KRIS KRISTOF­FER­SON

Maxim - - CONTENTS -

THE COUN­TRY MU­SIC OUT­LAW RE­CALLS A VODKA-FUELED ODYSSEY

AS THE U.S. STUM­BLED INTO VIET­NAM, FOR­MER ARMY CAP­TAIN TURNED OUT­LAW COUN­TRY SINGER KRIS KRISTOF­FER­SON AL­MOST BE­CAME A CA­SU­ALTY OF HIS OWN RENEGADE SPIRIT.

MEL TIL­LIS AND I were good friends dur­ing my first few years in Nashville. One night in 1965, I went to his home al­ready pretty tanked and rang the door­bell. Just as his wife opened the door, I dropped and shat­tered a fifth of vodka all over the front porch. (I don’t re­mem­ber the brand, but it was def­i­nitely what­ever was cheap­est at the time.) I can’t imag­ine why, but she wouldn’t let Mel go out with me that evening.

I de­cided I would drive up to Fort Campbell and see my old Army com­pany be­fore they flew off to Viet­nam. On the way, I blew a tire and rolled my car and ended up hang­ing up­side down, wheels up and still turn­ing, when a po­lice car ar­rived.

I was pretty sure I was OK, but I thought it would be funny to give them a scare, so I stayed as still and as quiet as I could as they cau­tiously ap­proached, and I heard one of them say the driver couldn’t pos­si­bly have sur­vived that one. Just as they were peer­ing in and siz­ing up the sit­u­a­tion, I yelled as loud as I could, “Get me out of here!”

They about had heart at­tacks and were so re­lieved that they didn’t that they of­fered me a ride to the Army base. I got there just in time to board the plane to Viet­nam and say hello and let ev­ery­one know that I might as well go with them, since I had just to­taled my car and had noth­ing left to lose.

That got a few claps; then the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer came and told me I had to leave. I man­aged to find an empty guard booth where I promptly fell asleep.

But for that smashed bot­tle, I may have killed Mel that night and the world would have been a sad­der place.

Kristof­fer­son plays Pres­i­dent An­drew Jack­son in Texas Ris­ing, the His­tory Chan­nel minis­eries de­tail­ing the Texas Rev­o­lu­tion against Mex­ico and the rise of the Texas Rangers, pre­mier­ing May 25.

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