Arrested For Driving While Blind

Buddy

Arrested for driving while blind. Friends and neighbors, brothers and sisters, that old ZZ Top line is about the only thing I haven’t done, and I’ve done it all. If there is anything I missed, it’s only because no one told me about it. If you want to dig dirt on me, you’d better bring a dump truck. I have been in country music for forty plus years, and I mean the real music business. I wasn’t just hanging around some bar, hoping my family might drop in and hear me play a guitar, I was a writer, and I wrote my way all the way to Nashville. Unless you’ve been living under a big yellow rock you’ve probably heard something I have written.

My mother once told me that if I ever hurt a decent girl she’d beat me to death with an iron skillet, so for the first four marriages (yeah, I said four) I married sluts. Number five was a thirty year ordeal, where I kept trying to leave, and she kept following. We finally divorced, but she wouldn’t let me leave, so here I am. As time and tears went by I began to settle down. There were two major factors contributing to this: One, I got too damn old, and two, I got tired of making bail. Somehow I came through all of this with my health, which is a miracle, because I quit drinking when they invented the funnel. Today I will still take a little Jim Beam, but nowhere near my glory days. I’m partial to a martini.

So where am I going with all of this? It’s simple actually. I see people all the time living in the past. They had a bad childhood. Let me tell you about a bad childhood. I am certified white trash. The first time I saw a fruit display on a formal table I tried to eat the wax apple. I hear someone on Doctor Phil going on and on about an abusive father, but let me school you, my dad was a roofer in Texas for thirty years, and being a roofer in Texas is about as bad a job as you can get, if you don’t count being a slave. My dad wouldn’t whip us, he’d knock us through the wall. Good news was that we were quick, and he only had to knock us through one wall for us kids to catch on. We were so poor we thought the people on welfare had government jobs because they had a check!

Human beings become better through ordeal. Steel becomes stronger through tempering. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Texas has never been easy. This is hard country out here. Our wages are low, and our hours are long, but we know the deal. You really have to believe in God, because if you don’t then none of this makes any sense. I couldn’t understand a word of the Bible until I was thirty-five years old. We had that old King James Version, and with all the “Thees” and “Thous” I just couldn’t connect the dots. Life connected the dots for me. I began to realize that if you cast your bread upon the water you’d get back a sandwich.

Writers are a special lot. For me, writing is therapy. As the words form on the page I vocalize, and when I vocalize, I begin to see the logic, and understand not only other people, but my own situation. I don’t believe in all this psychiatry stuff, and theories, or drugs, or mind control. I believe that most thinking people, over fifty years, can figure out what hurts, and what doesn’t hurt. You begin to see that there is room in the world for other ideas, and just because you don’t agree with them, they are just ideas. When I hear a liberal expounding some whacky “Bernie Sanders” plan, I know it won’t work, but rather than go tit for tat I understand that it’s all fine because good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, they’ll have the same fifty years that I had to figure it all out. It’s all so simple. This will put a meal on the table, and that won’t.

I do understand the Bible now, but there’s a lot of “fluff” in it. The truths that Jesus spoke of were down to earth facts. Don’t judge. I never judge! When someone does something that I think is bad, I’ll just remember back when I did exactly the same thing, and be glad the statute of limitations has run out. We have all fallen short of the glory, and I fell short the day the doctor said, “Hey,” and I said, “Huh?”

It all boils down to this: You get what you expect. If you dwell in the past you will always be there. If you set goals, no matter how remote, you may not get there, but you’ll be on the way, and the journey is half the joy. We all make mistakes. What seemed so serious back then, will just be funny as you recount it to a friend at a local pub. The sad part of life is if you live long enough to figure it out then you’ll come to the same conclusions that I did after you are old, and young people have it all “figured out,” and will not listen as they begin their journey toward “the truth.”

If you want to dig dirt on me, you’d better bring a dump truck, because I’ve done it all, and if there’s anything I missed it’s only because no one told me about it, and I’m man enough to admit it! I’ve found one person who totally understands me. She sleeps with me, eats with me, agrees with everything I say, and cries when I’m away. In the spirit of the recent Supreme Court ruling on marriage I have decided to marry my dog.

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PoDunk Texas

PoDunk Texas
by Wilbur

I was raised a Liberal Democrat. We were taught in school that being liberal was a good thing. I accepted Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and the Great Society with glee because Mr Cole, my high school civics teacher told me that was the needed change for the country. Then I graduated high school and moved out into the world. By the time Reagan came along I was shifting to the right. Back in the day nothing came easy in Texas. To use a Texas slang we were “PoDunk!” While cars were rolling off the assembly lines in Detroit and common workers were collecting $8.00 per hour I got a raise working in a pool hall from .50 per hour to .75 per hour and had to learn to shoot pool to buy my baby, Wilbur, milk! On the streets of Killeen I learned there was absolutely no free lunch.

