Aug 27, 2015

JBTRR with Ben Dorcy III, "King of the Roadies"


Ben H. Dorcy III known by many as “Lovey”, is credited by Willie Nelson as being the first roadie, and as the “world’s oldest living roadie” by everyone else.

Ben was born on May 19, 1925 in Dallas and grew up in San Antonio where he attended Jefferson High School. He joined the Ice Capades in 1940, touring the United States and Europe for three years. In 1943 he enlisted in the US Navy, completing his service in 1946 and then it was back to the entertainment business.

Dorcy worked for John Wayne as a gardener and chauffeur and played a Tennessee volunteer in Wayne’s “The Alamo”, adding film to his resume. Always drawn to the music business, he found his way to Nashville in 1950 where he hooked up with country swing legend, Hank Thompson. He was with Ray Price when he met Willie Nelson in 1961.

I was able to sit down with Lovey and talk to this living legend and get a glimpse into what had made him the icon in the music industry that he has become.

What have you been working on lately?
Just got back from Las Vegas, Willie (Nelson) had some shows there. We were at some various clubs there.

What have you liked most on being a “Roadie”?
It’s been a good run, I started in 1950, a friend of mine took me to a Hank Thompson show. I got to meet Hank and got to know him. He hired me to help out, and worked with him for several years. I decided to move to California and came to know John Wayne while he was filming “The Alamo”, I was in that movie with him. With John I did different things, spent time as his chauffeur and just doing what needed to be done.  After while I moved back to Nashville working with Farron Young, and met Willie. It’s been good work, I’ve seen a lot, and met some good people.

Who has been the most influential on your life?
John Wayne taught me a lot, and he was a good friend and person. I’ve worked a lot of years with Willie, in that time we’ve had a lot of good talks.

What do you like to do in your spare time?  
I like to rest up at the house, and I read a lot. From time to time I like to go to lunch with friends of mine. Sometime’s I go and hang out at John T. Floores.

What has been your secret for success in your career?
Take care of yourself on the road, rest when you can. It's rough, but not for me, because I’ve done it for so long. I went to Dallas at a show, and this young kid, probably 18 or 19 asked me how I did it. I told him work hard and do it. Climb the ladder, get to the top, none of this in between crap. Just see that the guys have what they need. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

What has been a highlight for you in your career?
I’ve worked hard all of my life, I never thought I’d be a roadie. I started packing some gear and setting up some shows, and I liked it. I love the road and the people I work for. Being inducted into the Roadie Hall of Fame was nice, and the Hall of Fame in Banderra. They gave me a Living Legend award.

If you were president, what would be the first thing you would do?
I’d probably legalize smoke, you get in trouble for carrying it. It depends on how much you have. Eventually if they’d legalize it, and tax it, it could help the roads and schools. Me and Willie have talked about it and we have a plan.

Being around music for so long, what do you listen to?
Mostly the guys I work with, Randy (Rogers), Wade(Bowen), Cody(Canada) Kevin Fowler. The stuff they play I like.

“The  way you can tell if a musician is any good, is if he’s worked with Ben Dorcy.”
         Kinky Friedman