"A Texas native, Kristofferson was a Golden Gloves boxer. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa in college and a recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. He left Oxford in 1960 and joined the U.S. Army where he completed ranger school, parachute-jump school, and pilot training. He eventually became a helicopter pilot. Through all these years, he was tinkering with his true love, country music, writing song after song."
I think between us, Bill Clinton and I have settled any lingering myths about the brilliance of Rhodes scholars.
The number-one rule of the road is never go to bed with anyone crazier than yourself. You will break this rule, and you will be sorry.
[on working with Barbra Streisand on "A Star Is Born"] Filming with Streisand is an experience which may have cured me of movies.
(on Heaven's Gate ) I was real surprised to see the critics line up on the side of the philistines so fast. To me, the film was about the American dream, and it shows one of the basic flaws in the dream - the idea that money is more important than people. I'll be proud of that movie as long as I'm in the business. It was a work of art. Michael Cimino, the director, says he's unrepentant and plans to sin again, and I hope he gets the chance.
(on the current state of America and the world) I remember getting this creepy feeling back when I was doing "Heaven's Gate" which was about the Cattleman's Association getting government backup to go in with mercenaries and kill a bunch of civilians. I remember thinking at the time that maybe there's always been a dark part of this American dream where money was more important than people. That's exactly what's going down now. The money involved in this Iraq reconstruction is shameless. It's right in your face and everyone can see it. I don't know if its apathy or if it's more a feeling of powerlessness. What can we do? They elected Bush without him really winning the election. The Supreme Court is stacked and we're fixing to stack it worse. All this destruction is done in our name. And the simple things that Bush keeps saying are so embarrassing. He says, "These are evil people who hate peace and hate freedom and that's why they're blowing themselves up." Christ.
(on Merle Haggard When I started getting recognized, a lot of people saw me and Merle as antagonists, because of the nature of "Okie from Muskogee", "The Fightin' Side of Me" and some of the political stuff that I had done, I guess. That was never the case. As far as I'm concerned, he's the closest thing to Hank Williams walking the streets today.
Freedom is just another word: It seems to get truer the older I get. It makes me think about the time when my apartment got robbed and everything was gone and I was disowned by my family. I owed money to a hospital and I owed my wife five hundred a month for child support and I thought, "I'm losing my job." I hadn't any money, I hadn't anything going for me, but it was liberating. I was in this Evangeline Motel, like something out of "Psycho", a filthy place, just sitting there with this neon Jesus outside the door, in the swamps outside of Lafayette, Louisiana, and I thought, "Fuck. I'm on the bottom, can't go any lower" -- and from then on, man, I drove my car to the airport, left it there, and never went back to get it. Went to Nashville and called this friend of mine, Mickey Newberry, and told him I'd just got fired, and he said, "Great. Johnny Cash is shooting a new TV show. Come up, and we can pitch him some songs." The next moment, they cut three of my songs, and they were hits. I never had to go back to work again.
The desire to be fucked-up probably leaves you, but the desire to be high never does.
I was a slow starter. I mean, I grew up in the fifties, and, jeez, I wasn't even laid in high school. Looking back on it, I didn't know anything, which was kind of unfortunate for my first couple of wives. When I found out that girls like sex as much as guys, I was, for many years, feeling like that was my function. I mean, I wasn't as bad as Clinton, but I was led by the pecker.
Never give up, which is the lesson I learned from boxing. As soon as you learn to never give up, you have to learn the power and wisdom of unconditional surrender, and that one doesn't cancel out the other; they just exist as contradictions. The wisdom of it comes as you get older.
[on "A Star Is Born"] (Filming) It was like Ranger School.
I grew up in a time when people believed in duty, honor and country. My grandfathers were both officers. My father was a General in the Air Force. My brother and I were both in the Army. I've always felt a kinship with soldiers; I think it's possible to support the warrior and be against the war.
I think I'm a much better father as an older man than I was with my first kids. Occasionally, I have to yell at the little guys, but they don't take me seriously. 'Listen to the old guy,' they say. 'Isn't he great? He's mad.'
Recently, my oldest son, Kris, and I were coming out of an airport, and I saw this little kid I'd seen back at the gate with his mother, and I said, 'Look-that's the kid who was coming out of the gate with us.' And Kris said, 'Dad, you're getting old. You noticed the little kid and I was looking at his mother.
I should have been dead many times over. The way I used to fly attack-choppers I should have died. When I got numerous concussion from football I should have died. When I continued to box even after loosing my memory I should have died - they're trying to tear your head off for Christ sake. I've rolled cars many times, been drunk on a motorcycle too often. It's embarrassing now, sitting here, knowing you took all the good things for granted, that I didn't cherish my life a bit more.
(on Ret. General Wesley Clark's bid for the Democratic nomination in 2004) Just when the world is being dragged into the death spiral of an unending cycle of violence by a vision-less, coldblooded collection of think-tank warriors goose-stepping their way into the new millennium with a stunning lack of respect for human rights, the environment, or international law, along comes a man with the proven credentials of intelligence, integrity, and courage singularly equipped by his spirit and experience to lead us out of this mess. Don't listen to what the lying liars say about him; listen to what he says. Wesley Clark is a prayer answered."
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