Country Legend Mazey Gardens Dies
whose brash songs and rebellious hair styles defined the "outlaw"
movement in country music, died yesterday after a long battle with booze
and Brill Cream. He was 68.
Gardens' spokeswoman, Staci Peachtree, said Gardens died "pissed
off" at his home in Big Mushroom, Virginia.
Gardens, a singer, songwriter and original member of radio station WKOZ's
psychedelic traveling show "The Electric Hayride," recorded
over 22 albums, none of which ever entered the charts, with the exception
of his ballad, "Dont Invite Me to Your Pity Party,"
which was covered in the early 80s by punk band Six and a Half Seconds
resulting in a stint at number 100 for a split second. But that doesnt
Gardens had been plagued with alcohol-related health problems, including
debilitating water retention from consuming mass amounts of bar-room
peanuts and severe gas.
Gardens and his wife, singer Crystal Lake, sold their trailer outside
of Nashville more than a year ago and moved to Big Mushroom, because
"Mazey just liked the name," explained Lake.
With childhood pal Samuel L. Justice, Woodsy Marbles and the Mexican
drumming sensation "Porkchop," Gardens formed The Brick Hit
House Band and sang red-neck inspired blue-collar anthems such as "Callin
in Dead," "Business in the Front and Party in the Back"
and "Look Ma, No Class."
Gardens seemed to be always ahead of his time, however, and it was contemporaries,
like Waylon Jennings, who profited most from the new brand of outlaw
music, and Willie Nelson, who instead became synonymous with silly hair
Gardens' distinctive, authoritative voice was also utilized by the 1980s
Easy-Oven Sausage corporation (now Turkey Bacon Bakers) to narrate a
series of "breakfast meat" radio spots. "I aimed the
narration at people who were hung over," he revealed in a 1987
interview, "and it worked."
Gardens was perhaps best known for his wild facial hair styles, at one
point spending over $1,500-a-day on his own private mustachier.
Gardens claims his mother started him on rye bourbon when he was two
years old. "It wasnt her fault," Gardens admitted in
an interview in 1994. "In the Appalachian Mountains, rye bourbon
is almost the same price as milk. And a little goes a long way"
Gardens and his fourth wife, Crystal Lake, married in 1980. They had
one son, Jigger.
AP News, 2001