Toby Keith vs. Kris Kristofferson . . or not?

I first heard about this story earlier in the week, and was waiting for the dust to settle a little to try to discern what exactly had happened and why. Now I think I know. And though this might cause me to start by day off by giving up my Post Toasties to the porcelain throne, I am going to have to come the the defense of Toby Keith.

This all started when THIS ARTICLE was published in The Rolling Stone about Kris Kristofferson, written by actor Ethan Hawke.

The article starts off by describing a scene between Kristofferson and a “young country star” that Hawke doesn’t have the rocks to name as Toby Keith, at Willie Nelson’s 70th birthday party in 2003:

“Up from the basement came one of country music’s brightest stars (who shall remain nameless). At that moment in time, the Star had a monster radio hit about bombing America’s enemies back into the Stone Age.

“Happy birthday,” the Star said to Willie, breezing by us. As he passed Kristofferson in one long, confident stride, out of the corner of his mouth came “None of that lefty shit out there tonight, Kris.”

“What the fuck did you just say to me?” Kris growled, stepping forward.

“You heard me,” the Star said, walking away in the darkness.

“Don’t turn your back to me, boy,” Kristofferson shouted, not giving a shit that basically the entire music industry seemed to be flanking him.

“You ever worn your country’s uniform?” Kris asked rhetorically.


“Don’t ‘What?’ me, boy! You heard the question. You just don’t like the answer.” He paused just long enough to get a full chest of air. “I asked, ‘Have you ever served your country?’ The answer is, no, you have not. Have you ever killed another man? Huh? Have you ever taken another man’s life and then cashed the check your country gave you for doing it? No, you have not. So shut the fuck up!” I could feel his body pulsing with anger next to me. “You don’t know what the hell you are talking about!”

“Whatever,” the young Star muttered.

Kristofferson took a deep inhale and leaned against the wall, still vibrating with adrenaline. He looked over at Willie as if to say, “Don’t say a word.” Then his eyes found me. “You know what Waylon Jennings said about guys like him?” he whispered.

I shook my head.

“They’re doin’ to country music what pantyhose did to finger-fuckin’.”

Now even though I would LOVE to think of Kris, one of the original Outlaws, giving the business to Toby Keith and his atomic mullet, since the story ran, both Toby and Kristofferson have come out and said the incident just did not happen:

Kris Kristofferson said in The Tennessean: ” I have to say, I have no memory of talking so tough to anyone at Willie’s birthday party least of all to Toby Keith, (if that’s who the nameless star is), for whom I have nothing but admiration and respect.

There are other things about this story that to me stick out like sore thumbs that this story is at least partially fabricated. For example: Kristofferson throwing down that famous Waylon quote at the end. Yeah, it’s funny and true, and if you frequent this site often I’m sure you’ve seen it before. But it was too perfect, too poetic. It wrapped this story up in a little bow, which is the way stories work in Hollywood (somewhere Ethan is familiar with), not how stories end in real life.

Also like Toby asked, why did Ethan not use his name? Seriously, if you are going to call somebody out, have the rocks to call them by name. Maybe that was a gasp of Ethan’s conscience trying to wrangle him in. Ethan has also made no statement defending his reporting or clarifying the situation, though The Rolling Stone has said they stand behind the story.

So what Is this really all about?

If you ask me, this all smacks of a political agenda on Ethan and The Rolling Stones’ part. For those readers who know me, you know I avoid politics like the ugly girl at the dance. But Ethan Hawke and The Rolling Stone don’t. The are both professed lefty’s, and when Ethan talks about Keith’s “Red, White and Blue” song, (though again, he doesn’t have the manhood to call it by name) he refers to it by calling it “a monster radio hit about bombing America’s enemies back into the Stone Age.” even though those words don’t appear in that song.

Somebody needs to tell Ethan Hawke that Toby Keith came out and publicly endorsed Obama for President.

Right now print media outlets like The Rolling Stone are having trouble making the transition to digital formats. I guess one of The Rolling Stones’ solutions is to hire celebrities to write their stories for them instead of professional journalists who insist on integrity and telling the truth. Hell, I try my derdest to tell the truth every time I write one of these articles, even when it means defending someone who I personally despise like Toby Keith. Is it unfair to expect the same from a major publication like The Rolling Stone? I try to separate my personal feelings from the truth. Obviously Ethan Hawke doesn’t, or can’t.

This story is a great example of why people should keep their politics to themselves, and highlights ONCE AGAIN that The Rolling Stone, who is supposed to be helping genuine artists, is nothing more now than a joke.

Ironically, reading this article it is almost if Ethan Hawke is trying to take some sort of Outlaw stance about country music. But you don’t need to lie to get there. Toby Keith’s skeletons aren’t in the closet; they are right out there for all of us to see.

Thanks but no thanks for trying to help Ethan Hawke. True country music Outlaws fight, but they don’t fight dirty.

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