My “Thank You” Ride with Johnny Cash/”Growing Up Jewish in LA”
After making notes every day, one day at a time, in my daybook to remember Johnny Cash’s birthday, it went by yesterday without a post from me. Shit. I’d decided to commemorate him and some time I spent with him in 1978 writing a jingle with a pic of a “One Piece at a Time” postcard and one of the many shirts, T and sweat, he gave me, most of which I then gave away to frnds and fellow musicians.
But better late….
Johnny Cash and I wrote this spot together for STP under a lot of pressure, but a by-product of the effort, for me, was a great week with a great man that culminated in a ride in the famous “One Piece at a Time” Cadillac of lore and song http://carsplusmovies.com/2009/02/16/johnny-cashs-one-piece-at-a-time-car/.
I learned later that a ride in that car, driven by its owner around his propitty and neighborhood in Nashville, was a coveted experience. I’m almost glad I didn’t know it at the time, or I would have fainted from gushing. Likewise with writing the jingle–see my post on Writing with Johnny Cash–: if I’d really stopped and thought about what I was doing, i.e., making up a song with the King of Country Music, I prob. wd have choked and frozen or vomited or something, and blown the whole experience. But both he and I had ticklish tasks to accomplish, him getting as close to copping I Walk the Line without actually using the melody and me getting him to stay on the case and not opt out of the whole endorsement agreement thru a loophole his lawyers had written into his contract with STP.
We were successful. If you want to see one of the many TV spots we did go to my company’s website.
But long story short, he was really relieved when we came up with something he could live with, stay in the deal, and satisfy STP they were getting a good commercial product and package.
He was very kind to me, showing me around House of Cash, introducing me to wife June Carter Cash and Mother Maybelle (there’s a post here on that, too), having me play guitar with his band on the different versions of the spot, sticking up for me when some of the starfuckers in the agency and at the client tried to start producing the spots from the control booth. That was a wonderful moment, about which there will one day be a post.
And, of course, there was the ride in his ride, which had got to go down as one of the best rides of my life.
Here’s the signature chapter of Growing Up Jewish in LA