Merle Haggard Gives Jail Advice to ‘Spoiled Brat’ Lindsay Lohan
As suggested by the title of his latest album, the Americana-chart-topping 'I Am What I Am,' country music icon Merle Haggard makes no excuses for his outspoken opinions and pulls no punches when it comes to recounting the hardscrabble life he's led. The 73-year-old ex-con, who notoriously served time in San Quentin prison for attempted robbery, was inspired to finally turn his back on his criminal past after seeing Johnny Cash perform there three times.
While you might imagine (and you'd be half-right) that the Hag has little sympathy for jailbird/celebrity Lindsay Lohan, Merle does have some practical advice to offer the young star.
"I feel sorry for her because she's such a lovely creature and such a talented person, and she's also a spoiled brat," Merle tells Vanity Fair. "I don't know if they've put her in with the rest of the inmates. I doubt that they would, but if it happens, she may have to fight her way out of a couple things. She has to be honest, and she has to let the other prisoners know that she doesn't feel like she's any better than they are."
Merle also cautions that the 24-year-old actress would do well to stay honest and pay attention.
"When I was in San Quentin, I paid attention the whole time I was there," he says. "And I made sure I didn't borrow anything from anybody. If I told somebody I was going to meet them on a Tuesday, I met 'em. I learned that it's better to be honest, because you can't get away from your lie. I really do feel sorry for her. She's going to have to straighten out her life, otherwise she'll be dead by the time she's 30. That's the bottom line."
Merle's conversation with Vanity Fair also features the Country Music Hall of Famer (and recent California Hall of Fame inductee) regaling the writer with tales of hopping freight trains, popping pills with Johnny Cash, recently giving up pot-smoking, and encountering a fellow prison inmate with a truly disgusting (and apparently well-earned) nickname.
The singer-songwriter, often referred to as the 'Poet of the Common Man' was recently the subject of an American Masters documentary called 'Merle Haggard: Learning to Live with Myself,' which is now streaming on the PBS website.