Archive for July, 2013
By Anna M. Tinsley
FORT WORTH — Kinky Friedman doesn’t know whether he’s ready to jump back into Texas politics.
But the cigar-chewing humorist and musician — known for the black attire and cowboy hats he normally dons — said he may soon create an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run for office again.
And if so, for which one.
“Maybe I should do what Rick Perry does and pray for an answer on what to do,” Friedman, 68, said with a chuckle Tuesday during a telephone interview with the Star-Telegram.
Some political observers say they wouldn’t be surprised to see Friedman run for nearly any statewide office.
“A comedian needs an audience,” said Harvey Kronberg, editor and publisher of the Austin-based Quorum Report, an online political newsletter.
Friedman said he probably will run as a Democrat, as he did during his unsuccessful 2010 bid for Texas agriculture commissioner, rather than as an independent, as he did in his failed 2006 gubernatorial bid.
“I’m keeping my options open,” said Friedman, a self-proclaimed Jewish cowboy who lives in the Hill Country.
Friedman may talk some about politics during a scheduled Saturday night performance at the Queen City Music Hall in Fort Worth with Joe Bill Rose and Charla Corn.
During past campaigns, Friedman became known everything from his one-liners — “I can’t screw things up any worse than they already are” — to the fact he had a talking action figure doll to help raise funds for his 2006 gubernatorial bid.
On Tuesday, he outlined his top two political priorities if elected: legalizing marijuana use and casino gambling.
“Texas is going to do all this in the next 10 to 15 years,” he said. “But by then, he will be the caboose on the train.”
Making his top two priorities reality, Friedman said, will provide a key boost for Texas’ economy.
Legalizing casinos in Texas would “stop the bleeding from all the billions of dollars that are walking out of the state for gambling,” he said.
And making marijuana use legal in Texas, he said, “would put a real crimp in the Mexican drug cartels — and make Willie Nelson very happy.”
“There is a constituency for both of his issues,” Kronberg said. “Neither one seems as revolutionary or as anti-establishment as they might have seemed 10 years ago.
“Virtually every poll shows voters at least want the right to vote on casino gambling. And there’s a huge untapped group of supporters for marijuana” legalization,” he said. “Maybe he’s on to something.”
Friedman said he was impressed by state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, this summer after her lengthy filibuster temporarily killed a comprehensive abortion bill Republicans supported. The measure ultimately passed during a second special session.
“I haven’t met Wendy yet, … but I’m a big fan of filibusters — the ones that are charismatic,” he said. “And she did a great one.”
Davis, he said, faces a tough decision in the next few months: whether to run for another term representing state Senate District 10 or take advantage of the worldwide attention she has received since her filibuster and seek a higher office.
“She’s a smart cookie,” he said. “There’s a great draft movement for Wendy, but if she runs, this isn’t a great time for Democrats to run for governor, especially since the other candidates have all the money.”
The key to a 2014 victory for any Democrat, he said, is motivating Texas independents to head to the polls and vote.
But some Democrats haven’t forgotten that Friedman picked up nearly 550,000 votes in his independent 2006 gubernatorial bid, which could have gone to Democrat Chris Bell, who lost to Republican Gov. Rick Perry by 406,455 votes.
Friedman said an “old-style Democrat” such as Harry Truman or Dolph Briscoe could win a statewide office — something no one else in the party has been able to do since 1994.
“Democrats have got to think two moves ahead. They need to expand the party,” he said. “There’s a huge number of disgruntled voters.
“Before the state turns blue, it has to go purple. There are a hell of a lot of purple people out there.”
Anna Tinsley, 817-390-7610 Twitter: @annatinsley
by: David Downs
Poet-philosopher and outlaw country music legend Willie Nelson released memoir Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die Nov. 13 in hardcover. The breezy, funny chapbook mixes never-before-heard stories, life lessons, and loads of jokes; with a foreword by author, singer, and cult provocateur Kinky Friedman.
