With his flowing silver hair and bushy beard and mustache, Kenny Rogers, at this point, is perhaps better known among younger audiences for how he looks than how he sounds. (Bonnaroo drop-ins excepted.) But both longtime Rogers fans and people who know him as the guy after whom a fast-food chicken franchise is named will find something to grin about in the country legend's rollicking new memoir, Luck Or Something Like It. Here's a taste of the juiciest parts:
The Party Line
During a period when Rogers was separated from his wife, he had an epiphany about over-the-phone intimacy. "At this point in my life," writes Rogers, "I enjoyed talking to beautiful, alluring women on the phone. I would equate it to today's online chat rooms, but these were private conversations, intended only for me and whomever I invited in." Rogers is quick to point out, though, that "this was the ultimate 'safe sex' for me. This was never about physical contact, just erotic and sexually explicit messages left on a limited-access phone line that was always solicited by the other parties . . ."
Checking On His Condition
1968's drug-friendly "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" was one of Rogers' breakout hits. But he wasn't exactly an active participant in the counterculture. Shortly after the aforementioned single started to sell big, Rogers tried, for the first time, smoking marijuana before a performance. "This is great, I thought. I was in tune with the universe, and I sounded wonderful — at least to me . . . and my vocals were completely out of tune. That was the only and only time I have ever gone onstage not completely clearheaded."
Ol' Kenny has a curious taste in comedians. "I also worked for a year or two with Gallagher," recalls Rogers about a stint working with the watermelon-smashing prop comic. "I found this guy to be one of the most engaging, thought-provoking people I've ever met." An example of this deep well of Gallagherian provocation? "His question: 'What would a chair look like if our legs bent the other day?'" Yep, "To this day" Rogers will stop and try "to visualize what he was saying."
Kenny Rogers Roasted
Despite his iconic image, Rogers can go incognito. Unintentionally. At his own restaurant. "One time when I was in Greece," writes Rogers, "I saw a Kenny Rogers Roasters and decided to go in." The manager then noticed a familiar face. "He kept looking at me, then the cup [on which was an image of Rogers' face], then back at me, and finally decided it wasn't me! When I told him it was me, he didn't believe it . . . he made me pay for me meal."