Johnny Cash Once Gave His Bass Player Money For Lessons When He Realized The Guy Couldn’t Play Upright Bass

Johnny Cash country music
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Could you imagine?

You’re a struggling musician who is looking to make some cash in anyway possible, playing small gigs with some house bands here and there.

Then, all of a sudden your buddy recommends you to arguably the most influential and recognizable country artists of all time…

Well that’s exactly what happened for Dave Roe, who played bass for Johnny Cash all the way up until he passed away.

He recently sat down with Otis Gibbs to discuss what is was like working with the Man In Black, and off the bat, he recalled how his buddy recommended to Cash that he was the “best upright bass player in the world.”

However, Roe had never played upright bass before…

Of course, that first show, Roe was struggling big time, to the point where he said he nearly had to go to the hospital because his hands were hurting so bad, and he couldn’t do the signature “bass slap.”

That’s when he said Cash called him over and said:

“You really don’t play upright bass do you?”

And he asked Roe why he had the nerve to take the gig, and he responded:

“Man, I need a job, I had to get out of what I was doing, and just took a shot at it.”

Cash then met him at the airport the next day, and asked him:

“You think you can learn this stuff?… I’ll give you six months.”

He also recalled how Cash sent him $3,500 to get lessons, and recommended two bass players, including one who still plays bass for Willie Nelson, and they were jealous that he got the gig instead of them.

Roe admitted that Cash is still, to this day, the nicest man he’s ever met in the music business.

He also talked about how the Johnny Cash band was the loudest band he ever played in, which is saying a lot considering he spent time playing with rock bands in the ’70s.

Roe went on to play with Dwight Yoakam, Sturgill Simpson, Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Ian Hunter, Brian Setzer, Dan Auerbach, John Anderson, Carrie Underwood, Marcus King, Ray LaMontagne, Faith Hill, Rodney Crowell and more.

Check it out:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock