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Loretta Lynn Interview - 2012

(CSC) It’s great to be with you again!


(Loretta Lynn)

It's good to be with you too. How's everything goin'?


(CSC) It's good and I thank you for your time.


(Loretta Lynn) 

You're welcome.



(CSC) 1. Tell us about your new book “Honky Tonk Girl: My Life In Lyrics.” What was it like being able to revisit your life through song?


(Loretta Lynn)

Well, I raised the devil with Patsy ‘cause right at the end she put songs of hers and somebody else's in there you know and I said, "Hey, I had a bunch of songs you could've done that with." She didn't know that I'd written; but I probably have 300 songs, maybe I like one or two lines finishin' that was it.



(CSC) 2. In the book you talk about being a survivor all of your life. What have life’s lessons; both the good and the bad taught you?


(Loretta Lynn)

I wouldn't trade it, because I think you've got to live with the bad to respect the new. You know the latest stuff that's happened. I think you have to go through bad times to get to the good times, and then you know you appreciate it more when you do, yeah (Laughs). I learned to appreciate it yeah, and you have to go through it. Those who have never gone through it never will learn.



(CSC) 3. What got you through the times when it felt like it was toughest?


(Loretta Lynn)

Well probably when I was a kid growing up; I knew that we were poor, but I didn't really know how poor, you know. Because I thought everybody was poor. When I got out of Butcher Holler and out into the world a little bit I knew everybody wasn't poor, I knew then I was poor. (Laughs)



(CSC) 4. Upon your husband Doo discovering your talent as a singer, when you were at home singing to your babies, did you ever imagine a life outside of being in the spotlight?


(Loretta Lynn)

Never; I never thought about it, you know. It was Doo that pushed me on stage, but after it all got started he wished he'd never done it because I was gone all the time. We lived in Washington thirteen years; that's where I had four babies, and then we moved to Nashville and I got pregnant and had twins. I said, "We need to stop it right here the next ones will be a litter." (Laughs) 




(CSC) 5. Was that tough for you being so far away from your family?


(Loretta Lynn)

Yeah, it was tough because daddy died, you know, the year I started singing daddy never did heard me sing on stage. It was the year I started singing daddy died. He was only 51 years old. That was one of the worst things that ever happened to me. You know I had a dream that night before, that daddy had died and I woke up crying. Doo said, "Go on back to sleep. You know when you dream about a death; there's always something else goin' on like a wedding." So he wiped it completely out of my mind. I closed my eyes and went back to sleep and the dream picked up just where it left off and picked up. Daddy was in a blue suit, he was lying in a coffin and I looked down at daddy's face and the wind was blowing his hair and I was crying. I said, "No, daddy's dead,” and he was. 


(CSC) Didn't your daddy used to sing you to sleep up until you moved out or did he rock you?


(Loretta Lynn)

Daddy and mommy both rocked me when I was little and when I got big enough to rock myself they put a baby in my lap and let me rock it. I rocked, Peggy, Betty, and Crystal. (Laughs)


(CSC) You were like their babysitter.


(Loretta Lynn)



(CSC) 6. When you think about hit songs that you wrote like “Fist City” and “You Ain’t Woman Enough,” do you feel that today’s artists are capable of writing songs with such honesty like you have? 


(Loretta Lynn)

I think you have to live it, I don't think anybody can write a song if they really haven't lived it; that is what makes it believable. I have to hear somebody to find out whether or not they do but I love Miranda Lambert because she does write and I like her.


(CSC) Do you see yourself in her?


(Loretta Lynn)

She reminds me of me. I love Miranda, I think she’s a great singer, I think she is a great writer. There ain't nothin' that can hold her back. Blake, are you listenin' to me? (Laughs) 


(CSC) I think you're right though, that people have to live it. A lot of the time artists will look at these songs pitched to them and they don't know a thing about it.


(Loretta Lynn)

That's right, they sing it and there’s nothin' in it is there? No feeling at all.



(CSC) 7. When you write a new song, what do you come up with first, the melody or the lyrics? 


(Loretta Lynn)

I come up with the title. In the first three lines I have a melody. That's the way I go, the way I write.


(CSC) Can it be done within a day?


