Marty's Thoughts on the late Johnny Cash

The legendary songwriter, musician and Rock & Roll and Country Music Hall of Famer, Johnny Cash passed away on September 12, 2003. Here are some of Marty's comments on Johnny Cash.

"Merle and I have been touring together all summer, and the first show was the first annual Merle Haggard UFO Music Fest, in Roswell, New Mexico. You'll be happy to know that Johnny Cash went to heaven with a commemorative Merle Haggard UFO Music Fest guitar pick. John would've appreciated the gesture -- most people didn't know that side of him. Every December, he and I would go to the graveyard to visit Luther [Perkins, Cash's original guitarist] and bring him a cigarette. We would lay down on the grave, smoke and talk to Luther, telling him what a lazy son of a bitch he was for lying there while we were out touring, killing ourselves to promote him.

"When I was in John's band during the Eighties, we were down to playing Branson, Missouri-type shows for elderly people. Nashville was done with him. Instead of giving him the respect he deserved, they treated him like a fossil. But with the American Recordings album, his career had a rebirth just by him doing what the fuck he wanted to do. He had a brand-new audience, which put wind in his sail. He wasn't having to do his old patriotic Johnny Cash tricks for a bunch of older Americans; it was kids with tattoos and weird hair trying to find their way.

"I don't think he was scared of things. I don't think he was scared of death or illness -- he'd been through all that. I saw him have to go to the Betty Ford clinic after a farm animal punctured his stomach. He went back on painkillers, and with us addicts, all it takes is one pill to set us back. But I think he was scared most of losing people -- he lost his mom, his dad, his wife -- and of the dark force of Satan. John fully understood the power of the dark force. He'd be on his knees with a Bible in his hands, trying to cope with his demons. He believed what he read in the Bible and tried to practice it."

"I have lost one of my best friends. It leaves a dark void in my life that is blacker than any coat he ever wore. He is irreplaceable. Even in death I have no doubt that Johnny Cash will continue to live on as an inspiration to musicians and songwriters and all of America."

"He's touched the real ones, the artists who are as timeless as he is. Those who have gotten in there and made the big book."

Marty Stuart said in the last few months, two vultures had taken up residence on the Cash property, and they would sit outside the window of John's office and stare at him. And John would stare back at them.

Marty said, "It takes a guy pretty secure in his position in the world to befriend vultures."

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