Johnny Cash once smashed down a Motel wall just to speak with Carl Perkins
When you think of the term ‘rock and roller’ you may think of a duck-walking guitarist, you may think of Johnny Rotten and Co. spitting their way through life, and if you’re really unlucky you might think of Guy Ritchie’s 2008 flop ‘Rocknrolla’. But the one person you should be thinking of is none other than Johnny Cash.
The stories that surround the iconic country and western star are numerous, full of depth and almost all entirely true. The notorious singer was a deeply affected man during the heyday of his career and to cope with numerous pressures from both Cash’s professional and personal life, Johnny became a keen consumer of narcotics.
The singer was even rumoured to have taken his own painkillers with him into a hospital following surgery, just in case they didn’t have enough (having hid them in his wound he slowly consumed the vast amount of valium – not good). Drugs became a way of life for Cash and infiltrated his life from the very early trappings of his illustrious career.
According to Johnny Western, a guitarist who was hanging around with Cash in the late fifties, Cash was trashing hotel rooms before the likes of Led Zeppelin and The Who were gaining their rock and roll reputation. One such drug-induced instance saw Cash break down a motel wall so that he wouldn’t have to use the front door and walk around to speak with equally legendary singer Carl Perkins.
Western said, “When Johnny was really pilled up once, in one big motel, Carl Perkins was staying in the next room, but there was no dividing door between the rooms, so he took a metal chair and smashed the wall down so they could walk back and forth. That cost a couple of thousand dollars. We were doing stuff that Mick Jagger and those guys picked up on later on. It was just that kind of a lifestyle.”
So while the rest of the rock and roll royalty was sizing up the televisions in their hotel rooms for an in-flight movie, Johnny Cash was breaking down the goddamn wall with a chair so he didn’t have to use the front door.
The biggest rock and roller? A country boy called Johnny Cash.