M1 I remember one time we played a gig in Fort Worth. Bobby was with us. I don't know if you might have taken a little break to go play with Waylon, but there wasn't even a piano in the game. You know, Bobby was playing guitar. Were you there for some beer joint on?

M44 I know probably the biggest fanboy before that piano.

M6 We'd be lucky if they had one there for Bobby.

M32 I don't know if I had one. Yeah, it was an upright. And we still remember the crowd with a lot of problem in Vegas, too.

M9 Yeah. You know, we had to use their piano.

M2 It was we're playing in lounges in Bobby Golden Nugget now and the Golden Nugget Lounge was like four shows a night, 30 minutes, maybe five, four or five shows. And I understand the bandstand was behind the bar right over there and it opened up. The curtains would automatically, automatically and close on. So you had to be in the middle of a song and I would go to the clubs, OK?

M12 And the client right now was the most remarkable before they had a hotel just to use a lounge and they didn't have a hotel at all.

M20 In fact, the next day. And yeah. So people would be.

M8 Oh, you did. They didn't want you to play louder than that. And anybody could talk me out. I don't even know why they even wanted you there.

M9 It wasn't any though. They were just making. It was. Yeah.

M24 It was the lounge and the people in that close proximity worth work, work for drinking and and sort of paying attention to you. But they didn't want anybody didn't want you playing any louder than to interfere with the gambling on the slots for a while.

M40 Yeah. I mean slot machines were out or whatever. Yeah.

M8 Like that's where we got to have always been around to. Jody, you're you to go there already.

M32 Well now I got the whole on you remember that.

M33 I got one. I got one thing yous.

M26 I got one. I got one that I really cherish you Steve win. You have to give me to power and give me a pair of pistols. Whatever you have with the bone handles. Right. That the guards carry you on the western pistol.

M20 They said the devil on the side of where they get burned up. No, you still got.

M9 No, you're right. They dig. Get up. Yeah. I thought there we had them, but he didn't have them. He didn't have them.

M35 They did get up there and willing to stand with those pictures, right.

M2 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He likes to get you got you got you three guys like well he didn't really get it so we just kind of fell into it, you know, it was kind of scary.

M8 Nobody got fired. We just we just didn't show up. You're just you have to be around in a there's a hole appears and you fall in it sort of it's kind of in that way with everybody.

M44 They worked their way in and out. Yeah. It was easy to get in. And that's how I get out.

M20 And I'm a little person.

M44 Yeah, I know where else to go.

M20 No. Oh heck. If we didn't know this was going to be a you know, we could have got a real job and we have a real job. No, no, no. I didn't think so. Yeah.

M15 Well, how old were you guys when you started? Like teens. Early twenties. I was twenty.

M33 Maybe thinking that. Right, anyway.

M32 Yeah, I was eighteen.

M35 I think I can't remember that one time they had his birthday, which was maybe 40 or so for his birthday, and they were happy.

M8 Yeah, yeah. When I first when I first started, I couldn't even during the breaks, I had to go. If it was a lounge that had a kitchen, I have to go wait in the kitchen was twenty one to drink.

M40 I had to go hang out and so I just hung out in the kitchen, drank with the cooks.

M26 You remember your first I remember your first job.

M8 My first job to have a hotel. Yeah. I got in New York City here in New York City was attacked hotels. First job I ever work, first time I've ever been out of Texas. An actual room. Yeah, really in the hotel came up here.

M20 And I mean, I know what I'm sixty eight.

M2 Nineteen sixty eight when I come. Seventy seven you know, seventy three, sixty seventy three dollars and seventy four point seventy three dollars and seventy three here in November. So I came in and I remember seventy three days when you're playing.

M11 Wow. What was it about Will made you guys stick it out.

M24 Oh he's he was like cool. I mean he was a great musician. I mean you know, that's fun. I mean the things, the things, the things that people love about him today he had back then and all that he had changed.

M30 He had really, you know, I mean, he just he just kept on going all the time, you know?

M35 Yeah. Good front, man. Really good work. Fun to work with. Yeah.

M2 If found a plane went down, I first worked with him in 1956 and then after that I was a fan anyway. So yeah, I guess we're all fans. We have just. Yeah we were, he was just too polite to run. I saw him play golf.

M40 He was matter of fact he thought I heard him tell Paul, he said you'll never catch me run around a cow pasture chasing one of the little white balls.

M33 Look at him now. Look what the cap and gown. Very good. Very good. And the cow.

M10 And he's happy with it. He's got to go. He likes it. I think he's the only one among us has made a hole in one. And you know. I did. You did? Yeah.

M24 When was this happen. Oh, this is very fortunate. This happened year before last I was playing. Luckily I wasn't playing with you guys because now everybody believes me so.

M40 Oh, so now I was playing in Franklin, Tennessee, at my home. And yet one didn't get to see it, though it was an elevated green model, one of them during that time.

M22 And and no, I mean, the guy was hitting them low like that. He went in and put his ball in the hole. Yeah. And we went on to the next thing we had to go over the cliff, you see the green.

M8 So when we put it all in the hole and we left and we heard him holler, yeah, surprisingly, our big RPN gave the go and year the tooth fairy.

M30 This time we often bring a little happiness to the world. It'll come back to you.

M33 And that's something that would be bad when I was.

M15 Yeah, that's what it got coming to you guys.

M4 No, hold up still.

M40 Paul La Paul played first and then me and Paul started playing and playing with this.

M35 I used to go out when it's right around the corner, you know, did you play before? No, not really. And then I kept trying to get along and one day I did in terms of trying to hit it again.

M8 The oldest golfer got Jody is by far the most improved. He took it up and it came pretty easy to him.

M37 Yeah, he didn't have any bad habits to start with and he got involved in golf.

M55 Golf is really good.

M8 And I really want to tell him that story.

M4 But I say I want to write a story about when you played before you were with us and you played.

