Tales From the Tour Bus (2017) s01e07 Episode Script

Waylon Jennings Part 2

1 (CAR ENGINE REVS) (CRICKETS CHIRPING) (COUNTRY MUSIC PLAYING) Welcome back to the story of country music's most famous outlaw, Waylon Jennings, the man in the black hat.
If you wanna get to heaven, gotta D-I-E You gotta put on your coat and T-I-E You wanna get the rabbit out the L-O-G You gotta make a commotion like a D-O-G Like a D-O-G Like a D-O-G MIKE: He was an enigma.
He counted among his closest friends.
Willie Nelson, the Hell's Angels, Muhammad Ali, and Caroll Spinney, that guy who played Big Bird.
He loved kids and old folks and cocaine.
Lot's of cocaine.
(THEME MUSIC PLAYING) When I first met Waylon, he was kind of in a transition.
He was, like, a good-looking guy, like Gary Cooper or somebody, wearing them, uh, camel coats and things.
Pretty sharp, but the wild side of him come out.
MIKE: Billy Joe Shaver's career will forever be linked with Waylon Jennings.
The singer-songwriter started running with Waylon at the turning point of his life, when he became an outlaw in their home state of Texas.
Waylon had an old school bus that he had painted black, all the windows and everything, with a paintbrush.
And he kept dynamite back there in the back, just in case.
I recall this one place that we went.
It was like a barn.
It was kind of out in the field.
Waylon was playing it, and they were hanging from the rafters.
I'm telling you, it was just it was packed.
And it come time to get paid, and so we waited and waited, and Waylon's having a fit.
(ENGINE STARTS) Then all of a sudden, everybody started leaving 'cause they knew trouble was brewing.
And everybody left.
Wasn't nobody in the place.
It was just empty.
And Waylon said, "You know, we've waited long enough.
" so we get back in the bus, and we split and went right across the field Bump, bump, bump, that old bus.
(CHUCKLES) When we finally got to the pavement, all of a sudden, the whole ass end of that club blew up.
(EXPLOSION) I don't know how he'd made sure everybody was out or what.
If there was a possum in there, I imagine he went flying.
I said, "Waylon, did you see that?" And Waylon said, "I ain't seen a thing.
I ain't seen nothing.
" That was about the time that he stopped doing pills and everything like that, and it was a different energy.
MIKE: Drummer Richie Albright had been with Waylon from the beginning, of the music and the drugs.
They started playing together in Phoenix in 1961.
The pills started in Arizona.
On the road, you know, it's almost a necessity, but Waylon got so sick on pills, and I could see where it was really hurting his health, so I introduced him to coke.
(SNORTING) Mm, and the demon took over.
MIKE: It was 1973, right around the time Waylon got fed up with Nashville and donned the black hat.
Waylon made us all wear black Wear all black clothes, and we came on the stage looking like a Texas car club.
MIKE: Billy Ray Reynolds was a heavy equipment operator from Mississippi who moonlighted on rhythm guitar and joined the band after sitting in one night.
We were playing one of Willie Nelson's festivals down in Texas.
It was Dripping Springs, and then they called it something else.
And Billy Joe was there, and Waylon heard this song that Billy Joe did called "Willie the Wandering Gypsy.
" Waylon, he says, "I'll do a whole album of them cowboy songs" if you'll bring 'em up there to Nashville.
" And at that time, he was kinda like me, pretty much cowboy, you know.
He was a real sincere, real honest guy.
And I went back to Nashville, because he told me he was gonna do the album.
But he didn't He never showed up.
Billy Joe was a little impatient, and he wanted to know when the hell they was gonna cut his songs.
MIKE: Shaver finally tracked him down at RCA Studios, with the help of Captain Midnight, the radio DJ who had become Waylon's confidant.
Roger Schutt was his real name, Captain Midnight, his radio name.
And I went into the studio where he was recording 'cause Captain Midnight got me in there.
And I guess somehow or another, Waylon got wind that I was there.
So Waylon said, "They're good songs, but this guy's driving me crazy.
" Waylon comes out.
He said, "What the hell do you want, Hoss?" I said, "Look, Waylon, if you don't at least listen to these songs," "I'm gonna whip your ass right here in front of God and everybody.
And I will do it.
