Dallas’ Round-Up Saloon hits the big time Friday when it presents
the world premier
of the video for Willie Nelson’s song, “Cowboys are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each
Other),” video director Darrin Davis announced this week.
Some scenes for the video were rehearsed and filmed at the Round-Up in February and early March, and the nightclub held a “coming out celebration” when the song was released on iTunes on Valentine’s Day.
The Round-Up’s logo and interior as well as some of its regular customers are featured prominently in the finished product.
Jim Walker, a well-known Dallas body builder and former television news reporter, gets considerable screen time, wearing a bandanna complete with “Willie Braids” under a black cowboy hat, strumming a guitar and lip-synching along as Nelson sings about gay cowboys.
The video, available online now at www.secretcowboys.com, also features cameos by Burt Reynolds and Nelson himself.
Alan Pierce, co-owner of the Round-Up, said Wednesday that the nightclub’s staff and management had been “extremely pleased” when Davis and producer David Anderson chose the Round-Up as a setting for the video. They are also excited to play host to the video’s public premiere, he said.
“We think it’s all wonderful,” Pierce said. “And it’s such a nice little personal story about how the video came about.”
The “personal story” refers to Davis and Anderson, partners in both business and life for about a year. Anderson has been Nelson’s tour manager for 32 years. After 15 years of marriage, Anderson came out to Nelson about two years ago.
When Nelson decided to record and release “Cowboys are Frequently Secretly,” written in 1981 by Neal Sublette, Davis sent the singer a test video of his idea for the song. Nelson liked the idea so much, he chose David to direct the shoot as well.
The video was then shot on location at the Round-Up, at Nelson’s ranch in Luck, Texas and at the Texas Gay Rodeo Association’s “Cowtown Rodeo,” held in March at Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum.
“I had a vision for this song and was thrilled Willie let me see it through,” Davis said in a written statement released this week.
“I wanted the real deal,” he continued. “I went to the line dance classes and hand-picked real gay cowboys out of the club, not trained dancers.”
Davis said he studiously avoided having the dancers appear stereotypically gay in any way. “Burt Reynolds adds his own special twist for that,” Davis said.
Anderson said the song and video were not intended to capitalize on the gay cowboy craze set off by the success of “Brokeback Mountain.”
“It’s not that being gay just happens to be the flavor of the month. It’s that the time has come for us to be honest with each other and live together, no matter who we are or what we believe in or have done,” Anderson said in a written statement. “Whether you’re gay or straight, religious or agnostic, a top or a bottom it’s the same planet. We all have and can come together. We are all in the same race human.”
Nelson himself said he believes the song and video can help bridge a gap between gays and non-gays.
“A lot of people are becoming more and more educated and understanding to the world and the people around them. My job is to bring people together,” Nelson said. “There are very few secrets anymore, and very few closets.”
The Round-Up will hold a private party for the dancers in the video around 7 p.m. Friday. The party opens up to the public at 8 p.m., and will include Willie Nelson give-aways, Pierce said.
Logo, the gay cable TV channel, presents the network premiere of the video at 8 p.m. Sunday.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, March 31, 2006.