Daniel Lanois says he is lucky to be alive following a motorcycle crash last month in Los Angeles in which he suffered six broken bones, a cracked pelvis and internal bleeding around his right lung. “I was on my bike with a friend of mine on the back and a guy coming the other way decided to turn in front of me into a variety store,” says Lanois, who has produced albums for U2 and Bob Dylan. “I veered to miss him, but I hit an industrial box on the sidewalk going 35 miles per hour. I blacked out and when I came to I was laying on my back in the parking lot and people were telling me ‘don’t move.’ Then they hauled me away to a hospital and I had to lay there like a vegetable for three weeks.”
Lanois recently got out of his wheelchair and started walking, though he’s still worried about possible internal injuries. “I’m concerned about my right lung since it’s slightly collapsed,” he says. “There’s still some liquid floating around in my lung cavity and there is scar tissue down there and there might be a bit of scabbing. In another week they’ll do a scan and see if there need to get in there one more time — which is no picnic because they punch a hole in your side and stick in a drain hose. You want morphine for that… I think for the rest of the season I’m on four wheels.”
The accident forced the postponement of Lanois’ tour with his new group Black Dub — which features Chris Whitley’s 22- year-old daughter Trixie on lead vocals. “I had been fantasizing about putting a band together for a long time that would allow me to write music with a funkier angle,” says Lanois. “I’ve also had a fascination with Jamaican dub music.” When he bumped into Trixie backstage at a concert on Belgium and heard her voice he knew he found his singer. “She’s an amazing rhythmic talent,” he says. “She’s a great singer, but she’s also amazing on the drums.” The group’s lineup is rounded out by drummer Brian Blade and bassist Daryl Johnson.
Black Dub’s self-titled debut album is in the can, but has been postponed due to the accident until November 2nd. The first single is trippy, dubbed out “I Believe In You.” “If I can puff my chest out, I think the song is a classic,” Lanois said. “I broke ground rhythmically and sonically with it — and Trixie sings the shit out of it. Everything went so well we’re already talking about our second record.”