(Loretta Lynn)

Sometimes if I’m right in the mood and I don't have nothin' else to do, I can write 'em in twenty minutes. Sometimes it will take a little longer but usually if you got the idea and the tag line, you got it made.


(CSC) 8. Out of all the songs that you have written in your career, have you ever regretted not releasing one as a single?  


(Loretta Lynn)

I always loved the "Haunted House." I did that song about Patsy Cline. She had been gone two months when I wrote that song. I was over at her house and I was sittin' on the steps outside and I looked up at the house and I said, "It's a haunted house." So I wrote the song, it took only a few minutes. That was one of my favorite songs. It never was a single. Back then, you know, unless you had some little up-tempo thang you didn't make it. 


(CSC) You and Patsy went around together and were real close.


(Loretta Lynn)

Yeah, we weren’t friends long enough because they took her so soon. She passed away at 29; that was sad.



(CSC) 9. On a lighter note, can you think of something that you girls enjoyed doing, maybe a funny story?


(Loretta Lynn)

Well, a funny story was she called me up and said, "Girl, get over here." I said, "Patsy, I ain't got no way to walk over there." I was quite a ways from her house. She said, "There will be a taxi to pick you up in five minutes." Well, she had a taxi pickin' me up in five minutes; she had bought me a pair of pants, elastic kind of stretchy pants and a blouse to go with it and I’ll never forget that. Five minutes the taxi picked me up. I got over there and I went down the steps into the basement, where they had their rec room. I got down there and this blonde headed woman was sitting at the bottom of the stairs, I paid no attention to her, I went right on down was lookin' for Patsy, started back up the stairs and I looked at that woman and I said, "Do you know where Patsy is?" She just reached up and pulled that wig off and she said, "Yeah, she's sittin' right here." (Laughs) She had on a blonde wig. That was the funniest thing. She was feisty, I like her.



(CSC) 10. Word is that the fans just love when you do those covers of hers at your live show; it gives people chills. Didn’t you two share a hit on the same song?


(Loretta Lynn)

Yeah, me and her both had a number one on "She's Got You." Oh yeah, I cut the record probably fifteen years after she did; that was my favorite Patsy Cline song. I recorded the song and it was number one again.



(CSC) 11. Have there ever been any songs that you passed on, that later became a hit for another artist?


(Loretta Lynn)

I can't think of one, right off hand. I pretty well wouldn't turn down a hit, if I heard one.


(CSC) Through the years of knowing, being an experienced artist, do you know when you hear a song for the first time if someone tries to pitch it to you?


(Loretta Lynn)

Oh I can tell if it's a hit song. Somebody tries to pitch me one, yeah I can tell.


(CSC) What is it that gives it away for you?


(Loretta Lynn)

Well, do you remember that song I had out when I first started, (Sings) "Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year?" Well, I forget who wrote it, Don something, up in Toronto, Canada. He pitched it to me and I heard the hit in the song. I messed with it a little bit and it didn't bother him at all what I did to it. It was a hit song, "Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year." It was a number one for me!!



(CSC) 12. With your life story headed to Broadway, what do you expect from the actress (Zooey Deschanel) that will portray you?


(Loretta Lynn)

A lot because she's a great actress and she's a great little gal you know. We spent the whole day takin' pictures together, Lord, and the lady that fixed my hair; the first hairdo was pretty good, the second hairdo was terrible. Now, I’m not gonna' let her use one of them cause my hair was sticking out on this side, just straight out. But I love Zooey!! She's great. I told her, "We’ll pile on my bus and all of us are goin' to Broadway when it comes out."


(CSC) Did you like her energy?


(Loretta Lynn)

I loved her. I really do like her. I brought her on the Grand Ole Opry, I brought her out and she was shaking all over, she didn't know she was comin' on the show. She was there that night and she didn't know I was gonna bring her on, no. She come out and sang "Coal Miner's Daughter" with me.



(CSC) 13. How did that feel being able to be up there in front of your fans with her?


(Loretta Lynn)

She has a great voice, her voice is big. I was shocked to hear her sing, yes. This big, big voice; it really is for a little girl like her; it will shock you.



(CSC) 14. How involved do you plan to be in the creative process and are you going to write original scores?


