Better Than Sushi

Dwight Yoakam, from superdork to superstar

Still, the shit kept on a-slingin'. One wag opined to me, "Of course he was convincing in that role—it was just Dwight playing Dwight."

Now a playa in two mediums, Dwight playing Dwight dated hot starlets like Bridget Fonda and Sharon Stone. Once Stone broke up with our man, she gleefully announced to the press, "Kissing Dwight Yoakam is like eating a dirt sandwich." Hey, it's better than sushi, right?

Although I've never been among the legion of Dwight-bashers, he did raise my eyebrows a couple of years ago when he toured with the evil, heinous duo Brooks & Dunn, perpetrators of "Boot Scootin' Boogie," which certainly ranks among the Top Five Anthems for Lowest-Common-Denominator Goat-Roping Douchebags ever recorded. I had to call him out.

"Here's the deal," says Dwight, in full-on defensive mode. "Anybody that's an artist—writers, actors, musicians—that starts to succumb to being pitted by third parties once removed who have their own reason for needing your analysis of something as a means of giving them fodder for their journalistic cannon, you get into a situation which is counterproductive to creating music. I really, earnestly say I don't think about it. There's no point in ostracizing ourselves. That's for you to make those kinds of observations. That's your job, not mine. Do I have opinions? Yeah, but I don't think they're pertinent to anything."

Although his paranoid retort makes about as much sense as Dubya's inexplicable popularity among the working class, I remain a cheerleader for Dwight. The man has a huge catalog of great music behind him; his latest CD, Population Me, is as fine as anything he's ever recorded; and, contrary to the continuing accusations of Hollywood hoity-toity-ness, Dwight is always friendly and eager to fondly reminiscence about the old days whenever we speak. And this—much more than this—he did it his way.

"I could probably have sold more records if I was willing to change this or that," Dwight says. "Maybe. But it wouldn't have mattered to me because I wouldn't have been doing what I enjoy doing. So I hope we've been a bridge. If nothing else, I hope we've been a part of exposing people who might never have heard it otherwise to hardcore country music."

Dwight Yoakam performs at the House Of Blues, 1530 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 778-2583. Sat., 8 p.m. $56-$58.
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