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According to Cooley, there really was a neighbor who lived downstairs from him a long time ago who called the cops on him three different times. "It was never late," he recalls. "I was never that loud. The first time was in the afternoon, which was weird. I was playing an electric guitar loud, but not high-volume. I'd gotten some piece of gear I was messing with and trying to figure out how to use it. It wasn't very loud at all. Four o'clock in the afternoon, the cops are knocking on the door.
"Then there were two more times," he goes on. "The third time, I was playing an acoustic guitar with my fucking fingers. It always blew me away, because I could have the TV on or I could play the stereo loud — anything, or whatever other noise — and I wouldn't hear a peep out of anybody, but if I touched that goddamned guitar.... The third time, the cops were real dickheads to me because I was trying to explain this, but if cops come to your house for a noise complaint, it's your goddamned fault, period, no matter what. They didn't feel like fooling with it, and I didn't, either."
Whichever way the songs come to him, Cooley says the words usually come easiest when he's playing acoustic guitar. "I can hear myself think," he says. "Everybody seems that way. I come up with ideas sometimes when I'm messing with an electric guitar, but I usually have to switch to acoustic to get the words, if there are going to be any. It just lends itself more to playing and singing, I guess."
On his current solo tour, Cooley is pretty much playing all the songs on an acoustic guitar, and he says he's doing so without using a pick. He started playing this way out of necessity. There wasn't always a pick lying around at home, so he got in the habit of playing without one, and now that's just what he does. "It's just better," he concludes. "I can make things far more interesting if I can find a way to do it that way, and it sounds better."
Keeping things interesting is important, especially when you're playing by yourself.
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Cooley...when the time is right, follow Jason Isbell's lead and go solo. Patterson Hood has become a whiny, self-absorbed douche.
But you're still cool, pal. And you're stuff is better. Get outta dodge soon.
@achmed.aziz. Really, why would you bring those names up. This article was soley about Cooley. They are all three great artist. But none of them separately can eclipse what they did together. I pray to God that I will be in huntsville for the second coming.
@jpross2 I used to be in the same boat as you, so I appreciate where you're coming from. However, my sense now is that we'd get a better overall body of work (net) if Cooley left DBT and left it to its Pattersonian devices (post Southern Rock Opera, I've like him less & less). I think Cooley could pull of what the 400 Unit is doing, and our ears would thank us for it. That said, I'll be the first in line, behind you, to buy tickets for the reunion tour...