Robert Earl Keen's "Christmas" Present That Keeps Right On Regifting
REK: Yep. All the time, they do. And for the longest time, I would not play it between Easter and Labor Day. As long as you were wearing linen or white shoes, I decided it was not any kind of summertime thing, and I would follow the rules, almost fashion rules, where as long as you were wearing linen or white shoes or white belts, you couldn't play the Christmas song. And I didn't.
And then over the years I just went, "aw, what the heck," arbitrary rules. But I do love arbitrary rules, because we live in an artitrary-ruled world, and it's fun to make up your own and watch people go, "Come on, that's not real." I'm like, "Hey, it's my rule. Too bad."
RO: When you were younger, did you have any especially formative holiday experiences?
REK: Absolutely, man. We had fistfights where the brawlers ended up in the trees in the front yard, in the lights that were hung up, getting electrocuted. One year the Christmas tree caught on fire in the living room and we all had to put it out, and throw it out in the front yard.
The most common thing I always remember was from my nephews and nieces would have been about 12 or 13, and my dad would put them on the riding lawn mower and hook a wagon on the back of it, and engage the blade, and give them pellet guns. They would ride around in the yard on a riding lawn mower with the blade engaged, with pellet guns, mowing the lawn right there in Houston, Texas, on the 20th of December.
It would be 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity. I always thought that was the ultimate Christmas card, the lawnmower and the pellet guns.
Come back tomorrow for more with Mr. Keen. His "Merry Christmas From the Fam-O-Lee" tour pulls into House of Blues, again, 7 p.m. Thursday at House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, www.hob.com/houston. Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines open the show.