M21 We're playing with Jack. You're playing at that hospital.

M8 What? That's all the insane asylum. Yeah, we did that. We played a lot of crazy. And that was, you know what that got union project gigs. Yeah.

M40 Know what was a story that's and all this bunch of we came up there, they were remodeling the place and we were taking our company and this guy had a wheelbarrow that one of the workers had left and we were playing some brick and stuff and the wheelbarrow upside down, pulling it around. And I went over and I said, why don't you turn that over?

M5 He said, but he put me every time, every damn time I met the guy that bonded with you and wanted you to get him out of there something. Oh, no.

M13 Uh, yeah. We're going.

M11 That's like Jodi's story that you got guys talk a little about. We're first of all, we're really family. And I was up in that.

M4 Oh, well, that's the first time I saw Willie.

M3 I was playing with this other singer and we went he was signed to RCA and gone by their offices to just go to the record room to get some records. I was going through all the rock stuff, I guess, and somewhere mixed in there was Willie's record, Willie and family. And I put this album cover out and there were all these guys sitting around a fire and everyone sitting around a fire. And, you know, it just kind of caught my eyes to looked at a little closer and there was PA whirring. There was a guy in all black wearing a black, came down to the ground with the red lining. And this is in Ridge Top Tennessee. This is out in the country, you know, around the bonfire. And so Paul's wearing a black cape with a red lining, really kind of looking arrogantly into the camera. And there's women and kids and babies.

M4 And B is wearing what looks like a duck, furry underwear. He looks like that's what black socks, black shoes.

M2 You know, people I'll on boots and socks and looked like he had I had a furlough, a for loincloth and the cold day, it was real cold. Real cold. That's when the fire was noticed. Willie had over Kotov have. Yeah. Are a lot of people in there and a lot of people over there now that I see.

M6 No they have that in the back of my mind.

M5 We've done some photo shoots where there were five, six, seven, eight people that showed up that are in the photo that we don't know who.

M7 There's a guy in that photo that nobody knows yet.

M5 I mean, I can recognize them, but there's still people just come out of the woods and I get the photo and there, yeah, I still have those.

M24 I mean, well, I mean, how many times have we had people on the bus? It's been on the bus three or four days.

M5 It's true that we thought there we go.

M8 And you thought there with me and I just got on the bus and one guy we thought was with Jodi and we said, Jodi said there, God, guy, you know, your buddy is really a jerk, buddy, and you're lazy. I don't know what it feels like to be polite, but on that picture, I can remember that when they took the picture very vividly and, you know, that was the last one they took.

M10 And it was a picnic recall that when the guy said, wait a minute, one more before, and that was one they used. But that one, the family, the real world, real family was over here, you know, and we were all over there and it wasn't planned that way. Yeah, well, everybody's moving back around the fire.

M9 That's where it happened. You know, his mother and his dad and his stepmother and stepdad and Lana and Billy and all the children, you know, and the grandchildren, they were all there. Connie and Paula, Colleen, they're all on one side. And we were all on the other side of it, Don. And everybody.

M5 Well, maybe that's why it was. Always called willing family, and he didn't have to mess with her and anybody you had to marry into it. Yeah, yeah, let somebody else make the decisions. You guys have to make those decisions. Still making them. Yeah, that's true.

M11 So I guy you've got like a dog.

M8 That's yeah. That's that's the guy that nobody knows who he is. The guy that the dog is jumping up his butt that I think we done that, that whole photo shoot.

M13 And then we said let's do one more. So. That's how we got the fur loincloths.

M5 Yeah, actually get the loincloth.

M24 It was a fur piece off of Bobby's collar, off of her coat, off your pants.

M4 I took off my pain wrapped around her collar around.

M10 Yeah. And the previous pictures, he did not have a T-shirt on. He had a little t shirt on because we were Roaf. Yeah. We thought it was over with.

M52 Got to see the ones they didn't use.

M9 Well that was my first that was what I should do with that was imposed there. But I just ran back and got in a position. It wasn't posted all the other way had been posted. Yeah.

M11 Well that's. Did you guys collectively think in the beginning think this is a guy who get behind this guy's going to be big or do you think, you know, to make a living as musicians?

M15 No, no. That was never I thought I really liked his songs.

M16 I play like everyone around you and it doesn't happen overnight.

M4 You don't feel it doesn't feel any different.

M17 It wasn't even a goal. Our goal was to make a living playing what we do. Yeah. I mean, when we left Nashville, you know, we came to Texas, we didn't have a record contract. But when we go to Texas. But the job and play for the door. Yeah. And that's when you came with you came was there in Texas right there. No bigger. No, but you know, we, we didn't have anything in mind but just making it good.

M5 What we do with it is Robbie Robertson, somebody in the band, he goes, man, all I want to do is just break even. Yeah.

M11 Yeah, most of the time. Like like around when a stranger came out, they started to think like, oh, shit, we're stars.

M5 No, not like we ever felt that.

M18 No, no. When they started playing the redheaded stranger and doing blue eyes crying in real life, when they started playing on the radio, I really got excited because I thought, oh, we cut down. I thought very neat the way I hope that they will release it that way. Yeah. You know, they're just taking their put everything on top of it. Yeah, I got excited for it and it was exciting to hear yourself on the radio.

M5 Yeah.

M19 You know, there were times we didn't get a lot of airplay and we still didn't matter and we still played well.

M18 No, no. I was just on what to turn out. We got to do that. I'm not calling you a liar. Yeah, sure.

M20 Yeah, yeah, yeah. So the size of the kids, well, they got a little bigger.

M8 We got better transportation, we got better transportation more. But other than that, nothing really changed.

M21 But we started out just with one road before we had a bus, but we finally got a bus. Yeah. Yeah. Like one long couch on no box, nobody slept, nobody.

M22 But it was soft around you help sleep around me, that's for sure.

M9 We were using Willie's car and these blazer. Yeah, that's all we had with him.

