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Which the band is eager to dispense, laden with lots of Southern pride. Miller is quick to good-naturedly defuse or defend any number of indigenous stereotypes. "In the South we get a bum rap about inbreeding," notes the author of "My House Has Wheels." But, he says, "there's probably more inbreeding in Maine than there is in North Carolina. Just 'cause the cabins are smaller and the winters are longer."
This does not mean, of course, that Miller is beyond articulating some of the coarser aspects of Southern culture. Perhaps the finest example of his poor man's poetry is "Plastic Seat Sweat," a spoken-word treatise on lower-torso perspiration.
"That's just something I came up with down in Mobile, Alabama, in an un-air-conditioned van," he says. "Mary had just bought a little cassette recorder to record her thoughts, and I said, 'Hey, let me see that, I've got a thought. Not only that, but my balls are so sweaty!' Then we got the idea for the chair on the cover of the Plastic Seat Sweatalbum. The chair was delivered to us for a photo shoot, and it was so damn hot then. The first thing I thought of when I sat in it was, 'Man, my ass is so wet!' So we paired the two things together. Plastic-seat sweat: Everybody's got it."
Miller, who'd look powerful strange in anything but his omnipresent overalls, grew up surrounded by kitsch, and he used those tacky icons to build the house of SCOTS. As it turns out, the vinyl recliner on the cover of Plastic Seat Sweat is a relic rooted in reality.
"All I had in the house to listen to music on when I was a kid was a La-Z-Boy recliner my dad had, with an eight-track player built right in, with the speakers on either side of your head. It was great. You'd push a button and the machine would just pop out, you'd drop your eight-track in and listen to it all day. He used to sell mobile homes, and he was always on the road, stoppin' at truck stops, buying tons of bootleg eight-tracks. He was always getting weird furniture deals, 'cause the mobile home industry was where they liquidated a lot of things that didn't work!" He guffaws. "One time I went home to visit him, and he had, like, fuzzy orange furniture. He had electric blue shag carpeting and beanbag chairs. But he couldn't sell them or give them away. Not even in a mobile home."
The group's fans trade not only in bad furniture tales, MP3 files, lyrics, and tour dates but recipes as well. "Banana Puddin'," a two-chord stomper from Plastic Seat Sweat celebrating one of the South's best-loved desserts, stretches the food/sex metaphor to the breaking point. In concerts the culinary item accompanies the song as spoonfuls are tossed at crowds. The SCOTS official version is made with sugar, salt, cornstarch, "whupped eggs," butter, sliced bananas, and vanilla wafers. It is then refrigerated for several days.
But after carefully following the instructions, the resultant three-day-old pudding looks almost dangerous, with a thick skin. "No, it's not," Miller insists. "I think certain things are better with a couple days of age on 'em. It's just retaining the flavors that were lost in the process. Those vanilla wafers, they don't taste like anything. They taste like cardboard. But after a day or two yum!"
Contact Jeff Stratton at his e-mail address: email@example.com