Even though we’re barely four months into 2009, it’s already shaping up to be a banner year in terms of musicians beefing. There have been well-publicized feuds between 50 Cent and Rick Ross, U2 and Sting, and Kanye West and Thom Yorke; even Elliott Smith, who’s been dead for over five years now, has found a way to get in on the action by starting a posthumous war with Trent Reznor. Determined not to let rappers and dead rockers hog the spotlight, country-music star Toby Keith is going public with his desire to beat the crap out of Ethan Hawke, thanks to a not-so-blind item that Hawke planted about Keith in his recent Rolling Stone profile (not yet online) of Kris Kristofferson.
In Hawke’s story, he recounts a 2003 backstage incident that allegedly occurred between Kristofferson and an unnamed musician who “had a monster hit about bombing America’s enemies back into the stone age” at Willie Nelson’s 70th birthday party at New York’s Beacon Theater. According to Hawke’s first-person account, Kristofferson and the unnamed musician, who is most certainly Toby Keith, got into a political spat backstage, culminating in a war of words that never got physical. Tempers flared, but the incident was forgotten and everyone moved on.
Until the new issue of Rolling Stone came out last week, that is. When a journalist approached Keith after the Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, Keith gave Hawke a piece of his mind:
“I don’t know Ethan Hawke. Ethan Hawke wanted to do some kind of superficial Rolling Stone article. And he did everything he could to make his story the greatest story ever in Rolling Stone,” Keith said. “And it was a fictitious (expletive) lie. O.K?”
“He didn’t even call me by my name. … He called Norah Jones, Ray Charles, everybody else by name. Willie (Nelson), Kris (Kristofferson). Why didn’t he call my name? Why didn’t he say Toby Keith walked through and said this (expletive)? Right? You know why. You know why. You know as good as anybody why. He didn’t want to (expletive) deal with the aftermath.”
Translation? Them’s fightin’ words! We’re not sure how much time that Keith spends here in New York, but if we were Ethan Hawke, we’d definitely keep our head on a swivel and avoid walking down dark alleys until this blows over.