Many country music stars have a reputation for not being quite as country as their work might suggest. Tim Montana is not one of them.
Tim Montana went from being raised off the grid in the backwoods of Montana to country music stardom. You might have seen him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” or know him from his time touring with Kid Rock. If you’re a Boston Red Sox fan, then you definitely heard his single “The Beard Came Here to Party” during their run to the 2013 World Series.
Despite the fame and rock star status, Montana hasn’t forgotten where he came from. He hunts, fishes, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Montana continues to set the standard for what a “real” country music star should be.
Coffee or Die recently sat down with Montana for the latest segment of 11 Questions and A Cup of Coffee — check it out!
Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
COD: How do you take your coffee?
COD: How do you make your coffee?
DV: Man, I tried doing that whole Chemex thing, and I don’t want to crap on it or anything — but [I need coffee] as fast as possible. It used to be K-Cups and then I traded a buddy for one of those fancy-ass all-in-one where they grind it, and so I do the little beep beep beep, put water in and all that, and it grinds it for you and makes a custom cup every day. It’s one of those big, fancy-looking machines. So that’s what I’m doing lately, but I don’t want people to know about that — don’t want them to think I’m trying to be high-class.
[When out on the road touring, it’s] K-Cups. Yeah, we have a little single-serving Keurig. The problem is there’s a lot of hitting the brakes because vehicles move, so I don’t want to have something that’s holding a water reservoir because it’ll ultimately fall off and break and water will go everywhere, so we do single cup. But I live off of coffee. Before 10 AM, I usually have about five or six cups in me, and then when we start driving, I have more, so I pretty much drink coffee around the clock.
COD: What’s the most bizarre/extreme place you’ve ever had (or made) a cup of coffee?
DV: I was telling Evan about this — I was looking for a lost vein of gold in a remote part of Alaska. We got dropped off by a float plane. We had shotguns, and I had a .444 Marlin that was cut down to be ready — basically bear-spray guns because there’s grizzlies everywhere. And so we’d make coffee up there. But for breakfast, we figured out this thing where we put those little instant oatmeal packets in the coffee on the campfire, and that was breakfast every day. And, of course, there’d be the occasional twig or whatever in the coffee, but that was our legit cowboy coffee with oatmeal.
COD: What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done (physical or mental)?
DV: My childhood was pretty — you don’t know how bad you’ve got it, if that makes any sense, until you see how other people live, but looking back, I’m like, I went through some pretty dark years as a kid. I didn’t know at the time that it was mentally challenging, and now it’s more mentally challenging than it was then. So, I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s what was wrong.’ I grew up off the grid in remote Montana, so yeah — and it wasn’t growing up off the grid that was the worst part.
And I had a pretty nasty motorcycle accident where I could’ve lost my leg, and recovering from that sucked. I broke my leg in a bunch of spots, the bone came out of my ankle — I got hit by a car that was doing about 60 miles per hour and shattered my whole leg, tore my ACL. I was 19 and wasn’t sure if I was going to walk again.
It was tough — first of all, my bladder stopped working because of whatever pain medication they put me on, so then they put a catheter in me, and then taped the bag to my right leg, and my left leg is absolutely destroyed, broken all the way down, ripped open at the ankle, bone was out, they had to put it all back together. And then if I crutched, I’d pull the whole catheter out of my cock. And I was like, I don’t know that I could be more miserable than I am right now. What was worse than the whole bone breaking was my penis looking like a corn dog.
I still can predict the weather with my leg pretty good, it’s not 100 percent.
COD: What motivates you to do what you do?
DV: I just love making music, and I actually like hard work — I’m kind of a workaholic. I kind of enjoy the struggle with it, if that makes any sense. I like being told I can’t do something because — it goes back to my childhood. I was told a lot that I’d never be a musician, never amount to anything, I’d grow up to be a loser. And I’m just like, really? Watch this. I don’t know — I enjoy working hard. It all comes back to the music. There are songs in my heart, and it’s something I dreamed about as a kid. I’m still trying to impress my 5-year-old self.
COD: What do you think is the most misunderstood thing about you or the work you do?
DV: The whole kind of “rock star, oh blah blah blah” thing — it’s like, I don’t think people know the ins and outs every day. I’m also a diesel mechanic. I also work on inverters. Running the website, booking the show. I don’t think people realize how many — they just see your name on the sign and assume you have people to do that, and a lot of stars do, but I’m the DIY guy who does everything myself from management to booking to all that. All of it. This week, I bought a new Coach and figuring out how to use that and the gray water system. Now I gotta go to driving school and get a CDL — people don’t realize all the other shit involved with it, there’s a whole package. I’ve done all of this on my own for 10 years now.
Like I said, I enjoy the hard work, but people think it’s just the big show and the lights and the easy lifestyle, and I’m like, “Shit, son, roll with me on Monday morning and I’ll show you some stuff.” Fridays look cool, but Monday mornings are back at it.
COD: How do you define success?
DV: People ask me what I work for, do all this crazy shit constantly for — they’re like, “What’s your goal?” My goal would be to be able to take my kids on a trip for like 90 days and come back and everything was still moving along. Or six months — I can say, “Alright kids, we’re going to go travel Europe for six months.” And when we come back, I can fall right back into where I was.
But I don’t know that — it’s like if I let one thing go for a day, that opportunity is gone, so I just hustle constantly. At some point, I’ll get to a point where I can just sit back and be like, “Alright.” I don’t know that I’ve truly relaxed in 10 years, and that’s probably the best thing and the worst thing that could ever happen. That’s the reason everything is going the way it is, but my buddies around me are kinda like, “Hey man, you should unplug once or twice.” But I think that’s my measure of success — being able to unplug, go away for a bit, come back, and still matter.
COD: Mountain view or ocean view?
DV: Mountain view. I’m terrible in the water, I’m the worst swimmer you’ve ever seen. People are like, “You wanna go to the beach?” and I’m like, “Fuck no! Give me a rifle and put me in the mountains.” I want the snow, snowmobiles, and steep hills.
COD: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
DV: Be able to cure illness or heal people. I have a friend that is a very successful rock star who we all know, and he said that was the one thing that measured his success: if anyone in my family gets sick, I can take care of them. Not that he can cure illness, but he has enough money that they can go see the best doctors in the world. And I’m like, “Yeah — that’s a good feeling.”
COD: What are your hobbies, outside of what you are known for?
DV: Hunting, fishing, snowmobiling — just anything outdoors.
COD: On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you in your ability to survive in a post-apocalyptic world (1= dead on day one, 10 = ruler of the new world order).
DV: I would put me at an 8 or 9. I grew up in a post-apocalyptic world, living off the grid, breaking ice to boil and drink, training with weapons. I think I would be pretty good. I would be the No. 1 musician you would want to be with in the post-apocalyptic world.
Marty Skovlund Jr. was the executive editor of Coffee or Die. As a journalist, Marty has covered the Standing Rock protest in North Dakota, embedded with American special operation forces in Afghanistan, and broken stories about the first females to make it through infantry training and Ranger selection. He has also published two books, appeared as a co-host on History Channel’s JFK Declassified, and produced multiple award-winning independent films.
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