Happy Mother’s Day! Clay and Buck’s Moms Join Their Boys On the Air

6 May 2022

CLAY: Mother’s Day is on Sunday, and our Producer Ali said, “You know what we need to do? We need to get your mom and Buck’s mom on the show to answer questions from the audience.” So for the first time ever, Jane Sexton is in-studio in New York City with her son, Buck, and my mom, Liz Travis, is in studio here in the Nashville area with me. First of all, thank you both for being fantastic moms and we hope that you have a good Mother’s Day weekend. My mom is so nervous, Buck, to be on the radio show. I don’t think… She’s called in before. Are you nervous?

LIZ: Yeah, I am. I’m terrified.

CLAY: (laughs)

BUCK: So can I ask your mom Clay just so everyone knows what we did here, we asked for emailed questions in, and we also took some voice mail questions in so we could kind of push the questions back and forth to our moms. So I’m here in New York City with my mom, Jane. Clay’s in Nashville with his mom, Liz. Can we start with Liz first question?

CLAY: Yeah, fire away.

BUCK: I keep wanting to call her Mrs. Travis but she’s told me to call her Liz so I’m gonna call her Liz. Liz, this is from Cali in North Carolina. She wants to know what was Clay’s and then for me too, but we’ll start with Clay’s what was Clay’s favorite book growing up?

LIZ: Okay. His favorite book growing up was —

BUCK: Oh, Clay, we gotta get her over to your mic. We can’t actually hear her on that mic, so hold on.

CLAY: I should just point out, by the way, there are probably 18 people who worked to have a second mic to make sure that it worked when my mom came in studio here, and so it’s par for the course that it would immediately bail. So bring her over here to the mic.

BUCK: Yes, we’ll bring her over.

CLAY: So mom, you scoot over here.

BUCK: Clay, you can ask my mom. Go ahead.

CLAY: Yes. Jane, what was Buck’s favorite book when he was growing up? What do you remember him loving to have read or read himself first?

JANE: I think what really changed his whole thinking on reading the Three Musketeers and he was about eight or nine when he read that.

BUCK: Mmm-hmm.

JANE: And then that sort of sparked his love of reading and then he moved on pretty quick to like Michael Crichton and Tom Clancy and was an avid reader, so reading has always been a big part of Buck’s life.

BUCK: I ripped through… My mom remembers ’cause I had all these paperbacks I used to take to our grandparents’ house in the summer. I ripped through Jurassic Park, Congo, Sphere, Rising Sun, Andromeda Strain, all. I just ripped through those books. But Alexandre Dumas, The Three Musketeers, that was the first book I ever read that wasn’t assigned in schools that I just absolutely loved. Can Liz hear me now and can she…? (silence) Uh-oh. Now, I don’t hear Clay at all now so —

CLAY: I’m back. Hear we go. She brought in a copy of the very first book —

BUCK: Oh, wow.

CLAY: — back in the day Waldenbooks, if you grew up in Nashville, was like the only place, the only bookstore, right? It wasn’t New York City where you had all the Barnes & Nobles and everything else. And so at a very young age I loved this book called Look Out for Pirates and she bought the copy of Look Out for Pirates. How many times you think I read this book, Mom?

LIZ: Well, you read it until you memorized it. You memorized this whole book. It’s like 63 pages long; they’re like 20 words per page and so he was 6 years old. This was really the first book that he just really read, and he memorized it.

BUCK: Wow.

LIZ: So he could just walk around just saying the book.

CLAY: By the way, people love I’m sure who are listening right now, when I was in college, Buck — I went to school on the East Coast. When my mom would call and leave answering machine messages, my roommates would make me save them just so I could push and they could hear this accent, right? So my mom born and raised in the South, and I’m sure people are listening right now and saying, “That is a real Southern accent,” much like Julie Talbott, who is our boss at Premiere, who’s also got the same accent.

LIZ: You know what? It’s a dying art. This voice… (laughing) This voice is a dying art.

BUCK: So, I’ll go now we’ll flip the order. So, Liz, Ross in New York City wanted to know, “What did Clay want to be growing up, and did you ever think he’d become a radio host?”

