Billy Joe Shaver

A Conversation with Billy Joe Shaver (continued)

PM: I think "That's What She Said Last Night" rocks like a son of a bitch.

BJS: Yeah. Yeah we had fun with that. Keith Christopher played on that, came by and played a little guitar.

PM: You know, he was the first guy I ever met in Nashville when I came there in '89. I haven't seen him in years and I was so tickled to see his name there. I said, "Well of course it rocks, that's Keith on the bass and one of the electrics."

BJS: [laughs] Yeah, boy, I'm telling you, he's a certifiable nut.

PM: A real nutcase and any track he's on always jumps.

BJS: He played with me for about five, six years I guess.

PM: What period was that?

BJS: Well, during the time when we did Tramp On Your Street.

PM: Ah, '93 or thereabouts.

BJS: And actually before that, in the latter 80s and up into the 90s. 'Cause we were always playing, even if we weren't doing a record. We were always playin' joints and stuff, hacking out a living.

PM: I must've met him right in that same period. I remember talking with him about a Ray Charles cut he had.

BJS: Oh yeah! He was playing with me when that happened.

PM: That was a funny story in the album notes next to the "Deja Blues" with Todd Snyder.

BJS: Yeah. Todd's a good friend. Actually, on Todd's first record, Eddy played the guitar on that.

PM: I knew Eddy [Billy Joe's son] a little, years ago, because I used to manage sales out at Mesa/Boogie. And Eddy really loved those amplifiers. I believe I sold him his very first Boogie amplifier in the 80s.

BJS: Oh yeah! Well, you might have, you might have, 'cause he went into the Boogie real early. And he stayed with it, too, all the way. He sure loved those Boogie amps.

PM: He was a hellishly good guitar player.

BJS: God, I'm telling you, he sure was. [softly] I miss him.

PM: Ah, of course. I can't... I can't even begin to imagine. [Eddy died two years ago, at the age of 38.] But I thought it was wonderful that you shared him with us one more time by including "Necessary Evil." [It appears as a seven-minute hidden track at the end of Freedom's Child.]

BJS: Yeah, uh-huh. I caught him on tape, out there in the garage...wasn't too long before he died, and he was playing through a little bitty amp that Clifford Antone had given him. It'd belonged to some old blues player. Clifford gave it to him, and it was this little thing--you know, back then they had those little bitty ones? And he just had his guitar plugged straight into it and he was playing. I had this little old cheap tape recorder out there, but it picked it up real good. I don't know why in the world it sounded so good. Guess it was the garage, you know, it's kinda hollow sounding.

PM: The natural reverb of a garage. Who did you say gave Eddy that amp?

BJS: Oh, it was Clifford Antone. You know, Antone's Blues Club, there in Austin? Clifford collected all these old blues things, and he has a blues record store. He's been into the blues all his life.

[We got cut off, and I called him back.]

BJS: We musta got unconnected somehow.

PM: And I'm thinking, "Hey, the man's got his food there, you gotta let him eat."

BJS: Yeah, won't be long now it'll be here.

PM: Good, it's not there yet. I'll just shoot a couple more quick questions by you.

BJS: Sure.

PM: I thought you were fantastic in The Apostle [Robert Duvall's great film]. I've seen it a whole bunch of times..

BJS: Thank you. Thank you. I've been in another one since then with Robert. It's called Secondhand Lions.

PM: Tell us about that please?

BJS: Well, there's not a whole lot to tell, I just had a small part in it. Michael Caine and Robert were both in the scene, and I'm just selling him an old bi-plane. For the rest of the story, you'll just have to go see it. [laughs]

PM: It's not out yet, right?

BJS: No. They just wrapped it up about a month ago.

PM: I heard there was also a project in the works about your life, that his girlfriend Luciana Pedraza is doing.

BJS: Yeah, she's doing a documentary on me. And they've already shot, God, I mean hours and hours and hours of footage. We went all over Texas with it.

PM: They're gonna make a real icon out of you!

BJS: Well, I don't know what that is but I guess so.

PM: [laughs]

BJS: Is that anything like an acorn?

PM: [laughing] They're gonna make a real acorn outta you, my man.

BJS: [laughs]  continue

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