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[Music]
>> Johnny Cash: I've always hung out with long-hairs.
I've always hung out with people of that ilk. I'm one of the originals.
I had sideburns down to my chin in '50-
For a while there I did. When I started my own TV show in Nashville in '69,
I had a group called The Who on as guests and I forget which one of them said,
"Thank god we got somebody on television with long hair," talking about me.
Only it wasn't all that long.
>> [Music]
>> Barney Hoskins: Do you really need to tour so much?
Do you need to work so hard and drive yourself so hard?
>> Johnny Cash: For my soul I do. Yeah, for my soul. It's a gift.
My mother always told me that any talent is a gift of God and I always believed it.
If I quit, I would just live in front of the television and get fat and die pretty soon.
So I don't want to do that. You know I just hope and pray I can die with my boots on.
I've been in hospital beds and I don't want to end it up there.
[Music]
I went through a period that I didn't want to sing those old songs again.
I finally decided that I was really cheating them and myself.
And I started singing all the old ones with gusto and lust. Like I loved them.
Those songs, I Walk the Line and Folsom, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Ring of Fire.
They're part of me. They're an extension of me when I get in front of that microphone.
They're a part of me going through that mic, you know, to that audience.
They feel it and they know it if I feel it.
They'll turn it right back to me, the appreciation. That's what it's all about.
That's what performing is all about, is sharing and communicating.
[Music: Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison Blues"
>> Barney Hoskins: Do you think... Could you have ever been a preacher?
Were you ever tempted to-?
>> Johnny Cash: No. I think in my world of religion,
you're called to preach or you don't preach.
Called by God to preach. I never been ordained by God to preach the Gospel.
I have a calling, it's called to perform and sing.
I think gospel song is a ministry in a way, you know. Gospel music.
Gospel music is so ingrained into my bones, you know.
I can't do a concert without singing a gospel song. It's what I was raised on.
It was the thing that inspired me as a child growing up on a cotton farm,
where work was drudgery and it was so hard
that when I was in the field I sang all the time.
Usually gospel songs because they lifted me up above that black dirt.
[Music: Johnny Cash "Do Lord"]
>> Barney Hoskins: I was going to ask you how the pain is in your jaw these days.
>> Johnny Cash: It's pretty severe.
>> Barney Hoskins: Really? All the time? Constant?
>> Johnny Cash: Almost all the time, yeah.
>> Barney Hoskins: How do you-?
>> Johnny Cash: Except when I'm on stage.
>> Barney Hoskins: Really?
>> Johnny Cash: Yeah.
>> Barney Hoskins: That's miraculous that it just leaves you. Power of music I guess
>> Johnny Cash: Yeah, I pray for that and it works. It doesn't alter or hinder my performance.
>> Barney Hoskins: It must be a struggle to have to take pain killers at the same time,
to be able to regulate them-
>> Johnny Cash: I don't take them. I can't take them. It's like an alcoholic.
He can't drink. I can't take pain pills.
>> Barney Hoskins: You must be very brave to-
>> Johnny Cash: No. I'm not very brave
because for five years I didn't try to take the pain. I fought it.
I had a total of 34 surgical procedures on my left jaw.
Every doctor I've been to knows what to do next, too.
To relieve me of pain, I don't believe any of them.
I'm handling it. It's my pain. I'm not being brave either.
I'm not brave at all after what I've been through, I just know how to handle it.
[Music]
>> Barney Hoskins: When you look at yourself in the mirror
do you feel like an American icon when you look at yourself in the mirror?
>> Johnny Cash: God, what a question. Shit.
I see the pimples on my nose and I see the fat jaw
from the pain where it's swollen or thinning hair or whatever.
Icon? No. I don't see him.
He's not in my mirror.
>> Barney Hoskins: You don't see the John Wayne of rock and roll?
>> Johnny Cash: No. ... Thanks anyway.
[Music: Johnny Cash "Ring of Fire"
>> Barney Hoskins: Do you look back now and think, "Wow, dressing in black was one hell
of a smart career move?"
>> Johnny Cash: No, I never thought about it.
>> Johnny Cash: How does it help me? I don't know.
>> What good's it do? I'm so uncomfortable wearing colors in public. I really am.
>> Even denim. If I've got a day off in a town, I want to go out for a walk I'll put
on denim.
But almost everything I've got the black on.
>> Barney Hoskins: I was interested to know
whether you ever talked about gospel music with Elvis?
>> Johnny Cash: Oh yeah. That's all we talked about.
Well that wasn't all, we talked about girls too.
Yeah, Elvis and I, a lot of shows we would sing together in the dressing room
and invariably we'd go to black gospel. We knew the same songs.
We grew up on the same songs.
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Johnny Cash on The Gospel | Blank on Blank | PBS Digital Studios

116 Folder Collection
VoiceTube published on September 20, 2016
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