In the spring of his sophomore year his parents flew to Boulder to bring Townes back to Houston apparently worried about his binge drinking and episodes of depression. In grade school it was recognized that Van Zandt had a genius IQ and his parents began grooming him to become a lawyer or senator. " At various points in his life he was prescribed to take the antidepressant Zoloft and the mood stabilizer lithium.
In 1983 six years after Emmylou Harris had first popularized it Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard covered his song "Pancho and Lefty" scoring a number one hit on the Billboard country music charts. Van Zandt was notorious for his drug addictionsalcoholism and his tendency to tell tall tales. The 2000s saw a resurgence of interest in Van Zandt.