M8 Johnny ran over a gas pump and then we had him from a blazer.

M12 Yeah. Yeah. Going to have something nicer than what we had when we got home.

M2 I mean, not to basically when not go remember the trip from Tokuda to Denver. Yeah. Oh yeah. The story. I've got to go. I don't remember. We checked in the hotel and we really got to fight in the parking lot.

M7 Yeah. And we were in there. We were in there. Yeah.

M5 Well in Germany where the guy screaming out in the parking garage, he's having a little altercation with the parking attendant and he goes, well maybe because there's a bit physical and verbal on the outside.

M4 We hear the scream and I think I said, I think it's Williams.

M8 Wait, wait, wait, wait. This is I trying to check in and all of a sudden we hear the guy going to help.

M5 Help. You said you couldn't park there.

M23 We just had driven straight wages demonstrating that they would like us to get out of Mercedes. And Blazer has got that much time. Yeah. Yeah.

M9 At six o'clock in the morning, they tell you you can't park there now.

M16 You can't legislate anymore.

M8 Yeah, I went out to check on that guy. He had one more pair of cowboy boots come and he really is screaming and we'll have him by the throat. Jody had him. He didn't come back to work the whole week. No, I didn't know.

M21 I mean, we all took our cars to the.

M16 Well, we are following and whenever I have no doubt that I'm going to Dallas and we will be making the ride with me and he said, I wasn't sure, just following by the well, he took off. I said, yeah, we're going to need Amy just like at the top of his head and go on for a while.

M5 I said, I don't have good luck on that road.

M8 I know you don't often hear me out of flat and Rachel's car on the way up there.

M5 And I know it was a little Pinto little Pinto taken to her mom's.

M24 And Maggie was so proud of himself because he had changed to actually change the tire himself and he came driving up the gig, but the rim was reversed.

M4 But I got so mad at it because he said, you got the wrong Spearin here. Yeah, we got fire and you guys drove by the boss and saw her there. And I'm chewing her out.

M8 And you can't put it down wrong when he did. Yeah, I know. It's the first time I ever seen.

M4 Yeah, that's first time you guys pulled over and said I need help. I said, right. Just got the wrong car. Sticks out. Yeah. Like it's the exact same thing. You put it on backwards but like hard right here.

M17 Three three triple car, you put it on backwards and it's sitting out in the middle.

M50 Yeah.

M25 I was out in the middle of it again we get paid and there were some like, you know, Paul was calling that a pistol.

M8 You can get people running and everybody knew it.

M9 Everybody knew that. That's true. Carry a lot of what we did.

M52 We did that. Those some of those we did some things in Florida where we to get paid. Remember, that guy came out.

M10 Well, that started one one. Well, you know, what happened is I was negotiating with him, you know, and he was going to pass something. He claimed he didn't get the contract in time. And, you know, and I said, well, you know, he took a couple of tries to limit the cover charge and it's for trauma for the band. When they come back. I said, well, give us all or nothing. It's OK, give me anything. Don't get anything. They'll get of they call the security over there. Yeah. He got security of his own.

M8 Yeah, they were the police and they were the cops. Did you play it. We played already put it played in our money.

M26 So that's what we want it to never pass up.

M9 Otherwise you get something happen in this club in my hand ever. You know, there's some I did it well, you know, a guy like that. You just going to happen. Yeah, that's going to happen. You know, you're cheating, Mark. You cheating, cheating everybody that played there. Yeah. You know, somebody burned this club down.

M27 What's everybody make of the song, me and Paul? What was everybody make of the impulse? Was everybody make of it? What's it about?

M8 About William Paul? That's a true story. It's all true and probably all true. Very true. Every bit of it when they take place.

M9 Oh, for me. Yeah, 68 and 69. Some of it was in 60 minutes. One of what I think was a sixty seven sixty seven year package in Buffalo. Yeah. What was that. They just had a lot of acts on the show in Buffalo. Yeah. They had Kenny Wells and try to provide probably the headliner Kenny Wells over. So we, we opened and we had animation and we were playing in front of children and then he would close the show, but he just got the winning male vocalist of the year that that year he was selling two shows. And the time that we got through the first show, they were lined up all around the block, the second show. So Kitty Wells running over. And then and so they had really cut down 11 minutes and try to cut down to 14. She had 30 minutes in the front. She had to play all over kids and sell books on animation. So we had to go out there, set up a set up and try to provide, you know, instruments he was playing. We were driving in the station wagon over us playing to show the night.

M17 That's when you told the promoter that, you know nothing. Our contract should be punished for trying to get through 11 minutes. We're hooking up. And he said, no, no, no, wait, wait, wait. And so while we were arguing, Willie went out and did the show with Billy playing drums while I was arguing with it.

M26 Yeah. Yeah. Took up 11 minutes arguing.

M8 Well, you know what happened a lot of back. And you remember those old package shows. I mean, sometimes somebody would invariably run over me and slam what in the Muslim world.

M9 This was a 10 day tour, though. I travel together or is every man. No, Kitty Wells had a big bus and chartered private plane.

M31 We were traveling a station wagon, pulling a trailer with six people in the wagon in the wagon know. So we weren't we weren't relishing the fact that we were eleven minutes and we had to purchase Brian and who was holding the first 30 minutes of it.

M8 So, you know, all those pilot shows that we can make extra money, you know? Yeah. I went back actually to back up the people to 250 bucks, you know. Yeah, we got some really cool down. Gibson alleged for sale, but not.

M31 Yeah, yeah. I was the first one that booked on that. You should pay us the same thing it will pays this year. And the first one was Carl and Paul Butler. And he said, well, it sure better be good. I said, it won't. If you want good bit, your own man knows what to do. Yeah, I'm not either. But right now we're the only ones in town. Yeah. That's going to cost you. Same thing with the pace you will have been expensive and that much. Why shouldn't he do it. Yeah. Why shouldn't he play the same thing. They expected you to back up. These are the bands. Yeah. For ten or fifteen dollars. Fifteen bucks. I don't want to give up you know. Same thing really pays about twenty five. Thirty thirty dollars. Thirty dollars and one do it better be good. So we got a raise from a hundred bucks in the quarter. Yes. Oh yeah. Yeah yeah.

