washtub bass and Doug Dicharry on drums, washboard, trombone, mandolin, and electrified spoons. Not only are these three versatile in sound and instruments, but they’re about as inventive a band as you’re likely to find.
Seated in a rickety wooden chair at the front of the stage, Miller plays a guitar that looks like it’s just been salvaged from a trash bin. His face is framed by a scraggly beard and a floppy scarecrow’s hat. Duct-taped to his microphone stand are a spotlight (yes, these guys bring their own lighting) and a telephone receiver. The receiver, vintage 1970s, acts as a second microphone and offers a more distorted sound. It’s connected to an amplified crate, which Miller thumps throughout with a drum pedal. A tambourine is hooked to his other foot.
To his right, Leeper sits on the side of a stool and slaps his homemade washtub bass. The instrument consists of a single weed-eater string attached to a stick that sits atop an inverted metal washtub. The elder statesman of the band, Leeper describes the contraption as “an old hillbilly instrument”; he built his about ten years ago. The drums sit behind Miller, but Dicharry rarely plays the same instrument from one song to the next. He plays the washboard with special metal-tipped gloves and has a suitcase filled with various distortion pedals into which he can plug the washboard. Trombone and mandolin allow Dicharry freedom of movement, and he’ll often wander to the front of the stage to join his bandmates.