"I was just cleaning it" undoubtedly ranks highest among excuses for shotgun accidents. For Dave "Dixie" Collins, the routine maintenance of his favorite firearm resulted in erasing his big toe. Dixie is lucky to have lost only a digit, though lucky doesn't necessarily describe the track record for his band Weedeater. Torn ligaments, a messed-up meniscus, and broken bones recently plagued their ranks, causing canceled tour dates and delays to their fourth album, Jason... the Dragon. Is the self-described "cave metal" band cursed? Or do they bring it upon themselves? When asked this question via telephone, Dixie ponders for a moment as he pours a glass of bourbon and gets ready to go jump in the ocean. "Crazy shit happens to us all the time," he answers in a slow Southern drawl, without the faintest hint of party-hard bragging. "We put ourselves in situations where those kinds of things happen, I guess."
But that's part of the allure of Weedeater. There's something dangerously wild in their bombardment of skuzzy bass and squelching guitar that's missing from so many precise and polished metal bands. Mentioning this to Dixie, you can almost hear his shoulders shrug over the phone. He refuses to say anything negative about his more pristine musical peers, and he reflects on the parallels between their rough living and violent music as if it's never occurred to him before. Again, there's nothing boastful in his voice when he admits: "I guess we are a bit reckless. We've been a band now for 16 years, so I guess it is what is."
The few moments of respite on Jason... the Dragon come when the band channels old American roots music, such as on the Delta blues–inspired "Palms of Opium." "That was written because I was stuck on my couch after my shotgun incident, and I was bored and fucked up on pain pills," explains Dixie. So apparently the only moments of calm for Weedeater come when they're hobbled. Barring any future calamity—say, a band member getting drunkenly swept out to sea—the Highline should be in for a rowdy and raucous night.