Pics & Memories
Roger Miller Book
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Lyle E Style
"Waylon was the coolest of the all. He had the greatest wit I've witnessed. I wish I had that last concert I saw of his on tape. It was unreal. I had a chance to be his "Lyric Screen" guy but it was a choice between my wife or Waylon.
I remember a few days before I met Saint Johnny Cash a friend asked what I was doing over the weekend. I said "I'm going to meet Johnny Cash". He asked me how, I answered "I'll tell you on Monday". He had a divine presence.
I am so grateful to have caught a Kris Kristofferson concert , he was the only one of the Highwaymen that I didn’t get a chance to see perform and that dream was fulfilled. He is a surreal talent and a very humble man for all he has contributed to the entertainment industry. It was an amazing gift to interview him and meet up with him!
I'll always be a huge fan of Willie's but the experience was quite bizarre. You can check out the Roger Miller book I wrote on more about that.
I was thrilled that I hit it off with my hero Merle Haggard, he gave me his cell number and after a chat, he invited me to his home/studio in California. With me being broke, it never happened and when I did keep in touch like he originally asked, I realized it's best to let famous people keep friendships alive. I still saw him over the years which I'm grateful for.
“Where did you get your W” he asked me when we first met, and I have been blessed to spend one-on-one time with him a few times. He’s the greatest story teller and I wanted to capture his memories in a book “Bare With Me” however it was more of interest to me than it was to him. I still love Bobby Bare, he is one of the most underrated talents in the industry.
"I'm so grateful for the times I got to spend with Roy Clark and all the concerts I saw of his in Branson and beyond. He's recording some of my favourite tracks and was one of the greatest talents I've seen on stage."
Not only is Dwight Yoakam one of the greatest singers on the planet, his acting and his songwriting are beyond belief. I really don’t know how a person could be more talented than him.
Sheb Wooley was one of my favorite guys to have ever spent time with. He acted out a screenplay for me which was amazing, he showed me around his place and told me tons of stories. The best stories were told when we went out to eat in Hendersonville, they were funny, shocking and I kick myself for not capturing those on tape (albeit, I know he wouldn’t have wanted me to record those!). The ride with him was just as amazing. Just two weeks prior to his passing, he sent me this email: "I can hardly wait to see your book... I know it will be successful..."
The Coop got me into songwriting and performing. I broke out of a minor seminary March 28, 1987 to catch an Alice Cooper concert 6 hours away, I was nearly expelled but I was assured I would be going to hell because of it because “he’s the devil”. Well, I got to see over 20 Coop concerts over the years and got to talk to the master a number of times too. An amazing guy!
When I was writing the Roger Miller book, somehow the word got to Toby Keith and his people reached out to me saying he’d like to get involved. It was pretty cool to get a call from him one day but he didn’t know Roger personally and the concept of the book was Roger’s “Old Friends” sharing memories. Right as we were about to end the conversation, something hit me to ask him to write the Foreword and luckily he said yes immediately. I’ve since written a number of songs for him but unfortunately I don’t think he’s ever heard them. He’s got a hell of a career and I’m grateful he took the time and effort to write the Foreword!
I have a huge amount of respect for Marty Stuart. I got to know his Mom and Sister in Nashville pretty well, they even set me up with a roommate on the outskirts of Nashville. His Pilgrim album is one of country music's best releases.
I am so lucky to have spent time with Jessi, I love her singing and she has a great personality. I had breakfast with her and Waylon once and it was one of my all time favourite memories.
Mickey Gilley is one of the hardest working entertainers I’ve ever known. I’m so grateful for all the shows I saw of his and the times I’ve spent with him. He’s a fascinating guy and has some great stories. For all he’s gone through, I’d love to follow him around and induce complaining because I love grumpy old men. I think it would make a great book but it may make him look bitter which he is not, he’s super gracious and I think the world of him.
Mel Tillis was an amazing guy and he has a great family. I was lucky to see many of his shows and spend time with him on many occasions. His theater in Branson was amazing. At some of those shows, he’d introduce me to the audience which was so kind. He and his family made me feel welcome which is something I’ll never forget. I can’t imagine the pain his family and close friends experience not having him around anymore.
Little Jimmy Dickens
Little Jimmy Dickens was one cool dude, it was an honor to meet him and interview him for my book on Roger Miller.
Kits, don’t use this pic!! I love Bill Anderson but I look like a lunatic and do not want it posted. Thanks
I love Robert Shields, he’s got some of the greatest stories ever. He was Entertainer of the Year many times in Las Vegas and is now a full time artist. At his house, he was kind enough to not only show my family and I his amazing work but entertained us as well. He really is a master at what he does, his impressions, his story telling and his moves are phenominal.
