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And I said, 'Why not? It's the truth! Why can't I say I'm a Beatles fan?' I used to get criticized for that.
But most distinctly, I remember always saying to myself that when I get big, I'm not going to go to bed hungry, I'm not going to wear hand-me-down clothes.
I always had a lot of driving-type music in my bones. I always loved music that had lots of beat. I always wanted to sound like a locomotive comin' right through the front room.
I am who I am, I am what I am, I do what I do and I ain't never gonna do it any different. I don't care who likes it and who don't.
I didn't say I wasn't gonna do rockabilly. I just said I ain't gonna sing no song that ain't a country song. I won't be known as anything but a country singer.
I enjoyed the Hee Haw people, but from 1980 on I didn't enjoy it and thought about leavin', and thought, hell, it's an easy job and pays wonderful. I kinda just prostituted myself for their money.
I found a sound that people really liked - I found this basic concept and all I did was change the lyrics and the melody a little bit. My songs, if you listen to them, they're quite a lot alike, like Chuck Berry.
I got to realizing that I wanted to record, I wanted to experiment. And doing those same old songs the same old way - I said, 'I think it's time for me to have some fun.'
I never expected to record again. I knew I had done everything I ever wanted to do. I was satisfied. But... all the time I'm watching the country music horizon. And I'm sayin' 'Lord, is there anybody gonna come?'
I remember as a kid being cold a lot, and hungry sometimes. We'd go to bed with just cornbread and milk, and I remember wearing shoes with holes in the bottom. I remember having twine for shoestrings.
I remember thinkin' that I could probably make about $5 if I'd go out and pick cotton all day. And I could make $5 dollars bein' in this honky-tonk - the guy will give me $5 a night, and I'll be in here where it's warm in the winter and cool in the summertime.
I was always very grateful to 'em and am grateful to 'em now. I went back a couple of years ago and did their 20th anniversary show. But the longer I stayed on Hee Haw, the worse things got for me musically.
I was in a zombie -like mode and I went through the motions up until January 1, 1980. And I knew I couldn't go through that anymore, so I called the guys together. I told 'em, "I'm gonna still play some dates, but I'm not gonna do anything near like I did it before."
I was looking to be somebody.
I'd like just to be remembered as a guy that came along and did his music, did his best and showed up on time, clean and ready to do the job, wrote a few songs, and had a hell of a time.
I'm from the Bob Wills and the Little Richard school of music. Bob Wills did what the hell he thought, Little Richard did what he thought, and those were my big influences.
I'm in an absolute frenzy towards doing as many things as I can that I want to do today. The rest can wait till tomorrow, next week, if I'm around we'll take a look.
If you want me in the Hall of Fame put me in because of some contributions that I have made to country music.
Lady Limelight is a jealous lady. She wants all of your attention. You don't have any time to think of anything else but Lady Limelight, because pretty soon that light will be shinning on somebody else. So you better do it while you can.
My mother and dad objected strenuously to me playing in the honky-tonks and they never thought I'd amount to anything.
My mother told me on several different occasions that she was livin' her dream vicariously through me. She once said that I was getting' to do all the things that she would have wanted to have done.
That was where my dream began to take hold, of not havin' to pick cotton and potatoes, and not havin' to be uncomfortable, too hot or too cold. That in itself had driven me to try to find some better way of life.
The last 16 years of my daddy's life, he got to work for me, and that made him his own boss and he like that.
The road had the lonely times, but I kept myself busy.
To know that the music has had some effect on the Rodney Crowells and the Dwights and the Marty Stuarts and Vince Gills and some of those young pickers, I'm very proud of that, although it was unplanned. It was just something that happened.
Today, if I had to do it over again, I think what I would do it a little differently. I think what I would do, I would just be cool and take advantage of what Nashville had to offer instead of tryin' to swim upstream all the time.
We used to get one room and we'd park the vehicle outside, everybody would all take showers and we'd steal towels because we knew we wasn't gonna have enough towels for all five of us to shower.
We were sharecroppers - we were a little bit of everything. We farmed and tried to make something.
Weren't any druggies in the band. Anybody who's been on the road any length of time had taken No-Doz or a diet pill to stay awake, but I think that even that was very much at a minimum.
What a wonderful opportunity was presented to me to be able to make a living and pay my bills while I'm learning my trade.
You get up about 2-3 o'clock in the morning and get through about 7 or 8 and 12 hours later you start all over. That's the worst kind of work a person can do. You have to do these two shifts to get one day.
You would get right up in that microphone and sing as loud as you could, hopin' you would be able to hear enough comin' back.