Toby Keith Confronts Music Journalist Peter Cooper

Brody Vercher | April 6th, 2009

  1. Pierce
    April 6, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I’ll be there! Looking forward to it.

  2. Stormy
    April 6, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    If I were Toby Keith I would perpetuate the Kris Kristofferson story in the hopes that it supplants the Pat Green story.

  3. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Those Guy Clark tunes are killer, especially “The Guitar”. Spooky song.

    I read Peter Coopers retraction today, and id say it was hardly as forthcoming with blame as he apparently owned up to in the pressroom last night.

  4. Brady Vercher
    April 6, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    We were at that show at the Cactus Cafe and saw Guy Clark again three days later at a songwriter award show. He tried to pull off the guitar solo himself in front of a packed house and when he flubbed it, he said “Aww shit, I knew I shouldn’t have tried that.” It was pretty funny.

  5. Drew
    April 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    Reba’s new song stinks. And good for Toby, damn journalists and their lies.

  6. Leeann
    April 6, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I think I would have tried to hide somewhere if I had been in that press room. I was kind of frightened just reading about it. That must’ve been why Toby seemed angry during his performance. I was pulling for Cooper though, I’ll admit, since he sent us a nice email after we put his great album on our 2008 End-of-the-year list. I wonder who’s inflamatory picture Toby will splice Peter with at his shows? In the end, it seems wierd that this happened, since Cooper is a reputable music journalist. All I know is that Toby is most definitely a scary guy. Most artists wouldn’t so openly confront…well…maybe John Rich would…

  7. Pierce
    April 6, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I’m not a huge Toby fan, but I’m going to side with him on this one.

    I like how Cooper passed off the blame to an editor–“I was told to write about it…”–suure.

    Cooper was simply practicing lazy, irresponsible journalism by not fact-checking–or at least shooting Toby’s or Kris’s “people” a call or email. Getting their responses to Hawke’s article could have made a fine story. Instead, he decided to regurgitate, and he deserves everything he has comin’.

  8. Razor X
    April 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm


    I agree.

  9. Brady Vercher
    April 6, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I’m with Pierce on this one.

    By the way, for anyone interested, Jason Aldean’s Wide Open is the deal of the day on Amazon. You can get it for $3.99 a day before it’s officially released.

  10. Leeann
    April 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Yeah, I actually agree that it was bad journalism not to fact check, as that seems to be the case here. But since I’m unsure of what Toby will have happen to him (he seems rather retalatory), I can’t say that I’ll be able to agree that Cooper deserves what’s coming to him just yet. I’ll have to see what comes next, if something does.

  11. Pierce
    April 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Haha, well Leeann, I didn’t mean a physical beating. More of what came to him, I suppose–a verbal lynching seemed deserved.

    Also, good luck with Peter or The Tennessean ever getting an interview or favor from Toby Keith ever again. That’s the price you pay!

  12. Dan Milliken
    April 6, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Mr. Greenberg and I will both be scooting the Belmont buggy over to New American Voices tomorra. I anticipate an evening of delights.

  13. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Im also planning on making a trip downtown for the show tommorow night, provided my truck gets out of the shop sometime between now and then.

  14. Leeann
    April 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    “Also, good luck with Peter or The Tennessean ever getting an interview or favor from Toby Keith ever again. That’s the price you pay!”

    Yeah, I’m doubting they’ll be on friendly terms after this. Then again, Toby isn’t as big as he once was, so I wonder if they need him as much as he needs them.

  15. Brody Vercher
    April 6, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    But he could be as big once as he ever was.

  16. Leeann
    April 6, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I sooo saw that coming, Brody.:)

  17. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I would venture to say hes too proud to admit he needs them, were he to ever need them again.

  18. Jean
    April 6, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Please, Toby doesn’t need the Tennessean (sp). He has done fine on his own and as long as his fans are with him (which they will be) he will be fine. Peter got what he deserved. I’m proud of Toby, maybe now so called journalists will check before opening their mouths.

  19. Leeann
    April 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    …or type on their keyboards.

  20. Leeann
    April 6, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I’ts probably safe to venture that neither really needs the other at this point, but I’m sure you’re right that he doesn’t really need them.

