KDUR and the Animas City Theatre Presents An Evening with Mike Cooley of the Drive By Truckers
Tuesday December 6th, 2022Doors at 7pm, Show at 7:30!
KDUR SUPPORTER PARTY with Mike Cooley (of Drive-By Truckers)
Please email [email protected] after November 1st with the subject line “Cooley” for your chance to attend this special performance.
Whether battling valiantly from behind the enemy lines of his dive-bar-underground past or blowing the doors off sold-out theaters as he’s done with Drive-By Truckers for the last decade, Mike Cooley has proved his mettle time and time again. He’s rock & roll incarnate—Mick and Keith rolled into one impossibly cool, soul-howling, guitar rattlin’ ball of genuine unapologetic grit and swagger. At least that’s how it seems gazing up from the crowd at a packed DBT show.
So how did this modern-day rock hero feel about temporarily ditching his band and rolling back the volume for the unaccompanied acoustic performances that would become his debut solo record, The Fool on Every Corner?
“When you don’t do it normally, it’s terrifying,” Cooley admits. “I try to relax, but I’ll probably never be able to sit down in a chair on stage as easily as I sit down on a toilet behind a closed door. That’s the goal—somewhere in between,” he deadpans. “I set the bar high.”
Despite his bad nerves and tongue-in-cheek penchant for self-deprecation, Cooley shines on this bare-bones live set, tossing aside his guitar pick and playing almost everything with his fingers. “Strip it, strip it, strip it down,” he says, alluding to the mantra that guided these performances. “What’s left is the song and nothing else.”
And what a set of songs Fool is, comprised mainly of re-imagined DBT classics like “Shut Up and Get on the Plane,” “Marry Me” and “Where the Devil Don’t Stay,” as well as understated renditions of deep-cut Cooley ballads such as “Pulaski,” “Eyes Like Glue” and the weary yet ominous “Loaded Gun in the Closet.” This intimate new record offers fans a peek behind the curtain at what these songs might have sounded like in their most nascent state. All of them save for opener “3 Dimes Down,” Cooley says, were originally written on acoustic. “The words just come out easier when you play an acoustic guitar,” he explains.
The Fool on Every Corner was recorded by longtime DBT producer David Barbe during a three-show run last March, beginning with a two-night stand at no-frills Atlanta rock club The Earl and closing at swank Athens, Ga., venue The Melting Point. “The second show at The Earl was a chaotic night,” Cooley recalls. “We didn’t have the audience seated, for one thing. Of course, you can pack a lot more people in there if you have ’em standing, but for acoustic shows, I prefer to sit ’em down and calm ’em down if I can.”
This proved an impossibility in the boisterous barroom.
“I was thinking, ‘We’re not gonna get anything outta tonight. The crowd is just too loud.’” As it turns out, almost everything that ended up on Fool came from that rowdy night. “It’s that way every time I’ve ever recorded live,” Cooley says, shaking his head. “The night you think bombed or wasn’t as good, inevitably, will be the one that comes across best on the recording.”