I was cast to play “Larry/Richard Kline” on the “Three’s Company: Behind The Scenes” made for TV movie. I wasn’t the only one upset that I ended up on the cutting room floor. Richard is an awesome guy and contributed to that show big time. It was an honor be cast as him because I have so much respect for what he does and I absolutely loved his play “Boychik” which is a term I use now when I refer to my boys.
Three's Company - Behind The Scenes
Here's a pic from the filming of the movie of which I was essentially cut out of.
I never thought I’d have kids but here they are and they are my world.
Blake Levon Style
My new favorite entertainer is my boychild, he’s a creative and funny kid with a unique personality. I wish I could be more like him.
One of my favorite tracks to perform & listen to is Jim Stafford’s “Spiders & Snakes”. He’s a great entertainer and is amazing guitarist. He was married to my all-time female singer/songwriter Bobbie Gentry who pretty much disappeared from the media. I did all I could to get Mr. Stafford to pass the message to Ms. Gentry that I would love to write a book about her but I wasn’t able to capture her interest.
I wish I could have been behind Billy Sanford’s eyeballs, he’s witnessed magic that very few have. He’s a master guitarist who played with Don Williams for decades among others like Roy Orbison and on countless studio sessions including for Elvis right in the jungle room in Graceland. We became friends because of Bill Dees who I believe he found as unique of a person as I did. I love listening to Billy’s stories and hearing him play.
“There’s nothing sadder than watching your heroes die”. Waylon was the coolest of the cool, now he rests in Arizona.
Remember the Coop
Here's a cool pic I took of the master entertainer.
Saint Mother Teresa
I met Saint Mother Teresa in Winnipeg when I was a kid. Here’s a pic I took of her. She had an amazing presence unlike anything I experienced until I met Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash had that same presence which makes me wonder if he will be Sainted one day, I think it’s a miracle all the people he’s brought together and the unbelievable stretch of types of fans he has – it seems everyone loves JC.
Here’s a photo from the last time I got to see Mel Tillis. He was a great guy and had an amazing career.
Mickey Gilley is one of the coolest guys to sit with and just listen to his commentary on things, he’s so interesting and fun to be with!
When I was a kid, Crystal Gayle was the first performer I saw in concert. It’s been great catching her shows over the years ever since. “Waiting for times to get better” is one of my all time favorite songs. The other people are my parents.
Book signings are fun only if there are people there. Otherwise, it’s akin to busking with people looking the other way.
I’m grateful to John Brack for booking me and lending me his band in Zurich at Switzerland’s largest Country Music Festival. It was also nice having him do a few songs with me. I’m sad he’s passed away.
Alice Cooper changed my life and it’s pretty cool to spend time with someone who has a profound impact on what you’ve chosen to do with your life.
Backstage with The Memphis Belles
I miss the days of performing with the Memphis Belles acting out songs and dancing on stage with me (note: I can’t dance but nobody was watching me when the girls were there).
Johnny Counterfit is such an amazing, talented and kind-hearted guy. If you don’t know who he is, you should investigate. Johnny Cash himself would have him fill in for him on recordings and no one was the wiser.
I don’t know what Chef Ramsay’s problem was, we thought Amy & Sammy are great people. We enjoyed our visit with them!
Out of all the Elvis crew, I think Joe was the one I had the best connection with. He was funny and would answer all the questions about Elvis you could ask without it driving him nuts (as best I could tell). It was Joe who convinced me Elvis didn’t fake his death as I had hoped. I spent a weekend with him and I’ll never forget that when people would ask to have a photo with him, he’d say “Lyle’s got to come in the photo too”. I’m sure those folks wonder who the hell I am as they look at those photos.
Old Man Steve
I used to work at the Crystal Casino in Winnipeg and I was awestruck by a miserable old man who only swore under his breath as he gambled away all the change in his pocket. He ignored me completely despite my efforts to get to know him. Then I got promoted to a slot attendant where I had the power to buy people drinks. I treated him like a high roller, always ensuring he had a drink in his hand. He then only started coming when I was on shift and we started hanging out after work. At 3 a.m., I’d take him for a bowl of gravy (his favorite) at Johnny G’s and try to make sense of what he had to say. I had some of the coolest experiences with Old Man Steve.
Old Man Steve
After a year of hanging with Steve, I was promoted to the head office but I kept tabs on him. It was about a month that no one had seen him so I contacted his landlord. It broke my heart, I waited days to see the obituary in the paper, then I started making phone calls, no one claimed him at the morgue so I did. No one even knows the day he died. I ended up arranging the funeral and there were less than 10 people in attendance. He had a huge impact on me and he inspired my screenplay “Don’t Bend For Coppers”.
I’ve been super lucky to meet nearly everyone from Elvis Presley’s crew from his musicians, Karate instructor, members of the Memphis Mafia and even got a private tour of Graceland once with his old nurse Marian Cocke.
