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Out Among the Stars - The Charmer
Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004, this meeting with Kris Kristofferson was in 1994. 'The Charmer' is an excerpt from an eventual book, 'Out Among the Stars' by Tiana Dreymor .
He walks, he talks, he breathes
He brought Nashville to her knees
He sang, he wrote, he told tall tales
Made you think he'd read your mail.
From Bobby McGee, to Jody and the Kid
And the things the Silver-tongued Devil did
He talked of Dylan and Thoreau
Like they were people we should know.
He's a charmer, friend His story has no end
Let go of Hollywood and come back, Kris!
You've already passed the test
Please don't let the poet rest
We need more of what you do best.
The Charmer... The Prophet... My Hero...
So maybe he can't sing...but you'll never convince me, or the 'standing room only' crowd packed into 12th and Porter, Nashville, March 19, 1994, who paid twenty dollars apiece to hear the Master Songwriter, Kris Kristofferson do whatever CRAZY LOVE & THE PROPHET do. He and his partner in crime, Danny Timms, kept 'em steamed for an hour and a half. The whoops, hollers and whistles, and the thunderous applause attest to this.
While I call Kris my hero, this isn't mindless adoration - but MINDFULL. Furtherore, I don't adore him. He is my chosen mentor. I respect and admire his talent and his contributions to our musical culture.
It's true he put Nashville on her knees - and I'm not the one who said that. He started the International Songwriters Association, for one thing. He also initiated the 'OUTLAW ERA' of which Waylon [Jennings] and Willie [Nelson] broke a lot of new ground with songs of his, later joining Waylon, Willie and Johnny Cash as THE HIGHWAYMEN.
Together they toured and put out two albums - there WILL be a third - ['THE HIGHWAYMEN - THE ROAD GOES ON FOREVER' 1995 LIBERTY] and Kris is coming out with a new album himself! ['KRIS KRISTOFFERSON - A MOMENT OF FOREVER' 1995 JUSTICE; also 'KRIS KRISTOFFERSON - THE AUSTIN SESSIONS' 1999 ATLANTIC. Now a live album, 'BROKEN FREEDOM SONG' 2003 OH BOY RECORDS.] I am so pleased. What I have finished of the song, 'THE CHARMER', I wrote about two years ago, so you can see why I'm pleased.
Moment of Forever
Broken Freedom Song
Kris has also been one damn good actor, and I can see where acting took precedence over his music, but Kris has always still claimed songwriting as one of his attributes, even listing it under 'occupations on his passport. If you happened to see the movie 'CONVOY' (?), Kris was 'THE RUBBER DUCK' who led this convoy. Another major movie was 'A STAR IS BORN' with Barbra Streisand.
A Star Is Born
Surely you're familiar with Kris' songs, 'ME & BOBBY McGEE' and 'WHY ME, LORD'? But 'SUNDAY MORNIN' COMIN' DOWN', 'HELP ME MAKE IT THROUGH THE NIGHT' AND 'FOR THE GOOD TIMES' are Kristofferson penned songs. Did you ever happen to hear 'THE SILVER TONGUED DEVIL & I'? Or 'THE PILGRIM - CHAPTER 33'? '...See him wasted on the sidewalk/In his jacket and his jeans/Wearin' yesterday's misfortunes like a smile... He's a poet (he's a picker)/He's a prophet (he's a pusher)/He's a pilgrim and a preacher and a problem when he's stoned/He's a walkin' contradiction/Partly truth and partly fiction/Takin' every wrong direction on his lonely way back home...'
Well, this is getting beyond what I wanted to say. As usual, as you can see from the picture, I don't know when to shut up. Even with my distorted mouth, I'm pretty pleased with it. Though I wasn't granted an interview, which I so earnestly was seeking, this was a most productive incident.
I approach any meeting of a celebrity with an emotional detachment, focused and in a professional mode. What the person means to me personally, is irrelevant. I am not normally an 'autograph seeker', though in this case, I took my 'SILVER TONGUED DEVIL & I' album cover (1971) with me and did secure one. This makes a valuable collector's item, even more valuable. (Doubtful I'd ever sell it, though.)
I actually met Kris on the previous Tuesday, March 15th, when I attended a free taping of American Music Shop for TNN. (The Nashville Network) As I observed from the audience, that little voice in my head - devil on my shoulder - or my alter ego chipped away at me:
(So this is the man you think is so
great? Don't look like much to me.)
Shut up. It's Kris!
deal. 'My Hero! My Hero!')
Knock it off.
(He ain't so big, you
know. He's just a man.)
I know. Enough, now!
(Well, I thought he
was gonna be bigger than life. And what's with the damn shades?)
So, okay, I'm mildly impressed. Tapings are very informal and a lot of casual stuff goes on between cuts. I've been to them before, and not unlike doing videos. As an extra in several of them, I'm used to it. I had a good seat - 2nd row - about 6 feet left of center. Kris did a couple of new songs, one he introduced as a lulabye - 'I wrote this for my kids - and their Mamas.' Lorrie Morgan was on the show with him and she stole the spotlight, for the most part.
After the taping ended a small hourde of people descended on Kris. I stood back until it thinned a bit, then introduced myself, handed him my card and requested a interview. He said he had no time. I told him I live in Nashville and my phone number was on my card. He slipped it into his back pocket. I imagine it went through the laundry...
