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Western Animation / Tales From The Tour Bus

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A biographical comedy series from Mike Judge that aired on Cinemax.

In it, Judge introduces viewers to the subject of crazy (but true) stories of drug addiction, gun fighting, law dodging and general mayhem that comes with touring with famously crazy musicians.

Season 1 focused on the legends of country, both those from the "Outlaw" movement and its greatest unaffiliated outlaws:

Season 2 focused on the greats of R&B and funk:


Provides examples of:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: As told by George Clinton himself, "Atomic Dog", one of the if not the biggest hits he ever came out with, came about when George, high on crack, heard the sound engineer rewinding the track and mistakenly began singing to it.
  • The Alcoholic: Everyone, but George Jones stands out among the rest. He may or may not have worn adult diapers to avoid frequent bathroom trips due to how much beer he drank.
  • Amicable Exes:
    • George Jones and Tammy Wynette, which was surprising considering what he put her through.
    • Miles Davis divorced Betty and moved on after only a single tumultuous year of marriagenote ; still, he believed strongly in her talent and encouraged her solo career, even consulting with the band a few times over the phone about which chord progressions they could use on the debut album. This connection, along with Betty keeping her married name, would soon cause her a lot of grief from those dismissing her as riding Miles's coattails.
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  • Appeal to Obscurity: Each season ends with the story of a lesser known or nearly forgotten artist of the genre. Season 1 had obscure outlaw singer Blaze Foley, and season 2 had the sadly overlooked Betty Davis.
  • Ax-Crazy: Many of the featured artists were... less than stable, usually as a result of heavy drug and alcohol abuse, or just severe anger issues and poor impulse control.
    • Johnny Paycheck, perhaps as a way to compensate for his physical shortcomings (see The Napoleon), was extremely prone to dangerous and damaging behavior, and shot a childhood acquaintance in the head for some inscrutable insult or threat while he was tweaking on cocaine; miraculously, the bullet only grazed the man's scalp rather than kill him, but Johnny's coke abuse had left him a twitchy mess that couldn't properly testify at trial.
    • Jerry Lee Lewis once spotted Liberace walking down the sidewalk while he was taking a drive and openly contemplated running him over, just so there'd be "one less piano player to worry about"; his friend Tarp Tarrant dared him, and he finally demurred, saying, "Naw, I reckon I'll let 'im live 'till the next time [I see him]." Although Jerry and his family maintain it happened while Jerry was carelessly playing with his .357 Magnum (his sister Linda calls it an "accident" in the interview), his bandmates allege that Lewis suddenly pulled out the gun and shot his bassist Butch Owens through the chest for demanding back pay owed, and similarly, Tarp claims Jerry got angry enough to supposedly make death threats and deliberately rammed the gate when denied entry to Graceland, rather than doing it by accident.note  This apparently ran in the family, as Jerry's father Elmo chased Chuck Berry with a knife, threatening to kill him and dump him in "the Blue Hole"note  for repeatedly upstaging his son on tour; the morning after Jerry managed to separate them, they were found eating breakfast together and pleasantly chatting.
    • For unknown reasons, George Jones once threw a whiskey bottle from the audience at Don Adams, narrowly missing him, after Don introduced him on stage, and later took a swing at him in the parking lot (he missed both times, and Don knocked him out). Years later, George would confront Porter Wagoner in the urinals of the Grand Ol' Opry, grabbing and painfully twisting his penis just on the suspicion that he and Tammy were having an affair. The incident that finally ended their marriage was when George's abuse turned physical, and he attempted to punch Tammy before firing at her with a rifle; the police led him away in a straitjacket. He even allegedly attempted to kill his best friend Peanutt Montgomery in cold blood, though Peanutt declined to press charges because he didn't want George to spend the rest of his life in jail.
    • James Brown was an interesting case, as he already started out with a terrifying, volatile temper and a long history of violent outbursts and abuse, but had few vices other than smoking and the occasional drink, and didn't tolerate any drug use or drinking before performances when it came to his band members. Smoking PCP only increased what was already there and gave him newfound paranoiac tendencies, be it hidden electronic surveillance or someone using his private office bathroom.
  • Badass Boast: Billy Joe Shaver on shooting a guy:
    ...I hit him right between a mother and a fucker.
  • Badass Moustache: Blaze Foley. James Brown's moustache was also quite nice, but marked the beginning of a Dork Ageinvoked for his music (specifically, dabbling in disco).
