When it snows in NYC - well, there are some complications. It usually melts, what, with the 24/7 traffic and all the rest that goes with being a metropolitan center. But man, owning a car here can really suck when it snows, major-ly!
There’s a new film out with Jeff Bridges - I’m debating whether I can handle it or not. Seems like he’s dressed up à la, Waylon! Oh dear…
So, (and I don’t want to pre-judge) I may step in and check it out, Mickey. I wouldn’t go see “Ray”, nor would I pay for “Titanic” to see some Hollywood drivel. Wouldn’t go see the Johnny Cash exploitation either.
I felt I had skin in the game with all these guys since I’d worked with some of them and had grandparents ON the Titanic, etc. I knew Cash, worked on his tv show at the Ryman in 70, met him several times with Nashville insiders (Big Jim Webb, 6’5” steeler with Del Reeves). Hated the film angle. I’ll have to blog a piece on the Cash Show, Family/cast dinner we had before the actual taping at another time! “Have the frog’s legs, Son!” The night Buddy developed two heads…
After all, they never even came close to the real reasons he wrote his stuff – “Ballad Of Ira Hayes”, and all the songs that came in about the underdog in America, the suffering, the injustice. Would they have a fucking clue as to why he recorded a Nine Inch Nails’ song? Or care? Not hardly…
Worshipped Brother Ray – couldn’t bear to see an actor portray the junkie-genius and try to get away with it, blatantly vying for an Oscar before the ink was dry on his contract.
But Waylon – that’s a whole ‘nuther deal.
When I was working for you in 67, part of 68 – I had morphed into a neo-hippie! The transformation was achieved entirely through the love of music. I swore at the time, this would be my last gig as a sidemen. I’d done ALL the yeoman work, been a good student, a dependable soldier as a Mustang. But I was reaching for another goal – a broader place to play a wider range of music styles. Rock, pop, R&B…
The Beatles had affected me tremendously, the Stones, Led Zep. The Who, Big Brother, the Grateful Dead, Donovan, Steppenwolf – DYLAN!!! Crazy shit was going down. Then, I met Charmaine at Ann Dunn’s Matador club while the Mustangs were working there as pretty much the house band. And Char changed my life! She was the Magic Carpet Ride to take me through the Looking Glass to the Other Side. And I was deeply in love with her.
One day – Waylon Jennings came to town to play a week’s stint at the Horseshoe (Tavern), two of his band guys came to see me at the Edison Hotel the night we were both playing. They were seeking pot. They had asked around at the Shoe, who in town they might approach about finding some weed and were told that well, there is this ONE hippie we know (who might have some dope!) and they were directed to the Edison…Enter Me.
I always came to work early. And there were those southern-hippie-types a-waitin’ – smilin’, grinning. Waylon’s drummer, Richie Albright and his bass player, Jimmie Gray. They broached the subject of grass and I highballed it with a quick call to Charmaine. Yeah, we could hook up after our respective shows tonight and get stoned! I was single at the time and free as the breeze. I dropped by the Matador and whisked Char away to the Holiday Inn on the Lakeshore. We commenced to par-TAY!
In those days, it was kinda like a Zap Comix cartoon, Furry Freak Bros., Mr. Natural reenactment: Is it better to have dope than food? The classic conundrum. These boneheads would argue the point ad nauseum…coming to the conclusion that with Fat Freddy, they were fucked either way. If you spent the household bread on dope, you got high AND got subsequently hungry, needing FOOD!!
I remember the interior of Richie & Jimmie’s room at the H.I. – the standard H.I. twin double layout with BLUE CURTAINS! The curtains were significant. As we smoked and got higher & higher, we cracked funnies till dawn. Char brought a lot of weed and the guys bought the large amount we didn’t smoke. As morning crept up, the curtains got bluer and bluer! Quite remarkably so, enhanced by the marijuana (a C+ at best) till they veritably glowed, became 3 dimensional, then FOUR dimensional – then 5, then 6 and so on. These were 4 pretty nice people sharing those joints for 4 hours or so. And when we had to split, we headed for the elevator.
At that time…of morning…on that very given day, there was a convention at the hotel. Not unusual. We stopped on EVERY goddamned floor to pick up more and more people. Slowest elevator any of us had ever been on. And the PEOPLE!? They were SO FUCKING STRAIGHT!!! Slacks, short-sleeve golf shirt’s, argyll socks, loafers – a complete 180° from us 4 freaks. And of course, we started to laugh. And laugh. AND LAUGH till we were falling over these creeps in the elevator.
And when the elevator finally reached the lobby, the doors opened to reveal the source of STRAIGHTNESS rampant in the hotel. It was the USGA. Golfers. Thousands of ‘em!!! It was probably the Canadian Open Golf Championship or such – and they looked at us like we were well, from another Planet.
Which, of course – we were…
A week later, I got a post card from the Waylon bus saying, “Busted At Bridge”. [Actually, at that time, they were traveling in a Cadillac limo w/a trailer for gear] Ever since that time, Ole Hoss used to view me suspiciously every time we hooked up. Like I was about to get HIM busted. Fair enough.
When old Waylon dying, I was in Nashville recording, got hold of Richie and offered my help and can I drop over to see him. Richie said, “Buddy, thanks but Ole Hoss doesn’t want anybody to see him the way he is…”
Ah, man – what a gyp! The songs he gave us, the licks, the reactionary politics. I miss him.