LIZ: Well, growing up… What did you want to be when you were really little?

CLAY: I mean, I think every kid who liked sports wants to be a pro athlete, but actually we were talking earlier about Top Gun. When Top Gun came out, I was like 6 years old, Buck. I wanted really badly to be a fighter pilot also because of Robotech and Star Blazers, if I remember correctly. So, I think when I was super young, the idea was growing up being a fighter pilot.

BUCK: I mean, we can get Carrie’s dad to take you up in a plane, Top Gun retired, but he’s the real deal. All right, Mom, what was…? Mom, what did I want to be? ‘Cause this is a weird one. This is true.

JANE: When Buck was little he really wanted to be an animal conservationist.

CLAY: That’s pretty specific!

JANE: Yeah, no, he was kind of an old little dude for a little kid. (laughing) He was always like a wise old soul even at age 7, but that kind of faded away.

BUCK: I realize you don’t really, like, make money or, like, that’s not really a —

JANE: (laughing)

CLAY: It’s like everybody wants to be — every girl I know when she was, like, 12 or 13 in our in school wanted to be a marine biologist, that stage exists in New York City where everybody wanted to be one?

BUCK: A lot of women wanted that. Yeah, a lot of young women wanted to be, you know, taking care of dolphins. Yeah, I wanted to save the elephants and the whales. I actually think when I was a kid, one of my grandparents donated in my — in my name to, like, this whale conservancy. So, I went through this phase and, I don’t know, and then, like, got interested in girls in junior high —

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: — and, all of a sudden, I didn’t want to be an animal conservationist anymore because I wanted to be able to, like, earn a living. All right, Liz. “Did they ever…?” Hold on a second. “Did they ever get…? Did they ever have a completely crazy idea that you had to talk them out of?” That’s from Izzy in Massachusetts. Liz, you first, a crazy idea you had to talk Clay out of.

LIZ: Oh, my gosh. I have Biden brain here. Where’s that Easter bunny?

CLAY: (laughs)

LIZ: I don’t know. You know, when they were teenagers, they rolled a lot of yards. I don’t know if you know what that is.

CLAY: Yeah, we once… That was not… It was kind of a prank, you’d roll everybody’s yard, you would toilet paper it, whatever you would call it, and I remember my dad would always say — ’cause in the South, sometimes people are crazy — somebody’s gonna shoot at you, and somebody shot at us when we were seniors shot the car twice. It’s a crazy story. I probably should tell this on the air long form at some point with you, Buck. But my parents had spent a lot of time saying, “Hey, maybe stop with the pranks like you’re…” And I would be always kind of saying, “You’re crazy. There’s nothing that’s gonna come from this that’s bad,” and the car got shot twice, could have been bad.

BUCK: Were you TPing?

CLAY: Yes, TPing somebody’s yard. Yeah.

BUCK: This is really boring. I can ask my mom. She’ll tell you, I never liked it. I never got into trouble.

JANE: I don’t have an answer for this. (laughing)

BUCK: She’s got nothing. I never got into trouble.

CLAY: What about his brothers in how would you…? So, I’ve got three boys, Jane. Where did Buck rank in terms of difficulty of raising compared to his two brothers and his sister? Like, how would you rank the kids?

JANE: Honestly, Clay, I got off real easy. They were all terrific. And people say, “Oh, that can’t possibly be true,” but I really didn’t have any issues with any of them. They were really… They were fun.

CLAY: Angels.

JANE: No, they weren’t angels, and they weren’t nerds either. They just were well balanced.

BUCK: See? Told you.

JANE: You know, they studied but they also had lots of friends and played and did all kinds of fun things. You know, I was very, very lucky — really, really lucky.

BUCK: Mom was there for the Ivanka junior prom, for that one.

CLAY: Oh, yeah, what did you think of that?

BUCK: Ivanka used to come by the house when we were like eighth, ninth grade or whatever and so she would hang out the with my mom and my —

JANE: She’d come and sit at the kitchen table and she was just a regular girl.

