June 23, 2009
Sometimes it seems like you’re the only person in Austin who hasn’t gotten high with Willie Nelson in the back of his tour bus. Why the dis, Willie? Just because someone comes across a little bit straight edged doesn’t mean they’re not willing to make the bowl glow like a thousand suns … in the right circumstances … and what circumstances could be righter than the back of the Honeysuckle Rose IV, a biodiesel chugging Amsterdam on wheels where ex-football coaches, preachers, and even asshole rednecks check their sanctimony at the door? Hell, even people who have never tried pot are happy to get their ganja cherry popped by the Red Headed Stranger himself. It’s not like shooting heroin with Boy George or snorting meth with Courtney Love. There’s a certain Zen involved – a high tolerance, if you will. Why else would chick-hater Toby Keith get to burn one with His Willieness, even though he claims he’ll never smoke weed with Willie again? Criminal. At least he got the offer … and don’t think for a minute that given a second chance he won’t be sucking on Willie’s spliff like a Detroit crack whore. Why wouldn’t he? It’s no secret that Willie’s weed is some really awesome shit – good enough to justify a second residence in Maui maybe? Who knows? Well, everybody except you apparently, and just because your plumber, your hairdresser, Matthew McConaughey, and that pimply-faced kid who checks your receipt at Guitar Center have all gotten stoned to the bejesus belt with America’s favorite write-in presidential candidate is no reason to be all sulky. Willie ain’t stuck up. More likely it’s just that your timing is off. Don’t worry, Willie has clearly negotiated some sort of Keith Richards deal with the devil (or Jesus?) and will likely be around long after you and your progeny are dead and gone. He also knows the secret of the immortal: If you live long enough, all your friends die, so you damn sure better keep making new ones. Tragically, one of Willie’s oldest and most beloved friends just died back in May, so there’s a huge space left open. Poodie Locke, voted in 1952 the Most Beautiful Baby in Waco, was Willie’s longtime stage manager as well as the owner of Poodie’s Hilltop Bar & Grill in Spicewood. Not only was Poodie a truly nice guy and the very definition of a bon vivant, he was a true ambassador and representative of Williedom for those not quite lucky enough to make the inner circle. Poodie welcomed everyone, consistently paying forward Willie’s good vibe. When he wasn’t on the road, he was at the bar drinking tequila, listening to music, sharing stories, and a bit more clandestinely, Willie’s intoxicant of choice. Not surprisingly, Poodie’s circle of friends was huge and devoted and included a lot of musicians, both famous and not. This Sunday at the Backyard, they’re throwing a concert to celebrate his life. The show, called Poodie’s Picnic, is a nine-hour musical extravaganza that is worth far more than the $20 admission. Included on the bill are Joe Ely, Reckless Kelly, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Cory Morrow, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Gary P. Nunn, Bobby Boyd, James Hand, Billy Bob Thornton & the Boxmasters, Carolyn Wonderland, Paula Nelson, Folk Uke, Waylon Payne, Scotty Emerick, and more. Plus there’s always that chance the Honeysuckle Rose IV might roll into the parking lot and make your day.