(Loretta Lynn)

Whatever she wants; I told her that I worked with Sissy Spacek a whole year before we did the movie and whatever she needed, to call me and we'll get together. They're gettin' it together there I think now, they're trying to get everything together now 'cause it takes awhile to get a Broadway play together, yeah!



(CSC) 15. It will be very interesting to see your songs brought to life in that type of a venue.


(Loretta Lynn)

You know, years ago when I was with the Brokaw’s, out in L.A., they were doing all of my PR for me and they did a great job for me, but I left them, knowing that somebody in Nashville was wanting to take over. I kind of really didn't need much publicity as I had before. I knew they were great, but I didn't need that much anymore so I kind of left that. They were fixin' to put it into a Broadway play then and that was ten to fifteen years ago, yeah. 

(CSC) And speaking of great songs, your Van Lear Rose album was one of your best!!

(Loretta Lynn) 

Well, when me and Jack White did Portland, Oregon (From the album; Van Lear Rose). Jack White is somethin' else, I love him. That was about the countriest record I ever had and I told him that. (Laughs) Rock N' Roller! You have to know Jack White to know he's magic; he really is magic.



(CSC) 16.  After 52 years of making music and touring non-stop, what do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in the business?


(Loretta Lynn)

I think my greatest accomplishment was "Coal Miner's Daughter," when I wrote that. I started out writin' "Coal Miner's Daughter" for someone else and me and Doyle and Teddy (Wilburn) was doing a TV show and I was writin' the song for the Osborne Brothers (laughs) and it turned out to be "Coal Miner's Daughter." And that was probably one of my biggest accomplishments, yeah. "Coal Miner's Daughter" come out it just, (snapped fingers) it just took off, right away; Owen Bradley and me or none of us could understand it. I said, "Who's interested in my life, most people don't care what your life is.” You know what I mean? And I thought, "Yeah, I'm doing this song for someone else." I wasn't thinking about myself you know; it was a hit, it was alright for me.


Enjoy Part II of our interview with Loretta Lynn:


(CSC) 17. When you’re at your ranch in Hurricane Mills and the beautiful museum that is there, how do you feel walking through it?


(Loretta Lynn)

I can't believe it. When I’m walking through it and I am just kind of noticing stuff it's hard to believe. You know, somebody stole like two or three big ole' plastic garbage cans of awards from me out of the old school house that was on the place. I had to store them somewhere you know at the time and somebody took a lot of them. But when I’m walking through the museum and just look at what I have left, you know it's really too much for me. I really try to go through the museum and not look at everything. I just kind of go through the museum, well, usually its business that I’m in there for. 


(CSC) What keeps you grounded; you seem very much grounded and not affected by any of it.


(Loretta Lynn)

I never have been affected by it. I never will be because that person, Loretta Lynn, is a different girl than the Coal Miner's Daughter.



(CSC) 18. I bet there are a bunch of memories at the ranch for you. Your old house is now a museum of sorts too isn’t it?


(Loretta Lynn)

Yeah, my house is in the back now, me and Tim live in the house in the back of the museum. His bedroom is on one end and mine’s on the other; we meet in the kitchen and fight. (Laughs) We’ll say, "What are you going to eat?" And he’ll say, "What do you want to eat?" I mean this goes on like an old man and a woman, but that's the way it is. Yeah, but he's been with me a long time.



(CSC) 19. What are some memories that you cherish about your late husband Doo, and the time that you shared with him?


(Loretta Lynn) 

I think, he loved to farm and Hurricane Mills is a big place to farm and he loved that; I miss him in there because all the ditches is all clogged up, everything when I go home is not done like it was when he was alive and I get upset.



(CSC) 20. Did you two really trek all over the country like it was portrayed in the movie?


(Loretta Lynn)

Oh yeah, there is a song of mine, "Dear Uncle Sam," me and Doo was in the car and that’s all you could hear was Vietnam War, and that's when I started writing it was during the Vietnam War. I said, "Honey, I hate wars." He said, "Well, write about it." I wrote "Dear Uncle Sam" and it was a big hit. 


(CSC) I love that song!


(Loretta Lynn)

It is a good song, isn’t it? You know, people started hollering for it and the last ten years they haven't stopped, no, its gettin' worse. I think the next one is gonna to be a lot bigger than World War I and World War II, cause now they got the bomb you know and they’re gonna drop it. It's not when; it's just a matter of time. 