" And I didn't know if he was gonna take a punch at me or what.
He grabbed me by the arm, which I let him do.
He says, uh, "Let's go in this room here.
" We went in the room, and he said, "I'm gonna do something with you.
" He said, "I've never Ne this before, "but I'm gonna let you play one of your songs "out of that batch you claim you got.
"If I like it, I'll let you play another.
"If I like that, I'll let you play another, "but if I get to a point where I don't like 'em you're gonna leave, and I ain't never gonna see you again.
" I said, "Hell, that's fair en.
" I did about six of them cowboy songs.
When I got to "Honky Tonk Heroes," he actually slapped his leg, and he said, "Damn it.
" He said, I know what I gotta do.
" Low down leaving sun Done did everything that needs done Woe is me, why can't I see? I'd best be leaving well enough alone MIKE: It's fair to say that Honky Tonk Heroes changed the game in Nashville.
It marks the moment that the artists started to take control.
When we first started working with him, that was like right after.
Honky Tonk Heroes came out.
He was bigger than life.
MIKE: Barney and Carter Robertson started touring with Waylon after working with his wife, Jessi Colter, a country music star in her own right.
Barney on keys, Carter singing harmonies.
Jessi just had "I'm Not Lisa," which is a gigantic hit.
I'm not Lisa My name is Julie CARTER: Barney and I were fortunate enough to be together and be in the band, and then started working with Waylon as well.
We're a package deal.
(CHUCKLES) When Waylon first hired you, he would say, "If you can understand Jessi "and you can explain her to me, you've got job security.
" He would be so ornery to her sometimes.
Oh my gosh.
And she'd just smile and, "You know, Waylon.
" Well, I got a good woman, what's the matter with me? What makes me want to love every woman I see? I was traveling when I met her Now I'm traveling again Every woman she sees look like a place I came in Look like a place I came in Poetic license.
You'll need a lot - of poetic license for that.
(LAUGHS) - Place I came in MIKE: Waylon actually produced his wife's second album in the studio that would become his home.
They called it Hillbilly Central.
- It was just an old house.
- RON: Right.
KYLE: You know, a big old house.
Uh, it's still there.
MIKE: Producer Ron Haffkine and sound engineer Kyle Lehning spent a lot of time with Waylon at Hillbilly Central during the heyday of the outlaw country music scene.
You could discuss anything with Waylon.
I mean, whether it was philosophy, whether it was music, whether it was politics.
Shel Silverstein said to me, one day, he said, "You know, Waylon is not necessarily formally educated, but he's got a very sophisticated mind.
" And at the same time, he was a real country dude.
Came up poor, you know, but he was self-taught.
He did a lot of reading as I remember.
I don't know.
You don't know.
- I didn't see a lot of books around.
- Used to know.
(BOTH LAUGH) - No, I saw some knives and some guns - Some guns, yeah.
- But I didn't see a lot of books.
- (LAUGHS, MUTTERS) KYLE: There were guns, knives, - booze, cocaine, pot.
- RON: Cocaine, right.
It was a really nice combination of disasters waiting to converge.
(LAUGHING) MIKE: The studio was owned by Waylon's closest friend at the time, a guy named Tompall Glaser, one of the Glaser brothers.
Tompall, Chuck, and Jim Glaser, they won the Arthur Godfrey Talent contest back in the '50s.
They were farm boys from Nebraska.
Tompall was probably the unsung hero, because he was the one guy who was a success.
He'd had a very successful publishing house and a studio.
And he was a big shot on Music Row, and he burned every bridge he had to join the outlaws.
Mike Singer-songwriter Kinky Friedman also rode the outlaw wave, recording at Hillbilly Central.
Tompall opened up his studio to Waylon and any crazy guy that was spouting music lyrics that had different ideas.
And the sessions rolled all night long, and they weren't done like the other studios operated on Music Row.
Waylon's office was downstairs, and two, three o'clock in the morning and that place would be rocking.
I mean, Waylon would be up and playing their own records.
You could hear it five miles away.
There was a back room that he had, and he claim that Hank Williams had hung out there and slept there.
Waylon says, "Come on, Billy, I want to show you something.
" And he takes these boards and moves 'em around, and there's this dynamite.
He took his finger, went down it, and went (POPS) Pow! (LAUGHS) Just like that.
