Scooterville, Willie Nelson’s traveling merchandise show, has the best collection of cds and vinyls anywhere. They even had the Bear Family Collection: It’s Been Rough and Rock Traveling. Check it out the next time you are at a show.
I always enjoy getting to visit with Scooter Franks and his crew at Scooterville, Willie Nelson’s traveling merchandise store. They have become friends and I look forward to catching up. Scooter and his family have been selling Willie Nelson merchandise since Willie’s early days in Texas, when Willie and his band were playing mostly weekends. The brothers had other jobs, but the weekend gigs worked out.
Then, as Willie became more popular, he started getting booked on Thursday nights. Still, the Frank brothers stuck with them, juggling schedules so they could keep their full time jobs, and just drive all night to get back to work on Friday. Scooter told me this story and he said, when Willie started getting booked to play Wednesday, they knew he had a shot at it. That and his work ethic, how much he wanted to play, how much he respected performing for his fans, and his desire to succeed. The Frank Brothers had other bands they sold merchandise for, but juggled it with Willie’s shows, until Willie started getting so busy. Scooter said he and his brother got together with Poodie Locke, who was working for Willie and for another artist, and they talked about how they were going to decide: keep their jobs or quit and follow Willie. The rest is history, I guess.
Another time, Scooter told me a story of how when Willie started to get really big, he was approached by a large marketing company who wanted to take over Willie’s merchandising, saying that they could make Willie more money than the Frank brothers. Willie reportedly said, “Where were you when they were selling shirts out of the trunks of their car?” Loyalty is one of Willie Nelson’s most endearing qualities.
And here’s a funny story. Scooter said after his first child, his daughter Lisa was born, he was talking to Willie on the bus, telling him how excited he was to be a dad.
“She’s beautiful,” Scooter told Willie, “she doesn’t look anything like me.”
“That happens when you’re on the road sometimes,” said Willie.