Cody Chesnutt on his army helmet and what it's like being the coolest dude in the history of ever
By B. Caplan
Unless Genghis Khan comes back to life in the next 48 hours, the most badass dude in Denver this weekend is going to be Cody ChesnuTT. No bones about it. That's Mr. ChesnuTT in the picture above. And he's cooler than you. Sorry. He wears an army helmet when he performs because he's "trying to fight to keep the soul alive." That's your soul, by the way. ChesnuTT, who lives in Flordia these days, recently chatted with our sister paper in Miami, and in advance of his performance at this weekend's inaugural Blacktop Festival at the DCPA, we've posted the interview below. Keep reading to get the story behind the helmet and what it's like to be the coolest dude in the history of ever.
Westword: So, the helmet. Where did you get it?
Cody ChesnuTT: An army surplus store on the corner in Tallahassee.
Did you try out different forms of headwear or types of helmets before settling on that one?
There was always just that one. I grabbed it without even thinking about the stage. I just gravitated towards it. I would wear it around the house. I like hats.
What sort of things would you do while wearing the helmet?
Anything. Writing. It just clicked and became a natural part of what I was doing. I'm really trying to fight to keep the soul alive. It became symbolic.
Has it ever come in handy to protect you from any sort of head injury?
No, it's never been like that. It's always been cool. It becomes a conversation piece. I've never had to use it to protect myself from injury.
What's it like being so cool?
I don't know, man. You should probably tell me.
Well, I'd imagine there's a lot of pressure stemming from the knowledge that when you hit the high notes, women's panties automatically drop, and the women might trip over them, and it would be your fault. I expect it must be drafty because you wear a lot of cardigans. Errands must be hard to do, because when you walk through the streets, people crowd around you and carry you on their shoulders to the steps of City Hall where they expect you to make a speech and sing a song, when all you wanted to do was pick up your dry cleaning. That, and I expect you get a lot of free desserts when you go out to eat.
No, you're a million miles away. It's just life. I don't think about being cool. I just live it. I just walk it. Whatever is cool is, I don't know. It's cool to write children's books and be out working in the community. It's trying to keep a cool head.
You have a new song called "What Kind of Cool Will We Think of Next." What kind of cool will we think of next?
I have no idea. I'm still waiting. It's getting to the point that everything is starting to look alike. If you find out before me, let me know, okay?