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Concert preview: Toby Keith may sing about ‘Wacky Tobaccy,’ but he prefers whiskey

Toby Keith performs at ACM Presents an All-Star Salute to the Troops in Las Vegas in 2014. Keith will play at Northern Quest on Thursday (Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)
Toby Keith performs at ACM Presents an All-Star Salute to the Troops in Las Vegas in 2014. Keith will play at Northern Quest on Thursday (Chris Pizzello / Associated Press)

Country superstar Toby Keith likely will play his newest single, “Wacky Tobaccy,” during his Thursday concert at Northern Quest Resort & Casino. But he probably won’t light up any left-handed cigarettes during his short-lived trip to town.

“Whiskey’s kind of my high,” Keith said in an interview in June with the Tribune of Greeley, Colorado. “I smoke a little with Willie (Nelson) once in a while. I don’t function as well on weed. If I’m not working, I might do a little bit.”

He even sang about that time with Nelson in his previous marijuana-infused hit, “Weed With Willie.”

We learned that, and plenty more about Keith during the phone interview. Here’s the good stuff:

Different careers

Before Keith was a mega-star in the music industry, he worked in the oil industry in Oklahoma. Keith said he did a little bit of everything, from working on a casing crew to climbing derricks to serving as a mechanic.

Keith also had a stint playing semi-pro football in a feeder league for the pros. Keith, a longtime University of Oklahoma football fan, played defensive end.

Arabian night

Keith said performing in Saudi Arabia, as he did in conjunction with President Donald Trump’s May visit to the kingdom, was a different experience.

“That was like being on another planet,” Keith said.

Keith was the first western artist to play a concert in the country, which hadn’t allowed a public concert of any kind in a quarter century.

Playing in the culturally conservative capitol city of Ryadh, for an all-male audience, Keith certainly didn’t sing about weed — or alcohol for that matter.

“You have to deal with a lot of restrictions,” Keith said. “It was very different than anything I’ve ever done in my life.”

Keith said it didn’t bother him too much, saying he just had to go in and abide by their laws. He was more focused on making history and being part of the process.

And he wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to go again.

“They told me if I’d have done this next year, women would have been able to come,” Keith said. “The idea was that the king was rolling out the red carpet (for President Trump).”


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