Meet Dixie Dave of Weedeater’s Sister, An Assistant D.A.?
“Dixie” Dave Collins is what you might call a character. As the vocalist and bassist for stoner metal masters Weedeater, he’s renowned for a sense of humor that produced the album titles for the band’s 2001 debut …And Justice For Y’all and 2007’s God Luck and Good Speed. He’s also notorious for an extensive and ongoing variety of whiskey-guzzling, drug-fueled antics, which include accidentally shooting his own big toe off in 2010. A longtime marijuana advocate, he’s worked on and off for years at a head shop in his hometown of Wilmington, N.C. (Full disclosure: I interviewed Collins for High Times last year and have enjoyed at least two brief, but heavily narcotic interactions with him over the last two decades.)
All of which only made it more bizarre when we learned that one of Collins’ older sisters is an Assistant District Attorney for North Carolina’s New Hanover County. Her name is Connie Jordan, and she ran for a Superior Court judge’s seat in that same county in November. When we called her on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, she had nothing but praise and affection for the little brother who couldn’t possibly be more different than her. “David has always done his own thing,” she says. “He’s never been a mainstream kind of person in any aspect of his life — clothing, hair, attitude — and I mean that in a good way. If there was someone around who was not fitting in very well, David would pull them into his group and they’d be fine. That’s how I’ve always thought of him: as a very inclusive person. He’s very witty and sharp — always the first out with a funny story. He’s the life of the party, and I’m sure that’s his reputation.”
Let’s get the big one out of the way first: Your brother is very pro-marijuana. You are an Assistant District Attorney in a state where weed is not legal. Does that create any awkward scenarios?
Not for me. Maybe for him sometimes. [Laughs] He doesn’t do that in front of me — none of them do. They never have, ever. But I prosecute violent crimes, you know? I prosecute people who have invaded people’s homes, bound them and gagged them, pistol-whipped them and raped them and robbed them and killed them. Drugs are just not my area of practice. Certainly, drug use is not a great thing, and some of it can lead to very bad crimes, but most of the crimes I deal with have nothing to do with marijuana, I can tell you that. Other drugs are often involved, but I don’t get a lot of violent crime because people were smoking pot. So, that’s never been an issue for me. I don’t know about him — we’ve never even had that conversation, actually.
Working with victims of violent crimes and prosecuting the perpetrators sounds like difficult work. Emotionally draining, too.
Yeah, I think it is. But if you enjoy that kind of work — which I guess is a weird way to put it — it can be very satisfying if you have good results. And I’ve had a lot of very good results over the years. But it can also be completely devastating when it doesn’t work out like it should. So, it definitely affects you. And I keep in touch with a lot of the people I meet who’ve been horribly injured through violent crime. That part has honestly been a very uplifting part of my life. I don’t seek that out because I always think of myself as like a reminder of what happened to them, because people are often dealing with me during the worst time of their life. But if they seek out [a relationship] with me, I am more than happy to reciprocate. I have 20-year relationships with some people I’ve worked with.
You recently ran for a judge’s seat on the Superior Court in New Hanover County. What was that experience like?
It was one of the most miserable, yet one of the most uplifting experiences in my life. It was so bizarre. Being a prosecutor, I’m not really one to put my name out there. I don’t feed off of being around a lot of people, so I found that part not pleasant at all. But I had all these people who were victims or families of victims in cases I had worked come forward and help me. People hunted me down to help because they had heard what I had done for other people. I had groups of people coming forward to help that I just didn’t expect, so I was in this emotional roller coaster just because of that. It absolutely blew me away. Even now I tear up about it because it was so unexpected. I would not do it again in the future, though. [Laughs]
Dave was urging Weedeater fans to vote for you via Instagram.
David and his friends came and worked polls for me. I’m sure that was interesting for people. [Laughs] They had a blast, though. He stood there with my pamphlet and said, “Please consider voting for my sister, Connie Jordan.” You just try to sell your candidate in the five seconds you have while people are walking from their car to the polling place. But David has no hesitation about that kind of thing. He was like, “I just have to walk up and talk to someone? Great!” He’s also a member of our local Elks Lodge, which I think is awesome, so he called me one night and said, “I got you 500 votes tonight!” [Laughs] It was definitely a bonding experience.
