities. He got him a funny haircut or two. He became a punk rocker and tried to disassociate himself from his youthful transgressions. Much like so many well-meaning southern people who try to talk down their southern accents for fear of sounding "too-southern". (As if that was inferior or something.)
He starts having re-occurring dreams about arena rock. Perhaps he's being visited by spirits from his past. Now he wants to remember, He wants to re-connect with whom he once was and what he used to dream. When it was OK to be a little barbaric. When it was OK to turn your three guitars up to ten. When it was OK to ROCK!

Days of Graduation

Bobby went out for a joy ride with my best girl
Left me at the party,
He was my best friend and I miss him.
It was almost June and the 3/4 moon illuminated the rain-soaked streets like a candy wrapper.
I guess that's why Bobby had his lights off,
Tear-assing threw the back part of town and those deserted country roads where me and Bobby tear-assed so many times before.
Sometimes with my best girl and sometimes Bobby had him one too.

But this night he banked that curve just a little too hard and that 442 went airborne,
Hit a telephone pole and split in two, Bobby's skull was split right in two,
And my girl was pinned in her seat, partially embedded in the dashboard
And for the next twenty minutes the only sound in the night were her screams.
And the sound of the wheel still spinning.

In a little while the ambulance came and the sound of its siren mixed with the screaming girl and the spinning wheel.

But when the story was told the next day at the graduation ceremony,
Everyone said that when the ambulance came
The paramedics could hear "Free Bird" still playing on the stereo.

You know it's a very long song.


Ronnie and Neil

Church blew up in Birmingham
Four little black girls killed for no goddamn good reason
All this hate and violence can't come to no good end
A stain on the good name.
A whole lot of good people dragged threw the blood and glass
Blood stains on their good names and all of us take the blame

Meanwhile in North Alabama, Wilson Pickett comes to town
To record that sweet soul music, to get that Muscle Shoals sound

Meanwhile in North Alabama, Aretha Franklin comes to town
To record that sweet soul music, to get that Muscle Shoals sound

And out in California, a rock star from Canada writes a couple of great songs about the
Bad shit that went down
"Southern Man" and "Alabama" certainly told some truth
But there were a lot of good folks down here and Neil Young wasn't around

Meanwhile in North Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd came to town
To record with Jimmy Johnson at Muscle Shoals Sound
And they met some real good people, not racist pieces of shit
And they wrote a song about it and that song became a hit

Ronnie and Neil Ronnie and Neil
Rock stars today ain't half as real
Speaking there minds on how they feel
Let them guitars blast for Ronnie and Neil

Now Ronnie and Neil became good friends their feud was just in song
Skynyrd was a bunch of Neil Young fans and Neil he loved that song
So He wrote "Powderfinger" for Skynyrd to record
But Ronnie ended up singing "Sweet Home Alabama" to the lord

And Neil helped carry Ronnie in his casket to the ground
And to my way of thinking, us southern men need both of them around

Ronnie and Neil Ronnie and Neil
Rock stars today ain't half as real
Speaking their minds on how they feel
Let them guitars blast for Ronnie and Neil

(Hood / DBT)

72 (this highway's mean)

Don't know why they even bother putting this highway on the map
Everybody that's ever been on it knows exactly where they're at
Hells on both ends of it
And no where's in between
This highway's mean
Seems like it's always hot down here, no matter when you come
It's the kind of heat that holds you like a mama holds her son
Tight when he tries to walk, even tighter if he runs
It's a mean old dusty highway
But it's the only one that'll get you there
That'll get you there

Mean old highway
Stuck to the ground in Mississippi
It's the one'll set me free
It's the same one that I see
Being ripped up off the ground and wrapped around me
Don't let it fool you this highway's mean

I don't need a map to tell me where I am today
This feeling that I have has always led the way
Down here, you're running from a broken heart
Or to a heart that you have to break on this mean old highway

(Cooley / DBT)

Dead, Drunk, and Naked

When I was a young boy I sniffed a lot of glue
Mom sent me to rehab, they told me what to do
We didn't have much money; the lord picked up the tab
They made me write him love songs, sitting in my room

Now I just drink whiskey and drive around my friends
Get a haircut, get a job, maybe born again
And if you're living badly, we'll tell you how to live
Dead, drunk, and naked...