    I don’t know anything about newspapers, but what kind of favors could/would Toby refuse to do for the Tennessean? Or, are you just talking about interviews?

  21. JD
    April 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Peter deserved a whuppin’. I’m a little disappointed that Toby didn’t at least grab him by the throat. Plant corn, get corn….

  22. Barry M
    April 6, 2009 at 4:31 pm

    The story was told by Ethan Hawke (not a reporter, but called on to report) at Rolling Stone, and Peter Cooper simply noted its existence. The beef should be primarily with the originator, because if the tale’s not true, that’s where it was generated and spread from.

    Of course, all of the talk about this all over the Web today was generated not by the RS story or the description of it in the Nashville paper, but by the public response to those. That’s perhaps is its own sort of lesson–if NOT spreading a story said to be false is the intent.

    I’m not saying that responding to correct a false story is wrong (especially if it’s really false); of course not. But it does have its own consequences when you’re a celebrity and do it loud and in front of the press.)

  23. stewman
    April 6, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    Keith is an artist who is keenly aware of his reputation and currently I believe that is what drives him. The idea that he’s not tight Willie or Kris or Johnny or Waylon or whomever is on the Mt. Rushmore of Country, irks him. He probably did say it to Kris, as a tongue in cheek thing, and Kris blew up and called him out.
    If you want to swim in the deep end and be outspoken, you need to be able to back it up on all ends, and it looks like Toby made a misstep wth a legend in a public arena.

  24. Leeann
    April 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I wonder how those in the press room felt about it? I know every journalist will agree that Peter made a rather big mistake, but I also wonder how many can’t relate to it, somehow, in their years of experience. Will they back up one of their own or say Toby was right to call/cuss him out like that in front of everyone.

    I still can’t help but wonder what Hawke was talking about, which is something that seems to be being ignored in this story at this point.

  25. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Well, Barry, I think the reason the response hasnt been directed at the stories originator, is because like you say, Hawke isnt a reporter. More importantly, whatever incident Hawke may have been talking about, he didnt name names. Peter Cooper seemingly took it upon himself to name someone. Toby Keith has no real grounds for being mad at Hawke, because, while the reference to a song is pretty overt in its specification, Hawke didnt put a name with it. For Keith to go after the RS story prior to Coopers would have been for him to implicate himself in the incident.

  26. Pierce
    April 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I don’t know anything about newspapers, but what kind of favors could/would Toby refuse to do for the Tennessean? Or, are you just talking about interviews?”

    Good question, Lee Ann. I’m mostly talking in terms of interviews, but he could pull some advertising as well. Either way, it’s not good for one of country’s biggest stars to be fuming mad at your publication.

    It’s better to have folks like that on your side. I’m sure Peter has his “go-to” folks (whether they be artists, publicists, etc.) for when there is some sort of breaking news and he needs opinions.

    It could also hurt his overall image, and other artists might see what happened with Toby and follow suit by ignoring Cooper.

    Ya never know…either way, it’s not good.

  27. stewman
    April 6, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I bet the Tennessean had its busiest traffic day in years. If this helps sell newspapers, they might have Peter Coooper cussing out an artist a day for the 5 years to keep these entities afloat.

  28. Barry M
    April 6, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    I’m sorry, Idlewild–that’s backwards. The original story–and Toby has agreed with this publicly–made it very clear who was being referred to. And it’s a novel and fascinating theory that using non-reporters as reporters makes the originator publication ess responsible.

    Peter Cooper described the published article. It’s true that in the best of all possible worlds, every re-teller would check everythtng it all over again. But come on; that’s not what happens, now more than ever–in this era of aggregating, , linking and forwarding on the Web. The story originator–hands off, because it’s a semi-amateur hired by professionals. Someone linking to the same story, for example, hands off. But a local newspaper describes the story with jokes about how obvious the identify of the person in the first story is and that outlet and reporter should take the guff? Please.

  29. Chris N.
    April 6, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    My impression is that most of the reporters in the room had no idea what Toby was talking about.

