The GTC would like to wish an Amazing 78th Day of Birth to Brownsville, Texas’ favorite son Kristoffer “Kris” Kristofferson.
A singer/songwriter who, time will prove, is likely the most important songwriting figures to emerge from 1960’s Nashville with a pedigree/history unparalleled to anyone else’s. A man who often tried to have a good-time to near death.
“Nothing could kill me, I was rolling cars and wrecking motorcycles, drinking and doing everything I could to die early. But it didn’t work.” – Kris Kristofferson
With nearly 30 albums to his credit and hundred of songs as a legacy that quietly have become classics and telling stories Lennon, Cash, Ferlin Husky, Haggard, Dylan and Tom T. Hall wish they could, Kris Kristofferson will go down in history as not an in your face rockstar type artist but as a diligent pupil and observer of life. With all of his understanding, travels, dalliances and mishaps cataloged in lyrics. We all benefit.
(Kris Kristofferson biography here)
On this day of his birth we would like to celebrate with experienced wisdom from his own mouth:
“Freedom is just another word: It seems to get truer the older I get. It makes me think about the time when my apartment got robbed and everything was gone and I was disowned by my family. I owed money to a hospital and I owed my wife five hundred a month for child support and I thought, “I’m losing my job.” I hadn’t any money, I hadn’t anything going for me, but it was liberating. I was in this Evangeline Motel, like something out of Psycho, a filthy place, just sitting there with this neon Jesus outside the door, in the swamps outside of Lafayette, Louisiana, and I thought, “Fuck. I’m on the bottom, can’t go any lower” — and from then on, man, I drove my car to the airport, left it there, and never went back to get it. Went to Nashville and called this friend of mine, Mickey Newberry, and told him I’d just got fired, and he said, “Great. Johnny Cash is shooting a new TV show. Come up, and we can pitch him some songs.” The next moment, they cut three of my songs, and they were hits. I never had to go back to work again.”
“There are points in your life, especially if you have creative ambitions, where selfishness is necessary.”
“I grew up in a time when people believed in duty, honor and country. My grandfathers were both officers. My father was a General in the Air Force. My brother and I were both in the Army. I’ve always felt a kinship with soldiers; I think it’s possible to support the warrior and be against the war.”
“I had a list of rules I made up one time. It says: Tell the truth, sing with passion, work with laughter, and love with heart. Those are good to start with, anyway.”
“Never give up, which is the lesson I learned from boxing. As soon as you learn to never give up, you have to learn the power and wisdom of unconditional surrender, and that one doesn’t cancel out the other; they just exist as contradictions. The wisdom of it comes as you get older.”
Just a drop in the ole proverbial bucket of wisdom from a man any songwriter should study. Not to emulate exactly but to understand a bit of the man who has unabashedly done it all and has survived to tell the tales of a life lived so chaotically stable.
If you wish to start that needed Kris Kristofferson section in your record collection The GTC recommends The Silver Tongued Devil and I (1971). Honesty is music. Check it out.
Happy Birthday Kris Kristofferson!