  • Bad Boss: James Brown, who would fine his band members for making mistakes, and Jerry Lee Lewis, who would shoot at his band if they weren't partying hard enough.
  • Based on a True Story: All the crazy events told in the show really happened. From Jerry Lee Lewis firing a machine gun in a dentist office, to George Jones riding a horse to a bar.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Time at one point rehearsed in a practice space owned by an intimidating man named Weaver. Weaver had two rules; don't mess with his juice machine and don't mess with his titty lamps. Guess what happened.
    • James Brown held up a business seminar at gunpoint after one of the attendees used his office toilet.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Played for laughs. While discussing how Johnny Paycheck may have shot a man over turtle soup (either the offer or how the man said he made it), Paycheck's manager Ernie Stepp begins to tell the proper way to cut up a live turtle for cooking — and then, this happens:
    Ernie: He's still got skin on 'is tail, 'cause that's how they have sex.
    Arnie Adams: With their tail? I didn't know that.
    Ernie: Yeah! A male turtle has got a dick in 'is tail, and a female turtle's got a pussy in her tail.
    Gary Adams: Seems like you know an awful lot about turtles.
    Ernie: [Dryly, not missing a beat] I have fucked every kind of animal woman there is, but a turtle... now, I tried.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Pretty much any James Brown fan who met the man came away with this, thanks to his extreme self-centeredness.
      Frankie "Kash" Waddy: [On the departure of James's old backing band] Those cats were our idols, man! They were giants to [us] — Maceo Parker? Fred Wesley? And they were all broken men, you know.
    • This happened to Rick James when he went to see Sly Stone and found his idol backstage smoking crack. James then swore he would never let that happen to him.
  • Control Freak:
    • James. Brown. If you so much as flubbed a note, he'd fine you out of your pay, and if he smelled anything even a little recreational on you, you'd instantly be out of the band. Despite all of his rules, Brown didn't spend that much time being present to micromanage his band — in part because he flew in luxury while his backing musicians (except sometimes the drummers, which he needed "fresh") took the tour bus, and in part because nobody in the band liked making small talk with him and would duck him any chance they could.
    • Prince was no slouch in this regard, either; though the rest of his music empire is Out of Focus and mentioned only sparingly in any episodes that feature him, half of the Morris Day episode is about Prince and Morris clashing because of his complete and absolute control over everything The Time did.
  • Courtroom Antic:
    • After shooting Larry Wise in the head — and narrowly avoiding killing him — Johnny Paycheck's trial for aggravated assault, evidence tampering and concealment of a deadly weapon almost immediately went south because Paycheck's unkempt, hollow-eyed appearance and cocaine habit made him look positively deranged; upon taking the witness stand, Johnny picked up a large revolver sitting there and began to twirl it around, and his lawyer immediately knew all hope was lost. Paycheck was sentenced to 7 to 9 years, but managed to get out in under two after a pardon from the governor.
    • Billy Joe Shaver's similar aggravated assault trial hit a snag because Billy Joe had given his friend Dale Weston permission to write a ballad about it, and the song had been receiving local airplay, making it harder for the defense to challenge the evidence against him.note  At another point, when asked by the prosecutor if he could've just walked away from the fight and not taken the man's bait, he replied, "Ma'am, I'm from TexasI ain't no chickenshit." Amazingly, unlike Paycheck, Shaver got off not guilty.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mike Judge's flat delivery is used to great effect, particularly in the funk episodes where every other character has a ludicrous nickname.
    Ben Greenman is a former New York Times reporter, who helped George write the book... [said as haltingly as possible] 'Brothas Be, Yo, Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?
    • Kinky Friedman is, if anything, even more deadpan than Judge; when a dog begins noisily barking outside on his ranch while the crew is interviewing him, he offers to have it put to sleep afterward to make it up to them.note 
  • Determinator:
    • Nothing will stop Jerry Lee Lewis from getting to a gig, even if it means driving 90 miles on a flat tire at top speed.
    • In a less inspirational but strangely impressive way, George Jones didn't let anything get between him and his alcohol. When Tammy hid his car keys to keep him from boozing, he drove a riding mower at 5 MPH down the highway to the liquor store, but forgot to turn off the blade and kicked up gravel the whole way; after Tammy caught him doing it and hid the mower's keys, he rode his horse to a nearby bar (where he soon got too drunk to ride back).note 
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Count the number of times a minor argument or disagreement results in guns drawn and bullets flying.
    Mike Judge: [on Billy Joe Shaver] ...And, like almost everyone else in this series so far, he shot a guy.
