Country Music Broke My Brain is a behind-the-microphone peek at Nashville's famous & fabulous stars in a book.
Someone would probably have to be brain-damaged or really damn talented to try to entertain professional entertainers over a decades-long radio show in Music City, USA.
Fortunately, House is little of both.
In Country Music Broke My Brain, Gerry tells his stories from the other side of the microphone. He airs never-before-heard conversations with country's biggest names - Johnny Cash, Brad Paisley, and Reba McEntire to name a few - and leaves you with his own crazy antics that will either have you laughing or shaking your head in disbelief.
With exclusive celebrity stories, humorous trivia and anecdotes, and broadcasting wisdom, this book is a treat for country music fans or for anyone who wants a good laugh.
Country Music Causes Brain Damage
COUNTRYMUSIC CAUSES brain damage. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: if this doofus can write a book, I’m certain it will prove his theory. You’re right, of course. I am, however, writing as a field observer and battle-scarred veteran of the hillbilly wars. For more than thirty-five years, I’ve been subjected to country music. I’ve been immersed in it. I am the lab rat on the other end of the mountain music ray gun. When I say brain damage, I mean the usual things that I’ve seen people do or say that leave no doubt that a steel guitar and three chords will change the cerebral makeup of a person.
I’m talkin’ about lyin’ and cheatin’ and drinkin’ and smokin’ folks. And those are just the religious ones I know who listen to country music. In fact, they are usually the worst. I’m talkin’ about stealin’ ideas, fistfights, drugs, divorces, car chases, cussin’ and spit- tin’, not sleeping for a week, ordering mail-order chickens, dying your hair prematurely jet-black, wearin’ headgear you don’t qualify for, murder, mail fraud, whacky ‘baccy, liar’s poker, bottles of Jack Daniel’s, and pyramids of beer cans.
I specifically know that this blessed genre of hick art will eventu- ally result in shoplifting, sex in convertibles, jumping out of windows, snake handling, potshots, bacon grease, illegal bus stops, immoral business practices, and peeing in the sink. If you’d seen as many backroom-dealing, wife-hugging, fake hair, three-timing, coke-sniff- ing, radio-bribing, carjacking, golf-cheating, mansion-buying, horse- trading, whacked-out cowboys as I have, you’d know I ain’t lyin’.
I’ve always said that there are two things that cause the most grief in the world: Somebody’s getting’ somethin’ I ain’t gettin’, and my God is better than your God. On a global level, that’s probably true, but country music and brain disaster are a very close third, ahead of global warming, the economy, and today’s modern radio.
I’m only here to serve as an early warning system. As the tornado siren of Nashville, I’m going off at full blast just so you can’t say, “Why didn’t you warn me?” So here I am. This is your final warning. It’s singers and songwriters, publishers and managers, and record people and radio people, all interconnected like some giant dysfunc- tional family and all joined at the hip by their involvement one way or the other to what’s been called “America’s Music.”
It’s no wonder this country is in trouble. Country is more popular than it’s ever been. Oh, sure, it’s inspiring and touching. It honors God and family and kids and horses and riding around in a truck. That’s all well and good. I’m just saying, from what I’ve observed with my own lyin’ eyes, there’s something going on between C & W and an MRI.
I also want to say I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I love 98 percent of these people. Like Lot’s wife, they are the salt of the earth. The other 2 percent I hope are abducted by aliens and have their buttocks probed.
So here we go. My story. My evidence. Country music causes brain damage.
Roy Acuff and Opryland
THEKING OF COUNTRY MUSIC goes way back. He was a singer with medicine shows in the 1930s and was a true pioneer. I spent a year working at Opryland doing a morning radio show from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Roy showed up quite often because he lived there! Yes, you read cor- rectly. He had a house right there on the Opry property. Every so often, he wandered over with a cup of coffee and watched me stumble around doing my radio show. Kind of like when you look up and discover your neighbor is watching you clean out a litter box, or catching you running out to get the paper wearing onesock and a pair of boxers.
I should interject that the show I was doing was called The Waking Crew. It was live radio with a live band and a semi-live audi- ence. It was early, and they were usually sleepy or from out of town and had no idea what was going on. I find both true some- times. This was a long-running and beloved radio show that went back to the 1940s, carrying the grand tradition of great live radio and entertainment. Look up “The Breakfast Club” or “The Arthur
Godfrey Show.” A host, a band, an audience made the show. I hosted it for about a year and drove it straight into the ground. When I left for L.A., they canceled the show. Now, to be fair, there were problems when I got there. The band had been the star, and some of them didn’t want me to tread on their comedy territory. I didn’t learn that for quite awhile; I thought they were just mutes. It was like I was the mother-in-law on a honeymoon—not a good fit.
I always like to think it was canceled because I left, but it’s prob- ably closer to the truth to say they were so worn out watching me struggle to keep it afloat (literally “afloat” because we sometimes did the show from their General Jackson Showboat) that they just couldn’t muster up the effort to find somebody else to host it.
Each daily show had two live singers. Often, a beautiful blonde named Lorrie Morgan came in. Other times, a whip-thin guy named Alan Jackson from the mailroom shuffled in. I’ll never forget seeing this gorgeous creature, Lorrie Morgan, standing offstage in full regalia looking like a movie star. We were in a commercial break, and I walked over beside her. She fired up a Marlboro Red and said, “Wow, look at all these sleepy sons of bitches. Is that an audience or an oil painting?” I fell in love that moment.
What was I talking about before? Oh, yeah, Roy Acuff. The Roy- ster only sang once on The Waking Crew with me present. “Great Speckled Bird” was one of his showstoppers. He was a real pro and a man of the people. I got kind of excited when my neighbor dropped in to sing, which brings me to the Roy story.
One day, a security guard at Opryland told me what had trans- pired with the Opry Master. Now, understand that Opryland was a theme park and a tourist Mecca. There were people in sandals and black socks wandering around for days like mental patients. I don’t need to remind you they loved country music and were thrilled to poke all over the park. Gawkin’ and snappin’ pitchers and gener- ally taking it all in. They were good folks, but tourists. Country tourists are the only people in the world who will drive 700 miles to a destination and have their picture taken with their car.
One summer morning, a gaggle of them got loose and wan- dered into Roy’s house. Yep, front door is open. Let’s go in and gawk...through Roy’s kitchen...down the hall to ol’ Roy’s bed- room...while ol’ Roy was in it, asleep! They gathered round the bed and watched Roy snort and snooze. He was all tucked up in the covers, talkin’ to the Sandman, and these folks from Michigan or Ohio were workin’ the Polaroids and snooping through his sock drawer.
Now, this is what you call a real country music theme park. Not only do you see the stars on stage, but you can also view them with their mouth open, snoring in bed—a place where tourists and Opry legends share a special moment. A guard noticed Roy’s front door was open and went in to check. When he discovered the “visitors,” he told me he was afraid “Mr. Roy would wake up and think he was dead with these people gath- ered ‘round staring down at him.” It would be like waking up at your own funeral, I guess.
Our security expert silently ushered and shooed the thrilled trespassers out the bedroom door. As they crept out, the guard said he looked back and Roy was still sawin’ away. I always wondered if these folks went back home and were showing slides of their vacation. How they must have described being in Roy Acuff’s bedroom: “Oh, Opryland is just so wonderful. We rode the Log Flume and got all wet. We had a nice lunch at this little country place. And we went into Roy Acuff’s bedroom and watched him catch some z’s.”
“I hope next year we can see Dolly all racked out.”
I think if the Opryland powers-that-be had incorporated this into the tourist agenda, they’d still be open and doing big business.
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