Somehow a reality show on Country Music Television became one of my favorite shows to watch. Walt Windham is a gentlman and a charmer which made this one of my favorite interviews to date. Season 4 of Party Down South premieres on CMT tonight at 9pm. – ed
I occasionally fall asleep to Cops Reloaded on Country Music Television. I feel weird admitting that given all that’s been happening but it’s sometimes what I do. I drift off to the sounds of people getting arrested and wake up to the sounds of country music videos. It’s an odd dichotomy. Somewhere in between these two things I discovered CMT’s reality show Party Down South.
Before you get excited it’s not a below the Mason-Dixon Line reboot of Party Down but it’s vastly entertaining in its own right. It’s the TRUE STORY of a bunch of rednecks (their word, not mine) picked to live in a house, become friends in a house, drink in a house, fight in a house, throw furniture into a pool in a house, have sex in a house, get sunburnt in a house, well you get the idea….and on the surface that sounds like every Real World knock off but it’s so much more than the sum of its southern parts.
The south is truly a different country, and almost was (read your history books), and because of that I feel like I’m getting a glimpse into an entirely new and unfamiliar world that I am endlessly fascinated by. For one thing, everyone has manners. I think if something happened to me here in DC people would just walk over my unconscious body until eventually I became part of the sidewalk, street art if you will.
I had to know more about the south and these fine folks in particular so I reached out to CMT and was able to chat with one of the best people on the show, Walt Windham. This is one of my favorite interviews I’ve ever done. Walt can tell the fuck out of a story but you have to read his answers in your best southern accent because that’s where half the charm is.
BYT: Hey Walt
Walt Windham: Hey sweetheart, how are you?
Dear God, you’re already being real charming. Just jumped right into it, didn’t ya?
Well, that’s just my normal self.
I think some people would describe this as Jersey Shore from the south but it could not be any different. Jersey Shore is a disgusting trainwreck but there is something slightly more sophisticated about Party Down South. I think it’s because you guys are really interested in partying more than anything else. You don’t seem like the type that would want to do something like that. Why did you want to do this show?
Well to start things off I would like to, I guess, congratulate you on your nice choice of words. I never would have thought the words Party Down South and sophisticated would go together. It’s really funny because the show actually started years ago. When it did I was in the timeframe of getting wasted every single night. I was going to work messed up all the time. I didn’t even care where my life went. All my teachers from high school said I would never live to see 21. And so I did but I was always drunk every night. So they actually canceled the casting of the show so I was like “You know, man, it’s time for me to grow up.” So I called my brother and started a career of what I do now as being a pipefitter and industrial construction. So I had a career and it’s going great and stuff and then actually they called my dad because he was the emergency contact because I changed my number so many times. They couldn’t get ahold of me so they called him. I was actually up under one of his rental properties and he hands me the phone to the floor and it’s one of the producers for the production company telling me the show is back on. It was actually 3 years later. I told her no I wasn’t interested because I had a career and I didn’t want to jeopardize what I had going on now. To make a long story short I gave in and said okay I’ll do the show. And obviously we don’t know each other when we first started you don’t know anything about the filming industry. You go in there blind. Believe it or not after a short amount of time of me being a “grownup,” with someone having responsibilities I was like “You need a vacation.” This is a vacation that no one has ever done in their entire life. If you throw 8 people in a house there’s going to be some things happening way different than any frat party or sorority party or any redneck vacation on a beach. I guess that’s the reason I decided to follow through with it. I actually get that a lot, that I don’t look like the kind of person who would do it.
You said you changed your phone number a bunch of times. Is there a reason?
Okay, I grew up in Mississippi, born and raised. I went to high school there and everything else. I got picked up to play college ball in UK and the service provider I had in Mississippi I tried to use in Kentucky but they wouldn’t let me have the number and I was like “Crap, I guess I gotta get a new number.” So that’s when I got another number there. But then when I went on the road full-time with me, my camper and my truck I wanted to go with Verizon because I had crappy T-Mobile and as long as you’re in town T-Mobile is great but as soon as you get outta town you’re screwed. So I decided to pick up Verizon and Verizon told me that they could not take another number from T-Mobile because they were gonna monopolize the cell phone industry.
I thought for sure you were going to tell me you were being stalked.
No no, that’s actually true.
Oh I believe you because I have Verizon. So, back to the show. I haven’t done too much research about this season but I know the first episode is already up on CMT’s website. Where are you guys this season, what city?
We’re in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s like camping area.
Is that the south? Now, I know that’s the south, but when I think of the south I think of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, etc…Florida is kind of in its own bubble.
Actually the real south in my eyes is Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee. That’s really your south. I don’t really consider South Carolina or North Carolina the south but most folks do. Actually the song says anything south of the Mason-Dixon Line. If you’re from the south anything north of Kentucky is considered Yankee.
Can you tell me, in your words, what a redneck is? Do you identify as a redneck? Is it an insult in the south? In the north it’s kind of used as an insult. I assume it means something different down there.
It actually depends on where you’re from in the United States that would actually classify who you are. A lot of times redneck is thrown around in the south as a person from the country. If you’re from the south and you get called a hillbilly then you’re pretty much like some sort of cousin-fucker who you know is a piece of trash and shit like that. Well really all those terms are actually different. If you’re like in the Midwest generally you’d be considered a country boy. If you’re in the deep south you’re considered a redneck. If you’re up in the mountains you’re considered a hillbilly and if you’re up north you’re a Yankee and if you’re in the far west you’re considered a cowboy.
Wow, I had no idea. We don’t have that much going on up here. We’re not very original here in the north. I don’t think you guys ever come up here. I don’t see you doing a lot of appearances in the northern region. Personally I will tell you there is at least one person in Washington, DC, and that’s me, who is really loving the show. I watch it with my best guy friend who is a straight man and is very comfortable with his sexuality. I can say honestly Walt that as we were watching the show, every episode we were both like “Why is nobody fucking Walt. Why is no one having sex with this man?” We felt very strongly about this and were very disappointed and confused. Can you shed some light on this? It was kind of an overarching theme to the show. We think you’re a catch, me and my straight guy friend think you’re a catch.
The first season the only sexual interaction that was going on was Lyle and Lauren. The second season let’s see I brought home 6 girls. Ryan (Daddy) brought home 4 and Murray brought home 4. Lyle brought home 3. The third season nobody brought home anybody then when Hannah came along Daddy took interest with that and this past season I think you’re going to be surprised.
Oh really? Really.
Probably. You may be in for a little bit of a shocker.
Can you tell me anything? Are some roommates gonna *ahem* or is that pretty much done?
Actually thank God there was none of that. A few of the girls have outside of the house relationships so that’s additional drama that was brought to the show and it gets kind of entertaining to say the least. Since you’ve already seen the first episode it goes nowhere up but to 10 after that.
What’s the weirdest, most uncomfortable, most invasive thing that’s happened to you since you’ve been on the show. Is it this interview?
The weirdest thing that’s ever happened to be and the most uncomfortable thing that’s ever happened by far is…I actually went to Yazoo City to visit Murray one night because I happen to be coming through town. I just got through with a job and was transitioning to go through this state to another job. We go out and the next morning I wake up and say I gotta go so he’s like “Let’s go up to McDonald’s to get some breakfast.” These two ladies were kinda creepin’ on us a little bit and I said “I think they may recognize us,” and Murray was like “I don’t think so I think it’s your imagination,” so we leave. We’re outside talking or whatever and I just so happen to look up and this car passes in front of my truck and it was the same two girls. I was like “Dude that was them,” and Murray said “Naw that wasn’t them,” I was like “Alright whatever dude I got to go. I’m gonna stop by the gas station across the road. I need some diesel.” So I drive right across the road. I park and I went to put the nozzle in the truck and I noticed the pumps were so old they didn’t have card readers. So I was like damn, so I gotta go inside the store, give ’em my card so I can come back out and fill up. I give them my card, I came out and it didn’t even have one of those stoppy things so once you’re pumping gas you know when to stop so I’m holding the pump myself and a car pulls up on the opposite side of my truck. I couldn’t even see the car. This girl walks out and I’m looking at the pump and looked to my right and BAM there she is, so I couldn’t stop pumping the fuel. So I look over and I”m like “Hey, what’s up?” and she’s like “Hey.” So I say “Well, how are you?” “Fine.” And she’s just staring at me. So I said “Can I help you?” She said “No, I just love you.” So I said “Oh, that’s sweet.” So I get done pumping gas, I put the nozzle up and she steps a step closer. And she’s all up in my bubble now. I said “Well honey I got to go in here and pay for this fuel I’ll see ya.” So I walked in, pay for the fuel, turn around and open the door and I noticed she’s standing right beside my truck. I turned back and looked at the cashier and said “Hey man, if I wave my hand that means call the cops. I got a damn stalker out here.” So I go to reach to open my truck and she goes “Can I have a hug?” “Yeah, sure.” I go to hug the girl and as soon as I get really close she snaps her head to try to kiss me really quick. I said “Woah woah woah woah, hold up now, hold up.” She was like “Well, I just felt like I could right then.” So I kind of gave her the one armed side hug. I went to open my truck and she slams the door and I said “Look, do not make me get ugly. I got to leave. I got to go. Please baby.” I open my door and she stood in front of my truck. So then I guess the cashier called the cops because the cop pulled up right beside me at the pumps so I said “Hey man, get this crazy girl away from me,” so I got into my truck and left.
I’m surprised that doesn’t happen more often. So, how has dating been going for you?
I’m actually not able to date. I’m working so much and traveling so much for the show and for work. I don’t have time for it. I wish I did but I have not met the one and I don’t know if I’ll ever meet the one while I’m traveling like this.
Oh now stop. I’m sure you’ll meet the one single human being on a planet with 7 billion people that you’re meant to spend your life with and if you look at it like that then it’s very depressing. Are you a big music fan? I’m going to assume you’re a fan of country music. I’m not a country music fan and it’s not because I don’t like it it’s because I don’t have enough knowledge. Would you mind suggesting a few songs you think a non country music fan would like?
Are you wanting up-to-date or are you wanting older country. You want 90’s? Top 2000’s? Or do you just want today’s?
Oh my God are you kidding? The 90’s were the best decade and I will argue that to my grave.
I fucking agree. I mean Matchbox 20. Fucking Hootie and the Blowfish. That’s my shit.
That’s interesting, you’re 7 years younger than me.
I don’t give a shit how old you are. I know good music when I hear it.
Okay, give me something that you think I wouldn’t hear on the radio. Something the average person who is not familiar with country music wouldn’t know.
Alright, just shootin’ from the hip? “Saving Amy” by Brantley Gilbert.
I like the song it’s called “Oh, Tonight” by Josh Abbott Band.
Are these all romantic songs? I guess a lot of country music is.
A lot of country music is. Some of them I don’t even know the name of the song I can just sing them frontwards to backwards.
Do you want to sing right now? (He did not)
I like “Smoke” by A Thousand Horses.
That’s a lot of horses. You can give me one more. I’ve taken up far too much of your time already.
I’m trying to give you a party song. How about “Neon” by Chris Young.