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Kenny Rogers talks past, future and new memoir

100206-kennybKenny Rogers is calling four minutes late, but he’s apologizing as if he’s hours tardy.

“My mom taught me about punctuality, about how everyone’s time is important,” he said while inserting another mea culpa.

Rogers’ mother – amusingly named Lucille – and his father, Edward, receive front-of-book treatment in the country star’s new memoir, “Luck or Something Like It,” released on Tuesday.

Rogers said his initial writing partner on the book, Patsi Bale Cox, who died last year in the early stages of the project, told him that he needed to focus on telling people where he came from and how he became a superstar with more than 120 million albums sold.

“Patsi told me, ‘Kenny, if they love the boy, they’ll like the man,’” Rogers said earlier this week  from Washington D.C., where he was making a few stops to promote the book.

Rogers, who lives in Atlanta with wife Wanda and their twin 8-year-old sons, will appear at the Barnes & Noble in Alpharetta at 5 p.m. Sunday. But don’t expect any autographs or book readings.

“Reading? Heck no, that’s work!” the gregarious Rogers, 74, said with a laugh, adding that he’ll likely do a photo op with anyone who buys “Luck.”

The tome successfully gives fans a glimpse into Rogers’ upbringing in Houston, as well as his early musical days playing jazz into his eventual working relationships with Lionel Richie and Dolly Parton, both still close friends today, up through meeting Wanda when she worked as a hostess at Pricci restaurant.

Rogers said that after Cox’s death, he started reading the stories she had culled from their hours of interviews and decided that it would be best for him to write his story his own way.

“They were wonderful, but it wasn’t my voice, so I started writing them and putting my warped sense of humor to them. But I hate to type so I type everything in all caps and then people think I’m yelling at them,” Rogers said.

He also admits to sneaking a peek at his Wikipedia page “to check album release dates and who I was married to when.”

For the record, Rogers is quite diplomatic in any discussion of his exes in the memoir and was adamant that it never turn into a salacious music industry tell-all.

“I was overly protective,” he said, “mainly because I’m not convinced that my memory of certain things is the right memory, so I didn’t want to get into any of that.”

Rogers does discuss in the book moving to the Athens area years ago because it was an amenable location to raise his kids at the time. He sold his 1,200-acre spread there when he and Wanda got married in 1997 and this past summer, unloaded his lake house in Nicholson because of the tremendous upkeep.

But, despite his frequent national and international travel — he’ll soon head to Singapore and then return to the U.S. for a Christmas tour — he’s still content to call Atlanta home.

Kenny Rogers says he loves living in Atlanta because it's "cosmopolitan but casual." Photo: Courtesy

Kenny Rogers says he loves living in Atlanta because it's "cosmopolitan but casual." Photo: Courtesy

“The great thing about Atlanta is that it has no natural disasters, if you think about it,” he said. “It’s an incredible place to live. It’s cosmopolitan, but casual.”

The same can be said of Rogers, who lately has been just as comfortable on stage at Bonnaroo with his pal Richie or performing for a more mature crowd, as he did at Chastain Park Amphitheatre this summer.

And for sure, he has no reasons for apologies.

Kenny Rogers will appear at 5 p.m. Sunday at Barnes & Noble at Mansell Crossings, 7660 Northpoint Parkway, Alpharetta. 770-993-8340, www.barnesandnoble.com.

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

By Melissa Ruggieri, Atlanta Music Scene

28 comments Add your comment

rogeriter

October 4th, 2012
8:52 am

A good man…and a great singer!

dick whiskey

October 4th, 2012
9:03 am

that old fart is still alive? kenny fade away please,you are an old washed up has been,you are yesterdays news disappear please no one gives a damn about you,it’s not 1978 anymore

AmyD

October 4th, 2012
9:14 am

You are a legend and a great performer. Dick Whiskey you should get a life and “fade” away…You are clueless and apparently very jealous.

bonnie f.

