GQ Profiles Tyler Mahan Coe; Opens Up About His Relationship With His Father and Country Music Legend, David Allan Coe and Previews the New Season of His Podcast ‘Cocaine & Rhinestones’
Published on April 8th, 2021 | by Jerry Doby
In GQ’s latest issue, correspondent Brett Martin profiles Tyler Mahan Coe, the son of Nashville outlaw and country music legend David Allan Coe, and creator of the acclaimed podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones.
Tyler made the first season of the podcast entirely by himself, three years before the pandemic. It was a surprise hit, with Tyler showing an abundance of intelligence, confidence, and charisma, an intuitive knack for self-branding, and a deeply steeped knowledge of his subject matter—country music. All of which are at least in part the complicated inheritance from a profoundly complex man, country star, and outlaw icon: David Allan Coe.
Tyler opens up about his relationship with his estranged but inescapable father, who he hasn’t spoken to since 2013, when “DAC” summarily dismissed his band and formed a new one. (Tyler was his band leader.) He describes DAC as needy, easily wounded, self-sabotaging, and fueled by resentment, a compulsive fabulist who, above all, feared embarrassment and abandonment.
To be angry with him, Tyler says, “almost feels like being mad at a dog. Of course he shit on your floor.”
Tyler also comments on his father’s most offensive songs from the past, including ones that use racial and homophobic slurs. DAC is “stubborn, retrograde, and in possession of racial attitudes complicated by his age, background, and experience in prison—but he is not a white supremacist,” Tyler says.
People expected Tyler to be broken up over their rift, but “…it wasn’t a relationship that was ever there,” he says. “It hurt, but it’s not a new hurt. I could probably count on one hand the number of times that my father has said useful life things to me,” Tyler adds.
“I was just really hurting,” says Tyler, so much so that he asked his father for advice. “And what he said…He didn’t say it in a cold way. I could see how it would come across that way. But what he said was this: ‘The only thing I can tell you is that no one else can feel your pain.’”
Tyler also tells GQ about the highly anticipated second season of his podcast, which dives into the history of 20th-century country music. The next season, which debuts April 20, will focus entirely on George Jones—from the ways in which the artist’s epic career encompassed a century’s worth of country history, to the tumult of his life, like his grief-and-abuse-soaked childhood and his disastrous marriage to Tammy Wynette.
But the new season will also touch on topics like the rise and fall of regional record labels and of the Nashville Sound, the invention of pinball, the piano, and artificial ice—and even the history of bullfighting.
“There are going to be people who are like, ‘Why can’t you just talk about country music, man?’ But I am. I fucking am,” says Tyler. “ I do not believe it is possible to fully appreciate or understand how good a country music singer George Jones is unless you understand Spanish bullfighting. I just don’t.”
The final product of season two, Tyler adds, will be about Jones “the way Moby-Dick is about a whale.”
*Read: “Meet The Keeper Of Country Music’s And Tall Tales Secret Histories” by Brett Martin on GQ.com