Like my grandpa always said, you haven’t made it until another man has thoughtfully perused an assemblage of weapons and pondered your demise. And I know what ol’ grandpa Trigger would say if he were here today: “Who the hell is Eric Church?”
There’s been a few interesting opportunities bestowed to Saving Country Music over the years: Interviews by by The New York Times and the BBC, quotes by CNN and Fox News just to name a few, and then there was that time when I was cited in a Playboy Magazine article about Eric Church …. though it was actually in reference to Luke Bryan having a vagina. It’s a long story.
While I’ve never thought of being quoted in Men’s Journal as being a crowning achievement, the idea by writer Erik Hedegaard to read inflammatory quotes from Saving Country Music to Eric Church and then capture his reaction is a pretty clever one. Of course, Men’s Journal couldn’t have quoted the many positive things I’ve said over the years about the Sunglassed One. It would’ve been no fun to read to Eric Church how he “… deserves tremendous credit for creating an album that is this far off Music Row’s well beaten path, and goes beyond the simple back and forth between love ballads and braggadocios laundry list songs.”
So instead Men’s Journal pulled some snippets from the only “Über Rant” I’ve ever written. It’s fair game though; I wouldn’t have written it if I wasn’t willing to stand behind it, or at the least, take responsibility for it. Eric Church, or at least his marketing peeps, had crossed a line releasing a video that showed somewhat psychotic imagery in reference to Taylor Swift while the ink was still drying on numerous creepy stalking stories involving the young starlet. I don’t have any particular love for how Taylor Swift’s been at the forefront of eroding the integrity of the term “country” with her pop songs. But wrong is wrong, and it seemed like a pretty dim bulb move to release that type of imagery rife for misunderstanding about a young woman, despite whatever the intentions were behind it.
And apparently Eric Church’s peeps agreed, and pulled the video mere hours after my expletive-fueled rant demanded they do so, and then posted an explanation to head any press drama off at the pass. Now that’s an accomplishment this sweet, innocent little independent country music writer can hang his hat on.
In fact if the Eric Church teaser video that was taken down by my demand was so harmless, I encourage them to post it back up and let the people decide. Eric Church Inc. should probably thank me for pulling their bacon out of the fire before the video spurned a media frenzy, which probably should have happened anyway, and was on the very brink of happening before they pulled it. In hindsight, maybe instead of demanding they take it down, I should’ve given them more rope by saying nothing and leaving them a clear path to leave it up. But I digress.
So Erik Hedegaard of Men’s Journal reads Eric Church this quote from the Saving Country Music über rant:
Eric Church isn’t an ‘Outsider'; he’s a fucking conformist. He’s a marketeer . . . who has Svengalied a bunch of disenfranchised country fans into believing he’s offering any type of alternative to pop country, when in truth he is more of a tool of the mainstream pop-country industrial complex than anyone.
“Wow, that’s a rough one,” says Church, hearing this for the first time. He’s in a trailer parked on his property, where he’s building his dream house. Resting on a table in front of him is the Gerber knife, the pistol, and the .25-06 Remington with a sweet Leupold scope. Scratching his neck, he looks seriously irritated for a moment, like he’s about to grab one of those nearby tools of destruction and go after the messenger. Then he seems merely at a loss for words. Finally, he gets his small-town North Carolina twang working again and says, “Have we done it our own way? Yeah. How we are is popular now, but it wasn’t when we first did it, so what am I supposed to do?” He puts his hands on the table. “I mean, it’s a possibility that we’re marketing it now. But we’ve been that person the whole time.”
Grandpa would be proud …. Actually Grandpa told me no such thing. He just told me to mind my mother and slipped me $10 bills when she wasn’t looking.
We’ve known for a while that Eric Church is a reader of Saving Country Music, or at least that he’s read the site before. There was the time back in 2010 or 2011 when Church read an article on the site, misinterpreted it, and wrote the song “Country Music Jesus” (See Eric Church talk about writing “Country Music Jesus”). But he seemed genuinely shocked that even I would go that far this time. Then again, there’s a good chance he never saw that teaser video with Taylor Swift as the (seeming) target, either.
Eric Church goes on in the Men’s Journal article to paint a pretty sinister picture of himself.
I have a pretty good understanding of how I am. I’ve always been pretty laid-back and easygoing, until I’m not. When I get going, you’re never going to stop me. When it gets going, I’ll destroy everything.
Eric explains his nickname on the road is “Chief.”
It’s a real thing. I’m a different guy. I’m a different hang. Some people are intimidated by it and cut me a wide berth. I’ve noticed it.
But if I saw Church walking towards me, in Chief mode or not, I’d stop to shake his hand. After all, it’s just music, and musical opinions aside, he deserves respect just like anyone. Unless he’s doing something that could potentially result in the harm of others. Then I might stand in his way, whether that meant my detriment, or demise. And that’s just the way of things.
Thanks for the ink Men’s Journal.