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I'd just gotten into Los Angeles from Texas, where I live, and the phone rang and it was the guy calling about the Willie Nelson video. I was totally excited about it.
We'd go out in Larry's hippie van and drive out all around Dallas. He loved Chinese food, he'd go in and say. Remember me Major Nelson, me and my friends here are making this show called Dallas, have you got a table for us? It would work every time.
Willie Nelson is the perfect person, it seems to me, to think about. Because something tells me that he operates on his own frequency.
It was a free-for-all with music when I was growing up. My mother was a huge music fanatic so I was listening to everything from country to heavy metal to Indigo Girls to Elton John. I guess when I was really young I didn't like Willie Nelson, and she obviously loved him. Now I do too, I'm so thankful to her for playing his music nonstop.
Today, I see thousands of Mahatma Gandhis, Martin Luther Kings, and Nelson Mandelas marching forward and calling on us. The boys and girls have joined. I have joined in. We ask you to join, too.
If I could ask for any life, I'd like to be the lead singer and guitarist for Willie Nelson & Family. That is to say, Willie.
Willie Nelson is not just a star or a headliner, he's a legend.
Whoever becomes the head of the National Theater finds himself in a position like that of Nelson's Column - pigeons dump on you because you're there.
I think there's a mythology that if you want to change the world, you have to be sainted, like Mother Teresa or Nelson Mandela or Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Ordinary people with lives that go up and down and around in circles can still contribute to change.
Nelson Mandela will always be the face of South Africa. The traveler passing through the country will see Mandela's face almost everywhere he looks. Truly, the man is omnipresent.
Nelson Mandela is physically separated from us, but his soul and spirit will never die. He belongs to the whole world because he is an icon of equality, freedom and love, the values we need all the time everywhere.
What is that song that Willie Nelson sang? 'Oh, the days dwindle down to a precious few.' I think of that. No big deal. I've reached a stage in my life where I am content.
From time to time, you have seminal personalities who really change the way the world sees itself - people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela. Warren Buffett is that kind of person in the business world.
When I went to lobby Nelson Mandela while the post-apartheid constitution was being drafted, I asked him to endorse making it illegal to discriminate on grounds of sexuality. I'd been warned that he might giggle if I mentioned homosexuality.
I've always said I've wanted to be around forever. I never wanted to be the latest, greatest thing. I want to be like Willie Nelson - touring when I'm 70. To do that, you can't be the latest, greatest thing because those things fizzle out.
Nelson Mandela and Malcolm X came out of prison stronger.
I used to do my Nelson Mandela voice to blag restaurant tables in Cape Town. It rarely worked. Now what a great city that is.
Working with Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson takes you up another level.
Somehow you can tell the difference when a song is written just to get on the radio and when what someone does is their whole life. That comes through in Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson. There is no separating their life from their music.
Ricky Nelson... I couldn't believe it when he died. He was a great rock star.
Dee Dee Ramone
But it was great, we sit in the same dressing room where, like, Johnny Cash sat and Willie Nelson and all those guys. That was in itself something amazing - I was on the same space these guys stood on, ya know?
It's like Willie Nelson. You're an artist and you have different styles inside of you.
One of them would definitely be the Nelson Mandela gig, when I played the tribute song for him. He was up and dancing, and he really enjoyed it. It was a really lovely occasion.
I've dreamed of being on the road, traveling and touring, for as long as I've been into doing music. It's what I live for. I just wanna be Willie Nelson.
I'm not Waylon Jennings, but I do a fair imitation of him, and a few other country greats, like Willie Nelson. It would be great to sink my teeth into a project where I could play a country singer. I'm like an old cowboy.
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