‘Chico’ doc to be followed by a show
David “Chico” Prince has been a working musician in Eastern Kentucky for decades. He has played in various bands over the years, from Night Train to touring with Rob McNurlin and the Beatnik Cowboys. One day, years ago, the Beatnik Cowboys were playing a gig somewhere in Texas and Prince took a goofy picture of himself that resonated in an unexpected way, and a new musical alter ego was born.
“We were down in Texas about 10 years ago and we took this picture on the Fourth of July in some little Texas town where we were playing a gig at midnight,” said David “Chico” Prince. “It was just some chaotic scene and Fm wearing this cowboy hat and had some glasses on and I looked pretty wild-eyed. We took the picture and we always thought that it was cool-looking, but then it sort of took on a life of its own. So then, we made up a character for the picture and we said, That’s the Laid Back Country Picker.’”
The idea was soon hatched to sell copies of the photograph of the newly crowned Laid Back Country Picker and something clicked.
“At one point, I put the image on a shirt because I thought that this would be one bad-*** shirt, and then I showed it to Tyler Childers,” said Prince. “Tyler said, That is super cool. I want one/Tyler starts wearing that shirt and once Tyler wore it, other people wanted to wear it and it became a hip thing to do at his concerts. So, I’m selling the heck out of these shirts and I thought, ‘We need to have something to go with this.’ So, we developed the character of Laid Back Country Picker and I wrote a CD’s worth of music and put it out there and began to play live shows. Really, the shirt created the artist.”
Prince’s day job centers on being a high school teacher in Lawrence Country, Kentucky. It was there at the school that Prince met a young student named Tyler Childers as well as another young man named Zach Curry. Childers would go on to be the successful musician that he is today, and Curry would go on to college to study filmmaking. That is when Curry decided to make the short documentary film “Chico” about the Laid Back Country Picker with fellow student Joe Whalen.
“A former student of mine named Zach Curry graduated from my high school about five years ago and then went to the University of Kentucky,” said Prince.
“Zach and his college buddies first made a documentary about KY Bill 151, which was ′ about how the Kentucky legislature would change how school teachers in Kentucky got their pensions and it was a hot topic here a couple of years ago. They actually interviewed the governor of Kentucky and they came and interviewed me and a few other teachers across the state. Once they interviewed me, they said, ‘You know, you are a pretty interesting character. Can we make a little documentary about you?’ I said, ’Well, sure/So they followed me around for about a year, went to my shows and came to my house and were backstage at a lot of stuff.”
With the character Laid Back Country Picker, Prince is able to write and perform tongue-in-cheek songs that speak to a certain point of view.
Prince has a new Laid Back Country Picker album in the works, which will feature a bunch of original songs catered to his fun, wacky and old school country-grooving doppelganger.
“As for my original songs, I am writing everything from that Laid Back perspective right now,” said Prince. “I have stuff that I really want to say, so I just use Laid Back as the vehicle to say it. Some of them come off sounding like Waylon songs, but I’m just talking about things I want to talk about. The older I get, the more I think about my childhood and the way I grew up and how different it was then.”
Thursday, Jan. 10, the V Club will host a special night of music and film as the “Chico” movie will be shown followed by a Qand A panel with filmmakers Curry and Whalen. That will be followed by a performance by Laid Back Country Picker.
The movie begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $7 and the show is 18+. More information can be found at vclublive.com.