Drive-By Truckers drive by Legends
Mike Cooley's just your average guy. With a Southern twang and a homegrown sense of humor, the Alabama boy's got that just-kicking-around-on-a-Saturday kind of vibe.
Hand him a guitar, however, and it's easy to see why this good old boy, along with his five cohorts, has become an international Southern rock sensation: Drive-By Truckers.
It's loud. It's dirty. And it's Southern-bred rock and roll. Just ask famed acts like Booker T. Jones who played with DBT at Bonnaroo and worked with them on the instrumental album, Potato Hole (released April 2009). Success has been a long time coming for DBT.
Cooley and band mate Patterson Hood have been playing together since college in the '80s.
"We ended up being accidental roommates," Cooley said. "The college thing wasn't working out for us ... we turned it into a pretty decent looking band, but nothing really happened."
Nothing, that is, until 1996. That's when, under the name "Drive-By Truckers," the pair started to record their new sound.
Now, 14 years and a few new members later, DBT is taking that Lynyrd Skynyrd mesh of '70s sound to a whole new level.
It's a good thing, too. If it weren't for music, Cooley doesn't know what he'd do.
"But it would suck, I promise," he laughed.
For the guy who changed majors "every week" in college, music's been the constant.
"It's always made sense to me," he said. "I've always been good enough at it to carve something out ... I like getting a song to come together and hearing how it sounds when it's all done."
Music is more than a career to Cooley. It's a lifelong obsession.
"I've seen pictures of myself with [a guitar] in a diaper. It wasn't recently," he laughed.
And he has lots of wisdom for other up-and-comers in the industry.
"Years ago, I would have said, 'Do it yourself,'" he said. "Now, I think that's conventional wisdom. I think everybody kind of knows that ... I'd say keep it under your own roof for as long as you can."
Cooley's next project? A DBT album, due out February, and another European tour.
In the meantime? He and the rest of DBT are enjoying life as it comes. Cooley is joined by Hood, John Neff, Brad Morgan, Shonna Tucker and Jay Gonzalez. The Drive-By Truckers hit Boone Thursday, Oct. 28, at Legends. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 for students in advance and $20 for guests and at the door. For more information on purchasing tickets, visit legends.appstate.edu.