Interview - May 17, 1999

My "ace" reporter, Sheila "Scoop" Walters, had the opportunity to interview Marty in Sparks, Nevada. For Sheila, it was a dream come true and I am so grateful to her for getting Marty's answers to some really thought-provoking questions. Sheila, you did a fabulous interview!

Sheila: You've told us the story of The Pilgrim and how that came about. Where does the inspiration for your other songs come from?

Marty: True life experience is the best place I think for songs. If you had a great experience, a bad experience, if you lost somebody, if you got a broken heart. You know a broken heart can cause a lot of songs. Whatever. You know ideas come out of nowhere. Sometimes with me it starts with a guitar riff, a chord. Sometimes it's something I hear in my head. "You Can't Stop Love" came to me.. I could feel it coming. It's like gettin' sick. You can feel it coming (laughs). And I was in my bathroom shaving. I couldn't find a pen so I squirted shaving cream along on top....started writin' the words with my finger (laughs}. They come at any given time.

Sheila: You grab 'em and hang on?

Marty: You just grab 'em and hang on.

Sheila: Well you do good! What is your favorite scripture verse?

Marty: (Thinks) I can't tell you the chapter, but it's probably " Seek ye the kingdom of God and all its righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you." One time when I first went to work with Lester Flatt at the Opry, I hadn't got to go home and see my folks in like two months, almost two months. A security guard came backstage at the Opry and found me and handed me a gift and said "This is from a lady from your hometown. She said give you this and your mama sent it to you." And mama had sent me a Bible, and that's the one verse she had underlined in there and I figure if I can live up to that verse or any part of it, the rest of it kind of falls into place.

Sheila: You seem like a true loyal person. What do you think? (A lady walks up and says "I'm sorry. Could I have my picture taken with you?" Marty looks at me, grins and says "Sure, I can do two things at once." The husband takes the picture and they leave.) What do you think your strong and weak character traits are?

Marty: Mine? Well name a weak one and I got it! (laughs) Strong. You know I work on my loyalty. You know.....obedience to God. I mean that's the main one....if you can be obedient, the rest will come. I try to stay on my toes as far as faith is concerned. You know sometimes we work too hard....I work too hard.....and you just get run down. And you know when I get that way, I tend to think (frowns and speaks in a whiny voice) there ain't no hope and my lip runs out. But finding that rest and that's where having the love of a wonderful wife, wonderful family and, you know, the arms of God to fall back into because that's where you find that restoration that rekindles my fire. And the group of guys I have running my band we drag each other through ups and downs and having a band this long is kinda like having a marriage. I know there are times that one member or another goes "I've had all I can take. I want to leave" and you go "well, God put us together for a reason and we must,'s kind of like a marriage. You just have to keep....(a man walks up and says "You gonna play some good music tonight?" Marty says "we're gonna try." I say "always." The man says "We're coming down to see you." Marty says "Alright. We'll try." The man says "I thought that was you sittin' there. [I laugh.] The man says "You never know who you'll see down here. Marty says "No that's true." The man leaves.) So it's like any other relationship. You have to recommit...... refall in love sometimes and go for different things, which is what we're doing right now. We're reaching for different things. So you've seen four or five shows now....whatever it's been, and some nights you see us fall on our faces. Some nights you see it work better then others. You get to where you're a part of it too. (grins) So it's all about not quittin'.

Sheila: If this were all gone tomorrow what would you do?

Marty: Oh man I've had a great time, I've had a GREAT time. Me and Connie Smith would go sit on a bluff somewhere and hold hands.

Sheila: And love one another?

Marty: Yeah. You know sometimes I get aggravated 'cause this record didn't do this, that one didn't do that, but you back up and look at the big picture. All my family members are still alive and well, people I love are around me and it goes back to what I set this entire program up on once. I had a worn out Cadillac and I figured on Monday morning if I had 100 bucks and a cool cowboy coat and a pair of boots and a good looking Telecaster guitar and some gas for my car tank, I had a good week going (I laugh; he grins) and I left. That's the truth and I've left it right there.

Sheila: Will you ever write your autobiography?

Marty: Well I don't feel like I'm incredible enough to. (I say "you're kidding!") My life hasn't been big enough to write a bio about yet. You know there are people out there, I mean, that are solving world peace, world problems. You know there are honest-to-God warriors out there. I'm just a work in progress. Maybe later. But this book of pictures pretty much chronicles a twenty-five year journey out there. I mean you can kind of look at the pictures and tell who I am, what I've been, where I've been and who I've been around. I'll write text to run along side but, as far as just a hard core bio, I don't think I..... haven't lived enough to do that yet.

Sheila: If you did and they made a movie, who would you want to play you?

Marty: Pee Wee Herman (laughs loud). I don't have a clue.

Sheila: What do you want to be remembered for?

Marty: (thinks a second) Stickin' by what I believed in and not givin' in because it got a little tight and I got up against a wall. What God puts in your heart to do and what the world is in the mood for sometimes is two different things and I really think that if you stay true to what's in your heart, sometimes you take a beating for it and, you know, it's a vow. It's like a commitment you make to somebody. Once you make a commitment, you know, I've got a lifetime worth of broken commitments behind me...that don't feel too good. I feel like the next half of my life I'm gonna work on keeping my commitments and so a commitment is what is in my heart. You know that's what I'm gonna work real hard on staying true to.

Sheila: Alright.

Marty: Alright.

Sheila: One more tough one

Marty: Alright.

Sheila: What do you want God to say to you when you get to Heaven's door?

Marty: Well, Oh (laughs) about that time in Hollywood...What were you thinkin'!!

Sheila: Oh no! (laughing) I want him to say you done good, come on in.

Marty: I like that too.....or at least "you tried." (He laughs and giggles.)

Sheila: I saw on a sign outside a church one time that said "If God is not walking beside you.. who moved?"

Marty: Yeah that's right... that's real true... that's true.

Sheila: Thank you!!

Marty: Have a good trip home.

Sheila: I love you

Marty: I love you too. (He gives me a hug.)

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