THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.
In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.
Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.
by Larry Brody
All the Bad Boy Stars on the news lately have been like a blast from the past for me. The not-so-distant past at that.
About a year ago I was contacted by a Good Old Boy whose best friend is an Outlaw Country Music Star We All Know. GOB wanted to put together a film about his bud’s life and asked me to partner up.
That’s not what I moved here to Paradise for, but I enjoyed Outlaw Star’s music and GOB assured me that, “He’s a real good old boy. You’re gonna love him. And—you’re gonna direct!”
I said I was in, and GOB and I flew to California to meet with Outlaw and a group of Oilmen who wanted to finance the movie because they were big Outlaw fans. We were going to thrash out the broad strokes of our deal.
That’s when the Bad Boy Star thing reared its head.
Outlaw Star’s first words to me were, “It’s people like you who’ve destroyed the music business…” followed by two hours of details that might’ve made sense if I’d known who “people like you” were.
After he’d finished lifting his leg on me, Outlaw Star turned to his much younger wife. “Baby, bring me the pipe.” She handed him an Indian peace pipe stuffed with—ahem—“herb,” and Outlaw toked up in the open doorway of our motel room.
While this was going on GOB was fetching the Oilmen at the airport. They got to the room just as Mrs. Star stashed away the pipe. The Oilmen told Outlaw they couldn’t wait to hear about his film.
“Oh, I don’t want to do a movie,” he said. “I want to do a TV show. ‘Bout politics.”
The Oilmen’s eyes narrowed. GOB, who’d invested a lot of time and money already, started to sweat. “C’mon, Outlaw,” he said. “Tell ‘em about the movie anyway.”
Outlaw Star sighed, sat back, and told stories about his prison life that made all of us weep. Especially his wife, who he screamed at so loudly that she ran from the room. Everyone was shocked, but nevertheless they were hooked by him. Including me.
GOB saw this and whipped out a piece of paper with some numbers on it. “We’re all gentlemen here,” he said, “so why don’t we sign off on what we’re doing so we can go home and get started?”
The Oilmen reached for their pens. In a second we’d have exactly what we needed to make an exciting new film. But before they could sign Outlaw shook his head.
“Being as how we’re all gentlemen here we don’t need to sign no piece of paper. We just need to shake hands and get me on my way. I’m going on tour tomorrow.”
And with that Outlaw Star shook hands and left, the shocked Oilmen doing the same. GOB looked like he was going to cry. Then his cell phone rang.
It was Outlaw. GOB held the phone up so we could both hear. “Who needs those Oilmen?” Outlaw was saying. “This is a great idea. We can finance it ourselves.”
“I’d have to hock everything to get my share,” GOB said.
“Well, what’re you waiting for?” said Outlaw Star.
After we flew back to Arkansas, GOB did just that and went to see Outlaw again. He showed him his letter of credit and a contract establishing their company.
Outlaw looked at it and smiled. “Why, GOB, you and I’re gentlemen, aren’t we? We don’t need to sign nothing. A simple handshake’ll do.”
And that was all she wrote.
How could GOB risk every penny he had on a partnership with the legendary Outlaw Star if, best friend or not, Outlaw wouldn’t commit? For that matter, how could they still be friends?
Because, believe it or not, they are. In fact, when GOB told me this he was calling to ask a favor. “For Outlaw,” he said. “He needs us to help him out.”
So there we have it. Whether it’s Michael Jackson, Russell Crowe, Robert Blake, or Outlaw Star, stars shine all over the world, their magic dust getting into even the most isolated pores.
If it were up to me I’d start a campaign based on tough love: “Just Say No to Stars.”
Only trouble is, I can’t imagine anyone I know, even here in Paradise, stepping up to that plate.
Especially if Outlaw says “You can direct.”