(CSC) 21. Even if you don't like to talk politics, nowadays you can't help but see it everywhere you look. What's your take on that?


(Loretta Lynn)

Well, they try not to say anything to upset the public; the public ought to know what's going on so they can protect themselves when it does start. That's what I would do if I was President. They could talk about George W. Bush if they want to, but George W. Bush knew what would happen. He was the President when the planes run into them big towers. He had to do what he did because he was trying to protect us; that’s why we went to war. 


(CSC) Aren’t you pretty good friends with both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush?


(Loretta Lynn)

Yes, well I love them both, now Senior they say is in a wheelchair and it bothers me. I need to go see him. Last time I seen him he was doing good. Yeah, he's 93. He is a good man. I love him and I love Barbara and little George, as I call him. When he gets tickled, you never hear him laugh; it's just his body shaking. I love the Bush’s. It's too bad they don't make me President. (Laughs) 


(CSC) Can you help us turn it around?


(Loretta Lynn)

I’d turn it around; I’d quit sending all this money overseas and try to help my people here, yeah. Quit letting somebody borrow money that's already rich, help the poor out. People cannot find jobs and they are all on food stamps, everybody is right now and it's taking a lot out of the government right there. Like I said, "If I was President of the United States I’d change things overnight."


(CSC) Vote Loretta!


(Loretta Lynn)

(Laughs) Loretta Lynn for President!! (Laughs)


(CSC) Who would be your Vice President?


(Loretta Lynn)

Who would be my Vice President? Well, if Barbara Bush felt good, it would be her. (Laughs) I don't know. I didn't think about that, but we're never gonna make President or Vice President, we’re just joking, ain't we?


(CSC) Speaking of women in politics, what are your thoughts on Gov. Sarah Palin? 


(Loretta Lynn)

I like her. She's a good woman and I love her too. It makes me mad that they all put her down. She is smarter than all of them and they put her down.


(CSC) You got to do that interview with Jenna Bush Hager for NBC recently, how was that?


(Loretta Lynn)

Yeah, I have known her and her little twin sister for a long time, you know. I remember when they were just nine, ten, twelve years old; see it goes back all the way to daddy Bush. 



(CSC) 22. I know you’re very proud of your Hurricane Mills Ranch, its unfortunate you lost your bridge recently. 


(Loretta Lynn)

Tim's done everything he can do about cutting swings out and flowers, he's worked in flowers setting roses and different things out for two weeks then wondered why he was so wore out. I could've told him because for years I used to be the only one plantin' things around the ranch. He'd been out on his knees for two weeks in the dirt settin' roses out, settin' these little green bushes out. He said he wanted that creek area to be even more like a park where the old bridge fell, though that'd never replace such a great ole landmark. That was a real loss to us all and nothing could be saved. The metal just twisted on it and laying in the creek, but the original bronze plaque was saved and is mounted there in the town overlooking the creek. Me and Patsy are gonna try to get someone to make a swinging bridge across there, cause it costs so much money to make a bridge like I lost, why it would break me up and I ain't ready for that right now. (Laughs)



(CSC) 23. You were real close friends with the late Conway Twitty; can you tell us about that?


(Loretta Lynn)

When I lost Conway, I was in the hospital with my husband, he had open heart surgery, and it was in Springfield. Conway was working in Branson, Missouri, that’s where he was working and he was coming by the hospital; I seen his bus come off the exit and I said, "Honey, I will run down and get Conway so he won't have to look for your room." So, I run downstairs and here they come draggin' Conway in; Conway couldn't focus his eyes, he couldn't see me that well and that night we lost him. He was Doo's best friend too; Doo loved Conway. He was really the only artist in country music that Doo cared anything about. He made him kind of a part of himself you know. We’d go overseas and you could hear Doolittle tellin' Conway stories, most of 'em were big lies but of course I couldn't tell Conway. You could hear Conway laughing all over the plane. He'd just be laughing and I said, "There goes another big story Doo's told him." (Laughs) But it was real fun!!



(CSC) 24. Can you tell us about the special Conway exhibit and show that will be at your ranch?


