Bankrate: Did you give them all up?
I sold "He Stopped Loving Her Today,"
and "D-I-V-O-R-C-E." My name's still
on there but when somebody records them, I don't
get a check. Buddy Killen died not long ago, but
about eight or nine years ago, I went to him and
said, you know, if I had part of these songs,
I would work [plug] this catalog. I had a successful
career and I'm a pretty good song plugger, too,
give me part of the songs." He said, "I'll
give you 25 percent," and I said no, give
me half of them. So we signed a contract, and
anything that I get cut, I get half of it. So
I got several of those old songs cut, and at least
I enjoy half of it.
Bankrate: It was fun to hear "We're Not the Jet Set" turn up on that Chevrolet commercial at the Super Bowl.
Braddock: Yeah, they kicked it off at the Super Bowl, got Dale Earnhardt singing it, going down the interstate. Because I was in on the negotiations, that put me a part of it. That was a nice little sum of money, so I'm getting half of that. At least I'm enjoying part of it.
Bankrate: You've written some of the cleverest novelty songs in country music.
George Jones, the first song I ever had with him
was a novelty song called "Nothing Ever Hurt
Me (Half as Bad as Losing You)." He did another
one called "Her Name Is ... ;" I co-wrote
with Rafe VanHoy that Mark Chestnut song, "All
My Old Flames Have New Names." I've been
on five different labels, which shows you how
easy it used to be to get a deal [(laughs]. But
I did an all-novelty album called "Hard Pore
Cornography." I've got that goofy side of
me, for sure. The Toby Keith thing, "I Wanna
Talk About Me," people call that a country
rap song, but it's definitely lighthearted.
Bankrate: Did you ever come close to losing your house to foreclosure?
Braddock: Luckily, no. I had liens against the house, and eventually things got so bad in the '80s that I was just renting, having sold both my houses. I eventually bought the house I was renting because I like it. I still live there now. I never filed bankruptcy, never Chapter 11 or anything like that. Looking back on it, it may not have been a bad idea had I done that. I would rather have done that than give up my copyrights. That was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life.
Bankrate: How deeply in debt were you?
Braddock: I've said half a million, but that's probably an exaggeration. So much of this was accumulated fines and penalties over the years, maybe even the majority of it. I wouldn't be surprised if it was like $350,000 or $400,000. And I owed my publisher almost that much, too. Of course, I got out of debt with the IRS a long time ago, and after "I Wanna Talk About Me," I didn't owe my publisher anything. Everything I got for the past few years is free and clear.
Bankrate: Thank goodness for hit songs, eh?
Braddock: Got me into trouble, got me out.