by Bruce Craven

Willie Nelson’s band on the road in the early
days, with Bush, Day, Nelson & English, rode
in a ’47 Flxible Flyer bus. Surly
Paul had tooled saddles, racketeered, showed

he would learn drums, but still pimping — a Waco bad-ass.
The drum secret? “Don’t count”, Willie said, “just feel it.”
Paul kept drumming, carried a blade, guns. Willie sassed
idiots, stole a few wives, popped speed, hit

back if he had no choice, but, Paul said, was “given
to a lot of tolerance.” Needed protection.
“The club business was rough,” Willie claimed, “…you went in…
with a you-motherfucker-you-better-pay-me…” tension.

Music venues tried to cheat Willie & the Record Men.
But an a-hole owner’s Caddy dangling on a fork-lift? Paul’s message sent.


Bruce Craven is a member of the Columbia Business School Executive Education faculty in New York City. In addition to directing and teaching in a variety of executive programs, he teaches graduate business students his popular elective Leadership Through Fiction.  His book Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones, was published in March 2019 by St. Martin’s Press of Macmillan Publishing.  The book is currently being translated into Russian, Serbian, and Turkish. He wrote the novel Fast Sofa (1993) which was published in Japanese and German. He also co-wrote the script for the film adaptation, starring Jennifer Tilly, Jake Busey, and Crispin Glover. His collection of poetry, Buena Suerte in Red Glitter, was published in 2019 by Red Dirt Press in Oklahoma. He lives with his wife and two sons in Desert Hot Springs, California.

Related Posts: “Hand-Made” and “I Fought the Law” by Bruce Craven