Travis Tritt Talks To His "No Hats" Buddy, Marty Stuart

by Marty Stuart

This appeared in Country Music A - Z - 1993

Marty: People are always asking me, do you and Travis really like each other? Do you really have as much fun as you look like you're having?

Travis: Personally, I can't stand you!

Marty: Well, the feeling is mutual. The interview is over!

Travis: You know what I tell people all the time and I know you do this too? You, to me, are like the brother that I never had. I got one sister in my family, that's it. I always kind of wanted a brother just to kind of talk to, shoot the breeze with, and cut up with. I think, one of the things that drew us together in the very beginning was the fact that we have a lot in common--not only in our music, but as far as our upbringing, our personal lives, what we like, what we don't like, what we expect out of others, and what we expect out of ourselves. That's the thing that drew us together to start with. I think you looked at me and I looked at you and we saw each other's program and said "I can identify with that." We have fun. We have fun offstage. I enjoy this tour because of the fact that you and I get along so well offstage and I think that makes our performances better onstage, because it's not fake, it's not phony. We don't walk out there and pretend like we're enjoying ourselves, we really are. It's just a continuation of what's going on when we're offstage.

Marty: Absolutely. And you know what I love about this thing? I've got to be honest with you. There is life after the No Hats Tour. You'll do your thing, I'll do mine, but I'm gonna miss you. 'Cause when we go three or four weeks and I don't see you, I'll see something and I'll think "God, I wish Travis was here." I really love you like a brother too.

Travis: A few weeks ago, we were working separately for about a week and a half or so, and when I walked in the dressing room the other night, I gave you a big hug and I said, "You know, man, everywhere I go, I think about you when you're not around." Really, I'll miss you and I hope that we can always keep our friendship going on even when we're not together and keep this thing happening, whether we're working together musically or not. Come over to the house and have a biscuit or something! (laughs)

Marty: They've called us the new outlaws, the new renegades, the new young guns, the new mavericks. What do you call us?

Travis: Crazy! (laughs)

Marty: Things have really changed dramatically for you in the last year. What are you doing these days to keep your feet on the ground?

Travis: Well, getting back home is the main thing for me. I've got a couple of great parents who are very supportive of me but yet, at the same time, they let me know if I'm getting out of line or if I start getting a big head. That keeps me sane, going home and being around them, being off the road. I think also, looking around, when you start thinking things are just fantastic, God has a way of humbling all of us. I see it happen all the time. Just around the time you think everything is gonna be fantastic, something comes along to put you back in your place. So I just basically try to take everything one day at a time, not get too carried away with it. I don't start believing my own hype or my own headlines and just enjoy what I'm doing. I'm one of the luckiest people in the whole world.

Marty: Now you've been married how many times?

Travis: I've been married twice.

Marty: And it was their fault both times that it didn't work out, of course.

Travis: Absolutely.

Marty: You're divorced.

Travis: Yeah, I'm definitely still divorced. I have no desire at this point.....I'll tell you, sometimes I think about it really and the one thing that I missed out on in my life up to this point is having kids.

Marty: Me too.

Travis: I kind of wish...

Marty: We better not say that too loud or somebody's gonna bring us one!

Travis: There's been times, and I've even told Tanya Tucker this, when I wished sometimes that I was a woman. From her standpoint, I think she got a great gig. 'Cause she was able to have the very thing that she wanted which was children, but yet she didn't have to get wrapped up in marriage.

Marty: And that took a lot of courage for her to do that. I admire her for that.

Travis: I admire her tremendously for that, and I wish sometimes that I was in the same situation.

Marty: Maybe Tanya will have one for you and me, what do you think? (laughs)

Travis: (laughs) But outside of that, I'm pretty much the same way you are. I don't think I make a real good husband. Obviously I didn't, twice. I have a lot of self-centeredness. When I want things done, I want them done my way. I'm basically spoiled rotten. Anybody that says I'm a spoiled brat is exactly right. If things don't go the way I want them to, I'll be the first one to lay down on the floor and pitch a fit and hold my breath 'til my face turns blue. I'm married to my music and I'm married to my career and I'm really happy with that.

Marty: Now I've got a deal working with Michelle Pfeiffer. She don't know it. But I probably would never get married again, unless Michelle wants to. Have you got anything working with anybody?

Travis: Gosh, it's hard to say. There's a lot of girls, from just a "looks" perspective out there that I'd like to at least discuss the proposition with. I would say, out of all of them, right at this particular point, if Cindy Crawford were to ever dump that actor fellow--what's his name....Richard something--if Cindy were ever to dump Richard Gere, I would probably like to talk to her at some point.

Marty: I'll see if I can put in a good word for you.

Travis: Much appreciated.

Marty: Is she your idea of the perfect woman from a looks standpoint?

Travis: There ain't no such thing as the perfect woman.

Marty: You know that's gonna get you in trouble.