An author of 35 books himself, Kinky took a few minutes to chat with Smell the Truth via phone from his ranch in Texas, where he was preparing for the second phase of his Bi-Polar Tour, which starts Nov. 30 in Kansas City, MO. and ends Dec. 20 in Eugene, OR.
Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die began as a co-writing project with Willie, Kinky says, but Nelson’s editor wanted one star, and Willie didn’t want an editor at all.
“The editor only wanted one voice, then Willie says ‘I’m not going to write it if you’re not going to write it’. It was like Tom Sawyer painting a fence. I had to write 27,000 words of which the foreword is all that survived.
“But that title makes sense and is brilliant and a great statement,” Friedman says. “The book gives you some insights into Willie’s actual mind, which are always interesting and diverting and funny and enlightening. It’s music. It’s jokes. It’s a story about farting on an airplane – things like that. And it’s kind of where he is today.
“He is pushing 80 and he was concerned about his mortality – as anybody would be,” Friedman said. “God knows how you feel at that age. Most of Willie’s friends and contemporaries are dead. He’s got some real wisdom.”
“Something about what he is doing is working. He is really honestly connecting with people in a way that’s different than most artists or entertainers. Everybody thinks that they’re Willie’s friend and that’s true, from the doorman, to the guy loading the garbage truck. I’ve been around with Dylan. People are in awe of Bob Dylan, but they certainly don’t come over and say, ‘Hey, Bob, how are you? My name’s Bill.’ And it’s a good thing they don’t.”
Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die is easy to pick up and put down, making it great light reading over the holiday vacation. Here’s Nelson:
“Work out, work out, and work out.”
on drug legalization:
“Addiction should be treated as a disease.”
and on President Obama:
“I think that once you become President, the first thing you realize is that you can’t do shit.”
Friedman shares Nelson’s point of view on legalized pot, saying “we got prisons full of people that shouldn’t be there, meanwhile all the pedophiles and politicians run around free.”
And Friedman echoes Nelson’s contempt for corporate Nashville country music.
“Somebody is recording this shit and somebody is listening to it, I guess, and it must be making money, but I can’t think of any classics, anything great that have been written in the past 30 years in Nashville,” Friedman says.Like the book, Friedman’s Bi-Polar tour – which pulls into San Francisco Dec. 18– mixes songs, stories, jokes, and politics. Friedman says exploring another run for Governor of Texas.
“I think we really got a good shot at it. It’s a giant step down from musician to politician and I would only take it for Texas.”
Friedman’s also hawking a new solo CD, Live From Woodstock, a new tequila Kinky Friedman’s Man in Black Tequila, and branded cigar the Kinky Cristo. The music, the tequila, and the cigar all pack Kinky’s trademark punch and sting.
“It’s something that really got to zing for me to feel it,” he said. “We’re a homogenized, sanitized, trivialized culture already. I only have two tastebuds left but they are having a hell of a party.”
Thank you to Tom Conway for sharing this photo of him and Willie Nelson, in Maui. Tom is scheduled to perform before the Willie Nelson & Family show in San Diego, California, on August 7, 2013.
To listen to Tom’s music, and hear music he has recorded with Willie Nelson, visit his website:
photo: J.G. Domke
David Lynn Jones performs “Livin’ in the Promised Land” with Willie Nelson live at the Farm Aid concert in Indianapolis, Indiana on April 7th, 1990. Farm Aid was started by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp in 1985 to keep family farmers on the land and has worked since then to make sure everyone has access to good food from family farmers. Dave Matthews joined Farm Aid’s board of directors in 2001.
For information on how you can help support America’s family farmers:
If you are a Willie Nelson fan, especially if you read this blog, you have been enjoying the photographs of Jay Janner, whether you knew it or not. Jay works for the Austin-Statesman, and has taken some of my favorite photographs of Willie Nelson & Family in Texas. I got to meet him in Austin, and it was nice to get to thank him for his great photos.
Visit his website to see more of his beautiful photographs, see what an artist he is.
I have been a staff photographer at the Austin American-Statesman since 2003.
