The BEST Episodes of Mike Judge Presents: Tales From the Tour Bus

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Oct 11, 2020

Network: Cinemax

The raucous adventures of some of country music’s most legendary artists, as told by those who knew them best. Featuring animated interviews with former bandmates, friends and other erstwhile associates, who share uncensored anecdotes about these artists, brought to life with animated reenactments and woven together with live-action archival performance footage and photos.

Rick James Pt. 2

#1 - Rick James Pt. 2

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Nov 16, 2018

In the mid-‘80s, funk star Rick James was riding high on top of the music world. But between his rivalry with Prince, crusade against MTV and run-ins with the law, he fell further under the influence of cocaine. Even a shot at a comeback, when M.C. Hammer sampled his greatest hit, couldn’t pull James back from the brink.

star 8.21
57 votes
George Clinton

#2 - George Clinton

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Nov 2, 2018

A cornerstone figure in funk music, George Clinton went from singing a capella in a barbershop to chasing Motown glory in Detroit with his band, The Parliaments. But the introduction of LSD took him to the next level, as he built a funk empire with outrageous costumes, frequent band-name changes and an occasional bit of nudity. From his first hit, “(I Wanna) Testify,” to the smash anthem “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Give Up the Funk),” Clinton forged a lasting sound that went on to fuel a whole new genre: hip-hop.

star 8.07
58 votes
Rick James Pt. 1

#3 - Rick James Pt. 1

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Nov 9, 2018

The self-proclaimed “King of Punk Funk,” Rick James came from humble beginnings in Buffalo before hooking up with Neil Young while dodging the draft in Canada. With a penchant for pyrotechnics, glitter, custom boots and marijuana, his quest to become a black rock star reached its apex when a throwaway song, “Super Freak,” topped the charts and gave him the fame he’d dreamed of.

star 8.06
52 votes
Johnny Paycheck

#4 - Johnny Paycheck

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 22, 2017

In addition to selling 40 million records and producing chart-topping hits like “She’s All I Got” and “Take This Job and Shove It,” country music outlaw Johnny Paycheck became notorious for living the part. He was known for his music, grand theft auto, drug binges and stints in jail. At the height of Paycheck’s fame, he shot a man over a turtle soup recipe, which led to a high-profile trial, a prison sentence and one of his greatest hits, “Old Violin.”

star 7.93
176 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Dub Cornett, Jeff Feuerzeig, Julien Nitzberg, Mike Judge, Richard Mullins
James Brown Pt. 2

#5 - James Brown Pt. 2

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Dec 7, 2018

At the height of his fame, James Brown reigned supreme as the king of funk, the first voice and innovator of a brand new musical genre. Behind the scenes, Brown was a taskmaster, feuding with rivals as well as members of his own band. By the 1980's, the work ethic that propelled him to superstardom began to take its toll. Compromised by his own bad decisions, Brown was eclipsed by a new generation of stars trying to follow in his footsteps. Despite falling off the Billboard charts, the king of funk never lost the showmanship that made him a legend.

star 7.90
41 votes
Bootsy Collins

#6 - Bootsy Collins

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Nov 23, 2018

One of music's most notable bassists, Bootsy Collins went from rocking out in Ohio to working with the notorious James Brown, who taught him "The One" funk basics. But it was when Bootsy met George Clinton that he created his larger-than-life persona and became the backbone of the P-Funk empire.

star 7.90
48 votes
Waylon Jennings Pt 2

#7 - Waylon Jennings Pt 2

Season 1 - Episode 7 - Aired Nov 3, 2017

Fed up with Nashville's unwritten rules, Waylon Jennings put on his famous black hat, bucked the system and became one of country music's original outlaws. He recorded what he wanted and how he wanted, usually high on cocaine in a studio known as "Hillbilly Central." He also hired Hell's Angels for protection and as babysitters for his kid. Despite a string of hits including "Honky Tonk Heroes" and "Luckenbach, Texas," Waylon was targeted by the Feds for his coke-fueled antics. It only made his legend grow. After writing "Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out of Hand," Waylon shocked Nashville by quitting drugs, cold turkey, and getting sober all on his own.

star 7.89
82 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Mark Monroe
James Brown Pt. 1

#8 - James Brown Pt. 1

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 30, 2018

James Brown, a.k.a. “Mr. Dynamite”, was renowned for his infectious voice and unbelievable dance moves. Between his womanizing ways, perfectionist attitude and daredevil style, he built an empire that went far beyond entertaining, often alienating musicians and business partners along the way.

star 7.82
50 votes
Jerry Lee Lewis

#9 - Jerry Lee Lewis

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Sep 29, 2017

One of the pioneers of rock’n’roll, Jerry Lee Lewis also happened to be a country music singer who liked to call himself “The Killer.” He made a name for himself not just as a magnetic piano-playing singer, but also as an impulsive, gun-wielding wild man, who stoked epic rivalries with the likes of Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley. The Killer also notoriously married his 13-year-old second cousin, setting off an epic worldwide scandal.