If you're out there listening, I just want you to know
I been doing just fine, psychiatrists tell me so
My scars are patched up; my arms have almost healed
My demons almost tranquilized, my pains almost killed

Me and old Jack Daniel's, become the best of friends
We got all them Baptist's to die for our sins
I know the lord is coming
The South will rise again! (Dead, drunk, and naked)

Daddy used to tell me, everything comes down to what they say about you when you're not around
And I wish that he was here now, I'm sure he would be proud
No one talks about me; the voices are too loud.

So if you come to see me, I'm sure you'll be impressed
By how well I'm behaving and how well I'm dressed
If you come to see me, hope you're coming soon

Dead, drunk, and naked...

(Hood / DBT)

Guitar Man Upstairs

(Scene: a small apartment on the south side of Birmingham
as a pissed off old man rants:)

I think I'm gonna call the Police, I hear something upstairs
I know good and well there ain't nothing good going on up there
There's probably ten or more of them sittin' all around
Smokin' that stuff and drinkin' that hard liquor down

I've been living in this city since the day I was born
I've seen good times come and go and I've seen bad times drag on
I've seen white and black folks alike get treated just like sin
And every year or so I see a new truck load of white trash movin' in

When I was sixteen I had a little trouble with the law
He said "Boy come here" I said "Boy yourself
I ain't done nothing wrong"
He grabbed me by the arm and He went upside my head
Nobody saw nothing
But I got a little spot where my hair ain't grown back yet

I used to have me a woman and a pretty fine home
But it took so much to keep them both going I was always out and gone
I came home one afternoon to get me change of clothes
Caught a quick walkin' slick talkin' guitar picker
Headin' out my back door

Now I'm proud to say I ain't never been no violent man
But I'd sure be rotting in jail today if I'd had me a gun in my hand
I went inside threw her clothes on the floor and laid a suitcase across the bed
Not a word got spoke not a lick got throwed
And my woman ain't come back yet

Now I live in this building with the punks and the freaks
And I don't do much of nothing except go to work, come home, and drink
So guitar man you done picked the wrong damn place to stay
I'm a feeble old man
You're a young smart-ass
And there's a law-man on his way

(Cooley / DBT)


Economics shut the furnace down
Bull Connor hosing children down
George Wallace stared them Yankee's down
In Birmingham

Take a left on the interstate
In the middle of this sultry state
I can't wait to see your face
In Birmingham

"I don't think it was worth it"
the last thing Stanley said to me
Twenty four years then a bullet in the chest and
I still see him in my sleep
Fifteen dollars in the purse He could not save
Her family didn't buy a stone to mark his grave
"Give me a call, if you need a place to stay in Birmingham"

Most of my family came from Birmingham
I can feel their presence on the street
Vulcan Park has seen it's share of troubled times
But the city won't admit defeat
Magic City's magic getting stronger
Dynamite Hill ain't on fire any longer
No man should ever have to feel He don't belong in Birmingham

(Hood / DBT)

The Southern Thing

Ain't about my pistol
Ain't about my boots
Ain't about no northern drives
Ain't about my southern roots
Ain't about my guitars, ain't about my big old amps
"It ain't rained in weeks, but the weather sure feels damp"
Ain't about excuses or alibis
Ain't about no cotton fields or cotton picking lies
Ain't about the races, the crying shame
To the fucking rich man all poor people look the same

Don't get me wrong It just ain't right
May not look strong, but I ain't afraid to fight
If you want to live another day
Stay out the way of the southern thing

Ain't about no hatred better raise a glass
It's a little about some rebels but it ain't about the past
Ain't about no foolish pride, Ain't about no flag
Hate's the only thing that my truck would want to drag

You think I'm dumb, maybe not too bright
You wonder how I sleep at night
Proud of the glory, stare down the shame
Duality of the southern thing

My Great Great Granddad had a hole in his side
He used to tell the story to the family Christmas night
Got shot at Shiloh, thought he'd die alone
From a Yankee bullet, less than thirty miles from home
Ain't no plantations in my family tree
Did NOT believe in slavery, thought that all men should be free
"But, who are these soldiers marching through my land?"
His bride could hear the cannons and she worried about her man

I heard the story as it was passed down
About guts and glory and Rebel stands
Four generations, a whole lot has changed
Robert E. Lee
Martin Luther King
We've come a long way rising from the flame
Stay out the way of the southern thing

(Hood / DBT)

The Three Great Alabama Icons

(Just listen!)