Now, looking back, I’ve made three fortunes. I’m working on a fourth and I’ll get there. Detroit is in ruins and why is that? Detroit is the product of that same liberal thinking Mr Cole instilled in me back in 1969.

In Nashville I learned that if you write a good song the record labels will beat a path to your door. I heard malcontents moaning the blues down at Shoney’s every day, going on about how unfair the system was, and that people of little or no talent got all the breaks because of their connections with Roy Acuff, but another friend, Johnny Carter Cash told me no one could be more connected than he was and he couldn’t write a hit to save his soul! I wrote over 3,000 songs, some I thought were pretty good, and could never get a cut. I didn’t have it. What I did have was a peculiar talent for raunchy country comedy and after a brief discussion with Ray Stevens one day while we were standing in line at a grocery store I became Weird Wilbur. Acuff-Rose put severe restrictions on material streaming out of Music Square so Michael Lee Davis and I formed our own label and sold albums at concession during my shows out on Briley expressway RIGHT across the street from the Grand Ol Opry!

John Brandt had a day job at United Artists and that company rented it’s space from Steve Dreamstreet who slipped us a key and during the night we slipped into the state if the art studios and recorded and mixed “Weird Wilbur Rides Again” which you can find to this day on iTunes!

I came back from Nashville and my wife and I began real estate and stock investments. Before it was all over we owned four houses, three near Austin and one in Killeen where I currently reside.

When I hear someone say, ” I don’t got no chance cause I’m black. I got to get a special deal,” I literally laugh right IN their face. I am white trash that never owned a car before I was 25 years old and even then it burned oil! I went from feeding my family on a $17 meat pack from Well’s Slaughter House to flying back from California and some IRS agent asking for a check for 1.5 million dollars and looking at me like she had good sense!

And yes, I, by that time, was a very conservative Republican. There are people who are content to stand in line and wait for Obama to hand them their daily bread and then there are people like me who drive by the welfare office in a Mercedes on the way to Logan’s Steak House for lunch.

Thoughts on Getting Old

by Wilbur Witt

Well, I finally bowed to the pressure and got a checkup. I wasn’t really surprised that my blood pressure was high. To be honest I knew I needed medication for my cough which is brought on by allergies, and I’ve had all my life. Of course, the doctor leaped on my cigar. We negotiated, but she’s right. I have limited my cigar to one over morning cigar with coffee, and maybe one in the evening while sitting on the porch, and to be honest that hasn’t affected me adversely. I enjoy my morning smoke, and don’t crave them all day. I now take a little pink pill for my blood pressure, and I feel good about that.

When you’re young you wonder what’s gonna get you in the end. As you round the corner of sixty, and approach seventy you slowly become aware of what your fate will eventually be, and this is not a bad thing. The idea is to have a quality of life that is happy, healthy, and not a burden on your family and friends. It’s nice to be able to just move a box without having to plan the move. However, that having been said, this is the period of realization that one is not twenty-three anymore, and most likely will not see one hundred twenty-three.

The very fact that I am writing this article reflects my basic optimism about life in general. Seems that I never was given an even break in my life, and that’s a good thing. It prepared me for this final stage. I had polio and encephalitis when I was three and a half years old. That’s an eye opener no matter who you are. Then, at eighteen, I was crushed between two cars in a filling station parking lot. Boy! Now THAT dates me. How many of you remember filling stations. For the uninformed there used to be businesses where you went to get gasoline, and that’s all they did. You’d drive up, a guy would ask you what you wanted, they would fill your tank, clean you windshield, check your oil, and take your money, all while you sat comfortably in your car. Well, that’s what I was doing on June 13, 1970 when a woman named Hilda came into my station and ran headlong into the car I was servicing, standing in front of it, getting both legs broken in the process.

All of this made me a winner. And, contributed to my mental problem of believing I could do anything I put my mind to. I not only learned to walk all over again, I climbed telephone poles for thirteen years. When I quit that job and plunged into the music business I couldn’t sell a song to save my life, so I invented Weird Wilbur, wrote adult country and sold THAT! When I couldn’t get a gasoline credit card I worked until I owned not one but three mansions in Berry Creek. When I couldn’t get distribution for my music I worked diligently until I had them on iTunes because I could clearly see the end of the old order and the beginning of something very new and exciting. Publishers sent my books back over and over, but I self published and in time the world saw the birth of things like Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, and my books are now world wide. You can even download them.