Previously I was a staff photographer at the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. I’m not an Austin native. I grew up in Bryan, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M. But as the old saying goes, I got here as fast as I could.
I am a three-time NPPA Region 8 Photographer of the Year, and I have been named Photographer of the Year by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors and the Headliners Foundation of Texas. Other awards include Pictures of the Year International, NPPA Best of Photojournalism and the National Headliner Award.
My real reward is having the good fortune to be able to meet and photograph so many interesting people in Central Texas. It is truly an honor and a pleasure.
When I’m not busy shooting pictures or spending time with my wife and three children you can often find me passing the time at Waterloo Records flipping through the used CDs.
Mobile: (512) 740-7704
by: Beth Carpenter
Willie Nelson, who turns 80 on April 30, has released more than 100 albums since signing his first record contract 52 years ago. His latest album, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, reinterprets old pop, rock, jazz and country classics with his Family band.
We grabbed a few minutes with Nelson as he prepared to celebrate the Big 8-0.
Q: Tell me about Face the Music. Do you have a favorite track?
A: I did a couple of Django [Reinhardt] songs on there that I really like. “South of the Border,” “Let’s Face the Music and Dance” — all of those are old favorites I’ve been doing for years.
Q: I loved Michael Hall’s Texas Monthly feature on Trigger, the N-20 Martin classical guitar you’ve played since 1969. How’s Trigger doing these days?
A: Trigger’s doing good — best guitar I ever owned! The wood on the inside had rotted out, so I’ve had a lot of work done on Trigger, but it’s still in pretty good shape. We’ll probably both wear out around the same time.
Q: What about you? How do you stay in shape on the road?
A: I’ve been doing a lot of running and biking and swimming for years now. Oh, and martial arts — I’m a second-degree black belt in tae kwon do. That kind of exercise keeps you in pretty good condition.
On the bus, going down the highway at 80 miles an hour, is where I practice my tae kwon do forms. I figure if I can do those on a speeding bus, I ought be able to do them on the ground standing still. When I get ready to take my test, we stop the bus, I get out, and my tour manager David Anderson films me doing the requirements by the side of the road. Then we send those to my teacher in Austin and he says, “You passed the test!” I’ve earned a lot of my belts out on the highway.
Q: You have seven grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Do you use social media to keep up with them?
A: My wife, Annie, tweets with everybody. I text and email my friends and family a lot, but that’s about the extent of my high-tech-itude. All my kids were raised on computers: They were home-schooled on the Internet, so they’re pretty good at that stuff. And I’m proud of them, but I don’t really keep up with it.
Q: You and Annie have been married for 22 years. Is there a secret to your stability?
A: If you really want to get along with somebody, let them be themselves. Don’t try to change anybody. And they should let you be yourself: “You loved me when you met me, so let’s keep going!”
Q: Many best wishes coming in for your 80th birthday?
A: Yeah, I’ll be glad when it’s over and we can talk about somebody else’s birthday. Just kidding. I’m glad they’re wishing me a happy birthday, and I’ll get over it.
We did a lot of shows in Nashville, and a lot of ’em had to do with the birthday. I’m working on a duet album now with some great girl singers — Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss.
Q: What’s your take on today’s music industry?
A: I have no complaints. The fact that we’re able to put out a record with all those standards on it speaks well for the industry.
There’s not as many record companies as there used to be, though, and the ones left are having trouble competing with the Internet. A lot of songs are sort of given away — not normally a good thing if you have a record company! One night I was at a music premiere and a young kid came up and said, “I’m a big fan of yours; the other day I downloaded 12 of your songs.”
Q: Some of your children and grandchildren have gotten into the music business. Do you give them advice?
A: I’m the last person in the world who should be giving advice, because I’ve done everything wrong. But maybe that’s the way you learn: You make mistakes. I would tell people to just do what they want to do. If it works, great; if it doesn’t, try something else.
Q: Has your songwriter’s perspective changed as you’ve gotten older?
