If you read his new biography, you'll think so too.
*The writer of “Act Naturally,” Johnny Russell, received a call from Buck saying he’d record the song if Buck got all the publishing rights, hoping Russell would give anything to have the song get recorded. Buck had in fact already recorded the song, and simply screwed the writers out of the profits.
*Though Buck never took illicit drugs, he routinely medicated with Valium, and later OxyContin. Some claim he took Benzedrine, including band mate Doyle Holly, who insists Buck once took a “bennie” at 3 a.m. and spoke nonstop in Pig Latin for the rest of the night.
*Buck’s backing band, the Buckaroos, never rehearsed.
*In an effort to mend some bad blood, Buck allowed a radio station to grant a cancer-stricken woman her dying wish—to have lunch with the country star. Buck stood her up.
*Buck’s older sister, Mary Ethel, was institutionalized for bipolar disorder type I, an affliction many believe Buck shared.
*1963’s “My Heart Skips a Beat” and its b-side “Together Again” switched No. 1 positions on the Billboard charts two times.
*The band once left brief drummer Mel King’s equipment out in the rain and drove off to the next tour stop to punish King for stalling in the bar while the other members schlepped gear.
*Buck had, according to the author, “no problem with nepotism.” Besides Dorothy, both his mother and father served as his well-salaried employees.
*According to Doyle, Buck had promised 10 percent of royalties from the Buck Owens' Songbook LP, but Buck kept all the money from royalties for himself, never dividing anything amongst the band.
*Though he once yelled in anger that “Hitler was right,” to a Jewish PR exec, Buck in fact admired Jewish people, and employed a mostly-Jewish lawyer, even having a daughter by a wife of one, a fact allegedly kept secret by payoffs.
*Over the course of his career, Buck purchased many expensive gifts in order to get tax deductions. He usually ended up keeping them for himself.
*Buck’s third (or second, depending on who you ask) ex-wife Phyllis remarried him several years after their divorce, despite the fact that he was physically abusive, and once hit her in the face with a golf club.
*When opening act Kay Adams cut her hair short. Buck freaked out because he wanted her to maintain a down-home persona. He also dictated her stage wardrobe, which included long, plain country skirts.
*Buck had sex with groupies everywhere he toured, sometimes sleeping with up to eight women in one night.
*Once, Don and Doyle came into Buck’s hotel room to try and have a go at Buck’s piece of tail. Buck opened the door to them, and they all took turns with her.
*Many women, knowing they were too old for Buck’s taste, would bring their teen daughters and leave them as offerings to the country “god.”
*Doyle apparently got paid for only six of the 102 hours he spent in the studio for the Bridge Over Troubled Water EP.
*Buck may have been a a member of the prestigious Bohemian Club, to which such political giants as Ronald Reagan and Dick Cheney belonged.
*Buck’s longtime girlfriend Kris Black initially mistook him for a bus driver.
*As Miss KTUF, the promotional model for one of Buck’s radio stations, Black toured various local spots, including a McDonalds where a man dressed as Ronald McDonald continually made loud suggestive remarks to her as they entertained a group of children.
PW's Music Issue 2014