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singer and songwriter ben bruce

blog > Kristofferson Kick, Lately

Sep 27th, 2009

When he was still trying to break into music, he grabbed [Johnny] Cash’s attention when he unexpectedly landed his helicopter in Cash’s yard and gave him some tapes including “Sunday Morning Coming Down”.

I’ve been listening to Kris Kristofferson’s “Closer to the Bone” lately and it’s just great. Inspiring to me as a songwriter because he writes and sings so simply — it’s not pretentious at all — and it comes out as poetry.

Two friends came in and told me stories about Kristofferson that made me love him more and more — but first, a little background.

Kristoffer “Kris” Kristofferson (born June 22, 1936) is an American writer, singer-​songwriter, actor, and musician. He is best known for hits such as “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down”, and “Help Me Make It Through the Night”. Kristofferson is the sole writer of most of his songs, but he has collaborated with various other figures of the Nashville scene such as Shel Silverstein and Fred Rumfelt.

He graduated umma cum laude in Literature from Pomona College, earned a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University (where he was awarded his blue for boxing and began writing songs), joined the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of captain, completed Ranger School.

More from Wikipedia

Story One, from !:

When he was still trying to break into music, he grabbed [Johnny] Cash’s attention when he unexpectedly landed his helicopter in Cash’s yard and gave him some tapes including “Sunday Morning Coming Down”.

More from Wikipedia

Story Two, from DH:

Ethan Hawke wrote this story in Rolling Stone, which has been vociferously denied by Toby Keith. The gist of it is that Ethan reports an altercation between Kris and Toby that ends with Kris ripping into Toby like this:

Don’t ‘What?’ me, boy! You heard the question. You just don’t like the answer.” He paused just long enough to get a full chest of air. “I asked, ‘Have you ever served your country?’ The answer is, no, you have not. Have you ever killed another man? Huh? Have you ever taken another man’s life and then cashed the check your country gave you for doing it? No, you have not. So shut the fuck up!” I could feel his body pulsing with anger next to me. “You don’t know what the hell you are talking about!”

“Whatever,” the young Star muttered.

Ray Charles stood motionless. Willie Nelson looked at me and shrugged mischievously like a kid in the back of the classroom.

Kristofferson took a deep inhale and leaned against the wall, still vibrating with adrenaline. He looked over at Willie as if to say, “Don’t say a word.” Then his eyes found me.

“You know what Waylon Jennings said about guys like him?” he whispered.

I shook my head.

“They’re doin’ to country music what pantyhose did to finger-​fuckin’.”

Read the whole story in Rolling Stone

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