http://www.aarp.org/entertainment/music ... emoir.html
Kenny Rogers Opens Up About Aging
Country music star discusses memoir 'Luck or Something Like It' and the benefits of getting older
by: Alanna Nash | from: AARP | October 4, 2012
In his autobiography "Luck or Something Like It," Kenny Roger shares details about his family and his musical career. — Bob King/Redferns/Getty Images
Turns out Kenny Rogers can tell a sharp story on the page, not just behind a mike. In Luck or Something Like It: A Memoir, the gravelly voiced country balladeer recalls singing everything from doo-wop to jazz to folk before finding success with "Ruby," "Lucille," "The Gambler" and other iconic tunes. Yes, he's recorded 65 albums and sold 190 million records, but Rogers has also excelled as an actor, photographer and restaurateur. At 74, the Houston native shares some of the philosophies that shaped his life.
Q. Why did you want to write a book?
A. I didn't. But [collaborator] Patsi Cox said, "You have to, Kenny. So many guys had an impact on music and died without telling us how it happened." The more questions she asked me, the more fun I had.
Q. You just got back from some grueling tours overseas. Any tips on aging well?
A. I had a friend who was 92. His motto was, "Every day I wake up on this side of the grass, I'm a happy guy." I think getting old is a privilege. We've all had our turn at life — now all we can do is guide others through.
Q. Getting older changes your craft. In the book you talk about throat surgery, for example.
A. I had nodes then. Now I have something else. With aging, your vocal cords stretch a little bit. But I solve that with voice exercises.
Q. You found love again in your 50s.
A. Wanda [Miller, whom he married in 1997] is a very special girl, and it took me a long time to find the line between being driven and being selfish. When I was younger, I wanted to be successful so bad that I sacrificed my family for it. But the older you get, the more you tend to say, "Wait a minute. Look what I've got here. Let me protect that."
Q. Another special gal is Dolly Parton, your occasional duet partner.
A. Yeah, she's my buddy. When I call her, she comes. And when she calls, I run! Dolly and I have this incredible relationship. The minute she marched into the studio for "Islands in the Stream," she brought new life to it. I love her.
Q. Has anything pleasantly surprised you about growing older?
A. I'm a lot more patient than I used to be. I have 8-year-old twin boys. They're such a great gift — and they don't see my age. Jordan said, "C'mon, Dad, go run with me." And I said, "Son, I can't run. You saw my knee surgery." He said, "C'mon, just try it." They really want me to do things. They'll walk by and say, "Dad, you've got to get up and get exercise." It's really cool.
Q. You wrote that your grandfather told you, "Son, youth only happens to you one time; so if you should miss it when you're young, you can still have it when you're old." Meaning?
A. He was a quiet old soul, but he would say, "Youth is a frame of mind. If you get out there and enjoy it, you can have it at any time of your life."
Q. Was he right?
A. Well, I'm a fun-loving person, but I'm not real overt. My mom said, "Son, you've gotta be happy where you are. If you're not happy where you are, you'll never be really happy. Never be content to be there, but be happy where you are." I thought that was great advice.
Q. Your mother had a strong set of values. But even at 70 she was not above climbing a stranger's fence to fish in his lake.
A. We were so afraid she was going to get shot! Especially since she wore this orange jumpsuit — looked like a convict. But she had no fear. She said, "Why would they care if I get in there and fish?" You have to love that spirit.
Alanna Nash is a New York Times best-selling ghostwriter and author. Her latest book is Baby, Let's Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him