star 7.81
141 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Mark Monroe, Mike Judge
George Jones and Tammy Wynette Pt 1

#10 - George Jones and Tammy Wynette Pt 1

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 6, 2017

He was a poor boy from a bootleggers’ town in the Texas backwoods. She was a cotton-picking Mississippi girl dreaming of stardom in Nashville. Together, George Jones and Tammy Wynette became the first power couple in country music. They were perfect in the public eye, but their tumultuous relationship was punctuated by George’s alcohol-fueled escapades and his paranoia over Tammy’s romantic past. She tried to keep the marriage from turning toxic, singing “Stand By Your Man,” her greatest hit, onstage with her husband every night.

star 7.77
116 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Jeff Feuerzeig, Julien Nitzberg, Mark Monroe, Mike Judge
George Jones and Tammy Wynette Pt 2

#11 - George Jones and Tammy Wynette Pt 2

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 13, 2017

Collaborating on 33 hit songs and nine studio albums, George Jones and Tammy Wynette projected an image of marital bliss. Backstage, real life was more of a mess, highlighted by actual gunplay, an accusation of poisoning and ingenious disappearing acts in the name of alcohol. The marriage was ultimately sacrificed, but the music survived. Despite George’s split personalities and Tammy’s endless string of men, the two maintained an artistic partnership that stood the test of time and gave them one of their greatest hits, “Golden Rings,” about love and marriage.

star 7.74
95 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Jeff Feuerzeig, Julien Nitzberg, Mark Monroe, Mike Judge
Waylon Jennings Pt 1

#12 - Waylon Jennings Pt 1

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 27, 2017

The father of 'Outlaw' country music, Waylon Jennings grew up in Texas with dreams of making it to the Grand Ole Opry. Following a musical partnership with Buddy Holly that ended in his first experience cheating death, Waylon eventually made his way to Nashville where he became roommates with Johnny Cash. The singer, like his pal Johnny, never quite fit in with the Nashville sound, although they both found the Nashville speed to their liking. It took a move back home to Texas and a reunion with his old friend and fellow outcast Willie Nelson, for the charismatic Waylon to breathe new life into country music, and finally do things on his own terms.

star 7.72
87 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Mark Monroe
Betty Davis

#13 - Betty Davis

Season 2 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 21, 2018

The mystery and myth behind the Queen of Funk, an artist who should have been a superstar, Betty Davis. A small town southern girl, Betty exploded onto the music scene in the early '70s after launching a career in New York as a fashion model and playing muse to Jazz legend Miles Davis. Her brief marriage to Miles helped electrify the jazz scene and launch her career as a performer. Betty's uninhibited sexuality, raunchy stage presence and suggestive lyrics made her brand of funk unforgettable, but she disappeared from the scene after being boycotted by religious groups, black political leaders and the NAACP.

star 7.66
41 votes
Morris Day and The Time

#14 - Morris Day and The Time

Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Dec 14, 2018

One of the biggest characters in funk history, Morris Day was an aspiring drummer who became the embodiment of "cool." The iconic frontman might have had a different life altogether, if not for his childhood friend, Prince Rogers Nelson. Morris made a Faustian bargain with the future superstar, and the result was Morris Day and the Time. The band skyrocketed to the top with hits like "Jungle Love," but resentment festered and the rivalry between the two singers reached a breaking point. Years later, a reunion show at Prince's Minnesota mansion brought The Time back to the stage, allowing Morris and Prince to make peace before the latter's untimely death.

star 7.56
32 votes
Billy Joe Shaver

#15 - Billy Joe Shaver

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 20, 2017

By all accounts, Billy Joe Shaver should never have made it in country music. A poor Texas kid from a broken family, he lost three fingers in a sawmill accident before ever writing a song. Despite his physical challenge, Shaver landed in Nashville as a singer/songwriter with hard luck songs about real life. A chance meeting with Waylon Jennings in the back of a peanut trailer led to the breakthrough 'Outlaw' album Honky Tonk Heroes, featuring Waylon singing songs written by Billy Joe. A decade later, Shaver made a name for himself after shooting a man at a roadside tavern for allegedly talking to his soon-to-be ex-wife. The gun play led to a celebrity trial and a shocking verdict. And, of course, Billy Joe wrote a song about it.

star 7.55
87 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Mark Monroe, Mike Judge
Blaze Foley

#16 - Blaze Foley

Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 10, 2017

A legend in country music circles, and a complete unknown to most fans, Blaze Foley burned bright on the Austin, Texas music scene before being silenced well before his time. He was an intimidating physical presence with a wry sense of humor and the voice of an angel who battled his demons by writing songs about them. Blaze hated hypocrisy as much as he loved booze and duct tape. He became best friends and brothers in self-destruction with another singer/songwriter, Townes Van Zandt. And he died tragically while trying to defend a friend from harm, but not before writing his greatest song, “If I Could Only Fly.”

star 7.53
58 votes
Directors: Mike Judge
Writers: Mark Monroe, Mike Judge