Country Throwback: Watch Johnny Cash’s Last-Ever Interview in 2003

by Madison Miller
country-throwback-watch-johnny-cashs-last-ever-interview-2003

“I’m not bitter. Why should I be bitter? I’m thrilled to death with life.” Johnny Cash was an artist and a performer right until the moment he died. He passed away in 2003 after respiratory failure brought on by complications from diabetes.

He was an inspiration to both country artists as well as artists in all genres, especially rock music.

In his last interview ever recorded, he talks being married, getting his record deal, and loving the work that he did.

Living Past June Carter Cash

Johnny Cash was married for 35 years to June Carter Cash before she died. He also happened to pass away a few months later. In his last interview, he discusses her death, their connection, and how important music was as his therapy.

“She told me in the hospital to go to work … don’t worry about me go to work … three days after the funeral I was in the studio … it was great therapy for me,” Cash said.

June Carter was known for being Cash’s greatest supporter, who was by his side for almost 40 years. She was supportive of him during his problem with addiction, as well. After her death, he was still recording music. People called him crazy for being able to cope with her death through music only a few days later.

The two also performed many songs together and were a powerful duo in the industry.

What does Johnny Cash think the secret to his epic love and marriage was?

“The secret to a happy marriage? Separate bathrooms,” Cash said.

Johnny Cash said in the interview that he was never a huge fan of doing music videos, although at the time he was up for several nominations for them at the time.

“I enjoyed doing the hurt video because I felt we were doing something worthwhile, that it was something that was kinda special … I felt very emotional doing the ‘Hurt’ video,” Cash said.

The video has one scene where Cash is playing the piano and he sings “Everyone I know goes away.” The camera then turns upward to a picture frame with June Carter Cash’s photo in it. The video is emotional and raw with fresh sadness.

The Road to Becoming a Legend

When he first heard the song “Hurt” he said he didn’t want to do it because he claimed it wasn’t his style. That was until legendary producer Rick Ruben first approached him about the track.

Johnny Cash was sometimes a controversial figure who had to fight off a lot of inner demons during his life. He faced criticism for lyrics like “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.”

“Johnny and June had met in 1955, and had performed together on many occasions before he proposed to her on stage in February 1968, shortly after a suicide attempt in Tennessee’s Nickajack Cave, which had led him to (temporarily) curtail his drug use,” according to Culture Trip.

Despite the criticism and his mistakes, he said he doesn’t have regrets.

“When God forgave me, I figured I might as well too.”

At the end of the day, even as an iconic artist, Cash was in it for the music and the music alone.

“I just do what I do and hope that people enjoy it. I try to do be myself in everything I do.”

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