Has Johnny Cash ever sung with Elvis?
Download photo: Falko Hennig
Download photo: Mario Weber and Johnny Cash
Interview with Mario Weber about Johnny Cash
Download photo: Falko Hennig, Jörg Tensing, Miss Piggy and Kermit
Info Muppet Show
Download photo: Jakob Hein, Bartman and Falko Hennig
Download: in the Trabant
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1969 born in Berlin.
1986 - 88 apprenticeship as typesetter in the printing house of the MfNV.
1987 - 89 high school diploma in evening school.
1988 - 98 different jobs.
since 1994 column on Berlin history in the city newspaper "Scheinschlag" ("Berlin 1894" to "Berlin 1905")
from 1995 collaboration in the Reformbühne Heim & Welt, short stories, radio plays, essays.
1996 Foundation of the Charles Bukowski Society (www.Bukowski-gesellschaft.de)
1997 - 99 column "Berliner Zimmer" in the taz.
Other publications including in: "Salbader.", "Titanic", "Frankfurter Rundschau", "konr @ d", "Midwife Info", "NRC HANDELSBLAD", "FAZ".
Since 1997: RADIO HOCHSEE in changing locations, appearances and others. in the Volksbühne, themed evenings, in Berlin every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month, 8 p.m., Kaffee Burger, Torstr. 60
1997/98 work on the novel ALLES NUR GEKLAUT.
Since 1999 collaboration on "Alkor", "Echolot" and "Ortslinien" by Walter Kempowski.
May to October 1999: Authors' workshop at the Berlin Literary Colloquium.
Since 2000 self-employed as a book author, journalist and speaker.
March 2002: FUEN FINGER BOOK PRICE (challenge cup made of a bronze hand)
Books already published:
-Roman ALLES NUR GEKLAUT (MaroVerlag, Augsburg 1999, paperback 2001 at btb).
-Gastronomy in Crisis (P. Wilson Verlag, Berlin 1998).
-Yearbook of the Charles Bukowski Society (editor), Berlin 1998.
- [bju: k], Yearbook of the Charles Bukowski Society 2000 (Ariel Verlag, Riedstadt 1999).
-Roman TRABANTEN (Piper Verlag, Munich, 2002).
-Radio Hochsee (2004 with Piper, Munich)
-Springfield on trip (2004 at The Grüne Kraft, Löhrbach, www.gruenekraft.net)
- Edition of double CD (www.reptiphon.de) and book (Goldmann) on 10 years of reform stage home and world.
-Charles Bukowski and the movie
-Hallucinations at the Simpsons (both successfully held throughout Germany, including Dresden)
-Theme evenings a. to Johnny Cash, Barney Gumble and helicopters
2004 guest editor of the taz on the subject of East Germany.
Since 2004 interviews in GALORE, including with Walter Kempowski, Tim Renner, Ray Harryhause, Albert Speer.
Anniversary performance for 10 years of reform stage Heim und Welt in the Volksbühne sold out in January 2005.
Readings a.o. in the Volksbühne, tRÄNENpALAST, Tempodrom (all Berlin), the Munich Kammerspiele, German-American Institute Heidelberg.
RADIO HOCHSEE themed evenings with Rosa von Praunheim, Thomas Brussig, Jörg Buttgereit, Wolfgang Müller, Matthias Penzel, Thomas Kapielski, Wladimir Kaminer, Heinrich Dubel and Frieder Butzmann.
Feature sacrificial tracks (WDR, 2005).
2001 Anthologies TRAUMSTADTBUCH (Rowohlt),
FRESH GOLD BOYS (Bertelsmann),
ASPHALPOETEN (CD by Kein & Aber, 2001),
ELECTORAL RELATIONSHIPS (established in 2002),
PLANET SLAM (yedermann, Munich 2002),
WILD EAST (fischer, 2002),
THE BEST SOUNDS SHIT (Fünf Finger Ferlag, Leipzig 2002),
BERLIN IN LIGHT (Suhrkamp, 2004).
Mario Weber and Johnny Cash
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70 TIMES "I WALK THE LINE"
On the night of February 26, 2002, a themed evening on the night of February 26, 2002, was held in the Guibal Hall to mark Johnny Cash's 70th birthday. Guest expert was the Johnny Cash researcher Mario Weber.
On September 12, 2003, Cash died at the age of 71.
Falko Hennig: How did you come across Johnny Cash?
Mario Weber: I ask myself that too. I saw the film of San Quentin that was on the public broadcasting network at the time, and I found it interesting and exciting. Then I went to the library, where you could still borrow records back then, and I borrowed things from him and I liked that. That's how I got into it.
Was the San Quentin movie a real movie back then?
No, it never got to the cinema, it was a TV production from the start, both in America and in the rest of the world.
