Apparently they hail from different eras of country music, and since his meteoric rise in the ’90s, Garth has almost immediately been criticized for being too “pop” for country.
Including (supposedly) Waylon Jennings.
Though he never actually confirmed it publicly, Waylon was reportedly not the biggest fan of Garth and his brand of country music. And there have been many alleged quotes attributed to Waylon that seem to show how he felt about Garth.
There was, of course, this one quote that we’ve probably all heard:
“Garth Brooks did to country music what pantyhose did to finger fucking.”
Whether or not Waylon ever actually said this about Garth is still up for debate. If so, it was never on record, and it’s hard to tell where Waylon’s quote really came from (Save Country Music did a great deep dive to try to trace its origins).
But there’s another quote from Waylon that talks about Garth that’s a little more reliable.
In his book Dreaming Out Loud: Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Wade Hayes and the Changing Face of Nashville, Bruce Feiler narrated a quote from Waylon about Garth that showed how the country legend really felt about the then-relative newcomer:
“He’s the most disingenuous person I’ve ever seen. I remember a few years ago an old buddy of mine who worked with Ernest Tubb gave him an old record. He tried so hard to cry, but he just couldn’t.
He thinks it will take forever. He’s wrong.”
Garth crying? No way…
So yeah, while some of the quotes aren’t exactly verifiable, I think everyone knew how Waylon felt about Garth Brooks.
And even Garth himself claims he didn’t like him, but was never quite sure why.
According to Garth, he even never met Waylon:
“No, never met Mr. Jennings. And for some reason, man, I guess I was the guy he aimed for. You know, it’s kind of weird because all the people why I’m in business, these people say Waylon was the reason they were in business.
Everyone loves him and he’s a legend and I just let it go. I never knew what to say.”
Of course, I think Garth probably knows the real reason why a traditional outlaw country artist wasn’t a fan of the genre-pushing megastar who turned country concerts into a pop-like production like no other artist had done before :
“Yeah, I was definitely the guy he targeted.
And it’s funny to be the non-traditionalist back then, and now everyone’s looking at you like, ‘Your stuff is as country as it gets.’ So that’s a strange view. It was tough for me because he was a country legend and for some reason I was the one taking the brunt of it.
I’ve never taken it so personally. I just think he was addressing the different sounds in country music and the changing of the guard. This is difficult for anyone to handle. The guy is a legend and deserves nothing but respect.”
Garth always keeps it stylish.
I have to say, from what I’ve heard about Garth, I’ve never heard a single person say anything other than that he’s the nicest guy in the world. And I believe it. Is he a bit goofy and cheesy? Secure. But I have no doubt that he’s probably a really good guy and that the “nice guy” role is genuine indeed.
So the whole “feud” between Waylon and Garth? It was pretty one-sided actually, and seemed to boil down to Waylon not believing that Garth and his new breed of “pop” country music were sincere enough for a genre built on (or was…) honesty in his music.
Of course, Waylon may have missed the point when he said that Garth wouldn’t last long in country music because the guy managed to take a decade off and still come back and sell out stadiums and arenas around the world.
But man, I miss the days when artists like Waylon weren’t afraid to speak their mind.
If we had a few more like Waylon today to call out to some of the new artists, I have a feeling mainstream country music would sound a lot better than it does now.
The most “lawless” thing Willie Nelson has ever done
Willy Nelson has some pretty wild tales to his name from his early days on the road, most of which are almost too unbelievable to dream up.
From his (alleged) 9-hour sex marathon, to the true story of how he got his nickname “Shotgun Willie,” to the time his ex-wife tied him up and beat him with a broom, he’s got a real one You usually only read about outlaw life in books.
And of course, Willie and his friend Waylon Jennings pioneered the outlaw country movement in the 1970s.
But in a 1988 interview with ROTATEWaylon admitted that the outlaw movement they were so influential in was more about marketing than anything else:
“You know what, let’s get this all straight out of the way as it really was. That was to market and sell records. I remember when they wanted to call this album The Outlaws and I used to be called that because I put out an album called Ladies Love Outlaws.
But I’ll tell you, I argued against it because there was a group called the Outlaws. A great group and we probably sold some records because people thought it was that group because they say “Wanted: The Outlaws”.
I argued with them until we were an inch from them changing their minds, but it worked out pretty well.”
Although I think there are some stories about him that suggest otherwise (like the time he was driving Buddy Holly’s motorcycle around his hotel room and once a ton of cocaine in the toilet during one DEA Raid in the studio), he insists that, frankly, there’s not much more to it than that.
Of course, he always had such a unique way of saying things, using his good friend Willie Nelson as an example of the reality of their lives in the music industry:
“No. No big story behind it.
The only thing Willie ever did to be an outlaw is he probably came into town and double-parked on Music Row.”
Hysterical… what I would give to have a beer with Waylon and just spin that shit about life.
And when the interviewer told Waylon that he actually had a “Willie for President” bumper sticker on his car, Waylon told him that was the last person to vote for:
“You do? Now burn that thing. If there’s anything you don’t want, Hoss, then Willie Nelson is President.
I mean, you don’t even want him to be Secretary of State – you don’t even want him to be a dog catcher.”
They just don’t make them like Waylon these days.
And during a performance of “Good Hearted Woman,” his 1971 #1 hit with Willie, Waylon sarcastically opened by saying the same thing about how they fought the system by double-parking on Music Row:
“Well I guess it means fighting the system, you know? Me and Willie got into town early and double parked on Music Row.”
I mean, parking tickets can be a real slob, especially in a city with limited parking like Nashville, so more power to them…
Obviously, however, they have done much more and their authentic music has stood the test of time and reached generations of music fans.
It’s crazy that just telling the truth is the most rebellious thing left to do in Nashville.
https://www.whiskeyriff.com/2023/01/17/waylon-jennings-reportedly-thought-garth-brooks-was-the-most-insincere-person-ive-ever-seen/ Waylon Jennings reportedly thought Garth Brooks was the ‘most disingenuous person I’ve ever seen’