(Loretta Lynn)

Yes, that will be in my museum. Of course he is already in my museum, but we are making this a special thing. All of his family is supposed to be there; it's gonna be a touching night. I talked about it last night so much that when I went on stage; I had to really mess up to do my show. I had to make it fun to do the show because I was really down last night; we talked about Conway all day, and we ain't done much better today. We did some of the one liner’s promoting the show.



(CSC) 25. When you’re off the road and at home, what occupies your time the most?


(Loretta Lynn)

Oh, well me and Tim has kitty cats. (Laughs) I have a cat named Precious, a white one. Tim got jealous of Precious so we went to the barn and got two barn cats and had them fixed and now we've got six cats. I said, "Tim, we need to make a little kitty door." You know they have those doggie doors? We need to make a kitty door so they can come and go when they want to; cause if one ain't in there wanting love, the other one is. But I've got Tim's cat, it's completely spoiled. At night I can feel him come in to sleep with me and he’ll come up on the bed and he’ll get right over beside of me, but he has to feel me before he just falls over me. He would fall right on top of me and I said, "Tim, you need to take your cat in the room with you, cause he comes in at night and falls over on top of me." (Laughs) The little cat loves me and I love him too!!



(CSC) 26. Do you still like to do your gardening, or no?


(Loretta Lynn)

You know, I lost my big garden where I put two buildings where my purple bus is, that me and Tim plan on doing and running around in that bus; when I'm not working so much, me and Tim's figured on going and doing some stuff that we want to do. So, we kept that bus for that. Of course, that’s my favorite bus of all time; I love that bus. So, we got it put in one of the big sheds where I had my garden. 


The next one is stuff from the house, all stuff from what I had in a big house in Kingston Springs, between there and Nashville, I sold it the other day, so I've got all the furniture in one of the other. Man, I got enough junk that me and Tim could have a yard sale. (Laughs) I was popping popcorn all the time on my old bus because I had a mini kitchen on there, I was always cookin' somethin'. This one, my new bus, I've got two bathrooms on this bus. One in the middle here and the one in the back is my personal one. This one’s an entirely different make; Tim laid this one out and I almost whipped him for not puttin' my room here up closer to the middle, and letting them go on to the back of the bus for theirs. (Laughs)


(CSC) It’s quite beautiful. It is really fit for a Queen!


(Loretta Lynn)

Why thank you. See that picture over there, that’s me when I was eight years old. My little grandson come in, Patsy's little boy, David said, "Momma, you know what, you see that picture there? When me and you were twins a long, long time ago and I know you don't remember," but he said, "Me and you were twins in another lifetime." It shocked me 'cause he's not very old, he ain't big at all, and he’s just a little thing. He said, "Me and you were twins then."


(CSC) That is a cute picture of you!! 


(Loretta Lynn)

Mommy she made me a little big fat dress and she curled my hair and parted it in the middle, look at that. My two big teeth had just come out; I had just got my two big teeth. So I must have been about seven years old, six or seven. 


Get over there close Christian and look at that thing, you ain't gonna believe it. She's got my dressed pinned 'cause she couldn't find the button, yeah; it’s a little big fat dress, yeah!


(CSC) I like that picture that was on your old bus of you and Doo where you're cooking together, what was that from? 


(Loretta Lynn)

Oh yeah! It was beans; I was breaking up green beans from my garden. I had the best garden in the county; it was a lot of work though. I worked, but you know, I loved it. Peggy Jean, my little twin daughter, she loves gardening; she’s selling everything on her place. She makes pie, makes jams, everything and sells it. People go out there and get all their vegetables fresh and everything. 



(CSC) 27. Having worked with various producers through the years, who have been the most interesting to collaborate with?


(Loretta Lynn)

Owen Bradley (laughs), well Jack (White) has been the most interesting because with Owen Bradley I knew what we were gonna to record, how we were gonna record, but for Jack White to come in and record me and him a Rock N' Roller and he would sing with me. "Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz." Then he says to me, "What does this song mean anyways?" I said, "What line are you talking about?" He said, 


(Sings) “Well Portland Oregon and sloe gin fizz, if that ain't love then tell me what is, uh huh, uh huh, well I lost my heart it didn't take me no time, but that ain't all I lost my mind in Oregon.”


