Billy Joe Shaver On Revenging The Death Of His Son

From Rolling Stone:

Billy Joe Shaver has had more than enough heartache to require therapy. In 2007, he shot a man in the face during an altercation outside a Waco, Texas, area bar and was charged with aggravated assault. He was ultimately acquitted and turned the ordeal into a song, “Wacko From Waco.” When he was 21, he lost two fingers on his right hand in a sawmill accident (“I ain’t no finger-pointer,” he quips, “I can’t”). He married one of his wives, Brenda, three separate times and lost her to cancer in 1999. Around that same time, his mother died. Then on the morning of December 31, 2000, his son and creative partner Eddy Shaver, a fiery guitarist who recalled Stevie Ray Vaughan, was found dead of a heroin overdose.

A grieving Shaver performed that same evening at a New Year’s Eve concert with Willie Nelson.

“Willie put a band together. My band just went nuts, they all flaked out and went off crying and stuff. But Willie called me up…and said, ‘Billy, you gotta get back on the horse,'” Shaver says. “And I’m an old cowboy, I know what he’s talking about. So I got up there. Most the people that came didn’t even know about Eddy passing away. Every once in a while, later on at night, you’d see some couple going out crying. They had heard about it.”

Yet, despite his seeming composure that night, Shaver was also incensed and considered revenge for his son’s death.

“I spent the night over at Willie’s house and we sat up and talked all night about it. I was going to go back out there, ’cause I knew where [the drugs] came from — that drug dealer, I would have shot him up and killed him instead of calling the police,” Shaver says. “I was going to go kill that bunch. But Willie talked me out of it. He said, ‘You’re best just leaving it alone.’ And I did. I just left it alone. But you don’t ever forget something like that.”