I’m gonna be honest with you: I have more questions than answers about the Randy Travis DWI arrest Tuesday night. In researching this post (i.e., combing the Internet for a few minutes) I learned that Randy Travis, ne Traywick, is a more complicated fellow than he appears at first glance.
Things We Know:
- A motorist called 911 to report that he just “found a guy lying in the road.” He didn’t want to leave his car (smart!) and apparently said, “I want to say maybe he has no shirt on.” Turns out he was only half right.
- The man in the road was Naked Randy Travis, a country music superstar with 17 #1 hits, and he was arrested for his second alcohol-related offense this year. In addition to refusing the field sobriety test, he threatened to “shoot and kill” the arresting officers. Way to dispel stereotypes, buddy.
- Naked Randy Travis was issued “paper clothing” upon arrival at the jail house. Which means that jails have to have a supply of disposable clothing on hand at all times because of all the people who are naked when they’re arrested!
- Earlier in the evening, Naked Randy Travis walked into a convenience store to purchase cigarettes. He became belligerent when the clerk asked how he was going to pay. (High five to that dude.) For a convenience store clerk, I bet the only thing better than a drunk, naked guy is a drunk, naked, belligerent guy trying to buy cigarettes.
- Travis was in a single car accident in his – wait for it – 1998 Trans Am. Unknown at this time whether the Trans Am featured the iconic “Screaming Chicken” on its hood.
When Clothed Randy Travis came on to the country music scene in the late 80s, I was a fan. My dad introduced me to CRT. If you’ve ever heard “On the Other Hand”, you know that clothed or naked, drunk or sober, he can sing the HELL out of a country song. When he appeared, it was the tail end of that “Tanya Tucker dressed in disco outfits” era in country music and he was a welcome return to a more traditional Nashville sound. Prior to his recent troubles, I always thought of CRT with fondness because of the connection to my dad.
I was also intrigued by his personal life, since he was married to one of only two other people I’ve ever known to be called “Lib.” She was 18 years older than he was, acted as his manager, and she left her husband for CRT. They got married shortly after the Enquirer began suggesting that he was gay. He never really shook the rumors that he was closeted and she was his beard. Message boards are blowing up today with people claiming to be gay men and confirming his activities with “rent boys” and room service waiters.
[Side note: what is it with closeted – allegedly! – stars and room service waiters?? I’ve gotten room service several times in my life and not even the waiters at the W in Ft. Lauderdale made me want to order something extra.] Anyhoo.
Lib divorced CRT in 2010, though she stayed on as his manager until sometime last year when they started suing each other for various things. A lot of people discount the gay rumors with the argument that if Lib had dirt on him, she would’ve revealed it during their court battles. Hold on a minute there, Professor. Just because you dissolve your relationship with someone, you don’t necessarily want to create a big, huge, ugly, career-ending scandal for them. Something you know will be a prominent part of their obituary. And we’re still at a place in the world where if a male country singer came out as gay, there would be so much collective shit-losing that we’d probably just all die.
So, as my friend Andy Cohen would say, here’s what: NRT has fallen on hard times. In a way, it’s really, really stinkin’ funny that he ended up naked and drunk in his Trans Am trying to buy cigarettes. But on the other hand (get it?), it’s also profoundly sad. It’s like watching COPS. (Shutup!) I can get a lot of laughs from the details of the arrests – the improbable excuses, the near universal shirtlessness, the giant TV in the trailer, and so on. But when I accidentally stop and think about the abuse and addiction and sadness and poverty that came together to create a perfect storm of fuckery for these people, it becomes profoundly sad.
But! You know I’m not gonna leave you on that sad note. While it may be true that Randy is a sad closeted gay man with a faded career and a drinking problem, there is also this:
I think the lesson here is DON’T SUPPORT PEOPLE LIKE MICHELLE BACHMANN, if for no other reason than bloggers will not feel sorry for your naked, drunk ass when you get arrested.