“People Would Drive By & Wave” — Willie & Waylon’s Fellow Texans Left Them Stranded On The Side Of The Road In The 70’s

Willie Nelson country music
WFAA Collection/Youtube

Waylon and Willie stories are my favorite.

And in a fantastic 1988 interview with SPIN, Waylon let the world in on one of his very favorite stories from their decades-long friendship.

He recalls a day in the mid-’70s, at the height of their popularity and in the thick of the country outlaw movement they both pioneered, when Willie had picked up him and his wife, Jessi Colter, up at the airport in his brand new Mercedes.

They were going out to stay with Willie and his wife at the time, Connie Koepke, at their house in Dripping Springs, Texas.

But I guess Willie was distracted by the excitement of getting to hang out with Waylon that he hadn’t filled up his tank with gas, and they actually ran out on the drive home:

“Well, when we were really hot in Texas, before we got hot anywhere else, we were hot in Texas. Now I mean, you might call us stars. Willie picked up me and Jessi at the airport in his new Mercedes.

This must be 12 or 15 years ago. We were goin’ out to his house, which is out there close to Dripping Springs, and Willie runs out of gas.”

So, it sucks that they got stranded, but considering they were both superstars at this time, especially in Texas, they naturally thought they’d be able to easily get help from fans driving by, eager to assist their favorite singers.

The only problem is, their wild reputations preceded them, and that key word “outlaw” seemed to have deterred anyone from pulling over:

“That’s just no problem, I mean, we’re in Texas, everybody knows us in Texas.

Well, we spent an hour out there, and the people would drive by and wave at us, you know, but nobody would stop, I just couldn’t figure that out.”

And just when they thought they’d be able to find help in the Lone Star beer truck driver (a former longtime sponsor of Willie), they had no such luck…

“And finally, the Lone Star Beer truck, which sponsored most of Willie’s shows, drove by, and the driver hollered, ‘Hey Willie, Waylon, what y’all doin’,’ and kept goin’.”

When the Lone Star Beer truck passes by Waylon and Willie IN Texas, I feel like that’s sure sign things are not going well…

At this point, Waylon’s getting tired of waiting, so he tells Willie he’s about ready to stick Jessi on the side of the road and wait in the car so someone will stop.

Luckily, though, Connie came by a little while later and was able to get her husband some gas:

“‘Well, I said, ‘Wait a minute now, Willie, I’m gettin’ tired of this. Me and you might better get in the car and we’ll set Jessi out here and get us a ride.’

We might still be there if Connie, Willie’s wife, hadn’t happened to come by.”

An all-time classic Willie and Waylon story, if I’ve ever heard one.

It sounds like all those fans driving by must’ve listened to Waylon & Willie a time or two, because while they loved the outlaw music the iconic duo sang, they were not so keen on driving them around to find gas:

“I ain’t kiddin’, we was there over an hour and nobody would stop. They like us, they like our singin’, but they don’t want us ridin’ in their cars with em’ now.

They ain’t gonna give no hillbillies lookin’ like me and him a ride.”

Really, though, who the hell sees Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson on the side of the road and doesn’t stop to help?

I guess that’s what happens when you let your babies grow up to be cowboys…


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock