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DAVID ALLAN COE (Approved Biography 2013)

Life-long renegade and ex-convict David Allan Coe is an American songwriter and outlaw country music singer who first achieved popularity during the 1970s and 1980s.  DAC became a stalwart touring icon and remains one of the most colorful and unpredictable characters in country music history.  As a recording artist, some of his biggest hits include "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile," "The Ride," "You Never Even Called Me by My Name," "She Used to Love Me a Lot," and "Longhaired Redneck."  Dozens of others have become cult standards and his many compositions recorded by others, including Johnny Cash, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Leon Russell, Charlie Louvin, Del Reeves, Tammy Wynette, Melba Montgomery, Stoney Edwards, The Oakridge Boys and Kid Rock have been chart topping successes, like the No. 1 million sellers "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)," covered by Tanya Tucker; and "Take This Job and Shove It," which was covered by Dead Kennedys and Johnny Paycheck.  It was Paycheck's only #1 hit, spending 18 weeks on the charts.  That title also became a hit movie, with both Coe and Paycheck acting in the film.  Coe has acted in other movies including Stagecoach with Willie Nelson, The Last Days of Frank and Jessie James, Lady Grey and Buckstone County Prison, to mention a few.  He was a featured performer in the 1975 documentary Heartworn Highways.  Other featured performers included Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Steve Young, Steve Earle, and The Charlie Daniels Band.

So far, David Allan Coe has had eighty-one songs hit the Billboard Singles Charts.  "Take This Job and Shove It" has received BMI’s coveted Million Airplays Certificate; his "Greatest Hits Album" was certified Platinum; and his "First Ten Years Album" certified Gold.  His massive copyright catalog includes an estimated 800 songs.  He has also published a novel, Psychopath, and an autobiography, Whoopsy Daisy.  Coe began a non-stop concert tour almost 45 years ago and the schedule still boasts a never-ending list of sold out shows.

There’s more to come, but first some history …

Released from prison in 1967, the heavily tattooed Coe, sporting piercings, wildly long hair and an increasingly unique wardrobe, headed for Nashville in a painted-up hearse that he parked in front of the Grand Ole Opry’s then home, the Ryman Auditorium.  In spite of his ‘outsider’ demeanor, Coe’s music attracted attention and in 1968 he signed with Sun Records (via Plantation/SS International), recording a debut album of songs he wrote in prison, Penitentiary Blues, an under-acknowledged classic of the genre.  The prolific DAC wrote and performed extensively, even touring with Grand Funk.  In the early 1970s, he crossed paths with the notorious Eli Radish Band (Capitol Records), which Coe, along with several rock books, credits as the original country rock, alt-country and Americana pioneers.  Together they forged a timeless union, with rumors of yet unreleased material.  In 1973 Columbia Records bought David's contract from Sun and he recorded The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy, several years before Glen Campbell hit with the Larry Weiss song "Rhinestone Cowboy".  Performing in a mask and rhinestone “Nudie suit” given to him by Mel Tillis, he was described as “alt-country,” "pre-punk" and "a hillbilly version of Marc Bolan's glitz and glitter."  His wild concert unpredictability was enhanced when he frequently roared on-stage astride his Harley, improvising stream-of-consciousness medleys with his bands.  When other artists began charting hits with his songs, Coe became one of Nashville's hottest songwriters.  His constant touring and reputation for attracting famous friends as guests, as well as using top notch groups like “The Tennesse Hat Band”, “LadySmith” and players like Warren Haynes, Radish’s Danny Sheridan and Starr Smith, helped develop a large cult following.

During his thirteen-years on Columbia, DAC released twenty-six LPs, including the double-album package For the Record: The First 10 Years in 1984; Son of the South, with guests like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, and other "outlaws" in 1986, and the highly regarded A Matter of Life and Death in 1987.

Through the years, his rebellious stance has kept him swirling in controversy, often alienating Nashville’s conservative music establishment.  Coe’s Eli Radish Band recordings, as well as early records by Waylon and Willie are credited as the first country recordings that used real bands rather than the typical studio players.  He rode with 1% motorcycle clubs and when tax problems led to the seizure of his Key West home, he reportedly lived in a southern Tennessee cave.  When Shel Silverstein played Coe his comedy album Freakin' at the Freakers Ball, he encouraged Coe to record his own bawdy comedy songs for the independently released Nothing Sacred and Underground Album.  New York Times journalist Neil Strauss described the material as "among the most racist, misogynist, homophobic and obscene songs recorded by a popular songwriter.”  Some people just have no sense of humor!

Throughout the 1990s, David Allan Coe remained a popular concert attraction in America and Europe, with the aforementioned films adding to the DAC mystique.  His singles have become jukebox standards and are constantly performed by bar bands in every honky-tonk that serves up a shot with a longneck back.  The album Recommended for Airplay was released in 1999; Long Haired Country Boy in 2000; Songwriter of the Tear appeared the following year.

In 1999, Coe met Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell and the two musicians, struck by the similarity between their country and heavy metal, began working together on the production of a CD.  The groundbreaking, genre-bending Rebel Meets Rebel, with Dimebag, Vinnie Paul and Rex Brown, recorded between 1999 and 2003, was released in 2006, two years after Darrel's murder.

After Coe’s fan Kid Rock honored him in the lyrics of his giant hit “American Badass”, in 2000 he invited Coe to tour as his opening act.  In 2003, Coe wrote "Single Father” which appeared on Kid Rock's self-titled album, and the song went to No. 50 on the Billboard Country Singles charts.

On April 21 of 2010, David Allan Coe married longtime girlfriend and singing companion, Kimberly Hastings at The Little White Chapel in Las Vegas, in a ceremony attended by several close friends, including their official witness, Toby Keith.  Already together for more than 10 years, when asked what prompted them to finally tie the knot, Coe replied, “I got tired of making decisions for myself!”

And now …

On March 19, 2013 at 1:30AM. DAC was involved in a serious accident with a Peterbilt eighteen-wheeler at a red light in Ocala, Florida.  His Suburban was crushed nearly beyond recognition, pushed through a parking lot and the truck flipped over.  Coe and two occupants in the truck were hospitalized.  This brush with death and subsequent life-changing revelations are now memorialized in the soon-to-be-released new CD, Just As I Am, produced by long time friend and partner Danny Sheridan.  With Miss Kim by his side, completely new business representation, and a continuing passion for performing, these poignant and introspective songs introduce the next phase of an already legendary career.


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