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My Interview With
Ronny Robbins


Questionnaire for Ronald Carson Robinson (one 'b' right??) On his notoriously infamous....oops, famous father. (If additional space is needed for replies, please use your own paper)

Question:1 First of all, can I ask you why you hate these interviews. (I know what your answer will be but go ahead and do it anyway) Space provided for reply. ....{>>>CAUSE !!!!!}

Question:2 And do you ever get tired of people asking you about this and that and other things concerning your famous father, his life and what it was like growing up with him? Space provided for reply....{>>>I don't mind 'This and That' but the 'other' really gets on my nerves......}

Question:3 Do you really hate being bothered by 'ditzies' who do web pages and are bugging you to answer questions just so they can put your replies on the internet for the world to read? ( don't really want an answer on this one....I know what you'll say already....) Space provided for reply...{>>>You have an amazing amount of perspiration....uh, I mean perception.

Okay guy, here's the real questions: (It was my turn to be on the teasing end) *************

Question 4: I know you aren't in the music business per se' but didn't you occasionally do some shows with your dad when you were younger?

Answer: I was in the music business as an entertainer from 1968 until 1985. Had a union card and everything. My career was just a well kept secret. I started out with dad's show Sept. 8. 1968 in Macon, CA. Worked for 8-9 months until I was drafted, then did a few shows with him after I got out of the Army, but basically hit the Club circuit on my own after that. I started working with his band in 1983.

Question 5: You also played in your own little rock band for a short time. Do you regret not getting into it on a permanent basis and being on the road?

Answer: I played in several garage bands in high school from 1963-68. The last band was a pretty good R & B group that played good dance music. Unfortunately by 1968 all the kids got into strobe lights, electronic feedback, and the hippie movement and I got pretty disenchanted with that whole music scene. I was talking with dad one night about it and out of the blue he asked if I'd be interested in learning 3 country songs and becoming part of his show. I got a big kick out of that because I probably knew 200 country songs at the time.

Question 6: Your sister Janet, she's doing her own thing in music also, Adult Contempory I think. Do the two of you ever get together and talk about doing something as a duo?

Answer: Probably not..... she's a much better singer than I am and it would just make me look bad.....

Question 7: This is a combined question also...Have you visited the web page(s) on your dad, and what do you think of the efforts of such sites to keep his legacy going, not that his beautiful music needs any help but with the way the music big wigs are trying to make the traditional country a thing of the past, the true legends and their legacies could sadly become unheard of?

Answer: [1] I've seen quite a few, and for the most part they are really nice sites. Of course there will always be a few scavengers out there trying to capitolize off of someone elses name, but thats just part of life, it certainly isn't isolated to the internet. [2] At the moment, I can't think of anything particularly good to say about our industry leaders as to the direction they are taking what they are now calling country music.

Question 8: I know that Country Music and Nashville itself is changing all the time, especially the music. Would you keep it as it was say, 20 years ago or do you go along with all the changes, the styles, the "gimmicks", in the music especially?.

Answer: I like a lot of different types of music and whether we all like it or not, styles are going to change as we get older. I mean people at one time thought Ernest Tubb was a radical change from Jimmy Rodgers. Country in each decade has been drastically different from the previous decade, so I guess the best thing to do is develope an appreciation for the changes you like and turn off the ones that you don't.

Question 9: This may tie in with your last answer but your dad was sort of a pioneer changing the sound of what was known then as "Hillbilly" music when he first came on the scene and then later on when he brought a most sophisticated style to the field, and even the drums and trumpet onto the "Opry" stage, for which he had to battle. Do you feel that his music was "traditional" and do you think if he were still with us, he'd like the changes that are going on?.

Answer: I don't think you can call his music "traditional" in any sense because he was always trying new styles. I doubt he would like the music very much now, mainly because he would be 75 years old this year, and the music just isn't geared for that age demographic. Even though he probably wouldn't like it personally he would never be one to say that an artist shouldn't be creative and stretch artistically.

Question 10: You and I spoke about the famous carburettor incident when your dad took out the restrictor plates to get the speed he wanted in a race. Can you tell us more about that and how it came about.... any particular memories of it yourself. That wasn't too long after you had gotten out of the army, isn't that right?.

Answer: The restrictor rings were originally pressed into the carburettor to restrict air flow to the engine. Daddy sanded them down so that they slip-fit into the carburettor, then glued them in with model airplane glue. You couldn't knock them out with a hammer but as soon as gasoline hit, the glue would dissolve and the rings would fall into a special place in the intake manifold and presto "150 more horsepower" and an extra 15 mile-per-hour. Daddy was like a kid with his hand in the cookie jar and just looked at the whole thing as a great practical joke and never meant anything bad at all. NASCAR didn't have a great sense of humor and fined him and put him in last place.

Question 11: Knowing how your dad loved to sing and also race, do you think if things had been different and he hadn't been so successful in the music business, would he have gone to racing and try to make it his career?.

Answer: I think he would have made a great race driver if he had started racing when he was younger. He was 34 when he started racing micro-midgets in 1959 and was 43 when he ran his first NASCAR race at Charlotte in 1968. Most, if not all of the drivers he raced against had a tremendous head start as far as racing experience. As far as career change, I doubt if he would have been able to aford to race if he hadn't been fairly successful in the music business.

Question 12: I know your Mom is a very private person and I wont ask you anything about that except to ask if she cared for racing at all? And if she liked the idea of her husband having such a dangerous hobby?.

Answer: Well..... I know she just closed her eyes and prayed a lot.

Question 13: Were you ever bitten by the stock car racing bug and maybe at one time thought about getting into it like your dad did?.

Answer: Some of my fondest memories are of going to the local track at the fairgrounds in Nashville when Dad was racing in the modified division. We really had a lot closer bond mechanically than we did musically. I think we were both frustrated mechanical engineers. I've always loved racing as much as he did and have raced drag-cars, moto-cross bikes, late model modified dirt cars, and drag-boats. I had pretty good luck with the boats, winning the points championship in my division in 1986-87-89-90 running a Kurtis 501 Hydro-Plane with a 489 Cubic inch Chrysler-Hemi supercharged on methanol. 178 MPH was the best speed.

Question 14: OK, so you used to do the drag races yourself, what class did you run and are you still into it all?.

Answer: I got out of the boats in 1992 but I can never get too far away from racing. I built a 23 T Ford roadster with a dodge engine and have been running it occasionally as time permits at the local tracks around Nashville. Its not as fast as the boat (155.26 in the quarter mile) but its still fun and a whole lot safer than the boat.

Question 15: One last thing before I let you off the hook and its a three parter. I know your running your dads business. Can you let the fans know what is available through "Marty Robbins Enterprises" and if any new items, recordings, video's and such are planned on being released. (As the Bear Family Records in Germany have done)

Answer: We presently have a variety of Home Videos of dads TV shows, a 2 hour life history, a live concert at the Opry House. and have plans on re-releasing the "Marty Robbins Spotlight" shows on video if we can get all the legalities cleared out of the way. I love the creative parts of putting video's together, but the licensing and music clearances involved is worse than having all your teeth pulled or having to do interviews for some ditz in Indianapolis. (Although I don't know anyone who fits that description.......) ha ha ha. Love ya.

Again my thanks to you Ronny for your patients and kindness, we wish you all the best for the future and look forward to the release of the Spotlight video's.

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