The great Americano-Texican balladeer Kinky Friedman has run for Governor of Texas, so why shouldn't Ray Wylie Hubbard, a.k.a. "the Wylie Llama," run for office? A man of wide popularity, undeniable gravitas and Zen-like literary skills who commands almost universal respect, Hubbard could either go straight for the Presidency given the present malaise in that arena or, if against all odds Governor Ken Doll is elected President, Hubbard could seek the governor's mansion.
We caught up with him at a recording studio in Austin, where he is working on the follow-up to A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C), to ascertain his political leanings. The new album is set to drop March 27, 2012.
Ray Wylie Hubbard plays the two-day Thank God for Texas Music Fest in Winnie, sharing the bill with the Casey Donahew Band and Adam Hood, on Saturday, November 26. Pat Green, Hayes Carll and Kyle Park play Friday, November 25. Nutty Jerry's, 18291 Englin Rd. in Winnie. For information, call 877-643-7508 or visit nuttyjerrys.com.
Houston Press: Your last album had lots of death, destruction and religious imagery, etc. Do you think that will play well with voters who seem pretty fed up with damn near everything?
Ray Wylie Hubbard: Yes, I do. Death appeals to a lot of people — as long as it's not their own. And even agnostics like Christmas, 'cause you get presents and a lot of good stuff to eat.
HP: Politicians are fond of using popular songs as part of their campaigns, and they often get asked by the artist to cease and desist. What politician would you hope to see use "Redneck Mother" without permission so you could tell them to stop?
RWH: Well, if he runs again, I hope Kinky uses it so I could just say quit it. And pay me. Maybe I could retire then.
HP: If you had to pick one of your songs for a campaign theme, what would it be?
RWH: "Drunken Poet's Dream."
HP: Do you have any big ideas that might help Rick Perry be a better debater?
RWH: He probably needs to nod his head more and just say, "Maybe" or kinda mumble unintelligibly most of the time. And every once in a while he should mix it up and just say, "Yeah, well, maybe."
HP: If you were Perry's campaign manager, what would you tell him now?
RWH: I don't know if there's much that can help after all he's done to himself, but I'd tell him to get out of that Armani suit, get him into a pair of overalls, mess up his hair real good and go after the hillbilly vote.
HP: Michelle Bachman said she would add three more heads to the Mount Rushmore monument. Whom would you add?
RWH: Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray and Freddie King.
HP: It was recently suggested that Perry, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are actually the Three Stooges reincarnated? Your thoughts?
RWH: Well, then, I would be Shemp, I guess. Rick Perry is kinda like Larry. You really don't need him in the plot, but it wouldn't be the same without him.
HP: It can't be God's fault, so in selecting a politically appropriate vote-getting scapegoat, would you blame the Central Texas fires on Austin gays or Hollywood liberals?
RWH: I blame the drought.
HP: Where do you stand on Texas seceding from the Union?
RWH: I'm against it. My record sales in Texas won't support me, so I need the other 49 states.
HP: That seems like a conflict of interest, putting your record sales ahead of the public will.
RWH: I'm a politician, what did you expect?
HP: If we do secede, we'll need to raise our own army. Once we've done that, whom should we attack first, Mexico, Canada or Oklahoma?
HP: If you run for office, will you bring in your occasional co-writer Hayes Carll as a speechwriter?
RWH: I'll do my own. I can't trust him. He has his own mind, and that's the last thing any politician needs around them.
HP: If elected, will Hayes be part of your governing team?
RWH: He'll be in charge of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
HP: How would you solve our feral hog problem?
RWH: Ship 'em to Arkansas, no charge. I hear they're fond of hogs.
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HP: You're originally from Dallas. If elected, will you propose anything to regulate Big Hair in Dallas?
RWH: No, as long as it stays in Dallas, I'm pro-Big Hair. Anyway, isn't there an amendment that protects Big Hair?
HP: It seems like you're tap-dancing.
RWH: It's what we politicians do.