    • Any time one of his backing musicians hit a clam during a live performance, James Brown would gesture in his direction to let him know he'd just lost twenty dollars' pay, while still keeping up the appearance of dancing. Once, after a young drummer on tour was suddenly offered to solo by James and gave a less-than-perfect performance, Brown invited him to fly to the next gig with him on his personal jet — and then told him he'd be fired when the plane touched down, forcing him to think about it for the entire ride.note 
  • The Diss Track:
    • Townes Van Zandt somehow wrangled a spot for Blaze Foley at the Kerrville Folk Festival, run by the notoriously grouchy and traditional Rod Kennedy, who always demanded artists be on their best behavior (an act could get banned for a couple of years just for swearing on stage, for example). Blaze decided this was a good venue for "Springtime in Uganda", a protest song about how Idi Amin eats people, has syphilis, and is "an awful shithead" who needs to die. It was not, and Blaze was banned for life.
    • At the height of James Brown and rival soul singer Joe Tex's public feud, Brown charmed Tex's backup singer and ex-wife Bea Ford to join his band and become his girlfriend solely as a power move, later sending a letter to Joe explaining that he could have Ford back and that he was done with her. Tex, in response, recorded the scathing "You Keep Her" — calling out James and his letter by name in the very first verse, claiming that he'd made Bea the woman she was, and that "man, she belongs to you" now (essentially, saying 'you deserve each other'). Brown, now absolutely furious, armed himself with twin shotguns, burst into a gig Tex was opening for Otis Redding, and began blasting into the walls and ceiling, terrifying everyone... except Joe Tex, who had already finished his set and left by then.note 
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": As soon as Donnie Lytle took on his stage name, he would refuse to answer to Donnie or Donald or Don — it was always "Johnny Paycheck", and he'd lose his temper at anyone who did otherwise. He even legally changed his name shortly after adopting the title.
  • Doom It Yourself: George Jones' truly unfortunate attempts at interior design, as his taste for decor ran towards Spanish Colonial with heavy red and black velvet everywhere. He even had the tour bus done in this style, with velvet paintings hanging, not fastened, on the walls, and heavy colonial furniture sitting unsecured on shag carpeting; when the bus once went off the road and down a cliff, everyone was nearly killed by toppling cabinets and beds.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Well, cocaine and amphetamines are anyway. The James Brown episode also makes clear that Brown's PCP use was a remarkably bad idea. Subverted with George Clinton, who credits LSD with shaping the P-Funk sound and aesthetic.
  • Duct Tape for Everything: Blaze Foley apparently believed in this and then some; it started out as him making fun of the urban cowboy trend by using duct tape to imitate city slickers' expensive silver boot-tips, but soon he had a new hobby making anything and everything with the stuff, sticking it all over his guitar and making an entire suit out of it. At his funeral, his friends covered his casket in duct tape to give him a proper sendoff.
  • Fingore: Billy Joe Shaver got several of his fingers sliced off by a circular saw. It didn't stop him from playing guitar.
  • Follow the Leaderinvoked:
    • Donnie Lytle's second stage name, after Donny Young, was a deliberate attempt to compete with the many successful "Johnnies" currently singing in Nashville, most notably Johnny Cash and then-rising rockabilly artist Johnny Dollar.note  Remembering a obscure journeyman boxer named Johnny Paychek who'd once fought Joe Louis, Donnie's manager anglicized the surname to "Paycheck", fitting in with the money theme.
    • Joanne McDuffie claims this wasn't the idea behind Rick James spinning off his backup singers, the Mary Jane Girls, into an all-girl act to compete with Prince, as both he and his nemesis had intended to create their own female groups for a while (Prince being inspired by A Star Is Born (1976)), and Rick actually might've provoked Prince to beat him to the punch with Vanity / Apollonia 6. It was, however, very much the case with Process and the Doo Rags, Rick's answer to The Time.note 
    • As James Brown's career began to lose momentum and his dominance of the charts gave way to new, younger artists, he began to consciously chase the disco trend, starting in the mid-'70s with Sex Machine Today (featuring an updated version of a song which by then wasn't even five years old). It arguably reached its nadir with "The Original Disco Man", a song alleging that since the new genre came out of R&B and funk, and Brown was the original pioneering King of both, he was in fact MORE hip and with-it than anybody else when it came to discoinvoked... in other words, the original disco man.
