Sleepy LaBeef + Mandy Marie & The Cool Hand Lukes
Sleepy LaBeef has worked as a grocery clerk, a land surveyor, a lumberjack, a truck driver and, for six months, a horror movie swamp monster. He quit all that 31 years ago, and except for the time his bus caught fire in 1977 on the way to Bangor, Maine, he's never been off the road for more than a few weeks at a time. "I started out doing Southern, foot-stomping, hand-clapping gospel music," says LaBeef. "Then I would hear the blues on blues stations, the hillbilly music, the bluegrass out of Nashville, Bob Wills out of Texas. I've had an appreciation for all the music - if it's good, I've always loved it. But so many times, I've had people say,'We don't know how to market you, we don't know what to call you.' Because I've always mixed it up, right from the start, and that's what I intend to keep on doing."
The six-foot-six 250 plus pound LaBeef drawls on, peppering his conversation with references to Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly, Bo Diddley, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles and Dean Martin.
Six months younger than Elvis, LaBeef has been rocking and rolling as long as anybody in the business. The youngest of ten children in an Arkansas farming family (the original family name was LaBoeuf, the family changed it to LaBeff, and Sleepy changed it to LaBeef). His father farmed, raising cotton and watermelons for sale and livestock for the family, back in the days when "we used real horsepower," LaBeef says. By the time they sold their 40-acre farm for $300 - to the oil company, like everybody else - Thomas had become "Sleepy," nicknamed in first grade for the droop-down eyelids that he says made him look "like I was about half-awake." By 14, he'd quit school, traded his .22 rifle for a guitar, and started playing in church. At 18, he left home for a job building roads in Houston, and made the leap to secular music, playing in clubs for $8 or $9 a night.
Dubbed the Bull, the Road Warrior, and the Human Jukebox, has been laying down a seemingly endless variety of roots music since 1953, when he moved to Texas from his home state of Arkansas. Here, Sleepy began to gain notoriety as a singer while performing at the Magnolia Gardens, the Houston Jamboree, the Louisiana Hayride, and scores of bars, family shows, and spots on both radio and television.
Sleepy LaBeefs live sets are truly indescribable. One must see them to understand that he is doing nothing less than giving up his body to the spirit of the music and testifying. In this day of studio effects and ever-changing technology, many record buyers wonder why a live show even matters. Sleepy LaBeef is the answer.
1119 E. Prospect Street
Indianapolis, IN 46203
|Minimum Age: 21|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|