I mean, just like in a movie you'd see.
That nitro, it'll do it, man.
It'll pop.
Scared the hell out of me.
MIKE: Captain Midnight also lived on the premises from time to time.
Captain Midnight was living, sort of, in Waylon's closet.
KYLE: He had a little office that he with a hot plate.
(CHUCKLES) Yeah! Midnight could walk into the control room and sort of assess whatever the situation was, and say whatever the three-word sentence would require to set the whole thing off in some sort of explosion.
And I saw him get run out of there often, you know, with fairly violent threats.
RON: Once, he was throwing knives.
Waylon walked somewhere close by.
I think he missed Waylon by about a foot.
KYLE: Midnight would spend hours out there, just throwing the knives, you know, and sticking 'em in the door.
He got pretty good at it.
It was not like being in New York.
The first album I made with Waylon took a week to record.
The second album I recorded with Waylon took two weeks.
I just, you know, hit "record" and tried to stay out of the way.
MIKE: The biggest record ever made during this movement featured Waylon, Willie Nelson, Jessi, and Tompall.
Wanted! The Outlaws.
She just talks about the good times they've had And all the good times to come She's a good-hearted woman In love with a good-timing man Mike Wanted became the first country music record out of Nashville to be certified platinum for a million units sold.
The Outlaws record, like most things that become successful, there's a blessing and a curse.
Waylon was adopted by the Hell's Angels.
We'd show up at a festival somewhere - (MOTORCYCLES REVVING) - And Waylon would be like, "Oh God, here they are again.
" (BIKERS WHOOPING) CRANK: They command so much respect that nothing ever happened, because if you've got two six-shooters and carrying a sawed-off shotgun, you're probably not gonna be messed with.
MIKE: Roger "Crank" Payne and Jerry "Jigger" Bridges were in the band and under the protection of the Hell's Angels, as was Waylon's family, his wife Jessi, and his youngest son, Shooter.
I was being literally babysat by Hell's Angels, and they were very nice.
The one guy, Hot Foot, I remember him going to a putt-putt course with me when I was a little kid.
And we got this guy named Boomer.
He was one of the original Filthy Few from New York, the quietest person you ever seen.
I remember from a very little age, I was like, "That dude is cool.
" He had a cane with a skeleton on it.
JIGGER: There was a skull, gold skull on top of it, and his teeth were solid gold.
After he had 'em a while, he said, "They don't" (SMACKING, CLICKING) "They don't make that kind of stuff - "to hold up very good, changing the way I talk.
" - (LAUGHS) - Kind of heavy.
- (LAUGHS) 'Cause just in there, and it was falling down on him.
He gave me a PEZ dispenser with a skull on the end of it, 'cause he knew how much I loved Th cane of his.
CRANK: He was always buying you stuff, bringing you gifts Rifles and handguns, you know.
I didn't ask.
I just took 'em all.
(CHUCKLES) MIKE: Surrounded by Hell's Angels on the road, labeled an outlaw by record executives in Nashville, Waylon continued to surprise country fans with his music.
I'll never forget it.
We were in Lakeland, Florida, and everybody was excited about this one song.
And so we got about three-quarters through the set, The crowd goes, "Yeah!" "You guys wanna hear a new song?" So he says, "All right, here we go.
" I don't need my name in the marquee lights - (MAN SHOUTS) - 'Cause I got my song and I got You with me tonight Maybe it's time we got down to some basics in love (CROWD CHEERING) Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas With Waylon and Willie and the boys This successful life we're living's Got us feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys CRANK: The second time we sang the chorus, you could hear the crowd singing along.
It was the damnedest thing I'd ever heard.
Let's go to Luckenbach, Texas And they're singing it loud.
- Luckenbach, Texas - Loud, and it got so loud, Waylon just stopped playing.
He turned to us, and we're all I'll never forget the chills.
Remember that? - Mmm.
- And right then, after that show, - he said, "Boys, strap it on.
" - It was a big record.
"This thing's fixing to go big.
" MIKE: It was April, 1977, and "Luckenbach, Texas" went straight to number one and stayed there until the summer.
We were somewhere in the Midwest, had a few days off in the middle of the tour, and just hanging out in the Holiday Inn or whatever.
