KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: Yes, she wanted me to sign harmony with her on Evergreen and yes, I was terrified. I thought I was going to ruin it, but she was great. At one point I was pulling away from the microphone and she pulled me back in there and she did a great job on that film.
SL: The one song that topped the UK charts is a song you have never recorded One Day At A Time.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: I don’t consider that my song, that was Marijohn Wilkin’s. I was in the room when she was writing it and I might have given her a line or two. That was her song. I never sing it and I appreciate her giving me a part writers on it because I have given part writers to a lot of people who have never written a word in my songs but happened to be in the room when it was going on. (Laughs) She was my first publisher and maybe she was paying me back for some of the songs that I had written for her like For The Good Times and Darby’s Castle. She introduced me to everybody in the business. For about three years I worked for her and then she wanted to take a break from publishing and I went over to Combine Music and eventually got my songs cut.
SL: Can you remember which bit of One Day At A Time is yours?
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: No, I can’t. I really can’t. If I studied the lyrics, I might be able to find it but I thought she wrote the whole song. I remember her singing it. To be honest, I have been kind of embarrassed that she did put my name on it.
SL: What’s the story of Lovin’ Her Was Easier.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: The imagery comes from Peru, where I was making The Last Movie with Dennis Hopper. You have the image of the mountains and the condors and that inspired the first part of the lyric, but it was a work of imagination. I wasn’t writing about anybody.
SL: Yet The Pilgrim was written for Dennis Hopper.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: Well, I started writing it about Chris Gantry – he’s a real good songwriter and he also wrote for Marijohn – and I started using him and a bunch of the rest of us who are cut from the same cloth. We were walking contradictions. Johnny Cash swore to the end that I wrote it about him. He said in some magazine that he accepted Kris’ description of me as a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction. Rambling Jack Elliott and a few of my friends like Dennis Hopper were in there too. I called it The Pilgrim – Chapter 33 because it seemed that a lot of us who were down there in Peru – Dennis, myself – were 33 years old, and everytime you say you are 33, they go ‘Oh, the age of Christ.’ I figured it was a good title.
SL: That leads us onto Jesus Was A Capricorn. I wasn’t sure what point you were making there.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: I was trying to point that he would have as a hard a time today with conservative people as he had in his own hard time. Everybody has to have somebody to look down on. The whites hate the blacks, who hate the Klan and so on. Jesus was eating organic food, which was a typical image of the long-haired hippie. Everybody in Nashville was down on them. ‘Reckon we’d just nail him up if he came down again.’
SL: The songs today have a more political bent.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: I have always written what I have felt strongly about. Nowadays that seems to be what is going on in the world and the songs that I have written recently have been that way. They are about human rights or anti-war or complaints about what my government is doing round the world.
SL: And what about A Moment Of Forever?
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: The best love songs that I have written are songs that work on two or three different levels whether it is between you and the girl you are singing to, or me and the audience. If I say that ‘I was so glad that I was close to you for a moment of forever’ at the end of a concert, it means something. I am a 68 year old man looking at people that I might not see again. I feel blessed to have danced with as many as I did: ‘I’m glad that I danced with you for a moment of forever’.
SL:Kris Kristofferson, thank you very much indeed.
KRIS KRISTOFFERSON: Thanks. I’m still thinking of my plane trip from Ireland today – we hit a bird and we also had to wait for an hour for President Bush to get off the ground.