Scotty “Boy” McCoy
playing “Sixteen Tons” at a big venue to an enthusiastic crowd. As it gets to the solo, the music drops and the
recognize that song? You probably shouldn’t, but most folks
do. It’s an old Merle Travis song that Tennessee Ernie Ford
had a number one hit with in 1955. That’s me and my band doing
our rocked up version. But believe me it’s taken a long road
to get here…
An old, wooden
backwoods Baptist church in the hills of East Tennessee with an
outdoor toilet. The shot starts from outside while the preacher
inside builds in his sermon or there is singing. The shot moves
inside. It’s very hot and there is no air conditioning.
Still, the congregation sits intently listening to an older preacher
lay on the fire and brimstone. Over the course of the scene he will
give the “call to be saved” and at least one lost soul
will walk up and give his life over to Jesus. This moment will be
quite dramatic with the congregation
standing and singing some classic, country, gospel hymn like “In
the Sweet By and By”.
Meanwhile, toward the
front rows sits a grandmother and her fidgety 7 to 9 year old
grandson (me) and a cute, little blond girl and her mother. The shot
sweeps through the church and finally stops on me.
NARRATOR: My name is
Scott McCoy. My friends call me Scotty “Boy”. That’s
my grandfather up there a sweatin’ and a hollerin’. I
didn’t realize it until later, but this was my first exposure
to show business. But, like many things in my life, I hated it. I
hated gettin’ up in the mornin’. I hated puttin’
on these ridiculous clothes. I hated sittin’ still. I hated
the singin’. I hated all these old, stinky people. And I
couldn’t understand, for the life of me, why in the world the
same bunch of folks would come to the same church every
week to hear the same sermon about giving your life to Jesus.
Weren’t all these folks already saved? I didn’t get it.
I tried to find a way
to enjoy the music by tappin’ along to the beat, but it only
irritated my grandmother. [Grandmother smacks tapping fingers.] I
did however like this particular church because there was a little
blond girl who would somehow end up sittin’ next to me, and she
would let me touch her butt during the service. [Boy touches girl’s
LITTLE BLOND GIRL: (In
something of a whisper, but not exactly.) Stop touchin’ my
Scene cuts to us in her
bedroom playing dolls and kissing.
after church, we’d go over to her house and she and I would
play dolls in her room and kiss. One day, her folks decided to cook
Scene cuts to a farmer
in overalls twisting the head off a chicken.
not sure we stayed for lunch. [Car races away from a rickety house
down a gravel road]
Scene cuts back to the
NARRATOR: So, here we
are gettin’ close to his big finish. My grandfather is takin’
off his jacket and lookin’ for a sinner. And sure enough, some
fool timidly comes from the back of the church hangin’ his head
while the sangin’ gets louder and my grandfather gets louder
and eventually gets down on one knee askin’ him if he’s
ready to “accept the Lord Jesus as his one and only savior”
while this poor fella starts cryin’ his eyes out.
Camera shows the two
stand up and face the congregation who continue to sing while members
of the church come up and congratulate him.
NARRATOR: So, this is
where I got my first musical influence and where I got my first
glimpse of show business, and yep, you heard me right, that’s
my grandfather up there, so yep, that makes my mamma… the
Scene cuts to a young
blond woman and man in a car blazin’ down the highway circa
1960. [Song on the radio is “Don’t
Dial the Devil”.] She’s laughing and having fun and
they’re both smoking and drinking. He’s wearing a white
t-shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve.
NARRATOR: And, of
course, naturally, she had a bit of a wild side to her and got
herself hitched to a local hoodlum…my dad. [Shot cuts back in
time to close up of a teenage boy stealing hubcaps.] Apparently, his
folks had to leave his hometown because he got caught stealin’
hubcaps. That always seemed to me like a pretty extreme reason to
leave town, so I figured he was either really good at it, or it was a
mighty big deal in Kankakee, Illinois. [Shot pulls back to reveal
he’s stealing hubcaps from a cop car with a cop in it!]
I always called my dad
a dreamer and my mamma the realist ‘cause he always seemed to
have these big ideas and she always seemed real practical.
Unfortunately, he never seemed to have a job.
Scene cuts to montage
of scenes of father getting fired and leaving jobs.
NARRATOR: We did
finally settle down at the end of cul de sac in East Tennessee. I
seemed like a good kid, but I guess my father had some influence on
me as I do remember this one incident where my babysitter told her
son and me to pick up the dog shit from the back of the yard. It was
filled with dog shit and I was pissed. Wasn’t this their dog?
How did this stinky-ass job become my responsibility? I found a
stick and realized you could sling the dog shit out of the yard.
Cranky as I was about this assignment, I flung some up on the side of
their house. Pretty soon her son joined right in and we’d
cleaned up the whole back yard. [Shot of boy flinging dog shit on
the side of a house. Shot of side of house, covered in dog shit.]
‘Course, they weren’t nearly as pleased with our work as
Scene cuts to me
getting my ass whipped with a clear, pink, plastic hair brush.
cuts to Christmas in a trailer on dad’s side of the family in
Florida with a large redneck family sitting around singing a carol to
a little grandma at the organ.
NARRATOR: My dad’s
side of the family was actually quite talented. Apparently my aunt
was quite a good singer, my dad played the drums, and my grandmother
could play piano and was one of the sweetest, most wonderful people
I’ve ever known. She always seemed very young at heart and I
think I’ve modeled my way of life on her way of lookin’
at thangs. At Christmas I’d go visit her in Daytona Beach,
Florida and she had this big, electric organ with drum beats and all
kinds of sounds. She would sing Johnny Mathis hits and all kinds of
standards. I would futz around with that thing every chance I got.
Eventually, I decided I
wanted a guitar, and though I looked a lot like John Denver on the
outside, inside, I knew someday, I was gonna rock!
Old still shot of 13
year old boy in roundish glasses with plaid pants and an
uncomfortable Christmas sweater with first cheap-ass electric guitar.
Scene could close to music from the church wrapping up big hymn from opening.
NARRATOR: What I
didn’t know is that “it’s a long way to the top if
you wanna rock & roll.”