Do you remember exactly what got you thinking about this film? Haven't you heard from Johnny Cash before?
I hadn't heard anything before. I found it fascinating that someone goes to prison, not only performs there, but also makes a record out of it. At the time, I also didn't know that he had done that before in Folsom Prison.
What is it about, why and how often has it performed in prisons?
He made appearances in prison until the mid-1980s. The very first one was in Folsom when the head of the prison asked him to perform in front of the people because of the song "Folsom Prison Blues".
He says he wrote it the night before.
No, “Folsom Prison Blues” is from the Sun era. Written the night before, that was different. That was for "A Boy named Sue," the day before the gig was here, February 24, 1969, Shel Silverstein gave him the song, sheet music, and lyrics, so they had to read them off. He just loved the song and had to do it for that prison gig. That's why it's a bit bumpy how it's presented.
I've heard a lot worse then. That prison warden asked him if he'd like to appear in prison, and then he did. Or was it also a business matter?
No, he got no money for it, even in later years when he had enough money, paid the costs himself so that the prison budget would be spared, no expenses.
How can this be explained? Are there any biographical references? Was Cash ever in jail himself?
Never seriously, he was once in a sobering cell overnight because he was drunk and picking flowers from the roadside. The sheriff didn't like that, so he had to go to jail for a day.
There we are already with this not unimportant complex “Johnny Cash and Drugs”.
Yes, it fits together.
Even though you claim that Cash isn't a drinker at all, how does it fit together that he is drunk and picking flowers?
That he was now a teetotaler with regard to alcohol wasn't that. But alcohol never played a role for him, it was the stimulants and sleeping pills, that was the main thing. He's a person who always has to experience a lot, and being awake for a week was then normal.
Are you the most important cash expert in Berlin?
From Berlin yes, not from Germany anymore, there is the European Johnny Cash fan club in the Hamburg area and a friend of mine spends 4 or 5 hours a day with Johnny Cash in his free time. And that would be a little too much for me. For example, he no longer writes the titles on the records and tapes he has, but the matrix number because he knows everything by heart.
What does he do for a living that he can spend 5 hours a day with Johnny Cash?
He's a professor at the Bonn University for Political Science.
Have you also published on the topic?
I did almost the entire European tour of Cash ‘95, accompanied him for weeks and wrote about it in a Gothic magazine, a magazine from the European Johnny Cash fan club and for a small country magazine.
What do you collect from Johnny Cash?
Mainly all records that have been released worldwide. You then have "I walk the line" about 70 times in the same version.
The first songs appeared on Sun Records, where the young Elvis Presley was discovered, did they already know each other back then?
They got to know each other at Sun and then went on tour together. Cash was the opening act for Elvis.
What more can you say about his first song “Hey Porter!”, That was a 45s disc, as the older ones still know. Was that first single a success?
Porter is the one who makes the connections on the railroad and clicks the cards, a conductor and information man. The single had relative success in 1955, so Cash was allowed to record gospels, he actually wanted to be a gospel singer. But they were not published.
What situation was Johnny Cash in then?
He was 23 at the time, he was a. Vacuum cleaner salesman, a terribly bad one. And the boss in the company knew he wanted to be a singer and just gave him money and said, “So try! And if you should ever earn your money, which I don't believe at all, you are far too lazy for that, then you will pay me back. ”And so he simply had the luxury of not having to work and was able to tour small clubs do, as I said, as the opening act for Elvis.
But there is also a film where he crushes these lightbulbs, how did it come about that he crushes the spotlights on the stage?
He had a TV show every Saturday from ABC from 1969 to 1971, that was split into spring and fall seasons, so not 53 shows. At one of the last shows he broke off in the middle of the song "A Boy named Sue", went to the front and smashed the lamps in the Grand Ole Opry that were shining from below. His reasoning was afterwards: “They were hurting my eyes.” They blinded me.
What is to be made of it? He wasn't there for the first time and the lamps had the same light intensity. Can one accept hatred of the establishment in the form of the Opry as motivation for this act?
No, I suppose the mix of the tablets was just wrong.
Did Cash give any information about secrets of this kind in his biography?
No he did `nt. He also denied for years that he had recorded a commercial for Pepsi-Cola, until we handed him the record and said: "Now you can listen to it again for yourself." He simply denied that because ' s he was embarrassed. And he would deny something like that.
Going back to your own Johnny Cash story, did you see that San Quentin concert on TV and it made you a fan, or did it take you any longer?
That took even longer, I only started collecting in 1976. First I went to the library, I know how many people I've borrowed records from, and then the things I wanted weren't there, from Pink Floyd and such. Only the cash things were there, and I took them with me and thought it was great. I also stumbled across the San Quentin plate and thought, "Yes, class, that's good."
And when did you first see Johnny Cash in person?
