Growing up with Ronnie was great.
I started writing things down a lot as a teenager. I was also drinking a lot, already. I probably started drinking around 12. I remember my brother buying a bunch of beer, he was only 15 or 16. My grandmothers were of the mind, let them learn how to drink at home so they can learn how to handle themselves. Mom was divorced and gone most weekends with her new boyfriends. So we were left alone to do what we wanted. And that usually meant drinking. My best friend Ronnie, and his brother William. We all grew up like brothers. Their mom and dad, were best friends with my mom and dad. Their dad Henry and my dad used to play guitars and write songs together. I think I started trying to learn how to play the guitar around 16 or 17. Ronnie had started playing about the same time. I just wanted to be able to write melodies for my songs, so I had no great drive to be a “Musician”. We started taking lessons together on Saturday mornings. To be honest, we were so hung over on Saturday mornings that it was hard to concentrate. Mostly, I learned to play by ear. I could hear a song a few times, and I could figure out how to play it. Lyrics were easy for me. I seemed to have a good memory for song lyrics. I loved learning new songs. Kris Kristofferson was my favorite, of all time. I tried to write songs like him but I could not even come close. Looking back at my first years of writing I was pretty bad. Ronnie and I continued to play together, and eventually started a band with Ronnies dad Henry. Since we had 3 guitar players, I decided to learn Bass guitar. It was pretty easy since the top four strings on the guitar, are the same as the bass. Were pretty bad. We eventually found a drummer and a fiddle player. I had started college at A&M, with the intention of becoming a Veterinarian. We played on the weekends. In spite of my continued escalation in drinking, I was always an excellent student. I made straight A’s, in spite of not studying, till the last moment. In my late teens, I started having a lot of stomach problems. I got to the point where I could not eat without having severe pain in the stomach. I quickly learned that a drink before, would prevent the cramps. My mom took me on a round of doctors to find the problem. I was put through some brutal tests. At 16 or 17, I was bent over a table in the ER, and a pipe about 2 foot long pipe was shoved up my ass. It was called a Rigid Sigmoidoscopy. They don’t do them anymore, I think they are against the Geneva Convention!! They ought to be!!! Back they they didn’t give sedation for such procedures, no dinner or dancing, not even a kiss behind the ear. Just bend over and here we come. I later had a Coloniscopy by Dr Walter Fagan. Again, no sedation back then, but once you’ve had a pipe shoved up you ass, a colonoscopy is no big thing. Remember, all things are relative. Dr Fagan discovered that I had Crohn’s disease, a little known inflammatory disease of the intestines. Remember, this was 40 years ago. I was treated with prednisone, the only real treatment they had back then. I would learn many years later the price I would pay, but it saved my life. Dr Fagan, if you are still alive, I think of you often. Thank you. In spite of all that, life and music went on. More to follow. Brian Lee Robinson
I remember that the only time I saw my dad was when I went to my grandmothers house. Later he moved to her house in the country. Donie, Texas. I remember that every Saturday night we went to Aunt Ida’s house. She had the only TV. We would watch all of the Country Music shows. Porter Wagoner, The Wilburn Brothers, and many others. Daddy loved country music. He loved Willie Nelson, back when. Willie was wearing a suit, clean shaven, and singing “The Party’s Over”, Waylon Jennings, also clean shaven, in a suit singing “Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line”. I knew daddy wrote songs, but I didn’t know he had already written a hit for Hank Thompson called “Just an old Flame” I loved his songs and looking at his lyric books. I didn’t know grandma had offered to pay his way to Nashville, and her cousin Bob Wills was willing to help out. But he wouldn’t go, I guess he was scared. I learned later that he was a bad alcoholic, and grandma was his enabler. He actually accomplished a lot from Donie. He was always sending his songs off to Nashville, and actually got a lot recorded and published. I was told many years later by an old friend Doodle Owens, that it was so easy to get songs recorded then. I could have been a spoiled rich kid living off daddy’s royalties. But he never went. He was not a big part of my life, we lived in Houston, and only saw him when grandma took us. When he died in a car crash when I was 8, I don’t remember crying. That’s where the line from my song “Across The Hands of Time” came from. “since the day my daddy died, and I learned what ambivalence was” After that, all I had was his song books. I treasured them. I used to read them all the time. I never tried to write songs myself. It was when I was 16 or so that lyrics started coming to my head. I started to write them down. Sometimes I had to pull over and write them down. That was when I started to be a Songwriter. Not a very good one, but the spark was there.