The Naked Truth about Naked Randy
August 31, 2012
Randy Travis had nothing.
Then he had it all.
Number one hits on country charts.
The good life, he thought, would last forever and ever. Amen.
But age finally caught up with him, and Randy Travis was no longer the golden boy. In the cutthroat record business of Nashville, when you’re too old to be the leading man on your own music videos, you’re back on the concert trail, traveling out-of-the-way roads, playing small clubs and county fairs, and pretending you’re the same singer who had eighteen number one hits and sold twenty million albums.
Some venture into the next phase of their life with grace and dignity. One wound up walking into a Pilot Point, Texas, Tiger Mart convenience store as casually as if he was walking on stage of the Grand Ole Opry.
The manager called police.
“Randy Travis is here?”
“The country singer?”
“What’s he doing?”
“Why’d you call us?”
“He’s buck naked.”
The police missed him.
“Why’d he leave?” the officer asked.
“He tried to pay for the cigarettes,” the manager said.
“He didn’t have any pockets.”
Police found Randy Travis a little while later lying in the middle of the highway beside a wrecked ’98 Trans Am.
He hadn’t changed clothes.
He was still buck naked.
He went to jail and spent the rest of the night signing autographs. A mere twenty-one thousand dollars got him out on bail, and that should have been the end of it.
But not for Randy.
Like the good man he is – Randy Travis sings gospel songs, for God’s sakes – he went to a Tioga, Texas, church with his fiancée.
God is good.
His fiancee’s estranged husband was waiting for them in the parking lot when the final amen was said. He was mad. His former wife was out of sorts the second she saw him. They could not agree on visitation rights for their son. The argument grew loud. Then it threatened to grow violent.
And there was good old Randy. As his attorney would say, “Randy was the only man who came to the rescue. Fortunately, today, chivalry is not dead.”
He threw a punch.
He was back in jail, but he was fully clothed this time. He may have had bloodshot eyes and torn clothing, but his buck wasn’t naked when he found himself back inside a dark little North Texas cell.
His girlfriend swears, “Randy has a heart of gold.”
What happened was a mistake. That’s all
And the man down at the barbecue place leaned back, propped his feet up, glanced up at the ceiling and said, “I heard about another man who never made a mistake, and they hung him on a cross.”
Randy knows all about mistakes. He’s made a few. Charged with burglary and auto theft as a young man. Always just one step outside of prison. Rejected by every major record label in Nashville. Took a job as a cook at a nightclub, hoping someone would hear and like his songs. The manager, Liz Hatcher, certainly did. She divorced her husband, moved in with Randy, and managed to secure a deal with Warner Bros. Records. The rest was history. Randy Travis became the hottest singer in Nashville.
Then age caught up with Liz, too. She was, after all, a few years older than Randy. After nineteen years of marriage, he walked away from the one woman who had loved him enough to make him famous. She didn’t mind losing Randy. She did sue to keep from losing the management contract, which is where the money was buried.
For Randy, the mistakes kept piling up.
But then, if there weren’t mistakes in life, Randy Travis wouldn’t have anything to sing about. Love. Hate. Fighting. Flirting. Jail. Drinking. And pickup trucks. His whole life has been one long country song.
And now he has a new one if he can find a line that rhymes with naked.
Caleb Pirtle III is author of the suspense thriller, Golgotha Connection.