And, uh, Waylon comes to us and said, "Hey, you guys want to go to New York?" So, "Sure.
" Six of us get in the Learjet and go to New York City.
He wore this long leather trench coat, 'cause I think it was wintertime, and in his inside pocket, he had a check with his name on it for a million dollars.
(BOTH LAUGH) And he would take that silly thing out and show it to people.
"Look, that's me.
I got a million dollars.
" MIKE: Four months later, after the biggest hit of his career, came the shock of his life.
Waylon was expecting a package from New York, and, uh, it didn't come in.
And he finally said something to me.
I said, "Well, how long has it been?" He said, "Ah, about three days.
" And I said, "That ain't good.
" Neil Reshen, Waylon's longtime manager, he was getting paranoid Waylon was buying too much cocaine on the road, and here and there, and so he found a way What he thought was a way to get it to him without a whole lot of trouble.
So they flew it in in a package.
It was a kilo of cocaine.
Neil had his under Mark, he sent the package.
RICHIE: Finally, the secretary, Lori Evans, picked it up and brought it to the studio.
Waylon was overdubbing, you know, one of the songs off I've Always Been Crazy, and all of the sudden, "Boom, boom, boom, boom.
" (POUNDING ON DOOR) And in come four, five guys.
The had their "FBI," "DEA" on 'em.
Going, "Oh shit.
" They said, "We followed a package here.
" We want to find that package.
" When I looked up, there was communication button on the desk, so I just laid my hand on it.
CRANK: Richie said, "Ain't no package here.
" So what's happening with this talk-back, is Waylon's hearing everything Richie says.
So Waylon knows, "Ah crap, we're being busted.
" And, uh, I said, "Well, okay, you got a search warrant?" Said, "No, but we can get one.
" I said, "Okay, but while you're getting that search warrant," "we're gonna keep working here, because it's costing us $250 an hour.
" Richie goes and tells the guys, says, "Look, it's very important record.
" "Let me finish this vocal.
Take me about 30 minutes.
Let me finish this vocal, and you guys can look and do whatever you want.
" RICHIE: And I told the agents, "You all just be quiet.
" CRANK: "Waylon, let's try it from the top.
" So he gets about 16 bars into it, he said, "Waylon, I need to change that microphone.
" Hang on right there.
I'm gonna come and change that microphone".
And I'm going, "Holy crap.
That was so cool, Richie.
" So we go out there, moving the microphone.
I found the package, put it in my pants, came back out.
During that time, George Laibe, who did our booking, came walking in.
He was about half drunk, and he started hollering, what the hell is going on?" (BABBLES) And Waylon started hollering at him.
Pretty soon, every agent's all looking right at them.
And that's when I turned and went in the bathroom.
When they heard that thing flush, it was over.
(FLUSHES) Waylon started talking to the DEA, laying his best snow job on 'em.
(CHUCKLES) You could tell they were all a little bit enthused and admired him.
After they got busted and it all went down, they flew out in the Learjet the next day, and I met them at the airport with the limousines and everything.
I was the road manager.
And Waylon and Richie and Jessi, they jump into the car, and they go, "Hey, Bourke, how's it going?" You know.
I go, "It's going great.
How are you guys doing?" And, you know, it had been on the newspapers, television.
It was a big deal.
And he says, "Bourke, I just wrote a song.
" I'm for law and order, the way it should be And of course, that song went to number one and made him a million dollars, you know.
I'm for law and order, the way that it should be This song's about the night they spent protecting you from me Someone called us outlaws in some old magazine New York sent a posse down like I ain't never seen Don't y'all think this outlaw bit has done got out of hand? MIKE: He was charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute.
Those charges were dropped before it ever went to trial.
They had no evidence, basically.
MIKE: The bust didn't phase Hoss that much.
A year or two later, he got an invitation from Hollywood, too good to pass up.
To this day, the only reason I watch Dukes of Hazard is to listen to Dad do the balladeer part you know, like "Well, the boys aren't gonna get away with it this time.
" You can tell by how hoarse his voice is how many days he's been awake.
MIKE: By then his oldest son, Terry, was on the road with him.
I remember that some article in a paper had come out and said that Dad smoked five packs of cigarettes a day.
"Well, some accountant come up and says, "I did the math.
