Willie Nelson Interview

Wow, how cool it was to interview one of my longtime musical heroes. Willie Nelson was in South Florida for a concert on May 26, 2005 with Bob Dylan at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Much of that tour was playing in old minor league ballparks around the country.

Interviewing Willie Nelson on May 26, 2005. Photographs by Candace West/ Miami Herald.

Willie spoke with the Miami Herald that day about his push for more use of biodiesel fuel. I spoke with him, along with a Herald business reporter and photographer as he refueled his bus, which runs on biodiesel. Nelson owns a truck stop in Texas selling what he calls BioWillie and promotes the fuel, which is made from products like soybean oil. As he explains in the interview, it’s a source of revenue for farmers, is better for the environment and can help reduce the U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

AUDIO: Talking with Willie Nelson about his use of biodiesel fuel, as he was refueling his tour bus in Plantation, Florida. We also discussed the tour he was then on with Bob Dylan, playing mostly in old minor league ballparks.

Probably just for the photo! I’m sure Willie doesn’t get out to fill up his bus himself!

As Willie tours the country, he has to find people along the way to refuel his buses. In this case it was Jim Robertson of Fort Lauderdale’s BioFuels America. Jim drove a pickup truck with a large tank in the back to the hotel where Nelson and his entourage were staying in Plantation, Florida. He filled the three leased buses with about 200 gallons of biodiesel fuel.

As Willie tours the country, he has to find people along the way to refuel his buses. In this case it was Jim Robertson of Fort Lauderdale’s BioFuels America. Jim drove a pickup truck with a large tank in the back to the hotel where Nelson and his entourage were staying in Plantation, Florida. He filled the three leased buses with about 200 gallons of biodiesel fuel.

It’d be unmistakable coming up on this on the road.

I had always heard that Willie was a nice guy, but I was amazed just how cool he was. Many times when you meet people you admire, it can be a let down when they’re jerks or just don’t live up to your expectations. But after meeting Willie and spending about a half-hour talking with him, I’m an even bigger fan today. As a kid, I remember that during every family trip my mom would break out the Willie Nelson 8-track tapes. At that age I didn’t really appreciate his music, but albums like Red Headed Stranger have since become absolute favorites for me. After finishing the interview and shutting off my recorder, I figured Willie would leave. But no, he stayed and even started talking about weather. I thought to myself, wow, I’m here making idle chit chat with Willie Nelson. How cool is that? Thanks to Miami Herald photographer Candace West who shot these photos and let me use them.

Familiar imagery from Willie Nelson songs on one of his tour buses.

How can I not pose for a photo with Willie Nelson!