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Home » “The Killer Speaks His Mind”: The Wit & Wisdom Of Jerry Lee Lewis

“The Killer Speaks His Mind”: The Wit & Wisdom Of Jerry Lee Lewis

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Jerry Lee Lewis. AKA: “The Ferriday Fireball,” “God’s Garbageman,” “The Killer.” The mens fret, the ladies pet.The rompinest, stompinest, pee-yana playingest son of a bitch that has ever staggered across this green earth. This hillbilly hepcat is one of the true American originals. Jerry Lee Lewis is a great man. Perhaps not a good man but a great man nonetheless.

If I had my way, this boogie woogie barbarians wickedly grinning mug would be boldly carved in stone somewhere, Mt. Rushmore sized, so that generations to come may know of, learn from and aspire to the salacious standards he has set for Rawkin’ Roll music.

Since the onset of a nearly half century long career, Jerry Lee has been accused of, amongst other things: Social irresponsibility, Political incorrectness and Moral Bankruptcy. Not only does he not deny the charges, he rejoices in them. They are all part & parcel of his, shall we say, rather colorful persona. Point blank, he just don’t give a flying fuck what you or I or anyone else thinks. A true rock star and a man after my own heart. His exploits make longtime fan Keith Richards look like a choir boy in comparison. Birds of a feather and all that.

Not only has he survived (any dumbfuck can do that) but he has survived on his own terms. He has perservered and prospered through a career fraught with enough scandal, tribulation and insanity to push a mere mortal off the deep end.

In his wake, he has left behind a path of destruction so deep and so wide that I imagine even Satan himself must be grinning, giggling and scratching his head in wonder. Also a larger than life itself musical legacy as if anyone really needs to be reminded.

One does not walk the edge of the abyss and dance with demons, both real and imagined, without gleaning some wisdom though. Through all of lifes trials and troubles there are messages to be learned and lessons to be taught.

Without further aplomb here is Jerry Lee Lewis sharing with us that hard earned sagacity acquired through the years. Let’s listen in as the “Meat Man” waxes all wild, wooly and poetic on those things near and dear to him. Chiefly: JLL Himself, Literature, Himself, Grooming, Himself, the Tender Gender, Himself, Elvis and of course his favorite subject of all:Hizzownbadself. Here we go on the subjects of:

LITERATURE: “This Shakespeare was really somethin’, I wonder what he would’ve thought of my records?”…

WORK ETHICS: “Just gimme my money and show me where the piano is…”

ELVIS: When queried about The Big E’s demise J.L.L had this to say: “I was glad. Just another one out of the way. I mean Elvis this, Elvis that. All we hear is Elvis. What the shit did Elvis do except take dope that I couldn’t get ahold of ? …”

GROOMING: “We don’t need men to look like like girls. We need damn men to look like men.”

“Be a man… any son of a bitchin’ man wears his like a woman has got a fuckin’ weakness he better get rid of.”

WOMEN: “Pussy is pussy…”

HIMSELF: “I was born feet first, been rockin’ ever since…”

“I’m no angel, but I’m a pretty nice guy.”

“I don’t have nothin’ to prove to nobody. I just likes to kick ass is all…”

“I’m a rompin’, stompin’ piano playin’ son of a bitch. A mean son of a bitch. But a great son of a bitch. A good person. Never hurt nobody unless they got in my way.”

“There’s very few great talents left… I’m not saying I’m one of ‘em, I’m saying I’m the only one.”

RELIGION: “I’m dragging the audience to hell with me…”

And I can’t wait for the trip. With Jerry Lee at the wheel it sounds like a mighty fun ride. I’m going to wrap this with a personal JLL story I hope someone out in the merry old land of blogs will find amusing:

In 1984 I saw Jerry Lee Lewis play at the Sahara Hotel (on a double bill with the late great Ricky Nelson!) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jerry Lee was in excellent form and in a very subdued mood that night. He was playing lots of Blues, ballads and slow Honky-Tonk weepers. He also had James Burton playing lead guitar in his band that night. How cool is that ???