M30 I remember I went Néstor that one and that one per day. Now that was per week per se but I went after him every night as opposed to don't you think we're ready for right.

M34 He goes Yeah but you're going to have to ask what we're in Santa Fe or Albuquerque. And that's where we when we went up to three hundred a week, I was scared to death. And he was just like, it's about time, you guys. I asked.

M30 So it's your turn. Next, we asked, how did we do?

M40 As long as I've been asking every time how you got the last one, you laughed, which is just the last you know, he laughed at us.

M35 Yeah. Oh yeah. Wondering, you know.

M30 No, no, I was looking for a car. Looking for reconvert. Cut. Yeah.

M36 Really.

M8 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

M9 With polls in now he's around we make sure he makes a decision or something. I mean not around.

M37 Then somebody has to do it to me. But now if he's around here we're going to lay on him. Yeah you bet.

M14 It's his money.

M11 It must be kind of generous of you got stuck around for thirty years.

M20 We keep saying he owes us, you know, so we're just like, yeah. No, he's a great guy. He's a wonderful man, a great boss.

M10 Not really my boss. He's come in. He's really a friend.

M38 Oh, come on, Jody. Jodi is trying to take over. He ain't gonna tell you to tell us what I think.

M39 I know, but it's good, really.

M8 Oh, that's wonderful.

M38 Yeah. Hmm.

M30 No, no, no. You will not get me to tell you the truth, I don't even know what he's talking about. I just don't know sort of feeling that Jodi has no just no words.

M8 You do. To talk. Yeah. Yeah.

M9 I'll tell you all afterwards, but we've got to get to it. But you have a guest on Bomi. Remember, we were going to California.

M8 Oh yeah. We'll play the part of the spastic. Tell that story. That's a good story. That is that's that. We used to play whenever we travel, we just we do, you know, just do stuff. We were playing for change, flying for a change.

M40 And Paul and I, we were we were being crazy and we got to L.A. and I think it's Bobby's first time to L.A. We got the L.A. airport and he was intimidated about being there. And and, uh, and so I told her, I said, well, Bobby, I said, just don't worry about us and wherever. Just make sure that you just follow Paul and wherever we go, just follow us and you know you won't get lost. Just follow us really close. And so Paul and I went to the men's room and and we know what we do.

M30 That's what I got in here. And I'm like a factor. Yeah. I was like spastic and maybe feeling around so we could get, you know, we're going in the men's room and ask for help.

M8 Yeah, we were playing Dirty Rodrik on the guy and I was going to ask this guy if he could help me with my brother, use the restroom, and then we turned around and Bobby followed us all the way in which you're supposed to do.

M30 You did exactly what you did, exactly what she supposed to do.

M34 Yeah, that's right. That's when they wouldn't let us wouldn't rent us a car in Phoenix. We had a gig in L.A. The Palomino was my first gig and I was heartbroken. We couldn't go home. We rented the car.

M6 You offered to buy the car, you offered the cash and the car was worth because nobody had a credit card. We didn't have a credit card. And the flights were canceled and didn't know what a credit card was. But you couldn't rent a car without rent a car without one RPG.

M14 I'll buy it for guys and they would miss the game.

M9 They weren't there. And there was only about three thousand dollar for car cost. Yeah, not like it.

M26 Now, what do you think is really what went what was ten point time. Yeah. Which time. First time. First time. The first for the first time we'll ever left Nashville was his house burned down.

M9 So we went to Bandera, Texas and we hung out at this deserted resort. Remember that.

M8 Me. Yeah but prior to its house burning down. Really good story. He was he was having a hard time up there anyway, and he wrote that song. What can you do to me now? This house was burned down like that. You've got all right. Yeah. Yeah. Burn your house down. But, you know, I can't I was afraid that that that that was coming when he that put the wood stove in the in the in the manger. In the basement. Yeah.

M14 Yeah.

M9 But then when we moved to Mandera and after about nine, nine months they built his house back. And so we went back with Mack the Knife and then when we came left the second time when they asked they wouldn't release another record until he resigned with him. And that was a year before the contract was up. Yeah, they did that. They want you to resign a year before your contract is up so they wouldn't release another record. That's when they said, let's go to Texas book. I say, yeah, we don't you know, we don't need a record.

M14 And that's what we did.

M9 We checked out the places. Percy got a place in Houston because Connie was from Houston. And I I told him in a year, you know, live here, that's not a good place to move to that we will now, Austin uncontrol. I think I'll come in and move into moving to Austin, which is a good move.

M17 Very good move. What was that? That was seventy nine, 1972, September nineteen seventy two.

M15 So I don't know.

M8 Yeah, it was a long time ago. Oh, it doesn't. I remember when you was when you were astounded when Paul turned 50. Yeah. He freaked out. You freak out. I said, that's OK. Did you remember one of these days you'll you'll have you're lucky.

M22 If you're lucky, you have to be this hope. Oh, actually, he did that when I turned 40, 40. Yeah, that's what it was at. Forty three in New York.

M34 Yeah. We're playing Max.

M8 That's right. That's your fortieth birthday. Yes, I was twenty one. It looks at 40 years old, huh. Yeah, 40 years old. If you're lucky. One day, maybe 40. Here you are. 10 years ago. You were 40, 10 years ago, right? Yeah. Wow.

M16 If we had a real shot right now. So we can put candles on this.

M20 No, that's the truth. Wow.

M28 I think we got stuck together.

M8 Well, maybe we can go from there. Yeah. I just, you know. It's good. Yeah. Tainted merchandise.

M9 I didn't have a road. I wouldn't have anything.

