In 2010, country trio Rascal Flatts celebrates 10 years in country music, and fans can expect a 10-year anniversary tour in the summer, along with a new album in the fall.
We sat the band's three members down to talk about albums, experiences and everything else that went into a decade of country music-making.
How do you think Rascal Flatts has changed over the past 10 years?
Jay DeMarcus: “When you’ve been together as long as we have and you spend as much time together on the stage as we do, I think we know more what our strengths are and maybe what our weaknesses are. And I think that’s enabled us to pick material through the years that has helped us better express ourselves as artists. The people who have been writing for us over the years have been able to latch on and get a better idea of what we’re about, so the material constantly gets better and better.When you take a Jeffrey Steele or a Neil Thrasher and they write a song and we do it and it becomes a No. 1, the next time around that’s a great template for them to start from so the material keeps evolving. And we have a knack for knowing what will perform well and what we can put our voices and talents to that will succeed for us.”
Do you have any regrets?
Joe Don Rooney: “I don’t think there are regrets. I think we made a lot of good decisions. I think there were times we could have made better decisions, but the decision we made was good enough. I think sometimes that leads you into an even better position to be in. I think that’s all the learning process of being an artist and finding yourself.”
Gary LeVox: “You have to make mistakes to get better and know not to do it again.”
DeMarcus: “We don’t always agree on every decision, but the good thing about us is we are willing to bend when the majority feels one way and maybe one person doesn’t. But that’s part of being a family and of being in a band and part of growing and loving each other through the disagreements. ... I’m not going to sit here and say there aren’t disagreements, but we grow from them.”
Is there anything left that Rascal Flatts still wants to do?
DeMarcus: (joking) “I want to do a polka record. Gary’s really been getting into it a lot lately.”
LeVox: (joking) “I’ve got a dance, too, but my hips are getting sore...We really just feel like we’re just getting started. We have so much left to say and so much left to do.”
DeMarcus: “We’ve talked about doing a gospel record someday. We’d like to do a full-blown Christmas record at some point, and we’d like to stretch some, too. The six records we’ve done have been unmistakably Rascal Flatts, but there’s an itch inside of each one of us that wants to do a hardcore country record that hearkens back to the stuff we grew up on, and that our parents loved, and that we’ve been singing our whole lives. It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary to see a few surprises from us.”
Why didn’t Rascal Flatts play the CMA Awards this year?
DeMarcus: “What’s gone on with the CMAs each year is that we have been asked to play, but last year was the first time we decided not to playin all the times we’ve been invited. The reason was we were under a really big schedule crunch doing the new record, and we couldn’t figure out which song to do. We had several choices, and we just couldn’t land on a choice we were confident was the right one during the awards. We weren’t intending to make a statement to anyone ... like Rascal Flatts is upset because they didn’t get this nomination.”
LeVox: “They will say we need (an uptempo) song or we need a ballad, and it’s always the opposite of what we have out.”
DeMarcus: “We got invited to play and we all collectively decided to sit this one out again to give it a rest. In hind sight, some people think it was because we had bad feelings toward the CMA. It really wasn’t, we just opted out again this year and it’s unfortunate that people drew their own conclusions about why we made decisions. We had a really heavy song on the radio called ‘Why’ that dealt with suicide and felt it wasn’t the appropriate venue to play that song.”
There are lots of opinions on (weekend party song) “Bob That Head.” Talk about why you thought it was good song to record.
LeVox: “We thought it was an arena, stadium show opener. People come to a show to party. They want to have a good time. ‘Bob That Head’ is about a dude who spends every dime he makes to go cruise the circle on the weekends. Everybody I knew in Ohio did that. And they are redneck country people.
“People should get their mind out of the gutter. I’m co-writer on that song. The stuff people were saying about it took me so far by surprise. I was like, ‘Wow.’ I was blown away by the offensiveness of it.”
What can fans expect from Rascal Flatts in 2010?
DeMarcus: “We’re going to have a big brand-new tour in summer of 2010,and it’s going to start the celebration of 10 years of Rascal Flatts.We’re going to have a lot of big surprises and do some old stuff that will throw some people off, and there will be some big surprises, and we’re going to keep doing what we’ve done. Our live shows are what we live for, and they’ve been the most rewarding part of what we’ve been able to do. Our fans are incredible. Each and every night in every city everywhere we go, we throw a huge, huge party. Every show we’ve done since we’ve headlined, I don’t know how, but it feels like it’s getting bigger and bigger and better and better.”
This article was originally posted by The Tennessean