David Tillis admits he’s a “character.”
In fact, he typically doesn’t answer to his Christian name, as he prefers his two monikers — “Everglades Wildman” or “Shag Nasty.”
Last Thursday, Tillis created a small stir on the Seymour square when he parked his unique van, complete with hand- sprayed messages, on its west side after his trip from West Plains to Branson was delayed.
“I ran out of gas,” Tillis explained. “So I just figured I was stuck here until someone decided to help me out.
“And it didn’t take an hour, and someone helped. I’m now off to follow my dreams.”
In Branson, Tillis has aspirations of being a famous song writer, as he’s written more than 5,000 songs, including about 1,200 “that he can remember.” He said a few of them have become very popular on YouTube, with his 2004 song, “I’m Comin To Get Ya Bin Laden,” receiving more than 8,500 hits.
“That’s a tune that would’ve gone No. 1 (in the nation) if I had some music for it,” Tillis said. “It’s out there, and it’s a hot song. Just look up Everglades Wildman, and you’ll see it.”
His second-most popular tune?
“That has to be ‘How I Got Sober On A Bicycle,’ and that’s a sharp tune,” he explained. “You see, my life is one of those that’s sort of been stolen from me ... my stories become big hits for other people.”
When asked to explain, Tillis noted that between 1982 and 1987, he rode 15,000 miles on a bicycle, all across the U.S.
“The folks who did the movie ‘Forrest Gump’ spied on me, and they stole that story,” he said. When informed that in the movie, the fictional Gump runs across the nation, Tillis responded, “Exactly. They had to change it up.”
Additional online hits include “Shag Nasty Boogie,” which he calls “my most-popular song,” adding that “on YouTube, that’s a big hit. My best stuff is out there on YouTube. Just look me up as Shag Nasty, the Everglades Wildman or the Road Dog.”
Since he can’t play an instrument, he said many of his online songs are done in karaoke version, where he takes a popular hit song, then sings his lyrics over the top of the original lyrics.
Also on YouTube are several personal testimonials, as he describes an experience during his six-year bike ride where he got behind an 18-wheel truck, drafted behind it and reached speeds (on his bike) of more than 100 miles per hour.
“I contacted the folks at the Guinness record book, and they just laughed at me,” he said. “That had to be the fastest speed ever on a 10-speed bike.” ...
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