What was your household like growing up?
I’d say it was pretty normal, but David has always been unusual — in a really good sense. He was a Pied Piper kind of kid — the kid everyone wanted to be around. To some degree, he’s kept the same group of friends his whole life. He surfed his whole life, skateboarded. He was on a first-name basis with all the people at our local emergency medical place because he was always almost breaking a bone. [Laughs] He was constantly there, which would drive my mother crazy. He’d do things like run up a tree or the side of a house and do a flip. I’ve actually seen him do that in the last five years. [Laughs] He’s always been very entertaining.
Does anyone else in the immediate family play an instrument or sing?
No, David got all the musical talent. He can play pretty much any instrument he picks up. He’s always been that way. I struggled through piano lessons as a kid and hated every minute of it. My sister kind of picked up guitar for maybe six months, but we don’t sing or play instruments.
I’m guessing Dave made a lot of noise around the house back then.
He did, yes. [Laughs] We got a piano when I started taking piano lessons, but he ended up playing the piano — without lessons. My mom still has the piano, and when he’s at her house, he plays it like crazy. My dad did play guitar a little bit, but he wasn’t around a whole lot, and David ended up getting his guitar. I remember David getting an electric guitar when he was in maybe late junior high and playing it. He had drums. He played the kazoo. He can basically play anything.
What do you remember about his first band?
They were called After Forever. All those guys are still around. They did a reunion show a while back when a friend of theirs passed away. I just remember people in Wilmington being crazy for it. He has a huge following here. He knows everyone here, and everyone knows him. But I remember going to see After Forever when David was 18 and they were playing at a local club, and our mother went with us. It was definitely not her thing.
Tell us something about Dave that we’d never guess.
He was a really good breakdancer. [Laughs] I don’t know if he does that anymore, but I remember taking him to some teen club when we were younger. He was way too young to be there, but he was dancing, doing all this spinning, and that was the first time I remember girls going crazy for him — older girls. [Laughs] But he does not mind being the center of attention at all.
Any other good childhood stories worth mentioning?
David had this birthday party when he was maybe nine or ten. He had a group of boys over, including this little Japanese boy. My mom went to go pick up pizza for them, and when she came back she found they had all shaved their hair into mohawks. So, my mom had to deliver these little boys back to their families with mohawks, including the Japanese boy whose mother did not speak English, so my mom couldn’t even begin to explain to her what happened. [Laughs] My mom just kinda raised her hands up like, “What can you do?” I can’t even imagine what they thought. But that is David Collins right there.
Did you guys ever go to concerts together as kids?
The only one I can remember that we all went to was Alabama, the country group. My uncle managed them and they were playing in South Carolina, so we went with the family to see them. But music was not a huge part of our lives growing up. My dad loved country music; my mom liked it, but it wasn’t played at our house. So, David picked up music and ran with it in his own way. He played music at home that was very different than what other kids were listening to. He grew up listening to Corrosion of Conformity and that kind of music, and he has since traveled with them and is now very good friends with Pepper Keenan of COC.
What kind of music were you listening to at that time?
Oh my gosh. I’m almost embarrassed to say. I liked Loverboy and Journey and Rick James and ELO and Aerosmith. Styx was another one. [Laughs] I loved music, but David and I did not listen to the same things. But not long ago, he and his girlfriend and me and my husband went to see Bela Fleck at our local university, and we all really enjoyed it. We don’t do that a lot, other than when we go to see David’s band, which we try to do when he’s playing anywhere close. I actually bought to tickets to their last show.
He didn’t put you on the guest list?
I’m sure he would have, but I wanted to support them! It’s funny because when I walked into the theater and said, “I would like two tickets to Weedeater,” they were like, “Are you sure?” [Laughs] “Do you know what this is?” Finally, my husband told them, “It’s her brother.”
What do you think of Weedeater?
I am very proud of them. I have all their CDs, mostly because it’s my brother, obviously. I listen to some of it. I like hard music, but more like Linkin Park. I love them. I have all of their CDs. But I do listen to some of his stuff. I love it because it’s his. I think he’s incredibly talented. He’s not someone to be mainstream for the sake of making money. I can’t imagine him ever doing that. He just loves the process and the music and it comes from him.