Country outlaw Eric Church is gearing up to release his fourth studio album The Outsiderson Tuesday, and the singer/songwriter granted CBS News a rare interview which aired on Sunday morning.
Reporter Mark Strassmann caught with Church on the road, including his hometown of Granite Falls, NC, where country music’s latest bad boy discussed a variety of topics, including his now infamous firing from the Rascal Flatts tour in 2006, a topic that has resurfaced recently after Church released a video with Taylor Swift performing in the background and the words, “One will rise and one will fall.” Fans immediately assumed this was a dig at Swift who replaced Church on the Flatts tour. She then thanked him during her acceptance speech for the Pinnacle Award at the 2013 CMAs.
“We were on the Rascal Flatts tour,” he states. “Honestly, it wasn’t a great fit and I’m not a guy that follows rules great, and when some rules were put out there, I broke ’em. I probably played too long. Played louder than I was supposed to. I went to places on the stage I wasn’t supposed to go.”
When asked how soon after his performance he knew he was in trouble, Church responded, “About immediately! I kinda new during, but I thought ‘If you’re gonna go down…'” (laughs).
Rascal Flatts told their side of the story in a recent interview saying their first performance at Madison Square Garden in New York City was the final straw, “We asked him four times to stay to the allotted amount of time that he had to play. We sat him down in our dressing room and were like, ‘Look. We’ll put you on early so you can play longer. But please, just be off the stage because we still have to do our show.'”
The trio gave Church an extra 12 minutes that night, but the outlaw started his set ten minutes late and played 20 minutes longer which costs the Flatts a lot of money. “For every minute that you go overtime, especially in New York City, you’re charged thousands of dollars by the minute in labor fees,” the group recalled.
The firing gave Church a bad reputation and prevented him from being hired for other country tours, so he took his own approach. He began playing backwater rock clubs across America which allowed him to double down on his image and catapulted his career even more due to the marijuana anthem, “Smoke A Little Smoke,” which his label was leery about releasing.
“Once that song came out,” Church recalls, “sales went crazy. We sold more albums on that song than we had ever.”
Church’s biggest album, 2011’s Chief, has earned him Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association Awards including Album of the Year.
Church wrote 121 songs for The Outsiders but whittled it down to 12 for the album’s release. The title track was released in October 2013 and blends country with metal, but failed to garner the same success as many of his previous singles, due mostly in part to the lack of radio interest. The single was followed by “Give Me Back My Hometown” in January 2013. The Outsiders is in stores on Tuesday and can be ordered through Amazon on CD and digital download.
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.