Travis: I know it is. I'm sure it will. I've gotten in trouble before...I got in a lot of trouble when I was interviewing with Playgirl this year, so I know for a fact that I'm in trouble.

Marty: Speaking of Playgirl, we must be pretty hot 'cause they included you and me and bunch of other country stars in the magazine. And some radio guy told me that they asked you, out of all the people in the article, who they thought would be most likely to pose without his clothes on--you said Hal Ketchum. Why?

Travis: I don't know Hal Ketchum, to be perfectly honest with you. I like his music. But the reason I said that was because in the interview they asked him about the same thing they asked everybody else about, and his comment was, "I know I'm good looking." That that was a quote. That's not me saying that, that was Hal Ketchum saying that. So I figure, any guy who could stand there and tell somebody "I'm good looking," would probably take his clothes off for a camera in a second. That's the only thing I based that on and, Hal, if that's not true, I apologize from the bottom of my heart....and my BVDs! (laughs)

Marty: I've watched you and I think that you've got the potential to be a hell of an actor. Is that anything you want to get into?

Travis: I'd love to try it. I got interested in it back when I was a kid, going to movies. I actually got interested in it watching Burt Reynolds' movies like Smokey and the Bandit and that kind of thing. I never really got a chance to do any acting until I got involved with the project of the video for "Anymore." That got me fired up because after it was over, I felt know how when you've done something that you feel good about, you turn around and look at it, and all modesty aside, you say, "I did a good job there." That's exactly what happened with that particular episode. And as a result of that, I've had several offers to read for several television shows like Young Riders and In The Heat of the Night. And, unfortunately, because of the music schedule, I haven't been able to do that. I would, at some point or another, like to do a movie. We're talking about doing a movie on the character that I played in "Anymore," maybe a full-length feature for the screen. We don't know what's gonna happen with that. My first love has always been the music, so if that never happens, I'll still be happy as long as I can play music.

Marty: Let's get back to the No Hats Tour. One thing that I'm real proud of in this show is I hope that Hank Jr., George Jones, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and David Allen Coe know that somewhere between the beginning and the end of the night at a No Hats show that we're honoring them one way or another, whether it's saying something, or musically, and I appreciate the fact that you do that.

Travis: I think, if we forget where we came from, we start getting into trouble. Most of the people I see out there, the newcomers, most of them are doing that. Most of them are paying tribute and I think if you're not paying tribute to the people who got country music started, some of the legends, the traditional country people, if you're not paying tribute to some of those folks, then you're messing up. Because if it weren't for them we wouldn't be here. They're the ones who have kept the doors open, kept things going for all these years and created a family you and I both have come to love, and influenced a lot of the music we're doing right now.

Marty: A lot of our heroes are guys that dared to be different. They did not play it safe. There was not a safe bone in their body. Being different these days and times is harder, but the only thing that's ever mattered to be is being different and trying to make it work inside a mainstream. And I know you met resistance at first because of the way you looked and your image or whatever and somewhere out there there's another young gun out there wanting to be different and don't know quite how to go about it. What's your advice to him?

Travis: Well, there's definitely gonna be a price to pay. I have never fit in to the "mainstream" which is right now, the traditionalists, the guys that wear the cowboy hats, the clean-cut looking guys that wear the short haircuts who come out in the starched shirt and the Wrangler jeans and that sort of thing, and sing their music. I've got nothing against those guys. I love their stuff, but I've always been different from that. I've always been influenced by not only the George Joneses and the Merle Haggards but I was also influenced by people like the Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd and Marshall Tucker Band and Aerosmith and all of those rock 'n' roll bands. I've got a lot of rock 'n' roll blood in me and I refuse to hide it. I won't cover it up. The price that you pay for it is you're not going to be labeled in the mainstream. People are gonna label you as an outlaw, you're gonna get off to a lot slower start. But it's kind of like a tortoise and a hare kind of situation. You get in there and you just keep plugging away. My other advice to people that are just getting started is, any time you get an opportunity to play, play--anywhere--whether you're playing in front of five or 500 or 5,000; do the same kind of show, give it everything you've got, because you never ever know who might be sitting out there in the audience.

Marty: So Trav, brother, here we are riding up and down the road, writing, singing songs, making videos, getting applause, getting enough money to pay the bills and mainly having fun. I feel pretty lucky. How 'bout you?

Travis: I'm the luckiest guy on the face of the planet. I wake up every single morning and I literally thank God for the opportunity to do what I love to do for a living. There's good days and bad days but, as I said not too long ago to somebody, "A bad day of playing music or what I would consider a bad show where everything goes wrong, is a hell of a lot better than the best day I ever had working at a heat and air conditioning wholesale company, loading and unloading trucks."

Marty: Well, we gotta go. We gotta go make ourselves "pretty" for tonight's show. But before I sign off, I've just gotta say, I love you like a brother.

Travis: I love you too.

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