Diesel In The Dust
by UFO

Album: Making Contact (1983)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Diesel In The Dust" was co-written by lead vocalist Phil Mogg and keyboard player/guitarist Neil Carter. Running to 4:29, this is another example of quick on the draw in Texas, the other being "Shoot Shoot" from the Force It album.
  • Commenting on the song to Songfacts in March 2011, Neil Carter said it was "set in America's deep south it's about rednecks taking the law into their own hands and rough justice. The guy is shot, slumped at the wheel of his truck and all that's left is the smell of fuel in the Texas (or somewhere) dust." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2

Comments: 2

  • Bleepyf from Edinburgh, ScotlandI remember an interview at the time the album came out and Phil Mogg said that it was based on a real incident. Obviously, he used a fictional name in the song, but mentioned that the guy in real life was the sort that few would miss. His name, in actual fact, had been Ken McElroy.

    It's known that reporters trying to write up the story at the time often complained that “didn’t see a thing” was the usual response whenever they tried to question the townsfolk about his murder.
    McElroy, from Skidmore, MO had been a petty criminal as a kid. As an adult, he did not improve, being widely considered a bully and a thief; known to have stolen grain, alcohol, gasoline, antiques, and also livestock. Worse than that, he had not only been accused of assault and arson, but also child molestation and statutory rape. However, despite being indicted twenty one times, McElroy was never convicted.

    Author Harry MacLean wrote a book about McElroy’s murder, called "In Broad Daylight".

    "McElroy was a big man with cold eyes who always carried a gun. He would intimidate anyone who got in his way, usually by repeatedly harassing them or threatening them... His attorney, Richard McFadin, said he routinely defended Ken McElroy in three or four felonies a year. “Best client I ever had... he was punctual, always said he didn’t do it, paid in cash and kept coming back. The town, on the other hand, hated him. He had been terrorising Skidmore for years and he kept getting away with it", MacLean says. "Things reached a boiling point in 1980 when Ken McElroy got into a confrontation with the town’s elderly grocer, Ernest “Bo” Bowenkamp. McElroy wound up shooting Bowenkamp in the neck, nearly killing him."

    McElroy was finally charged and convicted of something - this time, attempted murder. However, McElroy appealed and was released on bail. He then proceeded to harass and intimidate his victim. The townsfolk held a meeting and allegedly decided on some vigilante justice - with the town mayor apparently in attendance. Later, a crowd of three to four dozen approached McElroy as he was getting into his pick-up truck and several shots fired. McElroy was hit twice and left to die in his vehicle. No ambulance was called, no witnesses came forward and as McElroy's lawyer said “the town got away with murder.”
  • Jim from Long Beach, CaAwesome song..Great post!!
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