Some woman wanted a picture with him and Lorrie. He accommodated. He came back, shook a few hands - I stuck mine out and was quite surprised by a strong, positive handshake. A 'put 'er there!' kind of handshake. Hmmm...
Well, there was still 12th & Porter on Saturday night. I began planning for it, and put together a Queen of Hearts (my epithet) 'goodie bag' to give to Kris.
In a bright pink folder, I placed (in sheet protectors), my Bio, a color copy of the Kid, her car & her bodyguard' (I had used my car as an entry for a radio station contest - another story), [See COUNTRY WEEKLY MAGAZINE - February 6, 1996] and a color copy of my charcoal pastel portrait of Kris [Now at the beginning of this article.] I also included one of my 'love notes'; my photo attached inside the cover, my latest writing, 'A LESSON LEARNED', typed inside; the unfinished song, 'THE CHARMER' typed on the back; my 'autograph' and my phone number, in red, on the bottom.
I called 12th & Porter. 'How much are the tickets to Kris Kristofferson?' 20 BUCKS?!! (sigh)
I arrived at 12th & Porter at 7:30 - asked a few questions - waited by the bus to speak to Kevin, his manager, who had 'gone to pick Kris up.' A fellow was already waiting with an album cover. He hit Kris first, got his autograph. I re-introduced myself to Kris and asked for an interview. he told me to talk to Kevin. Kevin said, 'Be here at 10:00 and we'll see what we can do.'
First to ask - last to be considered. Not fair, perhaps, but to be expected - I'm the little guy.
I passed the time until 10:00 chatting with the two guys doing valet parking, as the first show went on. I didn't know anything about valet parking, had parked my own car, and asked them if they'd seen me go by, describing my car. They hadn't noticed.
When I saw the crowd start forming, I knew I wasn't going to get an interview. A million people went into that bus, two or three would come out and a million more would go in. At one point Kevin looked a me, shook his head and said, 'I'm sorry, an interview's not going to be possible.' I nodded. 'I understand. Would you please se that Kris gets this?' I handed him the bright pink folder with KRIS KRISTOFFERSON printed boldly on the front. He took it and went back in.
Still, I waited. Kris had passed inches from me when he'd gone into the bus. So had Waylon Jennings (I shook hand with him earlier), K.T. Oslin (I shook hands with her later), and Deborah Allen (I got a hug from her earlier, and she told me she would be touring Ireland with Kris. We had been in a Mark Collie video together, so we had someone who was with her take our picture.)
Neigh onto 11 o'clock, and time for the second show, Kris emerged. I stopped him with, 'Kris, could I at least get you to autograph my album and get a picture with you?' He stopped abruptly and said, 'I sure will!' While he signed, I set my camera and handed it to Kevin. I wasn't ready for anything that happened next. I've posed with many entertainers who gingerly and stiffly put an arm around me. As the camera flashed, I was still telling them how I appreciated this, and just beginning to understand why I came.
How he did it, I'll never know. I had my purse on my right shoulder, a book bag in my left hand, and was taking back my album cover and pen, as Kris whipped me into a hammerlock like nobody's business. His energy, his essense, penetrated my entire being. I felt his breath on my face. (I smelled his breath...mildly alcoholic scented..) If you'll look at the picture, my shoulder is under his armpit...took me under his wing??? I don't mean to sound melodramatic, but this was a most powerful instant, and he did this - I didn't. Notice his grip on my shoulder! He was also pulling me against him with the same intensity. Why was I so surprised at his personal dynamics? Didn't I remember his handshake?
As they walked away, I glanced at my album cover. It didn't say, 'To Tiana', or just, 'Tiana', it said, 'Thanks, Tiana. Peace, Kris Kristofferson.' Had he glanced through my folder? Perhaps seen the portrait?
There was really no need to stay for the show. I'd already seen Kris perform in person. I'd gotten as much of what I came for that was possible. But then that little voice started in again:
(What?! You're not going to stay?)
Who's side are you on, for Chrissake?
(That was before we met him.)
We? Are there really two of us? Look, it cost 20 bucks!
(So? You worked for Charlie. You've got extra money.)
I've never paid to see an entertainer yet! I wouldn't even have seen Dwight if I hadn't won
(First time for everything.)
Easy for you to say. It's standing room only. I'm the one with the feet, and they already hurt.
(Should've worn your mocs.Pay the 20 bucks - you might miss something!)
I paid the 20 bucks. And I'm glad I did. It was worth every penny of it. I heard songs I'd only heard about. Songs that never hit the radio. 'JESUS WAS A CAPRICORN'... 'IF YOU DON'T LIKE HANK WILLIAMS YOU CAN KISS MY ASS'... 'YOU SHOW ME YOURS AND I'LL SHOW YOU MINE'... 'CASEY'S LAST RIDE'... 'BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS' to name a few. And seeing Kris in his own element gave me a whole new perspective on the man and his music.
But, God, I should have worn my moccasins!
Anti-climactic... When I drove away, one of the parking attendants yelled, 'Hey! I've seen that car all over town!' I gave him a grin and a 'thumbs up'.
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Tiana Dreymor - March 25, 1994
Copyright - Vista 15
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A MOMENT OF FOREVER
Kris Kristofferson & Tiana Dreymor
Nashville, Tennessee March 19, 1994 Photo by Kevin Jennings, Kris' manager