This morning I was chattin’ it up with Roger Lewis of Dirty Dozen Brass Band on the phone. He had some great stories to tell me about…
Are you on the road? Where are you guys now?
I’m doing alright, on my way to a gig, you know. With the band? No, I leave on Tuesday with Dirty Dozen, I play with other bands other than Dirty Dozen. I stay busy when I’m at home.
25 years as the Dirty Dozen, looking back… what are some of your first memories with the band?
Ha! I got a lot of memories man. I guess some of earliest memories were playing at a place called Glasshouse and a place called Daryl’s. We started out at Daryl’s then moved onto the Glasshouse, what was so special about these places was that there were so many neighborhood people. It’s not on Bourbon Street, so for a tourist to find it you had to venture out into the community. So we happen to be playing over there, and what was so incredible was the dancers… they would do some incredible things!! It was the music and the dancing.
Your Anniversary tour is called “My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now”… which is also the name of your first release. What does this saying mean to you?
Well, actually our first record was on our own label, in our own house studio. This was our first Major Label release, and everything took off from there. Well, the feet is what you stand on. So you don’t want your feet to fail you. When you’re in a situation where you got to run… you gunna say I hope my feet don’t fail me now. Haha, you know? You gotta stay in shape! I remember when I was a kid, about 20, I was going by a guy named Edwin Bocage’s house better known as ‘Eddy Bo’, he lived like 4 or 5 blocks from my house when Little Richard was recording his album… I was on my way by his house one night, and the neighborhood where I lived people was jumping out of bushes and beat you up. So, about 10 guys hoped out of the bushes to beat me up. It is always better the day you going then the day you leave. So I ran sayin’ I hope my feet don’t fail me now!!
How did you adopt the name, Dirty Old Man?
Aw man, well… that came about when we were doing a gig somewhere. We played, everyone but me had left the stage… and the audience wanted to hear one more song. Everyone was shouting one more, one more song, one more song!! And I said, well… I started playing this rhythm on my baritone, and they started dancing…” I’m a dirty old man, dirty old man, dirty old man, I’m going to spank somebody!” I started sayin’. People would then just keep dancing and I’d just start rapping over it. Then a guitar hopped in! It got wild! Then the drummer hopped in. Then the bass. Then Kevin with the sax. A dirty old man is like a kick off from dirty dozen, I’m the oldest face in the band 68 years old… it’s not like DIRTY old man, It’s like DIRTY old man!! Haha!
Are people going to have to bring their dancin’ shoes to Infinity Hall?
OF COURSE MAN!! You know what time it is!??! That’s how we roll! You gotta get up and do what you do! Jazz music is dance music, you know?! It’s something that gives you 3-for-1… your body, your mind and your soul. We got some time for you to dissect, feel, and get your body movin’!
Roger and the band are going to make this show a ton of fun for you. So, grab your tickets now!! Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s 25th Anniversary Concert @Infinity Hall — Sunday, November 8th @8:00pm–