CLAY: Now, the most popular thing we put on the website has been your television commercial, Jane.

JANE: (laughing)

CLAY: So, for people out there who haven’t seen it yet — first of all, I think you can still go track it down at Clay and Buck, and I believe there also are photos of both Buck and I when we were young that our moms have provided —

BUCK: You’ve got, like, a sizable cranium now, but, like, my head is ginormous. Did you have big head as a kid, or not really?

CLAY: I think I did (laughing), and, honestly, I’m looking at some of the photos my mom shared and I’ve got the three boys now, it’s fun to see. Like, I can almost see just kind of a shadow of what the boys look like now looking back at myself at a young age. But, Jane, what about this television commercial, and then also you had an audition for an iconic movie role that you potentially could have gotten. What was that like? Tell people those stories.

JANE: Well, okay. Well, going back to the commercial, I used to do commercials. I worked as an actress, I was a trained professional dancer as well, and so this is just another job, but it was a great job. It was a Bubble Yum commercial and it was with Ralph Macchio before he became the big star.

CLAY: The Karate Kid for everybody out there. Yes.

JANE: It was before that. So, it was just for me another job. It was a great job. You had to audition like three or four times to get it and it was a three-day shoot and it ran a lot on Saturday mornings, so that was great. I was already married with a child at that point, and everybody else in that commercial was — and I was young. I was 21 at that time, and everybody else was maybe 16 or 17, couple years younger.

So, I was definitely the oldest on that set and, you know, I had a different mind-set about it for sure. And in terms of the movie you’re talking about, that was the Exorcist (laughing), and I’m really glad that I wasn’t cast in that. That’s all…

CLAY: So how do you audition for the exorcist? Did they make you scream? What was that experience like?

JANE: It was they gave you sides, which is a script, and I just read from it. I was quite young at the time. I was maybe 11. And, quite frankly, I really didn’t understand some of the things that were in the script, and I’m really glad that I didn’t have to deal with that and that that wasn’t part of my legacy. So… (chuckles)

BUCK: So, yeah. Mom was in that. She also — I’m just gonna say this — starred in a Hallmark Movie of the Week, Summer of My German Soldier.

JANE: Well, supporting role, supporting role. (laughing)

BUCK: Oh, sorry. She’s always a star to me.

CLAY: Summer of My German Soldier? So that was a World War II-themed Hallmark movie, I’m assuming?

JANE: It’s a really lovely movie. It actually is about German POWs that were actually moved to Georgia here in this country, and it’s a true story. So it’s really a worthwhile movie. It actually got some awards. I also was on a soap opera for a while just after my first child was born. I was on The Doctors and that was out of NBC.

BUCK: She played Moonchild, who had been in a cult!

JANE: (laughing)

BUCK: It’s amazing.

CLAY: (laughing)

BUCK: Mom had quite range, a lot of range. I want to ask Liz when we come back, Clay, in a second I gotta ask Liz ’cause you’re the sports guy, Clay, we’re gonna dig into Clay’s initial sports history. What was his first sport? What was his best sport? That’s a question from Producer Mark, actually, that got into the list here. We’ll come to that in a second. We’re gonna keep Clay and Buck’s moms here on the Clay and Buck show to finish us up for Mother’s Day. So, stick around, more questions and more of your comments. We actually have some of your voice messages to play too.


CALLER: This is Marie from Phoenix Arizona. My question is for both mothers: I would like to know what was your reaction the first time your son got in trouble at school and what, if any, punishment did you give him?

BUCK: Welcome back to the Clay and Buck show. That was one of our listeners Marie in Phoenix, asking both moms. I’m gonna pose this to Clay’s mom, Liz, first. Liz, was Clay a troublemaker? I don’t know if you know this, but your son was banned from one of the biggest cable news networks (laughing) as an adult later on.

LIZ: (laughing)

BUCK: So, there might be a little bit of a streak where he presses the boundaries and the rules a little bit. When he was a little boy, was he breaking rules, did he get in trouble at school?

