The Rocks Off Interview: Country Legend and Animal Lover Ray Price

Ray Price is a Texas music legend and a former roommate of Hank Williams. Rocks Off reached him by phone on his tour bus somewhere between Wisconsin and Nashville to talk about satellite radio, his love of stray dogs, and his show this Tuesday at Conroe's Crighton Theater.

Rocks Off: How's the tour going, Mr. Price?

Ray Price: It's going great, we're on the way home now. That's the best part of it.

RO: Your manager told me you're on your way to Nashville to record an album with Fred Foster at Ocean Way Studios.

RP: I've already done most of it. I'll go back in the middle of January. It'll be finished by the end of January for sure.

RO: He said these are all new love songs.

RP - They all are except two old, old great songs that I'm re-recording. One of them is "Beautiful Dreamer" and the other is "I Believe."

RO: Did you write those?

RP: Oh, no, no. They were written before I was even born, I think. We're going way back. It'll be new to the young people. They've never heard it. Most people in their fifties and sixties have never heard it. So this is a good chance for that.

RO: So you're on the bus right now. What do you listen to on the bus?

RP: Mostly the news. We like to watch and see how far down the country goes every day. We listen to Sirius when we listen to the radio. We listen to Willie's Roadhouse. Willie's is the best for me. You get the good music on there. You can't always get it in the other places.

RO: So you've been playing music in Houston for a long time now.

RP: Yeah, since (before) sliced bread.

RO: Do you have any favorite artists from here in Houston?

RP: Well I'm not really aware of new artists because I'm not into the young acts in the business right now. My head is turned in a different direction right now. But I like my big buddy (Floyd Tillman), he's dead now, he wrote "Slipping Around."

RO: Do you like the town better now or the way it was back then?

RP: I hate to say it, but I'm a country boy. I'm not really into big towns. Town is great but it's a little too crowded for me. I come from a farm family and I live on a farm right now. I lived in Dallas several years, and it's great too, but it's gone the way of the big city. It's a little hectic. When you crowd a lot of people together sometimes it brings out the animal in mankind.

RO: So the show in Conroe will only be your second Christmas show you've ever done.

RP - Yeah they want me to sing some of the Christmas songs that I've got. And I agreed to do the songs off of [my Christmas album]. I don't know if you'd call it a Christmas show per se. They're good songs and I like to sing them.

It's something I haven't done before. I'm proud to do them now. I'm trying to slip them in with my regular show. That way I know I'm not offending anybody or hurting anybody's feelings, because I believe in Christmas, still.

RO: So do I, and I'm excited about seeing your show.

RP: Well I hope after it's all over you still feel that way! (laughs)

RO: Have you got all of your Christmas shopping done?

RP: My wife and I aren't much for shopping. We've got five small dogs and three big ones. I guess you'd have to call them our children.

RO: Do you know the names of all eight of your dogs?

RP: Well, I'd have to think about that (laughs). We've always loved animals. We especially love dogs. My dogs are dogs that non-caring people have driven out into the country and set their loving pet out by the side of the road and driven off.

Certain times we get them and it takes them a while to get over it because it really hurts them. People don't know what it does to them, but I do. And it takes them along time to get over it, but when they finally realize that it's all gone behind them, then they come around and they're happy and they're your dog. That's the way it is. Every dog is a good dog if you treat him right.

RO: I got my dog at the pound also. I hope that people who read this will go to the pound and rescue a dog for Christmas.

RP: That's where it's at. Otherwise they don't have a ghost of a chance. When they pick them up at the pound, within three days they're gone. It's a shame. They take the only thing they've got away from them, their life.

People are too selfish to think about anything else but themselves. But I'll tell you what, they are a great Christmas present. You go get you a good dog and he'll just entertain the dickens out of you. Or cats, if you like cats. A dog is entertaining company for you.

Ray Price performs 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 18, at the Crighton Theater, 234 N. Main, Conroe, www.crightontheater.org and at Stafford Centre in Stafford Saturday, January 12. To to adopt a pet, see www.pupsquad.org, and tell them Ray Price sent you.

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