(Hood / DBT)


[Scene: set in Hell, September 1998. Told from the Devil's point of view]

Throw another log on the fire, boys, George Wallace is coming to stay
When he met St. Peter at the pearly gates, I'd like to think that a black man stood in the way.
I know "All should be forgiven", but he did what he done so well
So throw another log on the fire boys,
George Wallace is a coming...

Now, he said he was the best friend a black man from Alabama ever had,
And I have to admit, compared to Fob James, George Wallace don't seem that bad
And if it's true that he wasn't a racist and he just did all them things for the votes
I guess Hell's just the place for "kiss ass politicians" who pander to assholes.

So throw another log on the fire, boys, George Wallace is coming to stay
I know, in the end, he got the black people's votes, but I bet they'd still vote him this way.
And Hell's just a little bit hotter cuz He played his hand so well
He had what it took to take it so far

Now the Devil's got a Wallace sticker on the back of his car

[ Now the Mule-ettes walk out in devil horns and tails, raise their hands in the air and sing:]
"OH ------ ALABAMA..."

(Hood / DBT)

Zip City

Your Daddy was mad as hell
He was mad at me and you
As he tied that chain to the front of my car and pulled me out of that ditch that we slid into
Don't know what his problem is
Why he keeps dragging you away
Don't know why I put up with this shit
When you don't put out and Zip City's so far away

Your Daddy is a deacon down at the Salem Church of Christ
And He makes good money as long as Reynolds Wrap keeps everything wrapped up tight
Your Mama's as good a wife and Mama as she can be
And your Sister's puttin' that sweet stuff on everybody in town but me
Your Brother was the first-born, got ten fingers and ten toes
And it's a damn good thing cause He needs all twenty to keep the closet door closed

Maybe it's the twenty-six mile drive from Zip City to Colbert Heights
Keeps my mind clean
Gets me through the night
Maybe you're just a destination, a place for me to go
A way to keep from having to deal with my seventeen-year-old mind all alone
Keep your drawers on, girl, it ain't worth the fight
By the time you drop them I'll be gone
And you'll be right where they fall the rest of your life

You say you're tired of me taking you for granted
Waiting' up till the last minute to call you up and see what you want to do
Well you're only fifteen, girl, you ain't got no secretary
And "for granted" is a mighty big word for a country girl like you
You know it's just your Daddy talking
Cause He knows that blood red carpet at the Salem Church of Christ
Ain't gonna ever see no wedding between me and you

Zip City it's a good thing that they built a wall around you
Zip up to Tennessee then zip back down to Alabama
I got 350 heads on a 305 engine
I get ten miles to the gallon
I ain't got no good intentions

(Cooley / DBT)


I live down in Alabama where the river so muddy got to watch where you step.
Figurin' out things by the Railroad Bridge and a cousin or two want to give me just a little help.

Damn sure not much to do down here 'cept to cook it down and run it in your veins.
That's where the trouble started.
I fucked a lot of friends.
I fucked a lot of friends got a black line drawn right across my name.

Before the soul dies.
Before the sun burns out.
I want to walk through heaven's gate.
I want to walk through heaven's gate.

Moved on over to Georgia
Where the people's so nice you got to watch where you step.
Lookin' for toes and feelings.
Kicking and screaming sheets stay soaking wet.

The sun looks like the sun again
I got me a woman who does just a little wrong - just enough.
I'm through with addiction and heartache - now I say so long.

I made a valid attempt.
But I can't change my spots.
Lost everything again.
Everything I got.