      Tony Cook: He said, [imitating Brown] "Tony and Melvin [Parker], I want you to play that disco beat — play it on everything! Play it here, this — [mimes disco drum pattern] — play it on EVERYTHING!" So, that's what we tried to do. Of course, that didn't work out so well, you know.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: In-universe, Levi Ruffin tells a story that he acknowledges might make some people upset — after calling up Rick James and instantly being able to tell he was in really bad shape, he nervously joked to his bandmates that he hoped Rick wouldn't die before their scheduled tour. The phone call took place "in August", meaning it was less than a few days before Rick's impending heart attack.
  • Gentle Giant: Blaze Foley. Despite his intimidating height and equally intimidating looks, he was apparently a very gentle soul.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: While he and his crew were partying in a hotel bar down South, one of the locals "let off the N-word" while looking at Rick James, if not addressing him; tempers flared, both parties started yelling at each other, and suddenly Rick grabbed a bottle and tried to break it off into a stabbing weapon, either for intimidation purposes or to actually hurt someone. Because beer bottles are a lot more solid in real life than the movies, it stayed completely intact.
    Danny LeMelle: There's a little pause — it's like, "Okay, my masculine shit just didn't happen, now what do we do?"
  • I Kiss Your Foot: While cooling off backstage after a performance one night, Jerry Lee Lewis was apparently surprised by John Lennon, who walked into the dressing room, genuflected, kissed the bottom of his sneaker in worship, and left without saying a word. The very weird gesture was utterly lost on the Killer, who didn't like the Beatles and might not have even recognized John.
  • Intoxication Ensues:
    • A rare double-subversion in Waylon Jennings. One night before a gig in Fresno, Hoss handed his drummer Richie Albright two separate, nearly identical packets, one with white powder and one with grayish powder, and told him to keep them safe; unable to see much distinction and thinking it was unnecessary to use two baggies, Richie put them together, not knowing he'd just mixed "Atlanta Dog" (PCP and heroin) with Peruvian cocaine. After they both took a few bumps in Fresno and hit the stage, Albright was soon all over the place, hallucinating his drumsticks were "Z"-shaped, and Jennings was lying down on a table in his dressing room, not knowing what he was reacting to and scared he was having a heart attack. As soon as his son told him what he'd taken, however, he quickly regained his composure, stood up, staggered out on stage again... and proceeded to play one of the worst shows of his career, because he was still incredibly high on three different, conflicting drugs.
    • As James Brown was a strict disciplinarian and didn't allow his band to get high before shows, Bootsy and the guys would crush up two or three tablets of Orange Sunshine (which was pretty potent as far as LSD went) and dissolve them in a smoothie, then pass it around taking a sip each to hide the fact that they were using. One night, James suddenly came in, innocently asked Bootsie to give him the cup, and drank the whole thing before going on stage; Brown spent the entire set high as a kite, including inventing a new "dance" called "The Moon" (putting your arms up over your head in a circle, then slowly and deliberately turning your head from side to side to mimic the moon's phases).
  • Jerkass: It would be easier to count the people who don't come across as this throughout the show.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • On the other hand, most of the musicians featured have at least some redeeming qualities. Even James Brown, who is consistently made out to be a tyrannical egomaniac, has his share of Pet the Dog moments, like helping one of his bandmates get out of the draft during the Vietnam War.
    • Blaze Foley is described as "the nicest asshole you'll ever meet".
  • Kavorka Man:
    • While not exactly that unattractive a guy, George Clinton's on-stage pageantry meant that he was trying (and failing) to pick up girls after shows while wearing wild makeup and wilder outfits, making him notorious among his band as the President of the Can't Get No Mouf Club. Once he discovered Bootsy's secret to disarming women — a great big smile — he started grinning in every photo he was in, and it worked, even if it sometimes made him look even more frightening.
    • George Jones' bandmates take a brief detour in the episode to admit that he was less than traditionally handsome; back in the day, his round face, beady close-set eyes, long curvy stub of a nose and crooked grin earned him the nickname "The Possum" for how closely he resembled one, and he wore a very square flattop haircut. Tammy tried to change his image by giving him a swept-back pompadour and sideburns, but the end result was unfavorably compared to Cornelius.
  • Kissing Cousins: Jerry Lee Lewis married his second cousin. That wasn't even the worst part of their relationship.
  • The Lad-ette: Betty Davis, though she played it up for her stage persona.
  • Mood Whiplash: The Rick James episode ends on a predictably downbeat note, with Rick and his perpetually competitive younger rival Prince both passing away from drug-related health complications and an overdose, respectively, in their late 50's — until Mike Judge suddenly stresses that Prince lived to be a year older, meaning that he outdid Rick even in death.