Now, I’d seen him on several occasions before and he was pulling out tunes I’d NEVER seen him do before such as “Crying Time,” “Who Will The Next Fool Be?” “No Headstone On My Grave,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” and many others. In between each & every song and during others, some dumb-assed Rockabilly kid in the crowd kept on screaming real obnoxiously: “Play some Boogie Woogie daddy!!! Play some Boogie Woogie!!!”

Finally, Jerry Lee had had enough of this idiot. He stopped mid-song, gave the kid an ice cold stare and he said to him:

“Son, I wish I was your daddy, because I’d come down there and whoop your muthafuckin’ ass.” Needless to say the kid finally shut up.

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  • Vern Halen

    Ah, the Killer. Long may he rock…or whatever the hell else he wants to do.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    VH,Big thanks for reading this as I was
    afraid it had slipped through the cracks
    or something… Yeah,JLL’s the man!!!!!

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    Ha! Great, great post HW. i was glad to see it had finally appeared. There was a while i kept gettin one of those terribly chic black and white error message thingys. Great stuff, and a brilliant Jerry Lee story.
    As to the quotes, my favourite is probably the Elvis one.
    Brilliant.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    Duke,Thanks Much.I sure appreciate it.
    Sir De Mondo, belive it or not there was a musical adaptation of Othello that
    was called “Catch My Soul” in which JLL
    played Iago.JLL was excellent by all the
    reviews.To hear the words of the Bard
    delivered with a Louisiana accent is
    truly of life’s guilty pleasures.

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    cool! JLL doin Iago. good god. That wud’ve been all the cool in the world.

  • http://expatcat.typepad.com felix

    There is a great anecdote about his feud with Chuck Berry concerning who is the True KIng of rock and roll, related as best I remember it.

    Supposedly, he and Mr. Berry were doing a show together and had a massive argument over who was going to close the show. After an extremely heated argument, Jerry Lee finally said fine, he’d go first.
    By the end of his set, the crowd was on their feet and screaming. While he did his closer, “Great Balls of Fire”, he sprayed the piano with lighter fluid and set it on fire while he played, and the crowd went berserk.
    By the time he was done, people were ripping the seating out of the floors, sirens were going off, the piano was there in flames, and Jerry Lee strolled up to his nemesis and said “You’re on, Chuck.”

  • http://expatcat.typepad.com felix

    Not that it needed repetition. Sorry.

  • Thijmen

    This is not a very new story, in fact a very old one. He didn’t say “You’re On Chuck” but something else, which I do not want to repeat. Full story: read “Hellfire” by Nick Tosches.

  • Eric Olsen

    I don’t think the point was whether the story is new or not, simply that it’s illustrative and amusing.

    As far as the merits of the debate itself, though, there’s no comparison, JLL isn’t 1/10 the songwriter CB is.

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    You’re right,Jerry Lee Lewis isn’t the
    songwriter that Chuck was. But that was
    never his(JLL’s)main strength.I’d never
    debate that point. Hell,Jerry Lee Lewis
    only wrote a couple of original songs in
    his entire career! and they weren’t even
    all that “Original”.

    Jerry Lee Lewis has the ability to take
    anyones song and make it his own, be it
    a Tin Pan Alley pop tune,Blues,C & W or
    Rock N Roll. Ray Charles could do this,
    Al Green, Aretha Franklin and very few
    others. Chuck may have written “Little
    “Queenie, but JLL breathed new life into
    it and added a lewdness to it that Chuck
    could never have. Just an example of the
    way Jerry Lee had with others tunes.

    Of course,I have read Tosches “Hellfire”
    several times and it is a great book.
    Many of the quotes in my post were taken
    from it directly.

    First time I’ve peeked at the site in a
    week and a half. I can’t believe people
    are still commenting.Weird.
    HW

  • Eric Olsen

    Yo HW, it’s called a “recurrent.”

  • Wayne

    Jerry Lee Lewis,The Killer Rocks On !!
    The Best Ever !!

  • Bill Taylor

    The Killer is still “ROCKIN” ON”!KEEP watchin’ the record shops,several NEW (not rehashes) CD’s should be coming out soon! Also,a lifetime Grammy award for a lifetime of musical achievement!IS respectability not too far behind? God,let’s hope not!!!