And now my body dies
And the sun burns out
I walk through heaven's gate.
(or so my mama's told.)
I walk through heaven's gate.

(Malone / DBT)

Act II

Act II opens; present day, in some alternate universe. Our hero is now fronting his ultimate dream band and they are about to take the stage. All of his trials and tribulations have just made him stronger.

It's all there. All the shit he went threw is now in his music. He ain't necessarily happy, but at least he ain't dead. (or a walking zombie answering to some dip shit more concerned with your tie and haircut than your soul.

George Wallace sold his soul to be the Governor of Alabama. Our hero might have sold off a little of his too. Sometimes shit happens.

He has stared down the mythical past. His stage show conjures up the southern rock glory days. They're telling stories of a forgotten south. Stories, no one else was bothering to tell. Stories that own up to the terrible while telling of the beautiful. Rock, that doesn't bend down and kiss any bodies' ass.

But, maybe our hero is a little too well connected. He's so caught up in it that he too is strapped into that seat. Hurtling threw space at three hundred miles an hour when everything just goes quiet. Only the sound of the wind; rustling over the wings and your own heartbeat. We're all just one heartbeat away from being sucked into that swamp, and we're all going to be there sooner or later.

Maybe what's important is what we do while we're here.

What's important is to stand tall, turn your three guitars up real loud, and do what you do.

What our hero wants to do tonight is ROCK!

Let There Be Rock

Dropped acid, Blue Oyster Cult concert, fourteen years old,
And I thought them lasers were a spider chasing me.
On my way home, got pulled over in Rogersville Alabama, with a half-ounce of weed and a case of Sterling Big Mouth.
My buddy Gene was driving, he just barely turned sixteen.
And I'd like to say, "I'm sorry", but we lived to tell about it
And we lived to do a whole lot more crazy, stupid, shit.

And I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd but I sure saw Molly Hatchet
With 38 Special and the Johnny Van Zant Band.

One night when I was seventeen, I drank a fifth of vodka, on an empty stomach, then drove over to a friend's house. And I backed my car between his parent's Cadillac's without a scratch.
Then crawled to the back door and slithered threw the key hole, and sneaked up the stares
And puked in the toilet.
I passed out and nearly drowned but his sister, DD, pulled me out.

And I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd but I sure saw Molly Hatchet
And the band that I was in played "The Boy's are Back in Town".

Skynyrd was set to play Huntsville, Alabama, in the spring of 77, I had a ticket but it got cancelled.
So, the show, it was rescheduled for the "Street Survivors Tour".
And the rest, as they say, is history.

So I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd but I sure saw Ozzy Osbourne with Randy Rhoads in 82
Right before that plane crash.
And I never saw Lynyrd Skynyrd but I sure saw AC/DC
With Bon Scott singing, "Let There Be Rock Tour".

With Bon Scott singing, LET THERE BE ROCK!

(Hood / DBT)

Road Cases

Got them pretty road cases
Protect our asses, protect our faces, protect our guitars, protect our amps.
Got them pretty road cases throw them out an airplane and they'll just bounce

Paint our name on them road cases, stencil and white spray paint
"Drive-by Truckers" on every one or maybe just "DBT"
Gonna get ourselves a big tour bus, maybe even an airplane
Fly around the world and back.
Hope it don't run out of gas.

Got them pretty road cases...

Someday we'll hock our road cases, when we don't need them anymore
To pay off that big cocaine dealer (the only thing they're useful for)
One day we'll sell our road cases, when we don't need them anymore
When we outlive our usefulness,
The only thing road cases are useful for.

Got them pretty road cases.

