Kristofferson plays Hoyt Sherman Place on
Friday, Aug 3, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are
$35/$45 in advance, $38/$48 day of show. |
Kris Kristofferson has done more than you.
Sure, that can be said of just about any commercially-successful
musician, but for Kristofferson, there’s more
to it. He’s a member of three Halls of Fame
(Country Music, Songwriters and Nashville Songwriters);
he’s the mind behind some of the largest hits
of the ’60s and ’70s (“Help Me Make It Through
The Night,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “Me
and Bobby McGee”); and he’s been in arguably
the biggest country supergroup ever — The Highwaymen,
with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny
Cash. But Kristofferson’s achievements reach
He’s an actor, picking up a Golden Globe Award
in 1976 for “A Star is Born.” He’s a Rhodes
Scholar, receiving his BPhil in English Literature
from Oxford University. And, at 76 years old,
he’s still fit enough to kick your ass.
But to hear Kristofferson tell it, things would
have played out very differently, if not for
some prodding from The Man in Black.
“The first time I went to Nashville, I had been
nothing but a janitor and a songwriter,” said
Kristofferson from his home in Maui. “I really
was writing for other people. I didn’t think
at the time that I’d be doing my own thing.
If it hadn’t been for Johnny Cash, I’d probably
have been a Nashville songwriter. (Cash) put
me on stage at the Newport Folk Festival, and
it went over so well that they brought me back
the next day for an afternoon thing with James
Taylor, Joni Mitchell and some really great
songwriters. So I picked up a couple musicians
— Billy Swan and Donnie Fritts — and had a band.
The next thing I knew, I was performing at the
Influenced by contemporaries like Cash and Bob
Dylan, Kristofferson has been a politically
vocal performer, ready and willing to let his
music shout out his cause.
“I’ve been doing it my whole life, and I will.
I always felt like it’s been sort of our job
to talk about the situations we think matter.
The things that concern me the most are the
current events, the things that kill people.”
Now, after his success throughout the ’70s and
’80s, Kristofferson is a calmer person. He enjoys
things more and seems more at ease with who
“(When) you get to be my age, you look at things
a little differently than you did when you were
scrambling and young,” he said. “To be looking
at it from this end of the road, it’s kind of
evaluating everything. When I was writing ‘Sunday
Morning, Coming Down,’ I was living by myself
in a little slum tenement. I’ve got eight kids
now, and a bunch of grandkids, and they’re really
the best part of my life. At that time, I would
have never thought that I would ever be a family
man because I had pretty much moved away from
my family — or they had moved away from me.
But that was quite a long time ago. I feel really
lucky to have persisted.”
The one-time Highwayman now lives as much of
a life of leisure as a spirit like Kristofferson’s
can. He tours when he wants, acts often — five
films are slated for release in 2012 — and,
of course, he’s still writing.
“I don’t write as fast as I used to, or as much,
(but) I can still do it. I don’t know how much
longer I’ll be writing, but probably until they
throw dirt on me, you know?” CV