Kris Kristofferson's Favorite Place on Earth Is in Texas, But Not Houston
Rocks Off spoke to Kris Kristofferson by phone from his home in Hawaii where he describes living a life as spare and literal as the records he makes with producer Don Was. Twice he told us that he's old, once he told us that he's brain-damaged and then he told us that his favorite place on Earth is in Texas.
Photo by Marina Chavez
Rocks Off: I've been listening to your new record, Feeling Mortal, all week.
Kris Kristofferson: That's more than I've listened to it.
KK: Yeah, I don't really listen to my own stuff. But I love my songs and I love working with Don Was especially.
RO: Has Ramblin' Jack Elliott heard the song you wrote about him?
KK: You know, I don't know. I had written the first half of it a long time ago. And he might have heard that. I don't really know if he's heard this yet. I hope he has. I really enjoyed being around Jack.
RO: "Ramblin' Jack" is the last song on the record. The last two songs are the most upbeat on the entire record. On song No. 9, you even laugh a couple of times.
KK (Laughing): That's one of those kind of autobiographical scats that is probably not as good a song as the rest of them. You can thank Don for leaving that (laugh) in.
RO: You say in the first couple of lines of the first song something about having a shaky self-esteem. Is that possible? Do you really have a shaky self-esteem?
KK: No. I don't think I do. I think everybody does when they're honest. You know? But I would certainly not think that I was too shaky because I've had so much reinforcement over the years with people liking whatever I'm doing.
But listen, when you get old you're not as good at everything as you were and I think most people are probably more critical of themselves than other people are anyway.
RO: I can really relate to the song "Bread for the Body" because I've got a day job and a mortgage and I do feel like I'm on a treadmill sometimes. Do you?
KK: Well, I'll tell you. I have not felt like I was on that treadmill since I decided to go follow my heart and be a songwriter in Nashville and got out of the military and all of that other stuff that I was prepared for. And I've felt free ever since.
RO: The record shows a lot of the beauty of life, but there's still a melancholy to it. Do the beautiful things in life make you feel sadness?
KK: I think it all comes together. I think life is a beautiful thing, and yet there's sadness in every life. One of the sadnesses is that you know it's going to end. And I think it's God's blessing that keeps us from thinking about that constantly.
Because it's a short life. But fortunately we get enough entertainment along the way to not be preoccupied with that.