(Hood / DBT)

Women Without Whiskey

If I make it through this year, I think I'm gonna put this bottle down
Maybe as time goes on I'll learn to miss it less than I do now
Think I'm gonna tell her that I'm gonna go away for a while
Till I can get this demon out

You know the bottle ain't to blame and I ain't trying to
It don't make you do a thing it just lets you
When I'm six feet underground, I'll need a drink or two
And I'll sure miss you

Take me piece by piece till there ain't nothing left worth taking away from me

The highway's humming in my head and it's hard to hear
Won't you read my lips if I pull you near enough
Could you read my fortune in the bottem of this coffee cup
Tell me how to tell when I've had enough

If morning's a bitch with open arms and night's a girl who's gone to far
Whiskey is harder to keep than a woman and it's half as sweet but
Women without whiskey, Women without whiskey
Whiskey is hard to beat
Whiskey is hard to beat

(Cooley / DBT)

Plastic Flowers on the Highway

He was ready for the big trip, he was moving to the city; he had packed his prize possessions and gave away the rest. He was almost doing ninety, the sky was blue, sun was shining. All the shit, he left behind for the big world waiting there. He was almost out of Leighton, when that phone truck didn't see him. Hit the brake and slided sideways, he never had a chance.

Plastic flowers on the highway. Bits of glass for the machine to sweep away.
Had to pass it on my way to where I'z going. For the next few minutes, I drove a little slower.

Them, M.A.D.D. mothers couldn't help him. He was sober, it was Sunday. He was full of good home cooking when he crashed the savior's door.

Plastic flowers on the highway. A greasy spot on the asphalt for a while.
Every morning, new babies being born, who'll do the best they can to hang around a little while.

My community service had me working for the county
Cutting grass on the off-ramps and medians and such.
Every quarter mile or so, stands a brand new reminder
Another traffic death in town. Something new to cut around.
Crashed out on the highway. Plastic cross and a plastic bouquet.
Paramedics in the by-stander's gaze.

Plastic flowers on the highway. Bits of glass for the machine to sweep away.
Had to pass it on my way to where I'z going.
For the next few minutes I drove a little slower.

(Hood / DBT)

Cassie's Brother

Can my brother sit in? (X2)

Well there's a hole in the band and
as a favor to Cassie
we'll let her brother come and jam.
If he ain't no good,
we'll just leave him right out of the mix.
But he proceeded to give some tired mules a coupla kicks

Two weeks later,
and brothers in the band.
Two more weeks a live album in the can.
Expect we'll all be in his shadow one day.
That boys a writin' and playin' fool.
We're the guitar army again.
There ain't nothin that we can't do

Cassie's brother was an okie boy.
Played guitar just like a god
Write you a song and sing it too.
Music so fine it makes you feel brand new.

Two years later,
Street Survivors hit the shelves.
Beyond expectation, sounding better than ourselves.
Just wanna keep playing
As long as we possibly can

(repeat chorus)

For Steve

(Malone / DBT)

Life in the Factory

Let me tell ya'll a story

So far fetched it must be true
Bout a bunch of fatherless boys from Florida and a boy who was man enough for two.
Practiced twelve hours a day in the Hell House
In the swamps out side of town.
100 degrees without no open windows
Heat radiating off the tin.

They named their band Lynyrd Skynyrd, after the coach who kicked them out of school.
Practiced seven days a week cuz Rock's the only thing to save them from life in the factory.

They spent years inside the Hell House
Then they opened foe The Who
90 degrees, outdoor, summer festivals
Them, boy's wouldn't even break a sweat.
Played each show like their lives depended on it
300 a year will take its due
They kicked The Stones ass out at Knebworth
Ask anyone who was there and they'll tell you

They hit the road doing ninety
Leave them steel mills far behind.
Ain't no good life at the Ford plant
Three guitars or a life of crime

Sold out shows and platinum records, New York critics and redneckers
Bunch of boy's from Florida had them eating from their hands
They got the fame and all the glory
But folks, it's still a sad story when legend over shadows the songs and the band.

Let me tell y'all a story that more or less is the truth
From the swamps of Northern Florida to the swamps just north of Baton Rouge.

