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David Allan Coe

  I stepped up in the fabulously huge tour bus, and I saw him- this living, breathing legend of music. David Allan Coe. I’ve dreamed of being writer and a biker for most of my life, and to meet this idol, who draws the most beautiful pictures in song, and is a retired Outlaw, was breath taking. He shook hands with me, then my husband. He was resplendent in his outlandishly magnificent attire.  The tats and the beads in his hair combined with the worn leather and expensive jewelry to form a wild blend of Indian Chief, biker, outlaw, and star.

 As we sat down on the small couch, I told him how I’ve been a fan since I was a little girl.

 “You’re still a little girl,” without ever cracking a smile.  Then he looked me dead in the eye, and I knew he was joking. 

 As we talked, I was struck by his attitude.  He was so calm, almost serene.  He is obviously a well educated, talented man.  You can see where the heart wrenchingly detailed words come from that make his music so outstanding. He is so convincing, so sincere, that you wonder who broke his heart by not going to Boston. The way he is the king of the juke box in honky tonks and truck stops, singing of the bottle in his hand and Tennessee whiskey, when in actuality he is not a heavy drinker, and has only started taking a few shots on stage in recent years.  You wonder how he could have been denied airtime, when his pen handed George Jones the bottle, and found Tanya Tucker a Field of Stone. 

 We talked about his music, and about his riding. I thought it was really cool when I asked him what was the best ride he’s ever made.  He opened up his shirt, and there, tattooed on his chest, was a map of Interstates 65 and 40.  He said, “I’ve ridden from one end to the other on both of these.” 

 When asked about motorcycles, his answer was short and sweet.  “Panheads forever.”

 He said he doesn’t get to ride as often as he’d like.  “I can’t afford to get stopped for some reason, and miss a show on account of it.”  I asked him if he’d ever considered giving up his career to ride more often. Again, his answer was short and to the point. “No, not at all. My music is first.”

 When night fell, it was obvious why.  A terrible thunderstorm struck, but thankfully slacked up a few minutes before he came out on the stage.  I’ve never seen so many people gather in front of one stage in my life, oblivious to the mud and cold drizzling rain.  As soon as he set foot on the stage, he had every single one of us mesmerized. 

 Somehow, in a couple hours, the cool, collected man I had talked with had undergone a fantastic transformation.  He now stood center stage, putting to shame the glitz of the Harleys with just his stance.  He was cool, crude, and shimmering chrome in the bright lights, brandishing the rebel flag emblazoned guitar with pride.  I suddenly got the impression that he was home at that moment. His concert, with the exception of a few remarks at people in the audience who were getting a bit out of hand, was focused directly on his music, his talent, his life.  He handed out bits of information between songs, and sang each song as if it were what he was born to do.  He is an amazing entertainer, seemingly tainted with the ghosts of so many influences.  The songs ranged from the sing along at the top of your voice “You Never Called Me by my Name” to Kid Rock’s “Only God Knows Why.”  He would be rollin’ in his sweet baby’s arms one minute, trying to free his mind with Kid Rock again the next.  For his encore, he belted out Midnight Rider, leaving the leather-clad audience in a fit of praise.  His music comes first for that reason… he’s so good at it.

 I hope that some day soon I will again have the chance to sit and talk with this mentor again, perhaps with a cold beer and a pack of Camels instead of a notebook. 

         -Amy White  hamlethd@seark.net



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