I would like to share some thoughts about Chris, Model Chaser, and our time together making noise. I met Legg through his brothers, and I suspect I’m in a small, select group to have made music with all three of the talented Lasala boys. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of them, and I hope that Mike and Dave are doing well in spite of things. As all those musicians out there know, the bandmate relationship is a unique one. Model Chaser made Legg and me friends of that particular sort. I think I’d just been through the breakup of my previous band, and Legg tracked me down to ask if I wanted to play with the band he was getting together. He’d recruited Gary through some proto-Craigslist mechanism – maybe even an actual Classified ad, as we used to do back in the 20th century. Anyway, he and Gary showed up at some point at my quasi-studio in the converted barn at my folks’ place in the suburbs, and Chris started showing us his songs. They were not simple or cliched, but they were easy to learn because they were so good and made sense. I never figured out where Legg generated his ideas, but they seemed to come organically out of him. Writing great songs was one among his talents.
An aside on Gary: great bass player. Odd guy. Or maybe he was normal, and Legg and I, in our distinct ways, were the odd ones. Anyway, he played great bass parts on all but our last couple of recordings and was solid live. But, personality-wise, it was never quite the right fit. I don’t know that I was any better a fit with Legg, but we did seem to understand each other, one way or another. I remember we played some weird gig outside of New Haven – some country fair or crazy thing – and Legg told me on the side that he was going to give Gary the sack on the drive home. I had the gear in my car, and Chris drove off with Gary like Old Yeller. Last I ever saw of Gary.
Model Chaser songs were always good and a lot of fun to play, and – sloppy though I often was, channeling my inner Keith Moon – I think some of the best playing I ever managed was done with Model Chaser, and that includes some of the best shows and best recordings I was ever a part of. But only near the end, when Live Mike was on board, did we really feel like a band – even if it was mostly those two goofing around while I played the straight man.
When I decided my frustration with New Haven outweighed my enjoyment of the band, I split. Don’t know what we might have done otherwise, and I’ll always carry some guilt that it was pretty much the end of Model Chaser. Now I’ll carry more guilt that I hardly saw Legg again after that. But, as everyone reading this knows, he stays with you. One of the most unique and funny folks I’ve ever had the pleasure to know, and what made him especially funny was that his humor was unlike almost anyone else’s - other than Live Mike, that is. I’m gonna suggest that he unwittingly invented Earnest Irony: You say something as supremely and even stupidly absurd as you can think of and show no indication that you mean it in any way other than completely honestly, leaving folks like me to stare for a minute, to see if you actually mean what you just said. Then you all laugh, maybe just because you’ve already had three or four Coronas – this was before the pandemic, mind you – because they are good for your voice. If you were wondering how he achieved his vocal delivery, now you know the secret. Never worked for me, at least unless the monitors on the drum vocal mike were turned up for a change. But weak Mexican beer and lime did the trick for Legg.
So, yeah. Those were the days. I’m drinking a toast or three to Legg tonight. And I’m sending my love to all those he loved and who loved him. What a guy.