(Hood / DBT)

Shut Up and Get on the Plane

Well your wishes and your feelings
Your bad dreams and intuitions
Are about as much good to me right now as a brand new set of golf clubs
We've been this close to death before, we were just too drunk to know it
Guess the price of being sobers being scared out of your mind

When it comes your time to go, ain't no good way to go about it
Ain't no use in thinking bout it
You'll just drive yourself insane
There comes a time for everything
And the time has come for you to shut your mouth and get your ass on the plane

Ain't nothing I'd rather do right now than just go on home and lay around
But that ain't never an option for a working man like me
How much is enough you ask
I'll ask the man when I get a chance
All I know right now, there's somewhere else I'm suppose to be
(repeat chorus)

Screaming engines, shooting flames
Dirty needles and cheap cocaine
Some gal's old man with a gun
To me it's all the same
Dead is dead and it ain't no different than walking around if you ain't living
Living in fear's just another way of dying before your time
(repeat chorus)

(Cooley / Hood)

Greenville to Baton Rouge

One more night, one more show, four down, eighty-four to go
This ain't no time for moving slow

Greenville to Baton Rouge
I'll call you up when I get through
The life I live is the life I choose
Greenville to Baton Rouge

The shows have sure been great this year
All eight cylinders all twelve gears
Call you up when I touch down at the airport in a Louisiana town.

Street survivors, feeling no pain
A little more rock, a little less cocaine.
And don't forget about Stevie Gaines

Greenville to Baton Rouge
I'll call you up when I get through
If it's the last thing that I do
Greenville to Baton Rouge

Last night, you should have seen this plane. The right engine shot a twelve foot flame.
But South Carolina made us glad we came.
Now we're up in the air again.

Once we hit Louisiana, baby, I don't care
Got a brand new airplane waiting for us there
Give this piece of shit back to Aerosmith.
Wake me up when we get there.

The right engine gave a little flash, the pilot panicked and dumped the gas
Everything is quiet, we're dropping fast.
When we touch down gonna whup' his ass!

Greenville to Baton Rouge
Can't die now got a show to do
The life I live is the life I choose
Greenville to Baton Rouge.

(One more for the mules...)

(Hood / DBT)

Angels and Fuselage

Looking out the window, the trees are getting closer it seems.
Thinking bout you Darling.
Adding up the cost of these dreams.

Strapped to this projectile, just a blink ago I was back in school.
Smoking by the gym door, practicing my rock-star attitude

And I'm scared shitless of what's coming next.
I'm scared shitless, these angels I see in the trees are waiting for me.

The engines have stopped now. We all know we are going down. Last call for alcohol.
Sure wish I could have another round.

And I'm scared shitless of what's coming next.
Scared shitless, these angels I see in the trees are waiting for me.
Waiting for me.

Friends in the swamp.
Friends on the ground, in the trees.
Angels and fuselage.

(Hood / DBT)


We began writing the Southern Rock Opera some years ago. We wanted to examine people's misconceptions of the South, and study some modern-day southern mythology. The band Lynyrd Skynyrd's story seemed like the ultimate vehicle for tying all of these loose ends together into what would hopefully flow like one big story. It also gave us a great excuse for going with a 3 guitar lineup and exploring that musically. It should also be noted that the record was intentionally paced like a movie and was originally planned as a screenplay before it became an album.


The name of the fictional band in the story.


Set in the late 1970s. Our hero is growing up in a small southern town and dreaming of being a big Rock Star. In the meantime he has to deal with the mundane shit that most teenagers deal with. As he grows up and leaves the south, he is shocked at how different people's perceptions of his home were from what he remembered.


The first fatal carwreck of some peers in High School is unfortunately a near universal right of passage. We tied that in with the old urban legend about "Free Bird still playing on the stereo" as a way to kick our story off and set the tone for the album.


I wrote this song to tell of the misunderstood friendship between Ronnie VanZant and Neil Young, who were widely believed to be bitter adversaries, but were in truth very good friends and mutual admirers... I also used it as a personal way of writing for the first time about my hometown's musical and cultural legacy. (Muscle Shoals AL. was the town where many of the finest R&B and Soul records ever made were created, with whites and blacks working together during the height of the civil rights movement in the 60's).


You pretty much can not get in or out of our hometown (the Shoals Area in North Alabama) without travelling down Hwy. 72... Cooley wrote this song.


I wrote this song about a guy I used to work with who was pretty much the poster child for why one shouldn't sniff glue in Junior High School.