    Levi Ruffin: (In awe) Goddamn! That little motherfucker.
  • Money to Burn: Or in George Jones' case, flush down the toilet.
  • Mushroom Samba: Quite often. Aside from the aforementioned incident with James Brown, there's also Bootsy Collins taking so much acid that he thought his bass neck was a snake (which is what led to Brown firing him); George Clinton accidentally driving through the set of Night of the Living Dead while tripping, which caused him to piss himself; and Billy Joe Shaver ingesting a large quantity of acid-laced toilet paper given to him by The Grateful Dead, which led to him lying motionless in a parking lot for a full day, not noticing that he was being repeatedly bitten by a brown recluse spider.
  • The Napoleon:
    • Prince. Since most of the anecdotes featuring him at parties or social events occur before 1986, he's always shown being flanked by his bodyguard at the time — "Big Chick", a 6-foot-6 (1.6m) goliath with long, permed platinum-blonde hair and beard.
    • Swamp Dogg and the Adams brothers call Johnny Paycheck, only a couple of inches taller than Prince, this by name; along with his drinking and cocaine use, Johnny had a tendency to get "intimidated by anyone over four feet tall", which led to some disastrous moments of belligerence and bravado (shooting a man in a bar who he thought might've been calling him a hick, picking up and twirling a gun during his trial, and yelling "fuck the Queen!" during O Canada at another trial up north). Compounding this, he also reputedly had a less-than-impressive penis, which he often showed off by getting naked at the drop of a hat.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: As Billy Joe Shaver himself tells, a man who picked a fight with him at a bar learned this the hard way.
  • Papa Wolf: The mere threat of this once sent Rick James fleeing. When NFL legend Jim Brown caught wind that his daughter was at a house party hosted by James, he drove down there himself. As the story goes, once James heard Brown was there, he was out the backdoor in a flash.
  • Politically Correct History: A small and justified example — after the "burning piano" stunt, Jerry Lee Lewis walked offstage, and (as Jerry Phillips tells it) said to Chuck Berry, "follow that, motherfucker". What Lewis actually said was, allegedly, much more harsh.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: At an all-time low, feeling abandoned and betrayed by everybody, George Jones began to resent his close friend Peanutt Montgomery for becoming a temperate, born-again Christian — and, thus, unable to hang around George any more because of his constant alcohol and cocaine abuse; as Peanutt put it, "he was jealous of Jesus", and would snidely call the house asking if "Little Jesus" was around, threatening to rip out his beard. This culminated in Jones eventually pulling a gun on Peanutt at point-blank range, saying "Let's see if your God can save you now, you motherfucker", and firing. George was drunk, so the shot veered low (embedding itself in the car door, saving Peanutt from a fatal or paralyzing wound), and Jones casually excused himself afterward, saying he was going home.note 
  • Rags to Riches: Pretty much everyone to varying degrees. If you've listened to country or R&B music at all, this should come as no surprise.
  • A Rare Sentence: Kinky Friedman gives almost a whole paragraph of them in the Billy Joe Shaver retrospective.
    Dick DeGuerin also represented Bobby Durst, who, uh, cut the guy's head off in Waco. Bobby Durst and I were co-best men at Chinga Chavin's wedding in Las Vegas — Chinga Chavin, the guy who wrote 'Proud to Be an Asshole from El Paso', and also, 'Cum Stains on the Pillow (Where Your Sweet Head Used to Be)'. Um, at any rate, Dick DeGuerin, he says, 'never put a woman on a jury whose lips resemble a chicken's asshole'.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: A running theme in the funk episodes, with extremely macho men wearing highly flamboyant outfits.
  • Refuge in Audacity: All over the place. One memorable example was Blaze Foley showing up to meet his girlfriend's parents while wearing her IUD as an earring.
  • The Rival: Chuck Berry to Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe Tex to James Brown, Prince to Rick James. Subverted somewhat with Morris Day, whose rivalry with Prince was initially manufactured by the latter as a gimmick but quickly spilled over into real life.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Jerry Lee Lewis invented this trope when he set his piano on fire to upstage Chuck Berry. This may or may not have actually happened, but that's not the point.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: George Jones was known to hate the stress of performing, and as both his fame and substance abuse problems (which he developed in part from trying to calm his nerves) grew, it become common for him to simply vanish before a gig and hide somewhere miles away, drinking and dreading the moment when his handlers would inevitably find him.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Every story features these three things in abundance.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Morris Day lives and breathes this. As a kid, his mother used to dress him up like his grandfather when they went to Sunday service... which, since his grandfather was a pimp, meant that Morris walked into church wearing the most stereotypical flashy Pimp Duds imaginable — pinstriped zoot suit, two-toned shoes, wide-brimmed hat, gold chains, even a little custom walking stick — and got a lot of attention from the old ladies there.
