So, we were there all afternoon, in that shadowy room, and it was one of the finest afternoons I've ever spent, and definitely the worst interview I've ever done. We hardly talked. This is how he's choosing to communicate, I realised. By singing. Which from a singer is not unreasonable - in fact it's possibly more right, more true, than answering interview questions. Also - I turned the tape recorder off. Why? A one-on-one personal Johnny Cash concert on the sofa and you turned the tape off? Why? Answer: because I knew this was not something which could be repeated. Couldn't be, shouldn't be.
He did say one thing I remember: "You have to be what you are. Whatever you are, you gotta be it."
And I came out realising that I didn't want to be a journalist any more.
Although it was journalism that had given me this extraordinary day, I didn't want to be the person oohing and aahing on paper about Kris Kristofferson, John Steinbeck and Johnny Cash. I wanted to be the person writing and making the stuff that makes the other people ooh and ahh. Cash loving Kristofferson's song; Kristofferson loving the way he sang it, both of them loving Steinbeck's book. I wanted to be one of them.
Louisa Young wrote this about a "failed" interview with Johhny Cash. It's over at The Guradian. Read it. Then go be what you are.