Sometimes I might have gone a little too far, not such an uncommon trait in a person on amphetamines. I’d put on my cowboy clothes – real ones, antiques – and go out to the desert or an abandoned ranch somewhere, trying to feel how they felt back then, how they were… Sometimes my amphetamine communions with the cowboy ghosts were productive and ideas came to me that became songs on the spot or later. Sometimes the chemistry wasn’t right, as they say (though not in the sense I mean it) and not much happened in the way of creative progress. I still have a sheet from a yellow legal pad on which is written my entire output from a whole day in the desert: “Under the manzanita tree / Sits a pencil, a piece of paper, and me.” You can’t imagine how much thought went into those words.

Johnny Cash, “Cash: The Autobiography”.

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Chief theatre critic for The Times. Twitter: CliveDavisUK Facebook: Instagram: clivephotos
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