M24 Now that's you know, I guess why it's our friends.

M49 This is in that's our friend. I mean, Galileo. And I'm hanging out with these guys, you know, over half of my life.

M8 I've had a good as it gets you know, when you know one person, you start talking about you guys, you know. Yeah. And then after you've been home for a month or so, you have said, hey, don't you have some gigs booked or something?

M5 Yeah, that's what I call I call Jodi up and talk to his wife. So Vicky. Jodi still a lot. Yeah.

M12 I mean, it's quite obvious now, like I'm in I'm right your suitcase say, OK, you're politely jittery, but you can't go in.

M8 Yeah, you're going somewhere. Know, if you're not staying there, you don't have to leave and you can't stay here with that group around me.

M42 The national thing seems to me like really didn't quite fit the mold like Nashville performer.

M8 They didn't even know what to do with it, didn't fit any moment at any level, performer or writer, I bet.

M21 I don't know if the singer.

M43 Yeah, yeah. That was his problem or his asset. Whichever one. Yeah. Whichever way you look at it.

M9 But, you know, even when we were working the bridge in Fort Worth in 1956, he didn't fit in the mold. If you recall, they told him he couldn't sing. Yeah, just play the guitar. Well, you can't sing. You break Mr..

M8 Yeah, I sure do, Lago. But don't do it. The truth of creating and Whalen's says you can count. I think he might be right. I'm not sure.

M28 What's it like to play with that?

M8 Oh, don't listen to him. You know, if you don't dare listen to him very closely, if you do, he will take you up a creek and dump you.

M45 You that's that's to abuse it. Just like you played the song.

M2 And you have to listen to him. Just don't follow him. Yeah. Don't follow me. I don't know where he is. You have to kind of second guess. Well he told me one times don't cannot be. It made us all feel. It's all feel. There's no count to it.

M21 I'm Bill Evans.

M46 Playing with this can seem like a lot easier if I were to say we're I'm saying because I kind of know what it's been like. You can count either. OK, Bill Evans is with us.

M5 Last night we were playing something. I said, no, don't try to count this. Yeah. Whatever is coming up. Yeah, I'm not trying to count this.

M47 Don't feel it. And I think that translate I think that translates in the music, too. I think you get you know, get you get it real sterile.

M24 I mean, we couldn't do if we tried.

M13 I mean, we can only speak for myself, but we used to phone him.

M21 We know what kind of he's going to do. We can second guess it easily.

M24 Oh yeah. We got yeah. I mean he can't, he can't get he can get away now. I mean and that's, that's a lot of fun. Part about it too is because he doesn't, he doesn't play the same song, he doesn't do them the same way twice ever. And so that keeps that keeps the music kind of fresh because you never know exactly know what he's going to do.

M5 He'll do stuff and be will save it. It's like I wonder if he's going to catch this. You know, he's going with sugar right here and he catches up to him and we just lock it in and lock it, let it be. It's like, boy, you know, it's like catching a pass to be near as much fun to play it.

M8 No, no, no. I would be very boring. Yeah, no, I would be it would be everything if you had had just, you know, just straight did arrangements or there were a lot of potholes and lots of potholes, lots and lots of room to breathe in there are bruised up. Well, no, not yet.

M11 I guess there's something that keeps it interesting because the science that's been pretty much never played, the songs I never played, they'll never play in the same way twice.

M19 There's a lot of room for experimentation.

M34 It never gets old because when we do kind of play the same songs every night.

M16 So but it kind of keeps it fresh and people's ideas never change.

M45 Well, uh, sort sorta. Sort of. Yeah. Well, you know.

M52 There's no song list, he just kind of starts playing and we want to talk about that girl, Janice, we met in New York.

M43 Well, I've been thinking about her, but I mean, Manhattan, Manhattan. Janice, you really want to know what you're talking about?

M36 Janice knows what we're talking about.

M8 She was already the best one for why she chose to come out there.

M42 Janice Well, are you just going the same sort of thing? I've ever played the same song twice in the same concert?

M8 Oh, we've done. Yeah, we did this show over before. Yeah. Place. Yeah, he did that. He's done that. You remember where it was in Baton Rouge where we started. We started playing about midnight. We played till the sun came up. We got all we had on. We had rain and kept putting it off.

M50 And we I think he said or somebody said, I did it last night.

M24 I thought, yeah, yeah.

M40 After about his fourth encore, I said, You guys said you don't have a hair on you, but if you don't try to just wear them out, your balls are being cut. As the sun was coming up all and we didn't play it about six and a half hours, but he got on a tear there for a while.

M8 We were playing for ourselves and all these people and we were we played. But we get back to the back of that, too. I bet you we play whiskey where we must play Whiskey River ten times that boy, there's almost three hours last night.

M28 Yeah. Yeah. Whiskey River is the sign of the present kind of thing to start, I don't know.

M35 And again, yeah, just kind of like to bookmark it up here or we can take it over there.

M9 Used to be the party's over. I was at the end. So now we're here. So, yeah.

F1 Uh, yeah.

M48 So I keep hearing about at the Armadillo World Headquarters that kind of like brought them cowboys and bees together or something. What was that all about?

M49 That's what he did. And that's what happened. Yeah.

M24 Kind of a you know, we went where was our our band and Whalen's band, those first two bands and country music to have come out with long hair.

M49 And so, you know, that's kind of kind of naturally bridge that gap, you know? Well, really, you know, the the freaks and the cowboys loved him. And then when he started growing his hair long, all the hippies thought he was really cool.

M8 And so they kind of started getting together and realized they actually could get along. I mean, yeah, they all just looked different.

M11 Was there a general feeling you can bring these two groups together?

M24 Oh, no, you couldn't. I mean, it's this fight city. I mean, it's. Yeah. Oh, yeah. They used to when I had long hair, they gave me some moccasins and a headband.

M30 They was passing me off over the Indian war. You they did. We did that yesterday.

