It’s been more than 10 years since Big & Rich dropped their hit single, “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy),” and the country duo is still going strong.
RadarOnline.com got the chance to catch up with Big Kenny and John Rich — and the two opened up about their new album, Gravity, which dropped on Sept. 23, life on the road and the key to success after all these years as two of country music’s top headlining performers.
Radar: What is your favorite song off of your new album, Gravity?
Kenny: There is a lot of love on this album. There’s something everyone can relate to from just the toughest places that love can get to the most grand places love can get. So I’d say my favorite song is “Gravity” the album because I like extended songs and that gives me all of them. The album, the song, the entire thing… it finishes it all.
Rich: There’s a song on the record called, “Lovin’ Lately.” That song title verbatim came from Tim McGraw. Tim told us, “Hey, I got this idea for a song, ‘Who You Been Loving Lately.’ We started writing on it, and Tim came in and sang on it. One of the highlights on the record is to hear Big & Rich harmonizing with Tim McGraw. He was one of our heroes and the guy that took us out on our first tour 10 years ago.
Radar: How do you feel about your new sound?
Kenny: It feels like all that practice has been working.
Rich: Our sound has been an evolving thing. It’s been a moving target since we started. You can go album to album and hear progressions happening in our sound. That’s part of what being an artist is all about.
Radar: What’s your favorite song of all time that you two have sung together?
Kenny: I love the song, “Live This Life,” off of our first album because I really believe that’s the essence of Big & Rich. What I saw in John was that kind of courageousness to just do his thing, and I think that’s definitely one of the things that has brought us together. What a dynamic slogan to go through life with. I’m just going to live it until it won’t let me live here anymore.
Rich: Playing our single, “Look at You,” and seeing the fans scream the words back. We were in Hartford, Connecticut and we played for a bunch of fans. We’re just on two acoustic guitars and we hit that chorus and the entire place is screaming the words back. You never get over that feeling.
Radar: How does the song “Look At You” personally relate to each of your lives?
Kenny: I had a girlfriend for several years. We broke up and I remember her walking into a bar one night and she never looked that good when I was with her. She knew I was going to be there… just to torture me. I deserved it, by the way.
Rich: It’s just one of the classic love stories of how you break up and what goes on after that. But the song is resonating big time and connecting.
Radar: Who is one artist you still want to work with?
Rich: There’s a song on this record called “Thank God for Pain.” This was a song that I co-wrote and was trying to get for Steven Tyler for a new Aerosmith record a few years ago. I’ve been to 13 Aerosmith concerts and I intend on going to many, many, many more. That’s my favorite rock band of all time and he’s my favorite rock vocalist of all time. So I would love to work with Steven Tyler at some point.
Radar: Do you bring your families on the road with you?
Rich: It’s hard to bring our families on the road right now because we both have two sons each and they’re both real young. Mine are 2 and 4. Kenny’s are 4 and 7. The hardest part about being gone is you miss the hell out of them. But thank God for FaceTime! That helps out a lot.
Kenny: The kids are in school right now and the toughest part is stepping away from them, having to say goodbye. The best part is saying hello every time we get home! It’s awesome.
Radar: What’s the best piece of advice a celebrity has ever given you?
Rich: Jon Bon Jovi — his advice has just always been, “Guys, get along. Be friends. Don’t argue about stuff that doesn’t matter. Make the greatest music you can and have a good time while you’re doing it. Be patient with it.” We want to have a lifetime of music, like Jon Bon Jovi.
Kenny: Back when we first got together in 1998 and we were working so hard to try to make stuff happen in the music business, our manager told me one day, ‘Whoa, whoa man, don’t forget to breath!’”
Radar: Rich, how do you feel about getting fired from Lonestar 10 years ago?
Kenny: I’m happy as hell they fired him!
Rich: Being in Lonestar for all those years, right out of high school, I learned how a band works and I learned how to write songs. Getting fired from that band wasn’t fun when it happened, but that allowed me to go meet Big Kenny and I got to bring my toolbox to the Big & Rich situation. All the stuff I had learned from that band still comes into play now with our music.
Radar: What is the key to success after all these years?
Kenny: Never stop.
Rich: You never stop, but also when it comes to making music, spending your life making music, music is not a hobby. Music is your life. It cannot be a hobby. It can’t just be something you do to get famous or to get rich. If you really want to make great music, there’s a lot of pain, suffering, and a lot of patience involved to do that. Ten years into this, we’ve got one of the greatest fan bases of many acts out there. We appreciate our fans for sticking with us.