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Charlie Daniels, Entertainer MAG
TNN/Music City describes a living legend as a pioneer of the music industry who notonly sings, but writes and plays songs as well - and is successful in multiple genres. Without a doubt,Charlie Daniels is a living legend and was recently awarded this honor by TNN! I interviewed him before aperformance and was amazed by his insight.
Why did you write "Simple Man?"
I'm disgusted with what's going on in our country about violent crime. We take thecriminal's side in a lot of cases rather than the victim's and it's just a shame. It's time we do somethingabout it. That's what prompted "Simple Man."
How do you feel about violencein schools?
I think it's horrible. I honestly believe violence in schools started in the '60s when wetook any semblance of morality and prayer out of the schools. People talk about the separation of church andstate; if you read the Constitution, the law was written to protect the church from the state, not the statefrom the church. And in most cases, [blame] can be laid at the feet of the parents.
Whatwas it like for you in high school? Did you have a positive experience? Would you do it again?
Itwas a very positive experience. I went to a very small school with 26 people in 12 grades, all under thesame roof.
I wouldn't want to do it again, though. You can't go back to a place and expect it to bethe same ... it's a pleasant memory, and I'd like to keep it that way.
Who were some ofyour role models?
My dad was a big influence. I was raised in a Christian home. My grandparents,my mother ... even some people whose names I don't remember but admired. Some sports figures, lots ofdifferent people.
Are there any events that changed or shaped your life?
Being aChristian has shaped my life. There have been other things, but that is the mostimportant.
Of all the people you have performed with, who was the most interesting andwhy?
The Charlie Daniels Band has performed with just about anyone you can think of! WillieNelson, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton; it would be hard to pick somebody I was most affected by. I'velearned something from a lot of them.
What advice would you give buddingmusicians?
First of all, you have to go where there is a music business. If you get there and you'rewilling to believe in yourself, then there's a whole other set of things that come into play. You must behonest with yourself about how much talent you've got. You have to seriously ask yourself if you arecapable of doing it. A friend of mine from the Allman Brothers Band used to say that if you want to run withthe big dogs, you have to get off the porch. And that's what you've got to do; you've got to get off theporch. Don't spend your life trying to do something you can't. Don't take somebody else's evaluation of yourtalent; you've got to chase those dreams.
How old were you when you knew you wantedto be a musician?
I wasn't very old. I've wanted to entertain ever since I can remember. I startedto play when I was 15.
Can you give advice to beginning journalists on how to coverfamous people?
Always be truthful. Always portray people in the light they present themselves.Try not to be too wordy; get to the point. Most of all, just be yourself; don't try to copy somebody else.Just work at it, believe in yourself and go for it.
Of all the songs you have performed,which is your favorite?
I can't really zero in on a favorite song. I've got a song I wrote called"Carolina, I Remember You" that means an awful lot to me. It was never a big song for us. It's asong I wrote about being a kid in North Carolina and what it was like growing up there. But I couldn't reallysay it's my clear-cut favorite.
What advice would you give young people about makingtheir dreams come true?
First of all, you have to have a dream! It must be something you reallywant, not just for the glamour. Once you get past the glamour and into the hard work, you have to reallywant it to stay with it. If it's a wish or a fantasy or just a whim, you don't want to pursue the musicbusiness - it'll break your heart.
Charlie plans to make another album next year andrecord more gospel. If you haven't heard the Charlie Daniels Band, check it out! Even the biggest rap oralternative fan can appreciate the undeniable quality and beauty of their music. Their latest album,"Tailgate Party," is a tribute to Southern bands.