M8 Spears Yeah. Spare's when I first started Bearden's Spears. Yeah. She had been spears. This is Indian Indian born bass player bass players.

M21 When I first started playing the joints were scary. Yeah. You know, these cowboys were did not like to see a Jew with an afro.

M4 No man. Yeah. Playing harmonica, playing the harmonica.

M17 Really, really well. Yeah.

M21 Yeah, it was scary. I mean there sometimes you had to bail me out. You had to come rescue me for me too.

M47 Yeah, me too.

M11 So we got involved in that thinking that you could bring everybody together.

M8 No we didn't think there was no thinking about it. I mean there was no plan to do that. It just happened. Just what music was the catalyst. Yeah. Yeah.

M23 Musically, we are today. I like to say I'm going to new names. Well, you know, their names or people as well.

M5 So I'm sure you have a plan on the line was drawn, you know, because of the war.

M23 Yeah. Yeah. Well that was a great thing right there.

M34 You know, during that just the end of the Vietnam era, you know, and country music represented was very pro America and the hippies were against the war and and the music, you know, discussed, you know, in music. Willia, he wasn't too political.

M8 I was he had a tune called Troublemaker.

M19 That was pretty political to do that. But that was an anti-war song. Yeah.

M9 And Jimmy's Road was in I was a little Jamie Rubin and what a troublemaker. Probably pro hippie, pro hippie troublemaker turned out to be Jesus somewhere to go mean.

M45 Yeah. You know.

M42 Yeah, there's some sort of those days off, there might be violence.

M8 The shows, although fights fist fights all the time. They were fist fights last night.

M12 Yeah. I mean, go place for people to ban cocaine and alcohol and drinking alcohol.

M8 That does it. There's the fuel right there. You get you get you get them, you get them wound up and drunk has got something going, something going.

M16 Pop a walk in here. Being in the world for a while, not saying down or no I'll be violent. Yeah.

M25 I guess the car is going to be like that if you the guys the Cowboys Civil War. No, it really wasn't that.

M40 It wasn't that. It wasn't that way. Just sporadic. See sporadic fire, everything.

M16 But there's nothing that was not what I was. The way they look now, you know, they've got the possibility that I was the way they motor.

M6 You know, I was a lot faster than I used to get on here. I mean, that maybe that was I'm sure that alcohol fuelled it a little bit, but that was kind of an excuse.

M50 Yeah. He didn't couldn't find another excuse to fight. Yeah. You can say. Yeah, yeah. But if you were well.

M34 Really liked and you were OK, you know, so it's kind of a peacemaker. And when he grew his hair out I'm sure really pissed people off. They did.

M6 But what was with the cake that was cool? Yeah, the Cape was great. I mean, that's the way we were in Hollywood. Elevator door opens up and Paul walks out wearing this full length black cape with the red lining on the elevator. And in walks Little Richard wearing a cape to his waist. And he does a double take you out, taped him.

M29 I know. It's a nice cape, man. Thank you. Thank you.

M50 You know, passing the two guys passing is like nothing. Nothing was weird about it.

M40 We just said, yeah, we used to do it, but we had a couple of times we take some dry ice and put some tubs advised by and let him drink Bloody Marys with dry so that you blow the smoke off the devil and devil devil.

M10 I think we were Lubbock. You know, these guys are cowboys. I went out that when they found up on you, you know. Yeah. Well, you know, you go, oh, look at me. Look how weird I look. Yeah, but you're cool. Yeah.

M33 I mean, I remember that. I remember moment that's going to jump on me.

M24 And Arpey got me to know me and I said, look, these things are part of the act.

M40 He's just got lawyers et al. He's you know, he's cowboy used to ride bulls. Right. And he said, look at me like I'm weird. I'll let you know.

M51 But you're cool. I've got this cable. I've got this cable, man.

M30 I've got the black black pants. A red sash is kind of red patent leather boots and a Tom Jones shirt with a red ascot. Yeah. And I look cool. Oh, yeah. But I guess that's the way they looked at it. I got to be a character. Yeah. I'm not I couldn't be real.

M27 It was generally behind the different, the different. Looks like no idea what I can do.

M50 There was no look it was from the what's the deal. I did find a closet from the neighborhood. We didn't have any jackets. Where do you stand with the. We've been through a lot of we've been through a lot of things where everybody wore the same clothes. Yeah, we did when we started. We did. We had to do that. Now I don't know how that would be a know. That would be a chore. That that's the reason why they quit doing that. Quit doing it. It was a hassle.

M29 And that's OK. But it was my my coach, my green coach. Not not clean, you know.

M47 Yeah.

M50 Yeah, well yeah.

M9 We had green tax codes and remember those broke broke the color. Mm. Pretty pretty, pretty toes. Yeah.

M8 I was envious then we went to, got to got to do in tee shirts and blue jeans and then for a while Paul and I wore suits and we go to the gig, had a hanging bag, we go a gig in a suit and then go in the dressing room in a t shirt and blue jeans, get off the show and get our suits back on.

M5 I never used to hear because we're used to you wearing the uniform. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

M16 I think we should fall down regardless of you can change clothes over there. We've driven for like two days like this.

M12 We're already we're ready to go over there are you know. Well and you and I, we're backing up Sammy Smith and one micro a right. Yeah. I know your friends from Arkansas played drums and one guitar. You have exactly the type of like when I was playing guitar, you know, and a drummer, and we're supposed to play dance music before one microphone.

M5 So I had nothing to play through.

M8 I had just had a guitar and I was playing, you know, like I said, we just look like we're doing something or dance, you know, and and then he laughs just taking as we go.

M17 Oh, yeah, I've seen that before. He done that before.

M6 That one knew it wasn't you know, he'd done it before I put uniforms on it took me by surprise. Yeah. I believe I can.

M8 Or you classify your present day like, well look, what do you think. Oh casual, casual, comfortable. We're in the comfortable now.