  30. mikeky
    April 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    i just read kristofferson’s statement on the whole stupid mess and he doesn’t actually say it never happened. he just says he doesn’t RECALL it happening. is there a difference? yup. he also called the whole thing ‘nonsense’. which it is.

    the story, whether embellished or not, has a certain ring of truth to it. could be a kernel, could be a bushel. maybe keith was joking, i don’t know. maybe kristofferson’s memory isn’t so hot. who knows?

    keith is desperate to be mentioned in the same breath as kristofferson, hag, willie, cash. methinks he protest too much about this story, though. and the doo-rag on his head isn’t helping.

  31. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Im not saying Ethan Hawke and Rolling Stone shouldnt be held accountable for the story and its apparent inaccuracy, I just think there is a difference in making a reference to a song, however obvious it may be, and taking it a step further and all but using a name.

    Im not exscusing Hawke by saying he isnt a reporter. I just think for Toby Keith to have gone after him would have been a little premature, considering Hawke has the out of “Hey, I never said that was you.”

  32. Rick
    April 6, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    Now that the ACM “Entertainer of the Year” award is fan voted it is no longer comparable to previous years (as far as female artists are concerned anyway). The multitudes of Carrie Underwear fanbot faithful did their duty as if they were still voting on American Idol. I still have no idea though of how Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” won “Album of the Year”….

    I totally disagree with Sarah Buxton about the quality of her initial recordings for Lyric Street versus her more recent compositions. Sarah’s debut album is one of the most unique and refreshing I’ve heard this decade from a major Nashville label while some of her newer stuff can be artsy-fartsy and self-indulgent. Sometimes having more label oversight of an artist can be a good thing as the artist may get “too creative” if left to their own devices.

    When John Rich started railing against NBC recently I figured it was because they either didn’t renew Nashville Star, or didn’t want John involved any further if they had. Now we have our answer.

  33. PaulaW
    April 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    I figured it was because they either didn’t renew Nashville Star, or didn’t want John involved any further.

    Could we be so lucky as to have our cake and eat it too?

  34. Drew
    April 6, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Definitely agree, Rick. Chesney was right last year in disagreeing with them doing that, even if he did win. It’s just stupid, and basically comes down to who can motivate their fan base to vote for them… not the way it should be.

  35. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    My jury is still out on the fan voting for entertainer. Can the Academy really have as good an idea of who the best entertainer is? Most everyone I know within the industry is either jaded, or not a fan of country music in general, and they dont care for it either way. So why not let the fans vote on that one category? After all, the fans are the ones being entertained.

  36. PaulaW
    April 6, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    How about a “compromise”? Let the Academy (or whoever) vote, and the viewers vote and “average” the votes (you know, like “Dancing With The Stars” does).


  37. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    That seems like a pretty good compromise Paulaw. Certainly eliminates alot of the rabid fanbase crap that goes on.

  38. Vicki
    April 6, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Everyone nominated was deserving but I thought this was Keith Urban’s rightful year. The EOTY award will never been the award it once was. Next Year it will be Taylor Swifts turn and she’ll win with all her league of country/pop international fans now too. She also has already toured to Beatleque crowds so with that fan support, she’ll definitely get it next year. It may start a long time before a man ever gets that award again…unless they change it back.

  39. Rick
    April 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Rick’s Random Tidbits: The folks over at “That Nashville Sound” have pictures from Hillary Scott’s recent birthday party celebration that prove Hillary has a much more photogenic face than her friend Kellie Pickler! Judge for yourself:

    PS – My favorite is the picture of Emily West with Jamey Johnson. Its time for Nashville Gab to jump on this one! (lol)

  40. J.R. Journey
    April 6, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    I wonder if Toby Keith will show up to comment and set us all straight now …

  41. Steve M.
    April 6, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Isn’t Taylor Swift winning an album of the year award one of the seven horsemen of the Apocalypse?

  42. idlewildsouth
    April 6, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    Yes Steve, and interestingly enough, its a “White Horse”.

  43. J.R. Journey
    April 6, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    “Isn’t Taylor Swift winning an album of the year award one of the seven horsemen of the Apocalypse?”

    The opening of the first seal – I believe that’s the ‘white horse’ thing. I’d have to look it up.

  44. Steve Harvey
    April 7, 2009 at 12:46 am

    Wow, Rick, Jamey Johnson looks like a badass version of Jonathon Rhys-Myers in the Lord of the Rings movies…

    And I’ve never found Kellie Picker particularly attractive, no matter how much (or little) rubber she wears…

  45. ALJID
    April 7, 2009 at 4:32 am

    Why is everyone at the so angry about Swift winning the Album of the Year Award?