A year later, in April '78. He was in Berlin in the Deutschlandhalle. My sister was working as a disc jockey at the time and said: “I absolutely have to get an autograph from Johnny Cash.” That's when she got the hotel out, and after the concert I went to the Intercontinental on Budapester Straße. I went there in the evening and asked completely naively: "I would like an autograph from Johnny Cash." Then he looked at me a little pityingly and said: "They leave tomorrow morning at 5." Probably in the hope that I am not tough enough , to do that. And I just told my parents that I wouldn't go to school tomorrow because I was too tired. Got up at 4 to be at the hotel on time. The musicians could be seen in the lobby and he was there too. Somehow I wasn't able to address him sensibly with a straight sentence, instead I held out a felt-tip pen and a record with trembling hands, and he understood what I meant.
And that record just says “Johnny Cash” on it?
Yes, because I wasn't able to say: "Please signature for ..." or something, because my English was gone, and so was my language.
Did you then meet Cash more often in person, how often?
I admit: often.
Was he always nice or was he clearly annoyed by you? Were you a groupie?
Probably become, yes. He was nice enough, he also fulfilled wishes that could be fulfilled. When people knew I was going to meet Johnny Cash, they would give me record covers and books to sign. He was extremely patient and fulfilled it.
You haven't been to his house, but have you been to his property?
At Hickory Lake, he simply invited them to it. He knew that I was going there with my girlfriend at the time, so he briefly showed us the property. But we weren't allowed into the house.
Is there a museum too?
There was a museum that was closed when his mother, who ran the museum, passed away because he didn't like this merchandise himself.
Are those beer coasters with a picture of Johnny Cash on them?
From socks to pens, everything you can imagine where you can put the name Johnny Cash up. Now he's not a special person who's the only one doing that. Elvis Presley merchandise is worse.
Was this museum located near his house?
Yes, it was a 2 minute walk, and the main thing was that he had exhibited his gold records, the Jesus film he made, "Gospel Road", there was the cross to see, souvenir photos. He had an Al Capone chair.
A real Al Capone chair? How do you get that?
He bought Al Capone's favorite chair at an auction. Then he had from Tick, Trick and Track and Uncle Donald had the car from the comic. The car was copied in the original, it is also functional, and it just said that.
Cash and drugs, he was stationed as a GI in Germany, Elvis Presley says that he came into contact with certain drugs during his time as a soldier. Is there information about cash?
He actually came into contact with alcohol a lot, that is a time when he really drank. He wrote that himself. He said the beer and the women are very nice in Germany.
Is there any information about the women?
He is said to be a relatively loyal husband. So he wasn't that active in that regard.
He was a fan of the Carter Family, so it is obvious to marry one of the Carter daughters.
Elvis, the Carter Family and Cash appeared together at the Grand Ole Opry in the late 1950s. And then Elvis introduced June Carter and Johnny Cash, because he already suspected and said: This will be something with both of them. And it became something.
You looked each other in the eye and played those old ballads all night?
There are no more detailed documents.
They got married, had children and also went to many concerts together.
The idea came about that June Carter and Johnny Cash's children could be cared for together. And they can go on a package tour together. That was the original idea in the mid-1960s. She has children, he has children, and together they also have a child.
That is confusing.
She was once married to Cal Smith, had 3, 4 or 5 daughters with him, and you keep reading new names. Johnny Cash had 4 daughters from his first marriage.
From when to when did he have this own television show?
From 1969 to 1971, where he put on this legendary rubble show.
Coming back to the drug, there's this song that was only played once by Cash on his own show, and it's particularly illuminating when it comes to drugs.
It's a parable, it tells its own story of how he got off drugs.
And he calls that Uncle Bill. Did he ever put the song on record?
The record company refused.
Because he's glorifying to drugs? It's actually a relatively realistic portrayal of cold withdrawal.
Actually yes, but they didn't care, they didn't want that. After “Sunday morning coming down”, that was already too intense for them, they didn't want another drug song, which then becomes a hit.
The story of “Sunday morning coming down” has to be told again. Johnny Cash didn't write that, but ...
Kris Kristoffersson, he sent it to him, he gave it to him personally in the studio, but Cash didn't respond.Kristoffersson was a military helicopter pilot and he took a helicopter from a friend while drunk and flew to Cash on the property, landed there and said, "If you don't remember me now, when?" And then gave him this song again.
Then did Johnny Cash listen to it?
And then he asked Kristoffersen in. Now only the military police came because there is a military area near Cash's property. Back and forth and great admission and arrest and then immediately released. Then Cash asked him in, sent him to a guest room to sober up. And when he was sober, they talked about the song.
What did Johnny Cash sang in Finnish?
The question can be answered the other way around, he actually only used two other languages besides English, one song in Spanish "Anillo de fuego" and then he sang 6 songs in German.
