Cody Chesnutt, Coolest Dude Ever, Discusses His Army Helmet and "Fighting for Your Soul"

Unless Genghis Khan comes back to life in the next 48 hours and decides that humidity, not pillaging, is his first priority, the most badass dude in Miami on Thursday night is going to be Cody Chesnutt. No bones about it.

That's Mr. Chesnutt in the picture to the right. And he's cooler than you. Sorry.

He wears an army helmet when he performs because, as he tells us, he's "trying to fight to keep the soul alive." That's your soul, by the way.

Chesnutt chatted with Crossfade in advance of Thursday's show at Ricochet where he'll be playing an acoustic set of songs from his long-awaited second album, Landing on a Hundred.. You can RSVP below for free. Or tune into a live stream on Google+.

In this installment, we attempt to get the story behind that helmet and what it's like being so cool.

See also:

-Cody Chesnutt on Baby-Making Music, Living in Florida, and "Being the Best Human"

Crossfade: 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, OK?

Cody Chesnutt. A solo acoustic performance. Thursday, September 27. Ricochet Bar & Lounge, 3250 NE First Ave., Miami. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show is free with RSVP to in[email protected]. Call 305-673-3873 or visit

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B. Caplan