M6 I should wear overalls. It's hard up there. It is. I don't want to get hot.

M24 And smoking, it was love, and I was we were playing it. I had a deal sort of like this old and and it was really it just got really hot. And I mean, like, I was getting woozy.

M40 I was so hot and so blue eyes cryin. The rain came. And that's the part where Paul and I don't play on the first, you know, the intro first, my first 20 bars of the song and the light and the lights are down.

M8 So I thought, all right, here's my chance to get this sucker off. And I ripped it off and there was a bunch of static electricity and so my t shirt came off. Was it about that time when trying to dig my T-shirt back out, the lights come up here. The crowd gasp. Finally, I have no shirt on. I got a putt putt, finally got my shirt back on and the crowd applauded. It just crushed, you know, like they all, you know, the two old stripper and start hollering, take it off. They hollered, leave it.

M20 Oh, yeah. That was so funny. Lance, come back on.

M8 I got no place to go. Yeah. And you just had to put this dig it out and put it off. Tell people about it. What happened to us in Chicago.

M40 Oh yeah. That we had that was two years ago. We played the House of Blues and the first night we were there two nights the first night that we were there, the audience, very young audience, I don't think I really don't believe there was a person over thirty there. And Paul and I came walking out around the corner of the building of the bus and there was three young men in there in their twenties, early twenties standing. And they only looked up and saw this. One guy saw me and he started pushing people. All right. You all do.

M8 You man, you. Oh, do you do. Yeah, you do.

M52 That guy that that video. We did it with Haggard at the Astrodome. Do you remember the rodeo SOLEMNIS.

M8 Sixty seven thousand people there. That's the last one that we did. Had a kid come on off. Wow. Man is like geezer blues and you.

M10 Well let me tell you those of stories tell him about Mickey. You know, when the girl came holler Mickey. Making Mickey on the stage is the college town.

M50 Yeah. There are marching turned blue and they were laughing. And there was a young audience.

M52 There was a young woman, very attractive young woman, I might add, before Heidi.

M40 Well, I said well before had Al Gore had he will we will get that straight right there. And she's all that long.

M8 If you're going. Mickey, I love you. No, she just said she doesn't think she said. I know you're also taller, Harlan. You're also Mickey leaned over his head, man. So I think I'm gonna be staying the night.

M53 No, I said we will be strong enough to get down here, Mickey. Mickey, all night long.

M54 And I said ve I said, I think we may have to stay over tonight. You're looking at me, you know. What do you mean we. Yeah. And go hand me what did she say. So finally did I mean she was really loud just screaming. It was kind of embarrassing but you know, puffed up my chest and I grabbed. Yes. Go check this out. So we walk over there and say, you know, yeah, after the show, I said, yeah, what are you doing? What can I do for you? And she goes, Mickey, you used to take my mother. Yeah.

M51 Thank you. You're awesome. You used to date my mother. Oh, cold. We get a lot of cool things. You know, when you live this long, you expect it. Yeah. You know. Well, you run into a girl like Janis.

M43 Yeah. And she was awesome. She is awesome. Yeah.

M25 Oh right.

M20 Yeah. I'll get back to you. Yeah.

M42 Was there a time you guys that decided, you know what the case Jack, of all the stuff, let's just be ourselves.

M50 There were that. There was. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

M8 That was the case in the game that we were ourselves. We never really that was fun. I mean, we you know, you got you dressed up. You just it was shock value. I saw a lot of the Navy suits, everybody not wearing sparkling rhinestones.

M50 We had nine suits and the big necklaces and big red necklaces.

M43 Yeah. You something you work on the shows. No show, show, show stuff.

M5 Yeah. Costumes then really stop wearing it. Right you guys to wear the uniforms. And Willie sort of weren't that brown leather shirt remember with the.

M34 Explains the Tom Jones, sure, and you guys, I remember this. Oh, I'm sure, kind of trickle down.

M29 Well, I had the Cape near the Cape in 1968 and I was still wearing it in 74. You know, when we were at that party that I told you I'd open the pool and I said, yeah, if I don't come up, make you come in and say, yeah, we played a private party Friday night and that it looked like a of that came out of well, for the first time we ever made five thousand dollars.

M4 Right.

M6 And after the party or we took a break or something and I jumped jump in the pool, I close off. So we did.

M29 And after that everyone jump in the pool, everybody join. The whole party jumped in. And, you know, we did that. We did that party for the next year. And they requested the Cape. Yeah, I did. Requested it because I like to run that cape and got wet and they had to dry out for a minute and it was velvet cake with silk lining.

M30 So you almost ruined the Cape to head off the diving board to get to point.

M40 Paul, Paul always has a fondness about his manner. I mean, even going off the diving board in the pool, there's nothing worse than a random helmet man.

M30 And I know it weighs about four to five. Just so tempting. I mean, we're out by the pool and it's so tempting. I thought we had the yohanan quit. I just quit. I think Billy was playing and I just thought I'd jump in the swimming pool. It just felt so good. Yeah, well, I pictured I pictured myself over here with the cape out like that, diving in that pool and the cable.

M27 Oh yeah. We love the game.

M29 I just want to picked it out, you know, he didn't know he picked it out for me. He said back then they used to be everyone used to call me the devil. You had black hair and black mirror then that's a long time ago. It's about sixty five years ago. But anyway, we were passing by and some close Wilson, everybody pick out what they liked away. And so we passed this place on Hollywood and Vine and they had this cape in the window. And Willie said, that's it all, you got to have it. So that did it. And then we played Fort Worth Black Panther Hall in Fort Worth. I'm from Fort Worth and I had to keep on doing the TV show. And I got off with a cape and they had thirteen year old waiting for my autograph to the Cape staes. Yeah, I stayed for five years. I wound up having seven capes, all of them custom made.

M8 The Cape is part of the Cape St. Paul's. Got to go.