LIZ: No. Let me tell you. Clay was always the teacher’s pet. Always. He never got into trouble. He made straight A’s. He never got into trouble.

CLAY: The perfect kid, Buck.

LIZ: I mean, he was. I mean, he was just such a good kid. And at home we never knew he was around because he was always reading, just reading and reading. But when he would watch the UT football game and they would lose, now he would be a door slammer.

BUCK: Wow.

LIZ: Go around slamming all the doors.

CLAY: A lot of cursing. She once told me… This is the University of Tennessee, which I grew up — my mom’s dad, my grandfather, played for General Neyland. But I remember after one particularly tough loss you said, “Hey, you’re not gonna be…” Sorry to disparage Tennessee football fans here, but, “You’re not gonna be the kind of fan who grows up and beats his wife when University team loses,” which honestly sometimes happens in the South.

BUCK: So, I’ll take Marie’s question here to my mom and we’ll make it short ’cause I think this is gonna be boring. I mean, Mom, I was president of the school, like, I was, you know —

JANE: I think there are a lot of —

CLAY: So was I, by the way! We’re a couple of nerds.

LIZ: President of his senior class.

BUCK: Yeah. See?

JANE: See, I think there are a lot of similarities here between Clay and Buck. (laughs)

LIZ: Yeah.

JANE: That’s why they grew up to be radio hosts, I think.

BUCK: I was the one who when my friends would get arrested for fake IDs or underage drinking would try to convince the officer not to arrest them. Like, I was the one they called to be like, “Excuse me, sir, officer, that’s not a marijuana cigarette my friend has.” Like, I was that 16-year-old, you know? So, that was my role. But, yeah. Okay, Liz, sports. What was Clay’s first sport? What was his best sport?

LIZ: Well, when you grow up in the South, you have to play baseball. You have to play that, and he played that until he was maybe 10, and then he kind of dropped out (chuckles) and when he went to high school he played soccer, and he made one goal.

CLAY: That’s right. I scored a goal from midfield. That’s probably my all-time sports highlight, Buck. I was a fullback and I caught one literally at the midfield and popped it over the goalie who had gotten out too far. So that is my high school sports highlight.

BUCK: Very nice. Like the Maldini, if you will.

CLAY: There you go.

BUCK: Throwback there to any soccer fans. Mom, you can answer the same question. This is my mom now, Jane.

JANE: I’d say that Buck actually was quite good at basketball when he was young, and I think you were like MVP at one of the tournaments.

BUCK: Yes, one of the big city tournaments. Correct.

CLAY: Oh, wow.

BUCK: Point guard, yes.

JANE: And then he played soccer in high school and then went on to coach soccer ’cause he had, you know, an ability. And he’s actually a very good tennis player. Another thing about Buck that’s kind of interesting is that he had an interest when he was young in capoeira, which is an Afro-Brazilian martial art and that was kind of unusual. (laughing)

BUCK: I taught myself how to walk on my hands and do kip-ups and do all these things when I was in the eight grade, ’cause I wanted to be good at capoeira. I can’t believe my mom even remembers that.

CLAY: That’s amazing. I never even heard of it.

BUCK: I was the youngest kid in the class. People are probably Googling this, what the heck is capoeira, but true story.

JANE: Yeah, I went with him. I was worried. (laughs)

BUCK: She was worried I was gonna break my neck.

JANE: (laughing) Exaclty!

BUCK: But I didn’t. I was okay.

CLAY: Quickly for both the moms, the question that is out there, and I can’t even see who asked it, who would you like to see us interview that we haven’t already? My mom first and then, Jane, you hop in.

LIZ: I’d like to see you interview Maye Musk.

CLAY: Elon Musk’s mom. Yes.

JANE: That’s pretty awesome. I would say Thomas Sowell. I’m a big fan of his.

CLAY: Good one. We should get both of them on.

BUCK: Those are good answers from the moms.

CLAY: Yes. Good answers, yes.

BUCK: Liz, honored to meet you. Thank you so much, Clay’s mom and my mom, Jane, love you, we love our moms. To all the moms out there: Happy Mother’s Day!

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