In 2014 I was elated when Tom Johnson asked Muddy Udders to open for Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers – man, I was just happy to finally get to see them, and in GB even! Raucous jump blues in my own backyard!
I barely noticed they had some guy touring with them – “Aaron Lee Tasjan?” I thought, “Who does this boring Nashville singer-songwriter with his unremarkable proper name think he is, opening for the Shack Shakers?”
I was a stupid idiot. Aaron Lee Tasjan ruled that night, conjuring the biggest sound I’d ever heard from a solo act, and entertaining while doing it! All the talent and charisma a crowd could possibly want from a single performer tasked with opening for LSS and their indefatigable frontman J.D. Wilkes. Whoever was inspired to pair the two unlikely acts, thank you! Aaron, and J.D. and drummer Brett Whitacre were even cool to talk to in the green room n’ everything.
On stage that night ALT was funny between songs and deadly during them – like a perma-fried savant who could turn it on and off at will, or this impossibly competent and interesting stoner. He definitely made an impression.
I didn’t get to catch him again until Mile of Music last year, and holy cats, walking up to the outdoor stage at Spats that evening, again I’m hit with this unexpected force. I’d heard he was playing with a full band, but I had no idea. Gone was the seated dude in the trucker hat, horn-rims and flannel. Aaron was wearing this outrageous green suit, a cowboy hat and mirrored shades, out-rocking his bandmates and wailing “B*tch Can’t Sing!” into the night air. It was so cool!
Earlier this year ALT retweeted a podcast he’d been on called “Walking the Floor”, and I tune in to learn that he toured in the New York freaking Dolls? MAN. It might be good I didn’t know that when we chatted at Lyric Room. But would I have even wanted to ask what it was like? Would I want to risk killing my image of David Johansen?
Ah, probably. (A wise man [my late grandfather] believed it’s always better to know than not know. [Who knew he was a Dolls fan?])
Huge honor, and I’ll better appreciate it this time. I’m excited to see whatever he decides to do on stage. Northern friends, catch him tonight at the Source in Menasha!
Indeed, there are individuals out there making cool music, and Aaron Lee Tasjan is one of them. If you can’t go to one of these shows, you might consider reevaluating your life, or at least procuring his recordings.
Also, LSS are back in GB on Sunday, May 7th! Psht – who does this “Jesse Dayton” dude think he is?