A: I’ve been through some experiences that made me write a lot of love songs — and a lot of unhappy love songs — but I don’t think my experience is that different from anyone else’s. I just have the ability to write about it. So I do.
Q: In your 2012 memoir, Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die, Annie said you undergo “picker’s withdrawal” when you haven’t played in a while. How long does it take for that itch to kick in?
A: I could play every day. The traveling part gets old, and there’s some times when you’re ready to just sit in one spot for a few days, but as far as the music is concerned, you never get tired of playing it.
Music has a healing quality for the people who hear it and the people who play it. That’s why people drive a long way to hear music, pay good money, clap their hands and sing along. And we keep doing it because it’s a lot of fun.
Q: Looking back, what are you most proud of?
A: I’d like to think people walked away [from my concerts] thinking they got their money’s worth. If they just saw a show of mine, I’d like them to be happy with it. That’s all that matters.
November 23, 1985
Live from Bridges Auditorium at the Claremont Colleges in Claremont, California, with Chet Atkins, Willie Nelson, Johnny Gimble, El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey, Saw Player David Weiss and Peter Ostroushko.
00:11 Rebroadcast Announcement
00:57 Hello Love/ Hello Walls
03.11 GK Talk; Riding ‘Round the Country’
06:53 Corinna, Corinna (Willie Nelson; Peter Ostroushko)
10:32 Larry Airlines
11:41 Seven Spanish Angels (Willie Nelson; El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey)
14:57 GK Talks to Mariachi Band
15:54 El Gusto (El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey)
18:49 El Gailiero Wapangiero (El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey)
23:31 Turkey in the Straw
28:48 Powdermilk Biscuit Break
30:11 Oh What A Beautiful Evening
30:59 GK Intros Saw Player David Weiss
32:47 Danny Boy (David Weiss)
34:39 David Talks About Saw, Sweet Georgia Brown
37:14 Texas Truck Drivers
41:57 Bertha’s Kitty Boutique; For All the Cats I Loved Before (GK, Willie Nelson, Johnny Gimble, band)
44:11 Do You Ever Think of Me (Willie Nelson, band)
47:33 Crazy (Willie Nelson, band)
51:30 Glacier Ox Cars
52:09 GK Talk; Paradise Song, into Twinkle, Twinkle
54:21 Twinkle, Twinkle (Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, band)
57:54 Segue to Intermission
58:06 Intermission; Dinah, Limehouse Blues
1:01:56 Welcome Back
01:02:48 You Gave Me A Song (Willie Nelson)
01:31:19 GK Thanks Claremont Colleges
01:31:53 Take Your Burdens to the Lord (GK, Willie Nelson, Chet Atkins, Johnny Gimble, Peter Ostroushko, band)
01:35:56 Poor Butterfly (GK, Chet Atkins, John Gimble, band)
01:40:32 Mexico Vive – Mariachi Band (Willie Nelson; El Mariachi Los Galleros de Pedro Rey)
01:46:00 Oil Rig Dishwashing Liquid for Men
01:47:09 More Greetings
01:49:12 GK Brings Back Willie Nelson, Blue Eyes Crying (Willie Nelson, band)
01:52:41 GK Thanks Guests, Riding ‘Round the Country’ reprise
01:54:57 Final Credits, Thanks to Stations
01:55:55 Closer into Applause
Audio editing credit: Scott Rivard
During an interview with Texas Monthly’s Andy Langer in late March 2013, Nelson showed his support for marriage equality. He told Langer, “Gay people should be just as miserable as the rest of us,” before noting that he finds the ongoing debate over same-sex marriage “ridiculous…in this day and age.””For same-sex couples, taxes are different, benefits are different, survivor benefits are different,” Nelson notes. “It’s crazy … I never had a problem with any of it. I’ve known straight and gay people all my life. I can’t tell the difference. People are people where I came from.”
www.SFoutsidelands.com for tickets
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Doors: 7:00 p.m. Show: 8:00 p.m.
Willie Nelson and Sheryl Crow perform at Kennedy Honors for Merle Haggard.