Willie Nelson Talks About His Band and His Fans

“Most of the members of my family band have been playing with me for over thirty years.  No one has an exact tally as to the number of shows we’ve put on, but it might be in the neighborhood of ten thousand.  We’ve played everything from two-bit shit holes to 100,000-seat stadiums, and maybe twenty million people have heard me sing with my family band.

Even after all those shows, it feels good to be out there playing with family for all our friends.  As I mentioned earlier, we’ve got a lot of friends.  I’m still knocked out by all the people at the show, and the mix of the crowd is part of what I like best about it.  We get lots of young people, plus we get lots of older folks who have been listening to my music for a long time.

The last couple of summers, we’ve been touring minor-league baseball parks with Bob Dylan.  That keeps us out of the corporate amphitheaters and it brings a lot of families to the shows.  The best part is that kinds under twelve get in free. How great is that? When I look out there and see three or four generations from one family boogieing and be-bopping to the music, the good feelings I get make the long drive to tomorrow night’s show a hundred miles shorter.  At least that’s the way it feels.

Gator and L.C. may be driving the bus, bu it’s the audiences that move it down the highway.

So when people ask why I still go out there and sing every night that I can, the answer is simple.  because I enjoy it.  I’ve got the audience I’ve always dreamed of, and I like playing music with the greatest musicians in the world.  Add it up, and the result is I get entertained every night my own self.

Besides, if I’m not out there on the concert stage, I’m probably picking for free at Poodies in Austin, so I might as well do it where I’ll get paid.  Otherwise I might have to teach Sunday school for a living.

The Tao of Willie
by Willie Nelson with turk Pipkin

Leave a Reply