  • HW Saxton

    The thought of new releases by Jerry Lee
    leaves me “Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh, BREATHLESS!

  • http://www.mondoirlando.com Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    HW, you should check out that recent Willie Nelson DVD, Outlaws And Angels. Jerry does some mean duets on there. Even the one with Kid Rock rules, for Gods sakes.

  • HW Saxton

    I’d like to check that out Duke.The last
    time I saw Jerry Lee perform he mainly
    played a lot of slow & weepy honky tonk
    numbers including a beautiful version of
    “The Emptiest Arms In The World”by Merle
    Haggard.I can imagine Jerry Lee & Willie
    must sound great together especially on
    those slow ones.

  • peter man

    I am doing a report on this man, i think he has kinda a sick mind , but can play the piano very well . But he married his cousin. ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  • Eric Olsen

    and she was 13 at the time

  • Dawn

    He allegedly killed one of his wives too, but you don’t hear much about that either.

  • Rev.Raymond Eli

    I will always care about his first wife the cousin he married. By the movie of life said she was only 13 and not 14, so who is lying dude? [personal contact info deleted]

  • Lorayne

    I am a huge fan of Jerry Lee Lewis and I am happy to find your comments about him. I should make it clear that I am a fan of his music.. hehe anyways I am trying to learn a little blues on the piano.. does anyone have some tips ? I am starting with nothing lol… well c f and g cords

  • Rockin’ Ricci

    Jerry Lee Lewis has not received the proper respect he deserves. Many of this generation does not even know who “The Killer” is. Thats pathetic. Instead this generation, myself excluded, look up to so-called musicians who cant even come close to the talent and power of Jerry Lee Lewis. I saw Jerry three times in concert and they were the best concerts I have ever been to. God bless Jerry and may he find peace with himself and with the world before he moves on.

  • Rockin’ Ricci

    This bullshit that Jerry killed his wife Shawn, is silly. He did, however, shoot his bass player in the chest accidently. But, Jerry is not a killer in that sense of the word. So what if Jerry married his second cousin. Elvis was married to a fourteen year old and didn’t get shit over that. Jerry should be appreciated for his music and courage to go on. Not for his tragic life and misfortunes. A great CD boxed set to get is Mercury Smashes by Bear Family records. [edited]

  • http://music.marcellis.net/MP3.htm marcellis

    I’m a big fan – especially of his Mercury/Smash Records period, roughly 1963-1975. During the years, 1963-1971 or so, I think he was the greatest Pop vocalist I’ve ever heard.

    But there is a quote I’m trying to run down. Someone asked him about Keith Emerson or Keith Jarret and Oscar Peterson. And the Killer supposedly replied,

    “I can play piano with my dick better than them sons of bitches can with both hands.”

    Does anyone have a firm cite for that quote?

  • Jay

    “Rockin’ Ricci” [personal attack deleted]

    Elvis had married with a 22 years old girl.

  • John C

    I loved reading the stuff on this website. I feel like sometimes I am the only person I know who likes the killer. I actually did a speech on him in my public speaking last semester, and nobody knew who the hell I was talking about. geez, what is the world coming too? You guys might like this video I put on youtube, I try to play a little like jerry lee myself.

  • Dror

    to 24 – Marceillis –
    That quote was from an old ‘Keyboard’ Magazine in the 70’s or 80’s –
    They reissued this exact quote, i’ll run it down and post it in a few days :)

  • Bill

    Im so damn sick and tired of hearing ewww and all this shit about marrying his 13 yr old cousin. Elvis was bangin 14 yr olds ..Jerry Lee loved Myra & the practice of marrying young was not uncommon or unheard of in the south. They stayed married for what 13 ? 15 yrs? Yes it was a mistake and maybe not so right but tell me! Any one of you who has judged him for this what have you done? Dont tell me you never had a stray piece of ass or maybe even cheated on your wife or husband?? His sin is no worse than yours or mine . End of story!

  • Pete Falco

    Jerry is the greatest rock n roll boogie woogie country man ever. As a neighbor or a friend he is probably the rottenest son of a bitch on God’s green earth But! Only he knows that for sure & Rock legend or not he will be judged just like the rest of us & I hope he has made peace with his maker!