George Jones finally passed away this week. I became familiar with George after picking up a copy of his auto-biography I Lived to Tell It All some 20 years back. I distinctly remember reading a rave review of the book by Columbus firebrand Jon Petric and picking up a paperback copy before driving from Ohio to Rhode Island with my then girlfriend.
Damn, George could party. At least 30 times during the drive I would yelp, "I cannot believe he is alive!" and continue turning pages. George was guzzling a bottle of whiskey for breakfast, blasting shotguns through the roof of his bus and riding lawnmowers down the highway to buy booze. And then he discovered cocaine.
Remember Nikki Sixx's mostly bullshit autobio The Dirt ? Even that fake shit was half what the old Possum was up to on a daily basis. "Oh, you snorted ants by the pool and Ozzy was impressed?" George did so much blow and booze that he thought he was a duck and disappeared into the woods for months and would only talk in "quacks" when spoken to.
When you get so high you think you are a duck, not just for a night, but for weeks, that is some serious party. QUACK!!!
The book was published when Jones was supposedly sober and turning over a new leaf. About six months after its release, George crashed his Oldsmobile into a bridge support at 90 miles an hour with an empty bottle of whiskey clanging around the wreckage. The accident tore his liver in two pieces and he was not expected to survive.
Shit, man, it's gonna take more that that to stop George Jones' liver. Not only did he survive, he came back and toured the next 25 years. His voice never suffered and he sure sang a bunch of great songs. I've always been partial to "Why Baby Why" because the League Bowlers used to cover it at Joe Oesteich's insistence. Let's get you some George. Read the book and appreciate his gift.
And a nod to the great Dash Rip Rock for teaching us Yanks "White Lightning" was 20 times heavier/better than anything Vince Neil would ever sing. And George always looked better than Vince. In fact, I bet George looks better today resting in a casket than Vince looks taking the stage tonight at the Oshkosh County Cheese Festival or where ever he is playing. R.I.P. ya old crazy possum.