One of them was originally called "6 feet high and rising", it's about floods, you're sitting on a house. In the German version it is much deeper: “Where is at home, mom?” How did he come to sing songs in German, was that because of his GI time in Germany?
No, the lows of show business, all recorded in New York in 1965, and it was simply for the money.
And that paid off, they were then sold in Germany?
A song, “Kleine Rosmarie” and “Wer sucht den Weg” were released, with not that great success. It was said that the other songs don't have to come out now, they were then published later, among other things. also "In Virginia".
Johnny Cash could have renamed himself for these songs, for example Johann Bargeld. How did Cash's collaboration with the punk band "One Bad Pig" come about?
This American band sings gospel songs, but in a punk version. He thought it was so crazy that he said he was going to be part of a song and sang “The Man in Black” with them.
Is that an extreme that he no longer crossed?
No, there's nothing harder from him in the genre of music.
There is something that would have been better never broadcast because it is so bad. Johnny Cash 1983 guest on "Wetten dass ...?"
It just got the chance because it was broadcast live. That's hard to explain. When I spoke to one of the band the next day, he actually thought it was quite normal and asked what was so bad about this gig. I think that actually speaks for itself.
Does that mean he has performed a lot of this kind of gigs during this time?
I didn't see it, the tour after that was fine with me. As I said, the musicians shrugged their shoulders and said: "That's the way it is."
It was the last show in which the musicians were allowed to sing live, after that ...
... Abba and all the other bands had to sing full playback.
The most terrible thing is how Cash tries, in complete misunderstanding of his mental state, to speak German to the audience, and that really for minutes. What was the reason for this artistic state of emergency that Cash was in at the time?
He explained it in the current biography he wrote with Patrick Carr. He says he was heavily dependent on pain medication at the time. And he flew directly from America to Germany, arrived at the airport straight into the hall, probably changed his clothes on the plane and went on stage. He had an operation, he was attacked by an ostrich.
Of a what? Ostriches only live in South Africa.
He's got some on his farm.
He was attacked by his own ostrich? And are there fans who believe that?
Anyway, it would explain the pain medication.
Well, I've heard much more plausible explanations for pain relievers.
Perhaps it is precisely the improbable that is the true. Imagine if he had said: Car accident or something, nobody would have believed him.
Are there any film recordings of this ostrich attack?
If there are any, I don't know them.
For example, what about rare recordings?
For example “Leave that Junk alone” is a rarity, that is a demo recording from 1957, which for understandable reasons was not released at the time, because the topic was simply not right. This is a demo version where he only plays 3 chords, if at all. And he passed this tape on and nothing was ever made of it. There is only this demo version of this song.
Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan, how often did they make music together?
They had been friends for years, they also visited each other and exchanged material.
In 1969 they made music on television in a somewhat surreal setting.
The interesting thing is that Bob Dylan generally refused to appear on television shows in the 1960s, he never did. Then Cash got the ABC show, on the very first show Cash asked Bob Dylan if he would sing a duet with him, from the record they wanted to release together, and Bob Dylan agreed and is actually there occurred.
Johnny Cash and the humor, there is even a book with actually unbelievable cash anecdotes. But you've also experienced something like that yourself.
The book describes how he painted his hotel room with quick-drying paint and then called room service and asked what the bright green paint was all about. Of course, they didn't know what to do with it and gave him another room. The second anecdote, which is still nice, that he managed to smuggle a donkey into his room in a posh hotel. And then ordered straw for the donkey, of course the receptionists didn't deliver this bale of straw upstairs, and then asked him to leave the hotel.
Sounds unbelievable, but did you experience something similar yourself with Johnny Cash?
In the cloakroom during the concert break, I went back, his wife was handing out sandwiches, there was still butter left over. And the cover to the air conditioning was open, so he took the butter: "I show you a trick" and threw the butter into the air conditioning. We all had to laugh, we could imagine how it must have smelled there after a few days.
© Falko Hennig
Falko Hennig, Jörg Tensing, Miss Piggy and Kermit
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THE MUPPET SHOW
One of the early highlights of the Radio Hochsee theme nights was Johnny Cash's appearance on the Muppet Show. The "Orange Blossom Special" duet with Miss Piggy is unforgettable for us. Immediately, both Doc Schoko and I wanted to organize a themed evening about Kermit, Gonzo and the many other Jim Henson dolls, but there was no suitable expert.
But the many inquiries were successful, Jörg Tensing, screenwriter, journalist and muppetologist has contacted us and will be the guest expert at the theme evening "The Muppet Show" on April 28th (8pm, coffee burger). I hope to have a large audience with this first-time engagement with this piece of American cultural history. (Repeat: June 18, 8:30 p.m., Knorre).
Jakob Hein, Bartman and Falko Hennig
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In the Trabant
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