Alright, I’m convinced that Billy Joe Shaver was one of the funniest storytellers on the planet.
I mean, he wrote songs for legends like Waylon Jennings, Tom T Hall, Jerry Jeff Walker, Kris Kristofferson and more, so obviously he can craft a story, but listening to him tell some tall tales is a whole nother animal.
I’ve been binge watching these YouTube “Tales from the Tour Bus” videos from Cartoon Digest here recently, and I came across this wild one, featuring the iconic country singer-songwriter.
In this episode, Shaver recalls the infamous “Wacko From Waco” story, the well-known story about the time he shot a man outside a Lorena, Texas, bar in 2007.
Shaver and his wife Wanda (they were about to get divorced), decided to stop at a little backwoods bar outside of Waco, which ya know, that’s what you do when you’re about to get a divorce… celebrate.
By the way they were explaining it, it sounds like one of them bars tucked in the woods between the South Carolina-Georgia line, that you better not walk into without having a gun on you, or they might be sweeping your eyeballs up off the floor after closing time.
While they were there, a dude, who Shaver describes “built as a brick shit house,” comes over and sits down with them, and begins stirring his drink with a knife and starts flirting with Wanda, and smarting off to Shaver.
The singer admits he wasn’t too jealous because they were about to divorce, but he was getting tired of the random guy running his mouth.
The two exchange some expletives, and the random guy tells Shaver he’s gonna kill him, the two take it outside….
And I’ll let Shaver finish telling the story:
Shaver was found not guilty of aggravated assault in 2010, after a McLennan County jury found that he acted in self-defense.
Dale Watson wrote and recorded a song called “Where Do You Want It,” even though Shaver told him he never said that during the altercation, and that song would also later be recorded by Whitey Morgan.
But then, like any good songwriter, he wrote a song about it himself (along with Willie Nelson) called “Wacko From Waco.”
Billy ended up working this story into a bit of a comedy routine, which he would tell at shows to introduce the song.
Here’s him recalling the incident to a John T. Floore’s Country Store in 2017: