The HJV — a homemade Alphin family keepsake near and dear to Big Kenny’s heart — went missing following a Big & Rich performance Saturday night in Bonner Springs, Kan., where the band appeared at the Q104 Y’allapalooza Festival. (No, I did not make any of that up.) Thus begging the question: What’s the difference between a Hillbilly Han Solo and an actual Han Solo? While actual Han Solo almost lost Princess Leia, Hillbilly Han Solo actually lost his hide.
Investigating the disappearance, the duo, which is not in Kansas anymore, immediately took to social media in a crowd-sourced reconnaissance mission to reclaim the mislaid hillbilly habiliment.
At press time, Alphin has tweeted seven APBs on the vest, claiming it carries the superhero power of the #HillbillyJedi. And in related news, Alphin also tweeted a quote from the late, great Helen Keller, which I suppose is classier than tweeting accusations of racism at Clay Aiken, as the infinitely-less-likeable John Rich recently did.
Big & Rich also took to Facebook (see below) with a neo-milk-carton status update complete with accompanying Bono-meets-Kid Rock photo montage of Alphin (and his vest) in Hillbilly Jedi action. It should be noted that, though the update cites KC’s Livestrong Sporting Park as the site of the disappearance, Y’allapalooza was actually moved to Cricket Wireless Amphitheater in neighboring Bonner Springs, according to my investigative reporting (i.e., advanced Googling skills).
Until the vest turns up, expect to see Big Kenny rockin’ this replacement onstage:
In related news: Star Wars geeks have Jon Bon Jovi to thank for Big & Rich's dumb (but not shockingly so) album title. According to GAC, Jon Bon contributed his unfortunately soul-devoid songwriting chops to the Hillbilly Jedi writing sessions, and from the line “Hillbilly Jedis with attitude” a terrible title was born.
It gets better:
The idea for the album title started as a joke but quickly grew from there. Big & Rich’s record label had concerns however. The word "Jedi" is owned by Star Wars director George Lucas and the label told the duo they weren’t going to be able to use it.
Big Kenny broke the news to Jon Bon Jovi when the pair met up at a charity event. What happened next was almost unbelievable. Big Kenny stood and watched as Jon picked up his phone on the spot and called George Lucas to ask about using the term.
In the end, Lucas granted them permission to use ‘Jedi’ in their album title — as long as they used it properly. “”Jedi,” not Jedis, because Jedi is both singular and plural,” Big Kenny said of George’s direction. “’So if they are going to use the word, use it correctly.’”
So yeah, like any ostensibly decent human being, I’d like to live a life free of hate, fear and snark in my heart. But Jon Bon Jovi, Big & Rich, George Lucas, Twitter and Facebook are making that fucking impossible. Nevertheless, if I find Big Kenny’s vest, I’ll be sure to get it back to him. Also, God apparently doesn't think Star Wars fans have suffered enough — their collective morale is in worse shape than Alderaan or whatever.