M27 But the other guy say, yeah, I really put them all through the years they were doing crazy costumes.

M8 Your suits, your suit. They were suit. He was about the lawsuits.

M38 Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

M9 Well it had shorter and shorter suits.

M19 One time he wore a suit, you know, but it's hard to work in a suit like that. I mean as long as we play. Yeah. And then travel on the road and try to get the thing clean, you know. Yeah.

M9 But then them we didn't have a bus, we did not have a bus. We only had cars and a trailer.

M19 When did you have a plane. The first time.

M43 Oh that was the arrow commander. Yeah. It was a bust.

M38 Well here's a cheapie man. Karpe to come to town.

M30 Yeah.

M42 There comes a time when you go blind, when you look at where will with this look a suit right now. I don't know what he does.

M24 Oh he did. He did. He was man and he was man of the year.

M47 They, they, they, he was the Man of the Year in Austin a few years back and it was black tie and he had to wear a tux and he got up.

M13 And for his acceptance speech he said, just thank folks for thirty nine, ninety five.

M40 You can look just like me. Thank you very much. And he said, oh by the way, for another two bucks, I'll throw on the shoes. I think so.

M42 It's like this conservative preppy guy to where he is now know no conservative.

M8 You may have looked conservative or a pretty conservative. Yeah. I mean, that was his look. And he liked clothes.

M20 Yeah. He said when he was going. Yeah. He used to like clothes but I think it was just this is more comfortable for him now but we went in wearing the fringe at one time too.

M29 We're friends. Friends. Yeah. Well you know, we didn't I'm not talking about the Western fringe. I'm talking about the friends that had the beads on them. Yeah. You were the best of friends this long. We don't know that it went into that for a while, that's pretty good, pretty good. I like that.

M42 Like we got some archival tapes like this one. I really like leaning on a fence with a suit with short hair.

M43 The is that Willie Nelson, right? Yeah, right. His balls have gotten a lot better to get better with age. What?

M40 I thought I was just here the last couple of nights just really being amazed by how strong his voice is. It's amazing, really.

M21 I'm amazed how strong his legs are. A three hour show. Yeah, man.

M9 You know, Bobby is a woman that never ages to. No. She looks the same as she did 30 years ago. She was beautiful then, too beautiful. And she was beautiful then.

M38 Not quite as pretty as Janis, but she's still right now. Yes.

M8 Would be a lot of energy involved. Yeah.

M42 Are you OK with that?

M49 Just kind of that that kind of evolved that that that kind of then never, you know, people you know, somebody, you know, during the show, somebody threw a hat up and and they put it on through it back. Next thing you know, there's three up there. You know, I mean, I just kind of that just kind of happened.

M21 I haven't that old straw hat that he had. It was such a great cowboy hat that covers remember that somebody could just come up and take that. It so hard to remember that one.

M52 I don't know if he made it. Sometimes he gets confused and chokes his hat.

M8 Yeah. Out there, you turn around and he starts to. Oh yeah. That's what he's done that to go with that, which is really funny when he knows that you have to remember, he gave my hat away when the last, you know, the bottom had a brand new Texas, had his hat in Florida and we went out some beer joint, went sat in and this large girl, I'll just say that came large, Marge large. Marge came up and she says, Oh, well, I just love you. Can I have a cigarette? He said, Yeah. Oh, thank you, Wingman's. My hat. Do you remember when Jerry Jeff Walker, somebody he threw his hat out and then wanted it back. And I love that guy. Kelly, J.J., you don't ask for it back. No crying and going to bring that hat back, you know.

M10 Well, are some people come up now, you know, they won't show up in. I had to really enjoy getting it back. No, you throw it away back. You throw it away, dingbat. You throw it away.

M8 I'm sorry you lost control at that point. I wish should like a little chicks with numbers on a little hat. We had it on my own little while ago, but I like that.

M52 That guy then when we were in Hawaii said, You don't know me. And you said, yeah. Do you remember that?

M47 And how did we handle it anyway?

M52 You said, yeah, you were in St. Louis and the guy was from St. Louis and he freaked out rather just kidding. Yeah. You were kidding. Yeah. He just picked a city. This guy came up, Mickey Nixon, you know, I mean, a lot that's what a lot of people that's their opening statement. Like, I well, you don't know me and that's how they they start there. Are you remember. I mean. Yeah, yeah. You don't remember me. You don't know me then. So this guy. You don't know me. Yes we do. And he said, well you can't, I've never met you. He said, yeah but he said being I have photographic memory.

M40 So he said we remember the first ten rows of every audience we've ever played for. He said, I think you believe you were in St. Louis and got his picture happening before the guy was from freaked out.

M24 So then I went around and I got Jody and then Grady and I just everybody I can grab that walk by the bar. I pointed this guy out and when you walk by and go, hey, I think fits you remember that story about what happened in Europe?

M8 But the guy said, you don't remember, do you? Oh, yeah, it was a good one. We play a place in Munich called the Circus Pearl, which is actually it's a permanent circus, houses a circus of a real circus, I mean, with elephants and camels and tigers and the whole thing.

M40 And the guy that runs it is a very small man about this tall. And we came we played there and then we came back and played for him two years later. And I was walking in and he came walking up. He says, I bet you don't remember me.

M51 Oh, no, trust me.

M53 When a year I don't play.

M8 Too many Germans are.

Mickey Raphael, Paul English, Dan Spears, and Jody Payne
Interview Date:
American Archive of Public Broadcasting GUID:
"Mickey Raphael, Paul English, Dan Spears, and Jody Payne, Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). 24 Jan. 2002,
(2002, January 24). Mickey Raphael, Paul English, Dan Spears, and Jody Payne, Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving. [Video]. American Masters Digital Archive (WNET).
"Mickey Raphael, Paul English, Dan Spears, and Jody Payne, Willie Nelson: Still is Still Moving." American Masters Digital Archive (WNET). January 24, 2002. Accessed July 02, 2022


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