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|Also known as||T-RAY|
|Origin||Marshville, North Carolina, USA|
|Years active||1978 - Present|
Randy Bruce Travis Randall Traywick (born May 4, 1959), known professionally as Randy Travis, is an American singer-songwriter, musician, guitarist, actor, gangster rapper, and repeat felon. Since 1985, his career has been circling the proverbial drain with the modest reception and ultimate failure of nearly two dozen studio albums, in addition to more than 50 singles, from which only 3 managed to sporadically graze the bottom of the Billboard Hot 200. Considered a joke in the music industry, all things considered, Travis struggled throughout his career to make a name for himself, much like he struggled throughout his life to be loved and accepted. A resolve he could never achieve, and a pain that was well documented on his debut album, which stood as a testament to all of the things that would never come. Storms Of Randy's Life sold forty copies upon its 1986 release (most of which were purchased by the late Mrs. Traywick as a consolation to her troubled son), and tanked within hours of hitting the market. He followed up with a stellar replica of failures that somehow just managed to sell throughout the 1980s, including 1987's This Ol' Heart Is Forever, 1988's Old 8x10 of Mama & Me, and 1989's No Holdin' This Ol' Boy Back.
By the mid-1990's, Mrs. Traywick had passed away, leaving an even bigger hole in Randy's record sales and paving the way for many more problems professionally, and personally. Having lost his trailer, alienated his remaining family through his erratic behaviors, and ultimately resorted to giving out free copies of his music from the back of his pickup truck in the more impoverished areas of the transcontinental United States, he soon took up an alcohol and cocaine habit, which proved to be his undoing and led to many guest spots on the hit TV show COPS (which served to publicly scrutinize him, as well as his overall career in ways he had never even imagined). His misgivings have grown increasingly worse over the years, continuing well into the 2000's and the 2010's with his music becoming even more unilateral and narcissistic, his arrest record at fever pitch, and his addictions so far out of control that in 2013, he finally suffered a near-fatal stroke. Despite all of the adversity against him, however, Hollywood took pity and awarded him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2014.
edit Early Life
Randy Bruce Travis Randall Traywick was born on May 4, 1959. The twelfth of sixteen children to parents Mary Lee and Harold Bruce. Both unemployed recipients of Social Security in the small town of Marshville, North Carolina, living in a double-wide trailer until their financial constraints forced them into an RV by the early 1960's. With his parents unable to afford an education for their children, and with young Randy forced to sleep sitting up at night with little more than an old pillow, he was very frequently spaced out and absent-minded in his day to day activities. Rarely able to take showers or cop a decent meal, his unkempt appearance and gaunt stature would also become life-long traits that would follow him well into his adult years. He was a lonely boy without many friends, or even bullies due to his personal care issues, yet he always preferred the company of his father's old George Jones records and a six-string guitar that he found one day laying behind a dumpster, after his parents told him to "go outside and play." Randy frequently practiced the guitar every chance he got, and after finding a mouse inside the hole of it one day, which bit him and gave him "these wild visions of the future I'd never known up until then," according to an interview with National Enquirer in the mid '90s, he knew his destiny was set. He was to become a country music superstar, as it was "ordained by the lord. Or somethin'. Hell if I know."
One thing was a certainty during the events of his hallucination, however. Randy had contracted the Hantavirus. He was hospitalized and given a tracheotomy during his treatment, which was largely responsible for the development, or de-evolution of his trademark voice. Once he finished the remainder of his recovery, he set off throughout the '60s and '70s performing various high school talent shows, weddings, proms and nightclubs. Sometimes, in order to make enough money to scrape by, Randy boosted vehicles, robbed convenience stores, and was even known to mug people from time to time. On occasion, he was placed under arrest, but usually on the condition that he would "sing a song for the judge, or pay a little pittance otherwise, if y'all know what I mean," his sentence would be commuted, or he'd be free to go altogether. Whether or not this alludes to some sort of back door homosexual activity on Randy's behalf still remains a mystery to this day. In 1978, he finally got up the cash and cut down on the crime enough to record a self-titled demo tape, Randy Bruce Travis Randall Traywick. Upon completion, he would spend the following seven years attempting to sell it off to every major label in Nashville, only to get rejected. Frustrated at his ineptitude, and everybody's unwillingness to give him a chance during this long and grueling process, Randy began seeing a psychiatrist and taking medicine for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression. He also went back to his old ways, robbing and stealing from the less fortunate.
