The Big Interview with Rascal Flatts PREMIERES Tuesday July 28th


Grammy-winning Country sensations Rascal Flatts joins Dan Rather for an all-new episode of THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, July 28, at 8pE. During the informative hour-long discussion, the hit-making trio discusses how they were able to put the band together, their meteoric rise to fame, and the song that changed their lives forever, leading to a highly successful partnership that has lasted over 16 years, and turned them into one of the biggest acts in country music.

Before Rascal Flatts took off, lead singer Gary LeVox spent 10 years as a social worker, specializing in cognitive learning disabilities. On transitioning from that world into the music industry, LeVox says, “Music was always such a big passion… I just didn’t really know how to get started, or where to go… because most people who started playing the little club circuits around Ohio are still playing the little club circuits around Ohio. I had seen [cousin and bass guitarist Jay DeMarcus], and we connected, and I got his number. And I was standing in my mom’s kitchen one night singing, and just all of a sudden it hit me, and I said, ‘Lord, I feel like I’ve done you an injustice, ‘cause I feel like you’ve given me some type of gift to sing, so I’m gonna take a leap of faith.’ And I took a two-week leave of absence and never went back.”

Moving to Nashville to further his own career, Jay DeMarcus recalls begging his cousin LaVox to come and join him, saying, “He had an extraordinary gift, one you don’t often hear… And I knew that if he came and gave it a really good try, the odds were he was gonna be a star. I was really wanting to produce him, and develop him, get him a record deal, and be his producer and writing partner. But, the more that we played together, the more we developed this chemistry. We found out very quickly that because we were related… and we had so many of the same bonds, it was very, very natural, and it moved very quickly. Within six months, we were signed.”

On the potentially intimidating situation of joining a band made up of two cousins, guitarist Joe Don Rooney jokes, “I was actually looking for two cousins to sing with when I moved to Nashville, and boy it worked out! … I met [Jay] first, and we just hit it off. We’ve got the same catalogue of music in our brains and our hearts, we come from the same schools of music. And he had been telling me about his cousin Gary, and there was so much hype that I was like, ‘Alright, I can’t wait to hear this guy sing!’ The first night, I got a call from Jay. Their normal guitar player couldn’t be there… so, he called me and said, ‘I need you’… When I first walked in, Gary’s staring holes through me, like he didn’t like me immediately… I worked my way to the stage and I set up… and Jay’s like, ‘We’re gonna kick off this song called “Church on the Cumberland Road” by Shenandoah’… and [Gary] still hadn’t said ‘hi’ yet… and we kick into that first song, and this guy opens his mouth and starts singing and I was like, ‘Wow… that’s different!’ And it just felt so good that night. We started at 8 o’clock at night, and didn’t finish ‘til 2 a.m… What these guys were doing was exactly what I wanted to do… and it just worked.”

On their sudden breakthrough with the hit “Prayin’ For Daylight,” LaVox says, “’The song was actually on hold for somebody else, and our producers at that time said, ‘Hey, you know what? Let’s just take this song, work with it, and see what we can do.’ It worked out well enough that it got us our record deal and also made its way to be our first single… and that was 23 million records ago.”

Despite the success, DeMarcus confesses the band feared becoming a one-hit wonder, saying, “I think it was more of a fear thing because we knew we had to follow it up. The first one was very, very lucky out of the box to have a song that did that well and broke through for us. And then the next single we put out… was a little bit slower movin’ up… I think it went to number 7. And then we put “While You Love Me” out, our third single, and it was really slow. And so we were at the point where we were really starting to go, ‘We need a hit here, because “Prayin’ For Daylight” was smokin’ and the last two have sort of stumbled along and stuttered a little bit.’ And then “I’m Movin’ On” changed the universe for us forever. And it sold 1.5 million records on its own.”

To see more of this insightful episode, be sure to tune into THE BIG INTERVIEW on Tuesday, July 28 at 8pE, only on AXS TV.

THE BIG INTERVIEW airs every Tuesday at 8pE, only on AXS TV. We’d love to hear your thoughts, too, so share on Facebook and Twitter using #axsTBI.

Dan Rather

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