Another Cooley song. He wrote this one about the guy upstairs who used to call the cops every time he played his guitar (even acoustic guitar in the middle of the afternoon) yet never seemed to mind any other kind of noise. It's perfectly typical of Cooley that he told the tale from his adversary's point of view.


This is actually a rewrite of a very old Adam's House Cat song that I wrote years ago. I changed the ending (and most of the music) to tell of Birmingham's rebirth and somewhat successful reinvention of itself. It was rewritten while we were in the studio recording the album.


We were nearly finished recording the album and something was still missing. I felt that we were still lacking that song that would tie it all together (particularly Act 1) and define what it was all about. We recorded the album in downtown Birmingham, ground zero for much of the Civil Rights Struggle, and I think that helped with the writing of this song. Musically, it's the most blatantly "Southern Rock" of any of the songs on the album.


This one explains most of the first Act's intentions and was painstakingly the most historically accurate and in some way most personal song on the album. It examines the duality of the Southern Thing, my relationship with Football (which I grew up hating) and it's ramifications. And for the record (which I rechecked numerous times) Wallace DID win in 82 with over 90% of the black vote. (and the Devil IS a Southerner).


I wrote this song the week that the famed former Alabama Governor died. I decided to set the song in Hell and tell it from the Devil's point of view as he welcomed his new guest with some down home (and red hot) southern hospitality.


Cooley wrote this one and should be the one explaining it. I do know that it is at least 90% true and is my personal favorite song on the album.


Rob Malone wrote this beautiful and very disturbing song. It's the lonliest song on the album and sounds like the room we recorded it in.


Our hero has now become the big Rock Star that he always fantasized about being, but it's somehow nothing like he thought it would be... Is anything ever?


A pretty damned autobiographical account of my teenaged years, and how partying and going to Arena Rock shows kept me from going off the deep end in High School.


When Rock Stars hit it big, they tend to put everything they own in those indestructible road cases (with the name of their band stenciled on them). Unfortunately, fame is a fleeting thing. The records quit selling but the bills keep coming in. Eventually you have to sell the road case to pay off the coke dealer. A fitting parable for fame and fortune if ever there was one.


Cooley's examination of true love and alcoholism (I guess). "You know the bottle ain't to blame and I ain't trying to / It don't make you do a thing it just lets you / When I'm six feet underground I'll need a drink or two / and I'll sure miss you".


One of the more personal songs on the record. It pays tribute to a good friend and comrade Chris Quillen who 4 out of 5 of us played with in the past, and was set to be a member of this band before being killed in a car crash a couple of weeks before our 1st gig. Salute!


Rob's tribute to Skynyrd guitarist Steve Gaines and his sister, backup singer Cassie, both of whom were killed in the plane crash that ended the original lineup of the band on 10/20/77. Kelly Hogan plays the part of Cassie in the song.


I wrote this one to tie all of the Act II loose ends together, particularly in regards to the legends surrounding Lynyrd Skynyrd. One of the only songs on the album that is actually about the band itself. It also set the stage for the final scene.


Another Cooley song. Based on a bit of mythology about Skynyrd that claimed that on that fateful day, Cassie Gaines had actually bought a ticket to fly comercial instead of getting back on the plane (which had had engine trouble in route to Greenville SC the night before). According to legend (and who ever knows what's myth and what's truth) Ronnie VanZant persuaded her to sell her ticket and fly to Baton Rouge with the rest of the band. Ronnie, Cassie, and her brother Steve ware all killed that day in the plane crash. Cooley wrote the song from the point of view that it was still the right decision because "Living in fear's just another way of dying before your time"...Wise words and probably the most important line on the record.


Tells the tale of the actual final flight. For the record, the plane was a 1947 Convair Turbo Prop that had formerly been used as an airliner for Eastern before they moved to an all jet fleet. It was leased from a company in Dallas TX. The band Kiss had formerly leased it and Aerosmith had planned on taking it, but their management was appalled at how shabbily it had been maintained and passed on it.


Set inside the plane after the engines shut down and everything went quiet. Just the sound of the wind over the wings and your own heartbeat. Again, Miss Kelly Hogan plays the part of Cassie.


Coming Soon.