Willie Nelson 86th birthday week celebration rolls on. We've noted that his birthday is often celebrated on both April 29 and 30, ever since a birth-certificate mixup back in 1933. Wednesday evening, The Next Waltz premiered a Facebook video session of more than a dozen Austinites doing Willie songs that had been recorded the night before. And now comes word that Williie's on the cover of the new Rolling Stone.
It's a pretty striking image, and message. Through a cloud of smoke, Willie smiles widely next to a headline quoting him as saying, "Marijuana saved my life." Fittingly, this issue of the magazine is dubbed "The Weed Issue" on the cover.
The interview with journalist Patrick Doyle, plus photos by James Minchin III, took place at the Luck Reunion at Nelson's property in Spicewood during South by Southwest a few weeks ago. The discussion is mostly about cannabis, and when Nelson is asked where he'd be without point, he responds directly: “I wouldn’t be alive. It saved my life, really. I wouldn’t have lived 85 years if I’d have kept drinking and smoking like I was when I was 30, 40 years old. I think that weed kept me from wanting to kill people. And probably kept a lot of people from wanting to kill me, too — out there drunk, running around.”
The article also reveals Nelson recently recorded a gospel album out in Spicewood. It may be a while until that sees the light of day, given the looming June 21 release of "Ride Me Back Home." Austinites can catch Willie here a couple of weeks later, headlining his annual Fourth of July Picnic at Circuit of the Americas.
LISTEN — Austin360 Radio talks about Willie's birthday: