A Close Encounter With Billy Joe Shaver…

Billy Joe Shaver – Live Forever

Not at this rate he won’t. Texas country music legend Billy Joe Shaver is wanted by the Lorena police department for an altercation at a Lorena,Texas bar.

Police have issued arrest warrants for country singer Billy Joe Shaver after he shot and wounded a man outside a Texas bar, the entertainer’s attorney said.

After Shaver left a bar in Lorena on Saturday night, a drunk, aggressive stranger with a knife followed him into the parking lot, said attorney Joseph A. Turner of Austin. Shaver shot him in self-defense, he said.

Shaver attempted to surrender to Austin police Monday night but was not arrested because the police did not have a record of the warrants, said Turner, who accompanied Shaver.

The shooting occurred at 8:30 p.m. Saturday outside Papa Joe’s Texas Saloon, according to Lorena police. The victim was shot in the cheek but was talking and alert afterward, police said. He was hospitalized.

Shaver, who lives in Waco, about 15 miles from Lorena, rose to country music stardom in the 1970s. Shaver, who wrote “Georgia on a Fast Train” and “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be a Diamond Someday)” has recorded more than 20 albums.

One of Billy Joe’s, The Original Honky Tonk Hero’s, many distinctions is that he is missing two fingers on his right hand. You can purchase a t-shirt, thong and other merchandise with his distinctive handprint from his website.

In an interview with Dan Rather, Billy Joe related how he lost them:

One of the things that’s hard to miss when you meet Shaver is his right hand, his picking hand. He explained that when he was 21, he worked in a sawmill in Waco, Texas. One day, his right hand slipped and a fast-whirling blade cut off two of his fingers. Shaver hoped a medical miracle would save them.

“So I just took my fingers, and drove over to the doctor’s office. He says, ‘Got a little trouble there, ain’t you?’ I said, ‘Can you sew these fingers back on?’ He said, ‘What?'” says Shaver. “I said, ‘I read a Japanese article that they sewed ‘em on, and they worked. He said, ‘Hey, this is Waco.’ You know, made that clear real quick [that he was not going to sew the fingers back on.]”
How can he play a guitar with two missing fingers? “Not very well,” says Shaver, laughing. “But I do get by.”

Well Billy Joe, I hope you do get by son. Used to be a case like this would never see the light of day in Texas (assuming the self defense part is true). But times have changed, even in Texas.


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