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Leeroy Stagger at the Studome, Winnipeg

Leeroy Stagger

Review and photos–Leeroy Stagger at the Studome, Winnipeg, June 13 2009

– review by Eugene Osudar/photos by Stu Reid

BBQ Smells
and all natural light
in a Beautiful House

Leeroy Stagger
at The Studome
June 13th.

when he turns the corner,
Leeroy Stagger says,
“i thought that was the album.”

it’s his perfect band,
starting up without him.
they were ready to go,
so they began.

The Studome,

where CR Avery performed
with a string quartet/

where Pat Dinizio
entertained with stories
and songs.

it’s a living room
it’s a beautiful house
a few houses away
from Neil Young’s
house, where Bob Dylan
visited when he was in
last November.

Bob Dylan’s

it’s the first day of a long
awaited summer
(stay a while)
BBQ smoke
billowing inside

burgers and smokies
salads, chips and dips,
and bring your own bevvies.

all for $15
all for the musicians.

for the 40 or so,
it’s all so wonderful,
(Stu Reid and family,
thank you)
Leeroy Stagger
it’s BBQ smells,
instead of those 4 PM
bar smells
those horrible
of every bar
in every city
town hamlet
in north america
it’s a stink,
it’s in the wood
ingrained stained

“it’s urine,” someone says.

“no, it’s something else.”

20 songs

“i hope you realize
that’s not really the set list,”
kevin says watching
me copying the list.

“i’ll try to match up the songs.
i wrote down enough lyrics.”


Leeroy’s perfect band,

Kevin Kane on lead electric
guitar and vocals, formerly
of The Grapes of Wrath

Stu Reid says, “who saw
The Grapes of Wrath at
Verna’s in ’85?” up shoots
stu’s arm.

(i may have, i can’t remember,
so my hand remains down,
i’m sitting in a big comfy

Kevin and i talk after the 90
minute house concert,
says me, “i may have been there.
dave m was the promoter.”

kevin’s eyes sparkle, “yeah!
Verna’s was packed. he
promised us so much money.
so we wouldn’t play until
he came up with the cash.
we’d never done that before.”

good thing they did.

i talked about a Rank and File
two night booking at Verna’s
where the first night went
(did the Kinman brothers
Ever Rock that night
at Verna’s!)
but the second was canceled
when Dave didn’t have the
advance he promised Rank and File
(how could he)

so Rank and File didn’t play.

and that’s when teeth were
knocked out by an irate club

oh the stories.
past in/glories.

back to the band,

Ian Browne on drums,
vocals, unmiked,
standing up, a simple
kit, cymbal. snare and bass
he plays with brushes
Tyson Maiko on bass
a perfectly wonderful
rhythm section

the songs,
not necessarily in this order
(not necessarily these songs
either, help me out)

Petrified World
Hell of a Life
Sleep Alone
Red Bandana
Too Many Rainy Days
Higher Than Heaven
Everything Is Real
Snowing in Nashville
Another Friday Night
Everybody Knows
Where I Live
Just In Case
Depression River
In Lost With You
Beautiful House

“Take my hand,
don’t leave me hanging…
old guitar, worn out strings
useless breath, useless things”

and that’s how it began…
what a guitar line
midway through
it’s all so beautiful
a song to begin
an early evening’s
living room
concert with.

no lights on
it’s all natural(ly)
in the twilight
and so
by the end
saying the wrong notes
“the outside notes,
a jazz term”
come from the near
darkness they’re playing
he can’t see what he’s playing
it’s all by feeling it.
on the fret,board.

Petrified World
the second song,

“staring at this world
through a windshield…
feels like i’m staring at a
movie screen…
another night,
another rock n roll show…
oooooo baby,
I feel so good
to find myself again”

feels like a Tom Petty song!
a Tom Petty chorus/
and that’s a beautiful thing
especially when the last song
is pure Tom Petty

“i remember that day
in Memphis town
I was so drunk
I remember that night
Austin, Texas
I was so drunk
we really blew then.”

those nights
playing in stinky
feeling alone
far from home
there’s a lot of stormy
alone songs
lost connection songs
Sleep Alone songs
far from his lover
winter storm songs
cold and alone
drunk songs
those far from home
in dirty stinky bars

that’s a motif
recurring and blurring
into beautiful song after wonderful
singing along song
great choruses
(just like Tom Petty)
and so, that last stanza
repeats and repeats
just like i’m Swingin’
in a Beautiful House

“I usually play that song on my big
Les Paul (he’s playing
an acoustic, all night
long). That was a challenge for me.
This is a song called
Sleep Alone. It’s nice being
here in Winnipeg
when it’s not minus thirty.”

“I sit here listen to the rain
wonder where you are
if you’re thinking of me too
i stayed up
half of last night
drinking and singing…
I just want you here
by me
by my side
i don’t want to sleep alone
again tonight.”

