Willie Nelson's Tour Bus: An Inside Look

Categories: Get Lit, Texas Me

Marshall Chapman Big Lonesome coverdec13.jpg
As we reported to you Friday, Nashville writer, singer and bon vivant Marshall Chapman spent four days on Willie Nelson's tour bus two years ago as she gathered material for her book They Came To Nashville. As we flipped the pages, we couldn't wait to find out what kind of wild drug orgies take place on the nation's highways and byways once Willie sets his wheels in motion.

Sadly, it's not as wild as you think. In fact, it's not wild at all. As Willie recently remarked on Imus In The Morning, busting his bus was like busting an old folks' home. Willie's sister Bobbie is nearly 80 and has a pacemaker, the Red Headed Stranger is 77 and his drivers are in their late 50s.

Chapman describes being on the bus with Willie, who has just completed a Memphis concert in August 2008 and was waiting around to sing one song with the Dave Matthews Band. Willie and others are passing his guitar Trigger around, amusing themselves with music while they wait.

In her four days onboard the bus with Willie, Bobbie and Lana Nelson, plus a small rotating cast of guests, this is all Chapman has to say about Willie, the bus and ganja.

A part of me wishes I could smoke weed just to be sociable, but weed was never my thing. The few times I've smoked it, I ended up paranoid, locking myself in my room with a bag of tortilla chips, or driving 20 miles an hour on the interstate, thinking I'm speeding.


While we're certain there's more weed smoking than Chapman chooses to report, the scene on the bus is pretty bucolic. Willie usually sits at a small table either reading, emailing or listening to music.

The talk mostly seems to be about family and friends or Willie's countless projects. Willie drinks a little wine occasionally, he and Bobbie play jazz standards for fun. Chapman even has a song on her new album about Willie and Bobbie and the music they made during the trip from Memphis to Beaumont called "Riding With Willie."

Marshall Chapman, "Riding With Willie's"

It doesn't mention any dope smoking either.

Chapman's description of traveling with Willie just adds to our disgust with the Border Patrol for boarding Willie's bus and busting him. Low-hanging fruit, for sure, but absolutely no threat to anyone.

Meanwhile, as anyone who's seen No Country For Old Men knows, the truly evil criminal element continues to operate with virtual impunity. Somebody in command needs to get their priorities straight.

Austin musician Roger Len Smith came up with this little ditty that just about says it all.

Roger Len Smith, "Bio Willie Diesel (Leave Willie Alone)"


Marshall Chapman plays McGonigel's Mucky Duck Feb. 17. Hudspeth County court calendar permitting, Willie Nelson & Family play Verizon Wireless Theater Feb. 4.



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