Clint Black Talks 30th Anniversary of ‘Killin’ Time': ‘It Changed My Life, So It’s Fun to Look Back’
The 30th anniversary of Clint Black's seminal debut album, Killin' Time, has been in the country superstar's peripheral vision for a long time. Still, even though he's had time to prepare for it, the milestone is still a big moment in Black's career.
"It's kinda been out there in front [of me]," the singer tells The Boot. "When it was 25 years, we shot a bunch of footage with [producer] James Stroud and the band and me, just capturing our thoughts at that moment in time about what all happened back then, and what's happened since, and how it changed our lives."
Black admits that he has a little bit of soft spot for the nostalgic aspect of the anniversary: "It's fun to look back on that," he explains. "It's fun to see the comments on Twitter, and hear what everybody says about it. It changed my life, so it's fun to look back."
Still, it's hard for the country star to comprehend that Killin' Time has been such an influential body of work for other artists, many of whom are now prominent stars in their own right. "Over the years, [performers] have told me. And then my manager tells me about people he's talked to," Black continues, adopting a humble -- even slightly awkward -- attitude about the attention.
"I don't know if I just downplay that in my mind, but it's hard for me to really fathom that there are that many artists that feel the way I feel about early Merle Haggard records, you know, or Willie [Nelson] and Waylon [Jennings], the Red Headed Stranger album," he admits. "Things like that, that really had an impact on me. The thought that that is true is pretty striking to me. I love hearing about it, but it's hard to wrap my brain around it."
Black is enjoying using the album's big anniversary as a chance to reflect on the songs of Killin' Time, and how they changed his life. Before the record came out, Black was a struggling musician, barely paying the bills; in fact, he came close to selling off "Nobody's Home," one of the songs that eventually came to be included on the project's track list.
"I took the song to [a] publisher, and he wanted to buy the song for $250, which was the exact amount of money I needed to keep my car from getting repossessed," Black recalls with a laugh. Thanks to good timing, tenacity and the generosity of a record promoter who thought he should keep "Nobody's Home," however, Black was able to borrow the money to keep his car without having to lose the song. Thirty years later, it's hard to imagine any other artist singing it.
Music was always going to be Black's career, no matter whether or not Killin' Time had been successful. "I was never gonna stop. I'd made a decision in my teens that it was a life of music for me, whatever that means," he goes on to say. But everything changed for him after Killin' Time was released and became the monolithic debut project it is today -- and that warrants its fair share of nostalgia.
These Country Albums Are Turning 30 in 2019, Too!