  • Slobs vs. Snobs:
    • A major part of the rivalry between Prince and The Time. Also features in Bootsy Collins' story, concerning the difference between being in James Brown's band and Parliament-Funkadelic.
    • The rift between Outlaw Country and Classic Country involved some of this.
  • Split Personality: At the apex of his drug fueled insanity, George Jones developed two — "The Duck", which was a rambling Donald Duck impression, and later "The Old Man", a belligerent old coot who bickered with the Duck constantly; amusingly (or sadly, depending on how you see it), Jones was apparently the straight man of the trio, frequently trying to get them to quit fighting. At one point, George even lost patience with the Duck, "kicked it off" his tour bus, and drove away, leaving it "stranded" by the side of the road; later, George began to feel guilty because the Duck was such a good friend, and convinced his driver to head back to the spot, where he welcomed it back on the bus and apologized.
  • Sticky Fingers: Johnny Paycheck / Donnie Lytle was a notorious car thief and hubcap stripper in his youth, enough to earn him the nickname "Hubcap Donnie"; he once stole a sedan off of a used car lot, drove it around, decided he didn't like it, went back and stole another car off the lot along with the dealer's keyboard, which he then threw in a creek.note  Even a coveted job playing backup for Patsy Cline was ruined when he got drunk, noticed Patsy's keys were unattended, and took her car for a joyride — except event security shut the gate, so Johnny just kept driving in a circle around the fairgrounds until the car ran out of gas.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: Part of the reason that Betty Davis' career never quite took off was that she got unfairly lumped in with blaxpoitation movies and the like, leading to a backlash from the black community (sexism also played a role here).
  • The Teetotaler: In spite of her party girl persona, Betty Davis appears to have been this. Nobody in her circle ever saw her touch drugs or alcohol or anything stronger than herbal tea.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Brought up by Quincy Troupe in regards to Miles Davis, who was very much a case of this. Subverted in that it was Betty who insisted on naming his masterpiece album "Bitches' Brew".
    Troupe: I hate to say this, but Miles loved the word "bitch". *laughs* And whether that's good or not, you know, Miles — LOVED — the word — "bitch". I heard him say it so many time — to women, to all kind of people. [imitating Davis] "Bitch, bring your ass over here." I said, "Miles, you can't say that!" "Fuck you. Shit, I can say what I want." *beat* "Bitch!"
  • Unreliable Narrator:
    • Every episode opens with a tongue-in-cheek disclaimer that the stories being told happened decades ago, and that most of the people recounting them were at the time partaking in "illicit and controlled substances" that have since made the memories "hazy".
    • Of course, even relatively recent events are subject to this, such as Billy Joe Shaver's 2007 shooting incident, which was only a decade or so old at the time of his episode. When recalling the story, Shaver claims the man he popped had a gun and shot at him 3 times. Judge quickly cuts in to state the police report, several eyewitnesses and the legal arguments later all showed he only had a knife.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Morris Day and Prince, when the former finally had enough of the latter controlling every aspect of his life. They made up shortly before Prince died.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain:
    • After a nearly lethal overdose that left him in the hospital, Rick James really did agree to seek professional help and get clean before his addiction overtook him. What his band didn't know is that his bungalow at the rehab center was next to Steven Tyler's, and the two were eventually caught with a smuggled stash of cocaine.note 
    • Christian McBride recounts how he, a young James Brown superfan, would go to his concerts whenever he got a chance and wrote fan letters to Brown in prison; while establishing his music career, he cultivated a friendship with Martha High — who was sort of the den mother of the organization — over a few years, and eventually got invited up to James' house for his 1996 Christmas party. At dinner, James let Christian pitch his idea for a jazz-funk collaboration album, praised him for knowing his stuff, said he loved his work, and told everybody that he'd been bragging about being friends with "the great Christian McBride". Three hours later, right before taking Christmas pictures, Brown took McBride aside for a devastating private conversation — he "knew" Christian was trying to take Martha High away from him (in what may have been PCP-induced paranoia), he didn't "collaborate" with anybody and any album they made together would be headlined by him, and he'd listened to Christian's albums, but thought they were shit.


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