    I don’t know where such disapproval is coming from since this site has given Swift a pat on her back for her sophomore album.

    I know most of you think Carrie sucks because she can’t sing off-key and doesn’t write songs about castles and horses so that’s why I had to accept the truth that Carrie is not accepted here.

    I think you had to deal and accept Swift for winning the Album of the Year category. As Jim Malec said, “Taylor Swift may be a crappy singer, but at least I feel like she has something to say. She has a story she’s trying to tell. Underwood? Not so much. And, in Swift’s case, that counts for something.”

  46. jennystonedeaf
    April 7, 2009 at 5:04 am

    Like i said Jim Malec cried a river after carrie win EOTY

  47. Vicki
    April 7, 2009 at 5:56 am

    Even Taylor gets it…or..she just made a dig?

    Interview on CMT:

    Carrie Underwood won entertainer of the year tonight.

    “Yeah, she did! I just hope they keep it fan-voted.”

    I mean if you were nominated, you deserved to win. But it’s always going to be a given if you are nominated and young and blonde, who will get the most votes.

  48. sess
    April 7, 2009 at 7:10 am

    I wonder who you all would be crapping on if there wasn’t a female nominated for EOTY, get with the times people women are equal, and Carrie had a better 08′ based on EOTY criteria than any of those men!!

  49. Juli
    April 7, 2009 at 8:29 am

    We’re equal opportunity crappers-on here at The 9513.

  50. The Confessor
    April 7, 2009 at 9:03 am

    FOUR horsemen. SEVEN seals… seven of just about everything else, for that matter.

    And I’m a frickin’ atheist.

  51. Chris N.
    April 7, 2009 at 9:36 am

    “And I beheld, and lo a white horse; and he that sat on him had a bow: and there was given unto him a crown, and he departed as conqueror and to conquest.”

    But I kinda doubt Taylor is the harbinger of death.

  52. Mike
    April 7, 2009 at 9:52 am

    What is the Toby Keith and Pat Green story?

  53. stewman
    April 7, 2009 at 11:58 am

    The next person Toby should go after is his dermatologist. He was looking a little too smooth on Sunday evening.

  54. stormy
    April 7, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Mike: So the story goes Pat and Toby were sitting around on Willie’s bus. Toby asked Pat how he liked his music and Toby did not like the answer. Pat won the inseing fist fight.

  55. Katie
    April 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    I wish Cooper had left out the (totally unnecessary) “Moby Teeth” bit, but the factchecking onus was really on Rolling Stone. And barring any uproar following that story, I think the Tennessean’s coverage was legit.

    Would it have been better if Cooper had advanced the story by calling Kristofferson for a comment? Sure. But this was a quick bit for Beverly Keel’s old column, which the understaffed Tennessean is now relying on their overworked reporters to fill, in lieu of hiring a replacement. Give the guy a break.

  56. Jon
    April 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Yeah, what Katie and Barry M. have said.

  57. idlewildsouth
    April 7, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Chris, I dont see her being the harbinger of death, but she is pretty much walking away the conqueror!

  58. stewman
    April 8, 2009 at 8:27 am

    It will be interesting to see if Keith makes younger artists and friends also boycott Cooper. I could see him dangling the carat of an “opening slot” or record deal on Big Dog with the stipulation you dont talk to Cooper. It seems inane enough, but I could see it getting there, because if Keith feels that he’s been ostracized from the Willie crowd, he will seek vengeance on those who dont believe.

  59. Karlie
    April 8, 2009 at 8:52 am

    So how was the NAVT show in Nashville guys??

  60. Matt
    April 12, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Leeann writes: “Most artists wouldn’t so openly confront…well…maybe John Rich would…”

    Then evidentally sweetheart you dont know much about country artists.

  61. Tea
    May 3, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    it is true that what you say will haunt you and I would think that Nashville wouldn’t be any different…

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Paige: Oh damn. :( I never commented here and I haven't been listening to any music at all since Thanksgiving (it …
  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on You're good at what you do, and The …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton