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Friday, April 16, 2010

Billy Joe Wants His Bullet Back

I always have a hard time conveying what Country Music I do like and what CM I don’t like (music wise anyway) in general enough terms… so maybe this will clear it up and why:

It’s the old-school uber redneck man’s man wild west mentality type of country music I enjoy. The simple. The honest.

I don’t know what the heck happened to that movement. If you look back to the days of the “family singing groups” dropping gospel garbage on A.M. radio consoling the uneducated masses across the plains with peaceful sounds of a better tomorrow coming once your carcass is full of worms, the reckless fun-loving lyrics and antics of bands like the Outlaws was a welcomed breath of honesty in a nation steel guitar’ed to sleep with package mediocrity.

The only saving grace is that those earlier ninestone cowboys faded away into CMT informercials and desolate county fairs.

Unfortunately the “new country” isn’t much different. Neither, of course, is anything music/art/entertainment-wise. Safe begets wider marketability and profit. And it’s a lot easier to sell cookie-cutter subpar horseshit than it is to cultivate a following for a creative genius.

None of that is noteworthy but it is what makes someone like Billy Joe Shaver so amazing. At 70 some odd years old he’s been around the barroom… but unlike your grandfather this man isn’t a withered old Gabby Hayes in need of a new hip.

He’s been covered by… everyone. Played on stage with… everyone. And yet a gigantic chunk of the general population has no idea who his is or that he wrote that song they sing in the shower.

And best of all (to me anyway) is that this old country nubbin is still full blown nuts… more punk than any skin head, more “gangsta” than any 18 year old with grill. You think you represent? You think you don’t let nobody be disrespectin’ you? then take a look at this:

On March 31, 2007 Mr. Shaver shot a guy, Billy Coker, in the face with a .22 caliber pistol… (to quote Mr. Coker’s testimony he was shot in the “Moustache Area”… which is a fantastic description.I think it should be used instead of whatever the hell the correct biological fancy latin words for that part of the face are).

In the face, son!

It was ruled self defense this week at a court in Waco. And then Shaver.. keeping with the old school country mentality (that whole “crazy” thing I mentioned) dropped this to a crowd before singing "Georgia on a fast train" at a show later that night in Houston:

“They asked me [mumble ]what are you going to do about this boy you shot? I said I’m getting the damn bullet back. That’s true. [laughs] You all think I’m joking. I mean it. Walking around being famous with my bullet in him. Stealing all my press.”

And that’s what crazy smells like. That’s the only kind of country music and musicians I like. Boot-scoot your-achy-mmm-bop cack out of here.

My question… my only real question… is how does he plan on retrieving the bullet? I hope… for the sake of up holding his bad ass wild west persona… he doesn't try to shoot it out.

Sir D of O


  1. OK, I can hang with some of the comments, and I always love how your write Sir D; however, being raised on country music and tugging my cowboy boots into my jeans at the age of 3, going to "Shindigs" and wearing a cowboy hat and fake pistols to dinner with the family from ages 8 to 11, and growing up in a county with no blacks and 100% rednecks, where bar fights were as common as taking a shit, and having the displeasure of being stabbed twice in such environments...I might give you more of a "Grass Roots" look.

    As in all music, there are those ready to sell-out, and those who blaze a new trail. Country, like rock, has a long history of both. It still continues today.

    There are several new country artists who are rebel enough to satisfy your taste. I believe I even included a few of those on a CD I sent to you. Ryan Bingham (who's crackly voice is a product of singing in too many smoke filled honky tonks and now has a Oscar for a song he wrote for Jeff Bridges character in Crazy Heart), Hayes Carll (wrote the song "She Left Me for Jesus"...if I ever met Jesus, he'll wish he was dead!), Gretchen Wilson (who grew up in her uncles bar about 30 miles from my hometown), Steve Earle....and I could keep naming them.

    That's why you need to come visit...because the real Billy Joe's are playing dive bars and honky tonks about two hours from here in Nashville...and nobody will ever here about them across the pond.

    As to Shaver's story, albeit a great one, there is more to it. First, the fight involved the classic...Shaver 's new wife was married to a cousin of Coker and there was bad blood there. Billy admitted being scared of Coker, who was much younger and bigger. Coker went after him with a knife, which led Billy to shoot him in the face with a small .22 caliber hand gun no bigger than his palm. And after the trial Shaver said, "I am very sorry about the incident. Hopefully things will work out where we become friends."

    Of course, in true cowboy fashion, he also said that he didn't leave the bar after being scared of Coker because that would have been "chicken shit". And when asked if he was initially jealous of Coker's attention to his wife he said, "I get more women than a passenger train. I'm not jealous."

    Sir Hook Who's Neck Was Red at Birth of Warrick

  2. I love the line: And it’s a lot easier to sell cookie-cutter subpar horseshit than it is to cultivate a following for a creative genius.

    One of Suzanne's (and the girls' favorites):

    You're the Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly

    Which we all listened to on our last road trip!

    Sir Bowie

  3. heh...yeah great song Sir B... At the weekend someone lent me his 1993 album Tramp on your Street ( ironically on Volcano records ) which i am enjoying.

    Sir D of O