edit Music Career
Not long after returning to his old ways, it came as no surprise to those closest to him that Randy would end up right back in the system again. It was only a matter of time, and on August 19th, 1985, at a bar in Memphis, Tennessee, that time came at approximately 2:00 AM EST. Angry and frustrated that people weren't willing to listen to him perform, he was a month late on the rent, and his utilities had already been shut off the month prior, Randy reportedly had a psychotic episode and attacked a female patron, Elizabeth Hatcher, with a folding chair, screaming "BITCH DYKE CUNT" at the top of his lungs. Police were called to the establishment, and Randy was detained on aggravated assault. Record company executive, Erv Woolsey, the one member of the audience that night who had actually been invested in Randy's music, took interest in the brooding young man despite everything that had just went down, paid his bail, and arranged a meeting concerning his musical future. It was from then on, the groundwork for Randy's debut album, Storms Of Randy's Life, was set. Unfortunately, the good run of bad luck continued well into its 1986 release with only 40 copies sold. His mother, Mary Lee Traywick, purchasing most of them in order to cull any potential psychotic blow-back.
At the end of 1986, Randy and Elizabeth Hatcher settled the aggravated assault case out of court on the condition that she would become his manager. Soon after, they also began dating. Another change that came with the territory was the alias Randy Travis, which significantly boosted record sales, as evidenced by the reception of Randy's 1987 sophomore release, This Ol' Heart Is Forever. Although nothing groundbreaking was, or ever would be achieved in any of Randy's releases, he continued to scrape by enough to afford his very own trailer with the release of 1988's Old 8x10 of Mama & Me, and 1989's No Holdin' This Ol' Boy Back.
|Can't Stop Shootin' (Dope) (file info)|
| A sample of the touching acapella performance off of 1999's Randy Ain't Made Of Stone, |
for which Randy won a CMA award.
By 1990, now able to afford the right medications to become tolerable, and having used his connections in the music business to garner himself a few friends, he used this opportunity as fodder for his fifth studio album, Randall & Friends, which was arguably his most successful release with two charting singles. Between 1991 and 1994, while Randy wouldn't have another single hit the Billboard Hot 200, he would continue to enjoy modest record sales. That is, until the inevitable happened.
In the early morning hours of May 9th, 1994, Randy's 35th birthday and one month after the release of This Is Randy, Mary Lee Traywick, now in a stockpile of debt from supporting her son's career where his intended audience wouldn't, and fed up with trying to right the ship whenever he'd have a psychotic episode, committed suicide on Randy and Elizabeth's doorstep. His attitude in the aftermath of her death was reportedly at an "all time low," with the development of a frequent alcohol and cocaine habit which prevented him from meeting his contractual obligations with Warner Bros. records, resulting in his removal from the label by the end of 1996. During this time, his public image also began to take a hit as stories continued to break that he would be drunk and disorderly with law enforcement, picking fights with random people just because they would walk by his trailer and not wave at him, and according to a segment in an episode of COPS, a show he found himself guesting on more and more frequently, an incident in the summer of 1995 where he dumped a 10 year old boy with cerebral palsy out of his wheelchair for the sole reason that "he was lookin' at me all funny and suspicious like." It was also during this time that his music became even more self-centered and narcissistic with a sudden, unexplained turn into Gangsta Rap territory. Among these incidents and unexplained career moves, he was earned the nickname Randy Travesty all throughout the media. The gangsta rap albums released under the name T-RAY, Randy's Circle (1996), his last for Warner Bros., and his first and only for Death Row Records, Randy And Randy Alone (1998) were released to virtually no success during this era, and things were reportedly so bad for the Travis clan that Elizabeth was forced to take up prostitution in order to make ends meet. They divorced in 1999 and severed their business relationship soon after.
Realizing the errors of his juxtapose, yet unable to overcome his insurmountable character flaws, he decided to return to country music and sign with Dreamworks Records for his most personal album yet. Randy Ain't Made Of Stone. Recorded and released during the onslaught of his 1999 divorce. While the title track would go down as Randy's final song to hit the billboard charts, he would go on to win a Country Music Association award for the acapella performance "Can't Stop Shootin' (Dope)".
The royalties from Randy's 1999 release would be used to fund his rehabilitation via Passages in Malibu, California at the dawn of the 2000's, as well as long term, outpatient behavioral therapy. He would remain clean for the next six years, and relatively under the radar as he committed his life to Christ and released the albums Journey On Up To Heaven (2000), Rise & Shine, I'm By Your Side (2002), Worship With Me (2003), This Ol' Boy's Just Passin' Through (2004) and Hop On The Glory Train! (2005). After attending Church one night in Dallas, Texas that same year, however, and parking his vehicle in front of a hydrant, the Christian community's good faith in Randy was found to have been misplaced after the entire congregation witnessed him assaulting a police officer issuing him his ticket with a lead pipe, and according to the churches pastor, who preferred to remain anonymous, "screaming obscenities outside the house of the lord relating to the poor guy's manhood, his wife, his children - nasty, nasty stuff." On the preacher's testimony, Randy was arrested for aggravated assault and jailed for one year. Returning to the secular market, albeit unsuccessfully, he released his last studio album, What's Around The Bend For Ol' Randy?, in 2008.
With his continued string of failures, and inability to get right with not only the lord, but with himself, Randy broke with nearly a decade of sobriety in 2009 when he not only went back to Alcohol and Cocaine, but upped the ante with the addition of Heroin and Methamphetamine to the mix. In 2010, as a result, he was dropped by Dreamworks Records. Every album released under the label is currently out of print and available only through the dark recesses of the internet. The following year, Warner Bros. and Death Row Records followed suit in the discontinuation of Randy's entire backlog pre-1999. It's almost as if his career never existed. With the aftermath of a stroke suffered in 2013, which robbed Randy of his basic every day functions other than blinking, 8 in 10 neurosurgical experts who have studied his case agree that any likely chance at another comeback has been effectively neutered.
edit Personal Life
Travis has had extramarital affairs with various men, women and animals in his 30-year career. Following his 1991 marriage, and well-publicized 1999 divorce with his assault victim-turned-manager-turned-wife-turned-hooker Elizabeth Hatcher, however, he vowed "all that shit's done been left behind me now. I'm with a nice Christian Girl! She reminds me of mama!" - the relationship with "You Light Up My Life" singer Debby Boone lasted one year before they broke up, each citing with one another "irreconcilable differences." Randy has since had an active account on Match.com as well as the free dating site OkCupid.com since 2006. He has yet to receive a like, or be delivered a message by anyone.
Travis' recreational alcohol and drug abuse finally caught up with him in the Summer of 2013 when he was admitted to the hospital three days following a debilitating stroke. He was found by an ex-girlfriend half-conscious in a pool of his own excrement, and mumbling incoherently. As of November 2014, he has become efficient at using a Speak And Spell, and sufficient at cutting his vegetables without nicking his own fingers. Simple acts which earned him a standing ovation at the 2015 Country Music Association Award Ceremony. It was originally observed by Fox News that Randy had been moved to tears by what was called a "public display of affection." However, as it was later confirmed via un-aired footage, he had, in actuality, swallowed his own tongue. Kicking with his one good leg and choking profusely, he was admitted to Arlington Medical Center, where the oral appendage was successfully reattached and he was given a clean bill of health. When asked for comment shortly after as to why he would do such a thing, Randy made a feeble grabbing motion for his Speak And Spell. Upon the nurse handing it to him, he said he wanted a cookie.
More financial problems abounded for Randy in June 2015, due to his refusal to leave the hospital and stop using his Speak And Spell to "sexually harass hospital staff." As a direct result of his loitering, and his mischievous misgivings, interest has been tacked onto his clean health bill. He has been ordered to cover what some fans have called an "exorbitant" 23.6% rate, which has been set to continually increase for each day he refuses to go. Disability activists have called this move "appalling," yet have refused to act on it, citing "better things to do than stage a protest in front of a damn hospital under the scorching Texas sun." It is also alleged that he never received the cookie he asked for so long ago, either.