Rascal Flatts Have ‘Something to Prove’ With New ‘Rewind’ Album
Rascal Flatts aren't comfortable resting over everything they've accomplished to date. During their Off the Record interview with Taste of Country it becomes clear there's still a stone in their shoe that keeps them from getting too comfortable with being listed as an influence to newcomers, not a format leader. That could change after songs from 'Rewind' saturate the marketplace.
We love people that say they’re influenced by us but we’re still in the game to win it not to be one of the old guys left sitting around.
“I felt like even more with this album we had something to prove and a big statement to make,” Jay DeMarcus says early in the above video. “There are a lot of young acts coming up with a lot of heat on them right now. And I think that some times we can get to the spot where we’re like ‘Wait a minute, we’re still in the game and we’re still very competitive.’"
"We love people that say they’re influenced by us but we’re still in the game to win it not to be one of the old guys left sitting around."
Watch one or two of the performance videos from the trio's Off the Record sessions at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville and you'll see the passion is still there. They're still hungry to innovate, not duplicate what they and other bands have done already.
"I’ve always considered ourselves to be pioneers rather than following a trend," DeMarcus says as Rooney and LeVox nod in agreement. "I think you put yourself at a deficit when you start trying to copy things and listen to other people for influence. I think you go in with the intent to create something new that is going to influence people.”
Songs like 'Powerful Stuff' and 'DJ Tonight' do that, they say. 'Rewind' is a song that connects the old with the new:
Beyond that 'Riot' is one song LeVox says he couldn't wait to perform. As he lists his influences it's easy to understand why. The lead singer says his first record was a Def Leppard record. But he wasn't just a rocker.
“My grandfather would pick and play, and of course Elvis was always playing," he tells Taste of Country. "Then kind of went to Merle Haggard to George Strait to Stevie Wonder …” All of those styles come together on this powerful ballad:
All three men enjoyed a wide variety of influences. Rooney remembers Vince Gill's 'Pocket Full of Gold' being his first record (on vinyl) while DeMarcus bought Chicago's 'Sixteen,' on cassette. “I heard ‘Hard to Say I’m Sorry’ on the radio and I had to go right to the store immediately," he says smiling.
His was a musical family. The bassist and LeVox (cousins) remember instruments being a part of many family get-togethers.
“I really didn’t even have a choice. I was surrounded by it," he jokes. "My grandma and grandpa played music, played bluegrass. So I grew up on a steady diet of bluegrass and gospel … rock and roll and country. Everything played in our house.” 'Payback' is a perfect mix of all those genres:
The two cousins were part of a band when their guitarist bailed on a gig one night so they recruited their drummer's roomate to play. LeVox was more than skeptical of this young slinger's repetoire, but when they hit the chorus of the first song that night 15 years ago it was as if God was speaking to them. The song ... Shenendoah's 'The Church on Cumberland Road.' Enjoy a rare acoustic performance of the track as the final Off the Record video.
Rascal Flatts Perform ‘The Church on Cumberland Road’