gall and gumption

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jerry Lee

Every single fact I have ever read about Jerry Lee Lewis is interesting. I'm not saying I am an expert on the subject, but such has been my experience. On the basis of that experience, therefore, I'm going to pick up the latest copy of Rolling Stone which has a profile of the Killer that you can sample here

The Lewis Ranch, as it is called, or Disgraceland, as it is also called, is a racquetball court, two jet planes and a graveyard short of Elvis' former mansion, which is about twenty-five miles away, in Memphis. All the rooms are on one floor, all the rooms are piled high with swag from fifty years in the music business, and large portions of it have been painted gold. Jerry's sixth wife in his seventh marriage, Kerrie Lynn McCarver Lewis, blew through the place like King Midas. Painted the walls, painted the floors, painted the grand piano, painted the cupboards, painted her Cadillac Fleetwood - all of it gold, gold and more gold. Except the kitchen, which she covered with Coca-Cola wallpaper.

"She was a horrible bitch who was possessed by the devil and only shopped at Wal-Mart - we've just now begun stripping the walls," says Phoebe at the kitchen counter in late afternoon. Born to Jerry and his third wife, Myra, in 1963, she grew up tall and blond and has the Lewis vibe in all ways. After singing blues and rock around Memphis for a number of years, she moved back in with her father to help him through an arduous divorce. "Kerrie told me she was leaving him, but I was going to run her ass off anyway," she says. "I was born to take care of my daddy. I never married, don't want to have kids. I'm not going to steal his money or give him drugs"...

I think he has actually tried to live up to that bit in the Bill of Rights about the pursuit of happiness. Nobody can guarantee that it will turn out well, of course, but at least it has been his own mess and that's freedom.

I love his country songs: "What Made Milwaukee Famous Has Made a Loser Out of Me;" "She Still Comes Around to Love What's Left of Me." Great stuff by a genuine original.

(One of my favorite Jerry Lee facts is that he is the cousin of the old bible-thumping reprobate Jimmy Swaggart.) What is it with this demographic and painting everything gold, anyhow, by the way?


At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, for the link. It's funny, when you said in the Howlin' Wolf entry that you didn't like most rock n roll I wondered if you liked Jerry Lee Lewis-- and then there it was! I love to imagine him in his bikini briefs fussing around the carport with his five Chihuahuas,saying "EE ahh ae i ee i a ier" (I don't care if he is a writer). Now I, too, must pick up a copy of the Rolling Stone to read the rest of that article. So funny. I like what you wrote about Donne. It was like having a great short lesson on poetry. I'd like to hear Mr.Stephens read it.


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