Ill Received Promo Shot
I loved the idea of this photo but I don’t think anyone else did. Mickey Gilley gave permission to take this photo in his theater in Branson (including borrowing his super awesome staff). I thought two people in the audience not enjoying my show as I wore my KISS cowboy boots (my design) would be a hit but it wasn’t.
Strumming Alice Cooper's guitarist's guitar
Over the years I’ve found myself in some strange places, here I am with the bass player from the Scorpions and Ryan Roxie from the Alice Cooper Show. I had a Toyota Paseo at the time, I was taking the guys around Winnipeg who had a night off, there were five of us cramped in there in the freezing Winnipeg winter looking for girls at the clubs.
One of the coolest things in my performing “career” was shortly after I first started playing in bands, I was chosen to sing with The Jordanaires. Great guys with lots of great stories. I ran into them a few times over the years and it’s a great honor to not only see them perform but get to meet them and perform with them.
Merle Haggard had one of thee coolest voices on the planet, he aged like fine scotch. There was never a moment I wasn’t blown away in his presence.
Doug Kershaw performing "Cajun Stripper" live is one of the greatest things a person can witness. I've seen it many times and hope to witness that again sometime soon.
Johnny Lee’s a nice guy with a great voice, I’m glad to have met him.
Bill Dees was a friend, mentor & writing partner who I miss every day. There is a tribute page to him on this website.
Jimmie Rodgers & Bill Dees
I was lucky enough to meet with the great Jimmie Rodgers who penned one of my favorite tracks ‘It’s Over’, made famous by Elvis. As you may recall, Bill Dees second biggest all-time hit with Roy Orbison was also called ‘It’s Over’ both released in the mid-60s. I was thrilled when Jimmie asked me to bring Bill over to meet him. Here I was lining up the first meeting between two awesome songwriters who had hits both by the title of ‘It’s Over’. Really, what are the odds of that happening?
Mel Tillis & Bill Dees
When Mel Tillis heard I had been staying with Bill Dees for a few months, he asked me to invite Bill down to a show. He set us up with front row center tickets and introduced us to the audience and had Bill come up and they performed “Oh, Pretty Woman” together. It was quite an event and I’m happy I was able to be a part of the reason that magical experience happened.
Merle Haggard & Freddy Powers
Killer seats to another amazing Haggard show!
Don Markham was an amazing asset to the Merle Haggard shows. One of my favorite things to do was watch him at Haggard shows as his parts were very anticipated and sometimes a long time in between. He was also a nice guy and I’m super happy I got to spend time with him. I should also mention, most of the Merle Haggard crew were awesome people and were full of very cool stories.
Buck is an incredibly talented guy filled with great stories!
I caught Hank Snow’s last performance at the Opry. He was in rough shape, he had to read off cards and even then, you couldn’t understand what he was saying. Marty Stuart came out and graciously got him and took him backstage. I told Hank that I really enjoyed his book that he wrote which highlighted how Colonel Tom Parker screwed him over, Hank didn’t remember writing a book. Shortly after he passed away.
Backstage at the Opry
Here's a pic when I had backstage access to a Grand Ole Opry show. I've had many great experiences at the Opry and saw some amazing performances including Johnny Paycheck doing "Old Violin".
When I was a teenager, one of my closest friends was Jon Pylypchuk. He’s now a super accomplished artist based out of Los Angeles. Here we are catching up when I was living in Vancouver.
Jon and I went to a minor seminary together, we had to do stupid things to keep ourselves entertained. This is the last photo of the last run of the downhill skiing we did with cross country skis.
It’s pretty cool to be on the same billboard as Glen Campbell!
One of my favorite tracks is “Me & Paul” by Willie Nelson, it’s pretty surreal to have a photo of “Me & Paul”. He was the nicest guy of the Willie Nelson crew, I was grateful for the shows I caught of his, hanging out on the back of his bus and having an opportunity to interview him. I was sad to hear he passed away in February of 2020.
It's disheartening to look ridiculous next to one of the greatest people to ever exist. These were the days of film cameras and I was telling my friend how to use the camera.
I had my guitar in my car when I met Johnny Cash but being in shock of him inviting me on his bus, it never entered my mind to go to my car and have him sign mine. I regret that every time I see this pic I took of him signing someone else’s guitar!
I’m not sure if I have Michelle Wright to thank her for everything or have Michelle to blame for everything. It’s because of being her host when I worked for Manitoba Lotteries and hanging out with her for a few days that she encouraged me to get involved in the music industry. Either way, thanks Michelle, I’ve got a lot of good memories because of you!
Grand Ole Opry?
I find this sums up my career quite well, this is me in the shadows, pretending to play my guitar on a pretend “Grand Ole Opry” for a Hallmark movie. My sister informed me after filming, that as a teenager, I had a huge crush on the star Alicia Witt when she starred in the TV show “Cybill”.
Pics & Memories
Lyle has been blessed to meet many of his heroes, here's a few pics along with some of his stories about those experiences & more...