When you have a man who does these things you have a man who generally thinks he’s right about just about everything. You tell him he’s getting older and needs to take care of himself and you get, well, resistance. What I needed to understand was that I couldn’t run I second gear all the time anymore with the motor revving at 4000 RPMs . I needed to shift into overdrive, let the motor run slower, and actually produce more product with less effort. In a word I had to throttle back. This is very hard to do. I have to learn this trick.

I don’t want to become lazy. I definitely don’t want to be one of those old farts who uses his age as an excuse to have other people wait on his every beck and call. I will continue to produce. If I can’t be the singer ill be the writer or producer, giving advice about things I’ve learned over the years. I will write better books, selling more, having more money. If the weather in Texas doesn’t suit me I will buy a winter home in California. I will survive.

Everyone gets old. Everyone dies. On every tombstone there is a date, a dash, and another date. The idea of life is to concentrate on the dash, not the dates. In the meantime I’ll be sitting here writing and taking my little pink pill.

Syncing With Your Audience

Methods That Work For Me
Wilbur Witt

Keeping in the flow of community is important when you are in the business of writing. Being disconnected is a deadly sin, and you can readily see that in blogs that get very few reads. This comes from not being in sync with what’s trending. The rule is simple. You have your interests, and they have their interest, and if you’re going to achieve some level of notoriety you must find a way to unify the two or you will be forever dancing with yourself.

The whole idea of writing, any writing, is to communicate with people. You acquire this trait, you’re not born with it. In the music business, those of us who aspire to actually write songs go through this learning curve. Here in Texas, back in the day, everyone wanted to be like Willie Nelson. Consequently, we all started turning out songs that we wanted to sound just like Willie. What we didn’t understand was the world already had a Willie. When someone hits everyone thinks they can jump on the bus. Like Waylon Jennings said in a song, “Old Hank made it hit, we all ride the freeway, but I don’t think Hank done it this way.” No truer words were ever sang. By the time you hear the first hit on the radio the bus has already left the station, and all the riders are already there. They’ve BEEN there!

I wrote in the vacuum of the studio. My ability was being able to grind out a song anytime someone needed it. They were good, had meter, melody, and my lyrical abilities surpassed everyone in my circle, but that doesn’t buy one beer when you go on stage and no one is listening, or worse yet, keep requesting a Willie song. You have just ceased being an artist and become a DJ!

My solution was to do comedy. Back then, Ray Stevens was the man to be if you wanted country comedy. His parodies, and style had a spot on the Opry, and all the tourists could take their kids to his show. Unfortunately, I wasn’t playing to mommy, daddy, and little Philipe at OpryLand, I was playing in Harker Heights, Texas, five miles from Fort Hood, sixty miles from Willie’s house, to soldiers and bikers. I had to go with the trend. I could mount the stage, sing, “Sixteenth Ave,” http://youtu.be/OdwzSXHrZmI. and they would just get mad! And I believed in that song. I’ve lived every line of that song, and I’m not ashamed to say it still brings tears to my eyes. I would one day live in that room “where no curtain ever hung,” but that didn’t mean shit to the bikers and GIs at Crocodile Dundee‘s, and that’s where you learn the value of the rewrite. The next time I did a show I took the same idea, with a few key changes, and presented, “F’d, F’d Over and Hungry!” I broke through the language barrier. http://youtu.be/H1szB_rhgzI

Did I like this? Well, you do the math. I’ve written around 3,000 serious songs, and I’m not kidding, we’ll get to that later in this article, but I’ve written less than 50 gag songs, so where’s my interest? However, I had to sell product. One thing I’ve been blessed with is always having my back against the wall. There are many times when the power was about to be shut off in the studio the next day, and all that saved it was doing a show and selling a case of albums the night before at the WaterHole Bar and Grill. In Nashville we got down to nothing to eat, and I sold albums at Pennington’s lounge, right across from the Opry, and we ate catfish later that night. That’s the other thing you have to develop. Even though you should sing (or write) like you don’t need the money, don’t FORGET the money. In the words of Billy Joe Shaver, “I declare to my soul when you have no way to go, you better know I’m gonna get my share of mine!” http://youtu.be/LpEElGVgv24. Billy Joe came out with this video while I was working in Nashville. We were both from central Texas, and more than one person told me at the time that I was imitating his style, but by then I’d touched the golden calf and untold them he was imitating ME! Fact was we had the same background, grew up fifty miles apart, and had the same influences. He even had momentary lapses of musical sanity just like I did. I wrote the “Anthem,” and he wrote ” White Man’s Watermelon!”

