Willie Nelson just released his latest memoir Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die, and many college students that grew up in an era when Willie’s songs were virtually nowhere to be found on the radio, are shocked to read that Willie Nelson is a musician, and an influential one at that. To them he’s only known as one of America’s most notorious pot heads.
“Yeah, I mean they dedicated a statue to him this spring here in downtown Austin, and they did it on 4/20, at 4:20 PM,” explains University of Texas Senior Cindy Smithstein. “I mean like I remember that happening, and everybody knows what 420 means. So why would they do that if they didn’t want him remembered for pot? And then I bought this book because I think Willie is totally this cool old dude and I was totally blown away. I was like ‘Dude, Willie Nelson was a big time musician a long time ago and like actually sold millions of records.’ I’m just like ‘Whoa!'”
And it’s not just college students in Willie’s home state of Texas that are floored when finding out about Willie’s musical past. The phenomenon stretches all across the country.
“Dude, I had no idea!” says sophomore student John Arbinger from Florida State. “I mean like I knew he hung out with musicians and stuff. Like I knew he liked smoking reefer with Snoop Dogg and had a song with Snoop called ‘Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die’ but I thought that was like Justin Timberlake doing ‘Dick In A Box’ with Andy Samberg from SNL. I mean Andy Samberg isn’t a musician or anything. That was just for fun.”
A poll taken by the Pew Research Center found that over 80% of American college students associated Willie Nelson with weed over music. And 92% of them had no idea what Red Headed Stranger was–Willie’s 1975 magnum opus that many country music critics believe to be the greatest country music album of all time.
“Yeah, I’ve seen ‘Red Headed Stranger’, but Willie Nelson wasn’t in it,” snickered Fresno State sophomore Charles Frankenfurter, apparently referencing a pornographic movie of the same name. “I don’t care what anybody says, Willie Nelson will always be this badass old dude who stuck it to the man by smoking pot and not caring what anybody thought about it. I don’t like country music anyway. All it is is a bunch of rednecks screaming about driving their pickup trucks down backroads and drinking beer. Who wants to listen to that?”
Willie Nelson seems to be fine with his pot publicity, if not encouraging of it. Along with the title of his new memoir and the recent duet with Snoop Dogg, he also wanted to name his last album “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” before being compelled by his label to go with the more benign title, Heroes.
Willie Nelson’s nug jar could not be reached for comment.