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CONTEST: Win Tix To See Americana Icon Kris Kristofferson At The Keswick Tomorrow Night

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This picture was taken back during the Carter Administration when America was still shirt-optional, everyone drove 18-wheelers, women rode around on men knapsack-style, and there was always an explosion in the distance. Always. Kris Kristofferson is older than dirt now, but back in the day, as my mom used to say, he got more ass than the men’s room hopper seat at Howard Johnsons. Back then he forged a career as a badass beardo sex symbol in instantly forgettable movies like Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, Vigilante Force and Semi-Tough, but the reason we are gathered here today, dearly beloved, is to celebrate his legacy as A Great American Songwriter. Beneath all that grizzly bear facial fur and smoky cobalt blue eyes beat the heart of a cowboy poet and a goddamn intellectual. As he sang in “The Pilgrim,” he was “a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction.” A redneck and a Rhodes scholar, a boxer and a beatnik, a protest singer and a decorated helicopter pilot in Vietnam, a janitor and a millionaire many times over. He made hard living look easy. As he told Maxim:

Mel Tillis and I were good friends during my first few years in Nashville. One night in 1965, I went to his home already pretty tanked and rang the doorbell. Just as his wife opened the door, I dropped and shattered a fifth of vodka all over the front porch. (I don’t remember the brand, but it was definitely whatever was cheapest at the time.) I can’t imagine why, but she wouldn’t let Mel go out with me that evening.

​I decided I would drive up to Fort Campbell and see my old Army company before they flew off to Vietnam. On the way, I blew a tire and rolled my car and ended up hanging upside down, wheels up and still turning, when a police car arrived.

I was pretty sure I was OK, but I thought it would be funny to give them a scare, so I stayed as still and as quiet as I could as they cautiously approached, and I heard one of them say the driver couldn’t possibly have survived that one. Just as they were peering in and sizing up the situation, I yelled as loud as I could, “Get me out of here!”

They about had heart attacks and were so relieved that they didn’t that they offered me a ride to the Army base. I got there just in time to board the plane to Vietnam and say hello and let everyone know that I might as well go with them, since I had just totaled my car and had nothing left to lose.

You don’t write a song like “Sunday Morning Coming Down” unless you’ve been there. Repeatedly. And most people sitting on the top of oil rigs, cowboy boots dangling in the breeze 10 stories above the Gulf Of Mexico, don’t stave off boredom smoking cigs, swigging tall boys and writing songs as deathless and hallowed as “Me And Bobby McGee,” a song that will forever set in stone his rep as one of the great silver-tongued scuffed-denim troubadours riding off into the twilight sunset of the American Century. Because back then most people didn’t know that freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose. But they do now.

We have a pair tickets to see Kris Kristofferson at the Keswick tomorrow night. To qualify to win, all you have to do is sign up for our mailing list (see right, below the masthead). Trust us, this is something you want to do. In addition to breaking news alerts and Phawker updates, you also get advanced warning about groovy concert ticket giveaways and other free swag opportunities like this one! After signing up, send us an email at Phawker66@gmail.com telling us a much, with the magic words THE SILVER TONGUED DEVIL in the subject line. Please include your full name and a mobile number for confirmation. Good luck and godspeed!

KRIS KRISTOFFERSON PERFORMS @ THE KESWICK THEATER WED. JAN. 5TH

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