Known for their self-mocking sincerity, the Charlotte punks known as Dollar Signs use the record as a means of getting back to their roots in every sense – earlier this summer, they crowdfunded over $25,000 to be able to release this album entirely independent. That support fueled a fire, and the result is a bombastic and heartfelt unpacking of what it means to go back home.
Out of all the songs on Legend Tripping, "Bless Your Heart" is the one that best represents the vibe of the entire album––"this song really showed us that we could pull off doing a big ass rock-n-roll guitar record," lead songwriter Erik Button says. The track is streaming everywhere now, alongside a video that brilliantly captures Bigfoot going through a mid-life crisis.
He continues: "This song is about the ways we try to fill that big ol’ hole in ourselves and how a lot of people think they have the answer of how to cement that fucker closed but I’m not sure there is a simple solution to it. Healing is hard, nonlinear and painful but worthwhile. It’s a messy business but hopefully a harmonized guitar solo can mend at least the corners of your tear."
Amidst a bout of pandemic-fueled writer's block, Erik challenged himself to examine the "hometown" rock album cliche in a different light. Instead of just talking about growing up in the South, he'd write about the nuances of revisiting it once you've grown beyond it––what it was, what it is now, and how time creates a bigger distance than any amount of mileage could.
Because Button loves horror films, Legend Tripping also frames "home" as a place that's haunted, and examines change through the lens of mystery. And despite this nostalgia, his caustic wit still manages to lob neon green paint at every elephant in the room.
In eleven songs, he decries the erosion of old friends due to right-wing political movements on “Fight or Flight”, the regret of trying to bring something back to life on “RESONATOR!” and even penning a bombastic ode to the punk scene on the titular track, “Legend Tripping," with a double-entendre chorus of “We are not alone”, a battle-cry for punk kids that are drawn to each other by the fact that they are outsiders in their spaces, aliens of the status quo.
Erik says, “It was really important for me to think carefully about the subject matter. I didn’t want to approach this topic with rose-colored glasses, but also the south gets shit on constantly and I did want to reflect that good people do live here, good things happen here. It’s beautiful here and people live freely and joyfully here in spite of the systems of horror baked into our infrastructure.”
And with that sense of pride for the community, Dollar Signs raised over $25,000 to put this album out by themselves with the help of followers and fans alike. “The pop punk industrial complex was not for me”, says Dylan Wachman, manager and bass player of the band. “I only ever joined this band and did these things because I was a fan of music. The more time I spent working the systems of it all, the more I realized what I liked about it in the first place. And it wasn’t what we were living for.”
The band now runs their own merch store and works exclusively with close friends and trusted confidants in other areas. This change brings them closer to their roots, and closer to their art. This of course comes with challenges, but it’s nothing the band hasn’t done before.
“If I need to pay for everything myself, then, so be it. If I need to take out a loan to release a record, that’s fine. I’ve never wanted to do this more, I’ve never been more fired up”, says Dylan. “At least Bank of America doesn’t want my masters.”
Legend Tripping track list:
- Can't Go Home Again
- Bless Your Heart
- Old Times' Sake
- Fight Or Flight
- East Of The Rockies
- Legend Tripping
- Nuclear Family