October 4th, 2012
9:27 am

I agree with rogeriter. Kenny Rogers is a great man and a very good singer. I love listening to his music. A by the way it seems that you dick whiskey are the clueless one. Kenny has put out a lot of beautiful music since 1978.

dick whiskey

October 4th, 2012
10:18 am

the old man was in his prime in 1978 is what i meant,started going downhill fast after that,if you remember him and dolly doing islands in the stream you know what i mean,horrible music

TD

October 4th, 2012
10:20 am

Kenny Rogers is testament that there is no accounting for taste. It’s amazing what “The Gambler” brought him, and his spoken-sung vocal styling leaves a lot to be desired. Never mind that he’s written few good songs; neither did Sinatra fwiw. But he’s surely laughing all the way to the 120 million records sold bank, and I know firsthand that Kenny is a very nice, genuine guy. Kenny to me is like many people who go far on any of the musical reality shows: there’s a serious dearth of talent but marketing can take you pretty darn far. He’s a great businessman with what he’s gotten out of his career, monetarily-wise. But let’s not mix true talent for great marketing.

Just saying’ !

Expert Advisor

October 4th, 2012
10:50 am

I was a classmate with one of Kenny’s nephews at UGA during the time Kenny lived near Athens. I can confirm that Kenny is a genuine and generous guy. Whether you like his music or not, Dick Whiskey, its obvious that 120 million people did like it. If you can get 120 million people to agree on something, you are pretty good at whatever it is that you are doing.

Next time I see Disk Whiskey and the Blowhards on tour, I will be sure to take note of how empty the arena is and how few of your records have been sold on iTunes. Keep your 4-inch opinions to yourself, Dick, and learn how to play a G Chord before you criticize anybody’s musical ability.

[...] more than 120 million albums, he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Patsi told me, ‘Kenny, if they love the boy, they’ll like the man,’” he said.Kenny Rogers’ “Luck or Something Like It” [...]

lseats

October 4th, 2012
12:26 pm

i loved Kenny Rogers music. still do. the songs actually had word you could understand and enjoy listening too instead of some of the rock country so called country today. of course, i am older and so that means this new country as they like to call it is no more than the rock & roll when i was a teen. i am someone who likes ‘music you can listen to. and this Rogers style. Like all of us he is older but if some of the younger musicians took time to listen to what he says it might help them as they go along. thankfully everyone has their own taste in music and there must have been a lot of us who liked kenny’s style. I love Dolly’s style also… great fan of George Strait but don’t think much of some of the newer singers… most don’t even know what country music is …

Dick Trickle

October 4th, 2012
2:14 pm

Whiskey, the bottom line is that 120 million people like Kenny Rogers enough to buy his product and I would imagine that its hard to get 120 million people to agree on anything. I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you and your band have also sold 120 million records, so you are not easily impressed? Otherwise, you are taking shots at somebody who has achieved a lot in life yet has been a decent guy during the whole time. Paul McCartney, Sting, Mick Jagger and David Bryne were also around in 1978, so Kenny is in pretty good company if your point is that being a hit maker in the 1970’s means you have no business hanging around in 2012.

Old Soul at 43

October 4th, 2012
2:31 pm

Please check out Kenny Rogers & The First Edition from 1972. Kenny was one cool smooth hippie. They sang the classics “Ruby” and “Just Looked In”.