He said, "Well, what did you lose?" I said, "I never lost nothin' Jack, this is the song." We were playing free; he couldn't figure that one out, "We were playing free in Oregon."


(Sings) "Well, sloe gin fizz works mighty fast

When you drink it by the pitcher and not by the glass, uh huh, uh huh

Well, I looked at him and caught him lookin' at me

I knew right then we were playin' free in Oregon." 


He couldn't catch it. (Laughs) I said, "Jack shape up here, we're married, the two are married and we were playing free. We wasn't supposed to be messing around." He caught it then.



(CSC) 28. Being a veteran of the business, what do you think of artists like Celine Dion?


(Loretta Lynn) 

Celine Dion is the greatest singer in the world; she’s the greatest. There ain't nobody can top her and I don't care who knows it; that's how I feel. There's nobody, I mean nobody can out sing Celine Dion. She's got twins now; if I love somebody I know their background, I mean I watch. 



(CSC) 29. How about those who have gone too soon such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston?


(Loretta Lynn)

Oh my God, yes!! I never met Whitney, but I loved her singin', nobody could out sing her and Michael Jackson, we knew each other. I knew Michael, I loved him, and he was a good kid. Everything that they accused him of is lies, I knew Michael Jackson and he’d never do nothin' wrong in his life. I'm with his momma there; Michael Jackson was a good guy. He wasn’t no pedophile as they called him; he was not, Michael Jackson, I loved him.



(CSC) 30. Who could you see yourself doing a duet with at this stage of your career?


(Loretta Lynn) 

Me and Merle Haggard are gonna record, if we ever can get together. We've been planning on it for about five years, but we can't get together and I think he is gonna work my range too. I have a little studio so we’ll probably get together there. But talking about recording with someone, I used to love Fats Domino and in Washington State you didn't get country music; from L.A. to Washington there was no country music being played. Finally Seattle started playing a half hour of country and that was after I started singing. I didn't hear country music; so naturally I’m goin' to listen to all the songs like,


(Sings) "I found my thrill, on Blueberry Hill" (Laughs). That's Fats Domino, I loved him. 



(CSC) One more question for you…


(Loretta Lynn) 

No, I ain’t marrying ya! (Laughs) 


(CSC) Oh Lord! 


(Loretta Lynn)

Oh Lord have mercy on us, we ain’t getting married again!  



(CSC) 31. The burning question that everyone wants to know!! When can fans expect a new record from you?!?


(Loretta Lynn) 

Well, that's what me and Patsy have been talking about. I've got a Christmas album recorded, religious album recorded, at least two to three others recorded to just the top five's of the number ones and then top five's. We've got two or three of them cut, we are fixin' to put one out. Me and T Bone (Burnett) is gettin' ready to do an Appalachian album, I can't remember how to say it. My speech is not well received you know. (Laughs)  



(CSC) 32. How is the process for the new Appalachian album coming along so far?


(Loretta Lynn)

Well T Bone and I have talked about it. He’s coming back to the studio again real soon. We preprod (production) last week, so we are gonna be starting on that Appalachian thing. We recorded five songs last week. I wanna sing Whispering Sea, I wrote that thing. But its old hill songs that mommy taught me mostly. I wanna do the "Great Titanic," that's the first song I ever sang in school. I was telling Patsy about my song when I was six or seven years old in school and Patsy said, "Momma," She laughed and laughed and every time she gets me out in front of somebody she makes me sing it. Now you would call it a dirty song, but back then it wasn't a dirty song, it was about a cat and us kids, mommy taught me this little song and I sung it in school. And she taught me one about a bird at night and I remember her sayin' now Loretta, Loretty is what she called me, Loretty, when you get up to sing, she had a little red crepe paper dress for me and that's what I wore on Friday afternoon. She would say, "You do all the motions like;


(Sings) "Oh, where are you going my pretty bird

Oh, where are you going my pretty bird

I am going to the woods; I am going to the woods, I am going to the woods, sweet May

Oh what's in the woods my pretty bird?" 


I mean it's just stuff like mommy wrote, its ole hillbilly stuff that nobody's ever heard, you know. Patsy, she got a thing out of it; she’s my baby. Don't think that I wouldn't kill for her, cause I would.

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