Waylon Jennings was only 19 when his eldest son Terry was born. On the road with Waylon from age 15, Terry was more like a brother than a son: chasing women, taking drugs and observing his dad’s wild ways. Terry has written “Waylon Tales of My Outlaw Dad,” a loving and honest memoir of his relationship with his father. Terry spoke to FOX411 about his country music superstar dad who died in 2002.
FOX411: How did this book come about?
TERRY JENNINGS: Me and Dad were on a plane flight do a Dallas Cowboy game and somewhere in the conversation it came up about me writing a book about all the crazy things we’d done, this was way after he’d quit drugs and he told me, ‘That’s great Terry, you’re practically the only person who’s been with me from the beginning that’s not afraid to tell the truth.’ I just put it aside and after Dad died I just decided it was something I needed to do.
FOX411: How would you describe him as a father?
JENNINGS: He was a great father. There’s seven of us from different marriages and he loved us all equally. His focus was on his music in order to make a better life for his children. It may look like we had been done wrong when we were younger but the ends justifies the means.
His focus was on his music in order to make a better life for his children. It may look like we had been done wrong when we were younger but the ends justifies the means.
- Terry Jennings
FOX411: He gave you drugs, that is unusual.
JENNINGS: We’re talking about the 70s. Everyone was doing it. It’s not like he gave them to me. He knew I already did them and he was like, ‘If you’re going to do them don’t get that trashy stuff, might as well have the good stuff.’ It wasn’t a
constant thing, only when we were together on a bus with others playing cards and things. We didn’t go out of our way to do drugs together.
FOX411: He quit cold turkey.
JENNINGS: Yes! He was using drugs for well over twenty years. He got up to about $1,500 a day. He would take a McDonald’s straw, cut it, put it in each nostril and (snort) just about every 15 minutes for 3 or 4 days at a time. He said, “Betty Ford didn’t get me on it and she can’t get me off it,” so he did it himself. When he puts his mind to something he does it.
FOX411: You just used the present tense when you talked about your Dad. Is he still very much alive for you?
JENNINGS: That was a Freudian slip. I usually don’t but as far as I’m concerned he’s still alive in his music.
FOX411: Who was his favorite person to perform with?
JENNINGS: I think he had the most fun with The Highway Men so that would include Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. Get those four guys up on stage everyone knew once and for all who the singer was and that was Dad. They were all talented men in their own right but Dad could sing.
I think he had the most fun with The Highway Men so that would include Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.
- Terry Jennings
FOX411: What do you miss most about your father?
JENNINGS: Just being around him. His wit, his wisdom. People will tell you he was a fun person to be around. He could bite you but he didn’t go out looking to. Other than that he was a real joy to be around.
FOX411: You’re born again.
JENNINGS: That happened a good ten years ago. My wife had been asking me do it. We were going to church one day and I said, ‘God if this is really what I’m supposed to do, show me a sign.’ And the church we went to had a praise and worship team, the singers and all that and the church I was raised in they did not have instruments and I walked in and the praise and worship team were ill that day and there was no music playing, like back when I was going to church and I said, ‘that’s my sign Lord,’ and I walked up there and I said, ‘He’s my Lord and Savior’ and everything’s been better since.
FOX411: You say your Dad was moved by a trip to Israel.
JENNINGS: When he came back he told me, ‘You have got to go, there is a feeling there that I don’t know how to describe.’ I’ve seen realized that what he was feeling was the glory of God.