By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Shaver says one of his concerns at the time was the relationship between Coker and the local police. “There’s a bunch of lawmen in his family,” claims Shaver. “I knew that if I didn’t get out of town that night, I might get done in.” So he called Willie Nelson, then spent most of the night hiding out in his truck. “Willie got the lawyer out on to me, and when I got with him, I felt safe, and we went and tried to turn ourselves in.”
Nelson dispatched his own attorney, Joe “Mad Dog” Turner, a well-known figure in Texas jurisprudence. Turner has said it’s a clear-cut case of self-defense, and, according to Shaver, some of Papa Joe’s employees are finally “coming up with the truth.” Almost six months later, McLennan County District Attorney John W. Segrest still hasn’t indicted the singer. (Segrest’s office refused to comment, citing a policy of not discussing ongoing investigations.) “The longer it goes, I think, is better for me,” Shaver says.
“It just sounds out of character,” says Friedman of his colleague’s run-in. “I’d say Billy would have to be very much provoked. I’ve known him for a long, long time. He’s a peaceful kind of a giant, and whenever he got into a fight, his fists were always the weapon of choice.”
Shaver explains that he’s sick of keeping quiet about the incident, especially since Coker’s spinning a different story. “He’s going around telling people a whole lot of bullshit, but that’s all right,” says Shaver. “But I’m fine, man. I’m entertained. It’s like riding a bull. The only thing that keeps me going is something trying to stop me — and if something pushes, I’m gonna push back.”
Billy Joe Shaver appears at Molly Malone’s, 575 S. Fairfax Ave., L.A.; Fri., Sept. 21, 9 p.m. (323) 935-1577.