Kenny, you should have never messed with your face dude! Why???? You didn’t need that. Now you look like you trying to 25 yrs old – not a smart career move.

vicki robinson

October 4th, 2012
2:41 pm

I grew up listening to kenny and the first edition and followed him through his career. his music made me laugh, made me cry and often made me think. his love of photography inspired me at an age when I needed something to get involved in. Like him or love him, even hate him, he is still one of the best. And I’ll never forget that night in agusta ga when I got to meet him. that is a memory I will cherish forever. so thanks kenny for bein somebody worth belivin in

linjaynes

October 4th, 2012
2:55 pm

To the rude idiotic blogger Dick Whiskey good moniker for you, I suggest you lay off it until you can relocate your manners, surely you were raised with some??????????

winsomeman

October 4th, 2012
2:59 pm

My favorite Kenny Rogers song is “Coward of the County” I loved him when he sang with Crystal Gale too, but when he sang with Dolly I think she had to take it down a notch. To ma at least they were grossly mismatched.

surprised

October 4th, 2012
4:09 pm

I was surprised by the photo. I didn’t realize he was of Asian descent.

maurice tillie

October 4th, 2012
5:05 pm

wow, kenny rogers was & is awsome. This is coming from a black men who don’t love country music but love kenny rogers

jojo

October 4th, 2012
8:02 pm

I’ve been a fan of Kenny’s for a looooong time! Use to camp out to get good seats at his concerts at the Omni or the Fox. And I had the pleasure of meeting him on the set of Six Pack. One classy dude. Still love ya, Kenny

floyd

October 4th, 2012
9:28 pm

hey kenny you are the best,I am from central America and,we listen to your musica;ot again you are the best in country music keep on doing what you do best take care sir.

Jay Fay

October 5th, 2012
4:07 am

I think that guy whiskey is drunk all the times he is on the computers.His head is spinning with rude manners about the Good old Kenny.We love you Kenny.You make our childhood memories a reality.Eyes that see in the dark album is my everything

Chris Kauffman

October 5th, 2012
11:12 am

PENNY

October 5th, 2012
4:09 pm

DICK W. YOU ARE A ASS AND JERK! KENNY IS AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN A GREAT SINGER AND PREFORMER!!!!!!!!!!! KEEP IT UP KENNY. WE LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PENNY

October 5th, 2012
4:14 pm

DICK W. YOU SHOULD THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK OR WRITE! THERE ARE LOT OF PEOPLE WHO WILL JUDGE YOU SOMEDAY TO AND I HOPE YOU REMEMBER THAT YOU WAS A ASS AND A JERK AND DESIRE WHATEVER THEY SAY ABOUT YOU, NOW SHUT YOU MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Murray Silver

October 8th, 2012
8:32 am

I wonder if Kenny Rogers wrote about his FIRST CONCERT APPEARANCE in Atlanta at the old Sports Arena???

Amazing

October 8th, 2012
10:14 am

I use to live next door to Kenny and he was one of the kindest people I have ever met. I run into him from time to time in restaurants around town and he is always so nice to come up and speak and catch up. I also am a huge fan of his music. Can’t wait to read the book. (Hope he didnt put me in it).

Gwen Lunceford

October 8th, 2012
10:24 am

When I worked for a large company, Kenny came to see some of the top brass. When he passed my office door, I waved, and he turned and came into this secretary’s office and greeted me and shook hands. What a gentleman! . I look forward to reading his book.

bari mulkey

October 8th, 2012
12:29 pm

@jojo………….my uncle was the kid that sang “ROCKY TOP” in the movie Six Pack. I haven’t seen Kenny in 30 years and yesterday was bittersweet for me because he remembered me meeting him and remembered my uncle. He asked me how he was doing and when I told him that my uncle died, he said that he hated to hear that. Kenny is such a sweet and humble person, and his wife Wanda is one of the sweetest people you will ever get to know and love.

JimmieMay

October 8th, 2012
4:59 pm

Dick Whiskey. You are a class A jerk and need to crawl back into the hole you crawled out of. Kenny Rogers has been around long before you were even born. I have never heard any of yours and your bands music which probably stinks to start with. You are the one that needs to disappear

Drummer Man

October 8th, 2012
10:46 pm

Just a quick note about Kenny. He’s a GREAT entertainer and has been forever. As far as you go Dick Whisky your name should be REVERSED (WD) do you get it or are you too ignorant. Don’t cut down other celebrity’s unless you can do a better job (which I seriously doubt).