It is physically impossible to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day.
" And we looked at him and said, "Well, not if you stay up for 24 hours.
" TOM: He'd go five days without going to bed.
And you could tell his hair would be all greased up, you know.
You could tell he hadn't been taking a bath.
(LAUGHS) Waylon developed this fondness for Musk.
There was Musk cologne.
There was Musk underarm deodorant.
Waylon loved the shit, right? I mean, you could smell it coming a mile away.
Well, I went down to his office one morning You know, 2:00, 3:00 in the morning And Waylon was there, and he had probably been up for two, three, four days.
And we started talking about something or other, and all of the sudden, he takes out this Musk underarm deodorant thing, and he starts putting it on, except it was over his shirt.
"And I said," Waylon, I mean, do you know that you're putting that underarm stuff on over your shirt?" He said, "Hoss that's my business.
" (BOTH LAUGH) After that bust, the paranoia level went way up.
Every time we'd go into a hotel room, I was unscrewing the phone, I was checking under the bed.
And, you know, always looking over your shoulder.
You know? Neil Reshen, the manager, came on the road one time with Waylon, and he said, "Man, I just got a new pacemaker.
" I said, "Really?" And he said, "Yeah.
" He said, "You know, check it out.
" And I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Just put your head down there and listen.
" So when I did, then he got the coke out and did a big bump, and when he did (TRILLS) you know? Waylon thought that was the coolest thing ever.
(LAUGHS) Believe it or not, there can come a time when there's so many drugs around that you don't want to do 'em.
I mean, you gotta really try hard to keep on doing 'em, 'cause the fun is gone.
MIKE: In 1984, the greatest outlaw of the movement, the man who broke free from Nashville in a rage of pills and cocaine, decided to clean up his act the hard way.
I was with him when he went to Phoenix to sober up.
There was no doctors or hospitals or anything like that.
He did it himself, cold turkey.
He said, "This isn't gonna work anymore.
" "We're stopping right now.
"Tell everybody in the organization that if you're wired, you're fired.
" Waylon said, "You should've heard Jessi" "the day I gave her about a half a pound.
" "And I said, 'Jessi, I'm done.
" "'Take this and do with it whatever you want.
'" He said, "You should've heard her.
" He said, "I heard her in there in the bathroom "as she's pouring it down, "saying, 'Praise Jesus! Praise you, Jesus, ' while she's pouring it down the commode.
" (LAUGHS) He was a blessed man.
I will tell you that.
- He was a blessed man - That's for sure.
Because he had a woman who loved him forever.
Her life revolved around Waylon.
She had an enormous record called "I'm Not Lisa.
" And I got a call from the head of the label, and he asked me to talk to Waylon to try to convince Jessi to continue on with her career.
"So I went to Waylon, and I said, "Waylon, "the label as asked me to talk to you.
"They would like to continue on with Jessi's career," and so on.
And Waylon just looked at me, he said, "Hoss, ain't your business.
" And I called the label, and I said, "It ain't gonna happen, man.
" "That woman loves him more than anything, and however that life is going is the way it's gonna stay.
" MIKE: And it stayed that way until the very end.
He actually loved me, man.
He said, "Billy, you know", it ain't fair, you not having a hand.
" He said, "Let me buy you a hand.
" And I said, "No, oh shit.
It probably wouldn't work.
" There was song called "Oklahoma Wind" that he did with me and Kris and Willie.
I had written about the Oklahoma kid laid dying in a women's wing.
" And he thought it was something else.
And what it was, was an old folks home and it was a women's wing.
The Indian was down there dying.
He took it wrong.
He thought it was some kind of spiritual deal.
And when I explained it to him, he said, "Damn, I wish I hadn't asked you.
" (LAUGHS) He was loving it until then.
I don't know.
He was kind of funny about it.
Funny as I am, really.
Every bit of it.
I loved Waylon though, I really did.
A lot of people don't think I did, but I did.
He was blessed, because he chose people to be in his life that loved him and who will always love him.
And dadgum it, he left too soon.
You know, he was a good ol' boy.
I've always been crazy But it's kept me from going insane Nobody knows if it's something to bless or to blame Till now, I ain't found a rhyme or a reason to change I've always been crazy But it's kept me from going insane (THEME MUSIC PLAYING)
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