Now, you will not pay those kind of dues blogging on Google + or WordPress, but you have to develop that spirit if you are going to succeed. And by success I don’t really mean money. Money is just one thermometer of success. In this new world, getting people to read what you write is just as important. The underlying factor is ego. Forget what your therapist tells you, if you don’t have ego in this business you are doomed to failure. When I sing for anyone, be it a group of people in a bar, or one girl in front of a fireplace, I am fully aware that i AM Weird Wilbur, I HAVE sold songs to total strangers, and I HAVE been married five times, stand up Christian. You must believe in yourself, and you must believe you have something to offer. If you don’t have that then go punch a time clock. If you make the plunge into publishing of any kind you will eventually go head to head with someone just like me. And just like Michael Lee told me years ago, no one asked you here. You have to kick in the door, but If you build a better burger they will come. When you hear anyone blaming the system for their lack of success, just ask yourself, is ANYONE succeeding in this medium. I’ll guarantee you there are. Don’t imitate them, but figure out what they do, and then use that, and be you! That brings us to the some final thoughts.

Laziness is the one thing that will defeat you. Ever wonder why so many songwriters get on drugs, or turn into alcoholics? Is it boredom or a bad life? Not really. You can’t be bored in the a business where everyone’s trying to take your food away, and everyone has a bad life. We all have crap in our lives. No, it’s that to be a successful writer you have to be obsessive compulsive. I said I’ve written over 3,000 songs. Well that’s an estimate. I have heard people sing my stuff, and honestly can’t remember writing it. That’s because some days I would turn out as many as ten songs for someone, always on an open license, allowing them to edit, arrange, any record them anyway the artist saw fit. If you don’t believe that’s the way it’s done just find the original form of “Crazy” demoed by Willie, and compare it to Patsy Cline‘s version. All hit songs have to be “cover able” or able to adapt to an artists particular style. The Beatles learned this early on by trading songs with other groups.

The hours of doing this takes the lazy out of you. The ability to write an article like this one, read it, not like it, scrap it, and write it all over again, and again, and again. My book, Dobbit Do, was edited ten times, and finally rewritten twice. The public does not forgive slovenly work. They can do that themselves. Everybody has a brother in law who plays a guitar From you they expect perfection! Do this for 42 years and you’ll just about have it. Twists your life a bit. Medication may be required. Mine is dry Martinis.

When I finish this article I will read it, and then read it out loud. It must roll off the tongue, or it won’t work. Did you ever read a blog and think, “Good points, but OUCH!”. That’s because it doesn’t “cook.”. The human mind searches for form and flow. The brain is set up to look for patterns, and repetitive flow. When listening to a song, you may not even realize your ear is searching for what the songwriter calls the “rule of 13.” Listen to your favorite songs and note how many times the hook line is made up of 13 syllables. That’s not an accident, folks, and i cant tell you how it works, I just know it does. It’s what makes one song sound “lumpy” and another sticks in your head. It’s like breathing in and out.When I see the blog, or hear a song without this mental flow it comes across to me as a bumpy road. And you can’t be taught this, you have to learn in through experience. When you read your blog out loud take note where you stumble, and if you were reading into an audience at a lecture hall those would be the parts where you would say, “I’m sorry,” or “I mean,” or any number of things required to explain why you’re having to step back and do that part again. When you read out loud, and this happens, CHANGE THAT! Remember, if it rolls off your tongue, it will roll into the mind of your readers. People search for patterns, order. I hate Rap, but I can’t stop listening to it because I’m fascinated with the meter.

And remember sync. That’s important. This morning I searched for a topic. I read the news, watched about ten videos, and then read my email. I follow everybody I can. I scan the subject lines of about 300 emails a day, and read the ones that catch my eye. Today I noticed there was a great deal of interest in blogging methods, the software, the various platforms, and a host of other things all related to this new form of communication. Now normally this would bore me to tears, but I took a step back and realized that I had something to offer. The bloggers, while honestly trying to help, were dancing around the surface while not delving into the real meat, which is the spirit. As a songwriter, who really did quit his day job, and leaped into the fire, I knew some things that I’ve already paid the dues for that perhaps will help some blogger struggling to communicate and just not quite being able to put their hands on it. I hope I’ve done that. I hope this article lights one candle for someone, and brings them the joy I’ve felt, as a writer.

If you find something worth while here please let me know. If you have questions please ask. You can even disagree with me, I don’t mind. I love interaction, and I’ve made mistakes. This is a new medium. It’s developing. I hope I’ve added something in some small way.