“this is a song inspired by a biker
crime novel series
i got into. I was obsessed about
this one character. changed
his name, it’s called Stormy.”

and here’s where i’m writing
about how i want to sing
along to Leeroy’s songs
songs i really don’t know
but like any
Tom Petty
song, it’s so easy
to free,fall into the melody
and perfect
chorus and sing along
sliding into it
feeling it,

just like Stormy and the song right after
Too Many Rainy Days

“Too many rainy days
drive you insane
too many sleepless nights
help you find your dreams
too many wasted years
too many wasted tears
won’t get you any closer
to the man in me.”

and then he plays a perfect
thank you song
to Stu and his family,

“This is a song about getting older.
Being forced to be an adult.
This is called Brothers. Thanks
for having us in your home Stu.”

stu says quickly, cuz he doesn’t
like the attention
and loves he so faith,fully
“thanks for coming.”

and there’s another so cool
guitar line soulfully
by Kevin Kane.

“this is going to be our best rendition
of a living room punk song,”
leeroy promises, as he puts
his acoustic guitar down.

“watch that china cabinet with the Disney

Everything Is Real

“everything’s real
everything’s okay
yeah i’m living for The Moment
yeah i’m living for myself”

(i can surely relate)

Snowing in Nashville

a beautiful ballad
a la Steve Earle

“it’s snowing in nashville
i’m cold and alone…
the bars are all lame
the music’s all the same
it’s snowing in nashville
and I want, I want to go home”

“This is my favorite song off the new
album. i do remember i was pretty
insane when i wrote it.”

Another Friday Night

and the song rocket
and drunkenly
stumbles the way
the best Steve Earle
songs do
and pierces you
straight through
(your) longing heart
and leaves you
busted and bleeding
broken and needing
an instant transfusion

“i know who you call when you cry
i’ve been to the bed where you lie
i guess this bar is shutting down…
i’m a pain in the ass”

“we just paid our respects.
this is a very local song,”
says leeroy.

The Pilgrimage,

they just went to neil young’s
and it’s time for that Neil Young
song that every musician,
every band
plays (here)
in honor
of Neil
and to Winnipeg
the place where he
grew up and learned how to play
and breathe
the songs in and out
in and out
during those long
hard cold winters
(in The Squires)

“The first time i played Winnipeg.
My dad gave me airfare.
I took a cab to Music Trader
in Osborne Village, i walked in
and Burton Cummings
is there. He sees me,
with my guitar case in one
hand, suitcase in the other.
He shakes his head,
disgusted. and walks on by.
so i ask them at the counter,
is he always like that? Yeah,
he’s crazy. he’s here
every week selling CDs.”

and they’re just collecting Burton Cummings
stories for the book they’re writing
as a band,

then they play, another great
sing along
Where I Live

“it’s where I live
no big deal
think you’re moving fast
but you find
you’re (just) spinning wheels.”

and i’m writing how these songs are great
and it’s after every song
and i’m having a blast
we’re all hooting and hollering
after every song
and i’m singing along
to every chorus
and i’m lost again
in the love of music again

hey musicians,
again and again,
you’re rolling us
into your hot/rocking
Depression River
Steve Earle style
Tom Petty
all the while

Leeroy Stagger
the high and
glorious praise.

(we’re singing it)
Just In Case
(feeling it)
“just in case
anybody wanted to know
don’t tell…
everyone in this town
needs to shut up
i don’t want to hear you say my name
don’t tell
(beautiful guitar line)
so and so tried to kill themselves last night
everyone in this town
needs to shut up
(we’re singing it)”

Then it’s another great
(just another one)
(thank you)


“Carol took my photograph
in the rain at zero mile
she promised me a cigarette
i promised her my best fake smile…
down that highway
that’s taking me away from home”

In Lost With You
another Lovely ballad,

“well, the wine seems
like blood as it rolls down
my face…
tonight i’m crossing the line.
tell me why
am i
so in lost with you…
she’s wrapped up
in some bed sheet

another lonely
road going
heart weary

“baby step into my hell
i could use some company
i could use a drink or two
or three or four…
everything’ll be better
by Saskatoon
or i’m getting out
of here…
she calls in the middle of the night
cuz i’m not there
i tell her
there’s nothing i can do
i’m stuck in this godforsaken
just right then
some water rushed in
we were all alone
some words were said
connection was dead
there was no way home…”

the last (gorgeous)
song before the encores,

“thanks to Stu and Jeff Robson
for playing the records.”

and here’s where it’s so dark
that Kevin’s outside noting
the fret,board
of his electric guitar

and it’s a song about the light
burning down
deep inside

these guys know how
to talk to an audience
and make you feel
their passion
their fire
their everlasting light

it’s all in the songs
it’s all in the playing
so close to the edge

in a beautiful house
in a living room
a few houses down
from Neil Young’s Winnipeg

could be in a stinky bar
at closing time
after a hot night
of dancing

could be
in a car towing
a trailer
across the highways
the next destination.

Thunder Bay.

and the first encore
is especially
for Stu

Beautiful House

“we haven’t done this as a band
before. we’re gonna wing it.”

but the guys are so good
there’s no winging it
it’s as if they’ve
played it
every night
in every bar

and we’re singing it
Beautiful House!
for Stu…

“This is our house
beautiful house
our beautiful house…”

and so we end it
Tom Petty song

that’s perfect
cuz we’ve been treated
to an incredible
Leeroy Stagger

inspired by Tom Petty
Steve Earle

and a great band

The Wildflowers,

Kevin Kane
Tyson Maiko
Ian Browne

“and we went down,

we went down
singing it

at Stu’s place
Saturday night
June 13th

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