I started out in radio more than 30 years ago. My first job right out of college was as a country-western DJ at WVMO, my hometown radio station in Monroe, Mich.Being a member of the local media might not pay very well, but it does appear to have a few fringe benefits.
I have many boxes of cassette tapes stashed in my basement, including one that has a recording from the Monroe County Fair in the summer of 1981. I remember standing there with my microphone. To my right were the grandstands where they do the demolition derby. To my left was this big, silver tour bus. I was about to meet one of my musical heroes: Johnny Cash.
When I found out Johnny Cash was coming to the county fair, I tried to line up an interview, but I didn't receive any response. I tried again. Nothing. Finally, a guy who worked at the fair said, "If you stand here at this railing, his tour bus is there, the stage is there. Maybe as he walks past, he'll stop and talk to you." And he did....Five, six, seven minutes passed and I was out of questions. So I asked him, "How'd you get to be The Man in Black?" I cringe a little bit when I hear myself ask that question, but you've got to love his answer.
"For one reason, it's a little more slimming," Cash said. "I wrote a song called 'Man in Black' in about 1970. In the song, you see where I pointed out some of the problems and the ills that we have in this country. But I point to myself as being one of those people responsible for correcting some of those problems and unfortunate things that happen to people here."
Sunday, February 24, 2013
The Man In Black At The County Fair
Don Gonyea reflects on his opportunity to interview Johnny Cash at his local county fair: