Wild Cherry thumped through the sound system and disco lights twirled overhead Monday (Dec. 4) as Lonestar celebrated its latest career milestone. The band’s Lonely Grill CD has sold 3 million copies, so the band members rounded up family and friends and headed to the Brentwood Skate Center outside Nashville to roller skate and party. Guitarist Michael Britt and drummer Keech Rainwater blame frontman Richie McDonald for the idea.
“We’ve had so much fun with this album, and this whole project, so we thought it was a great way to celebrate,” McDonald explained. “It’s something we did as kids all the way through high school.” View Lonestar interview clip here.
In fact, the band asked the skating rink DJ to play music only from the late ’70s and early ’80s, which made the whole experience a flashback to their teen years. While McDonald was pretty agile on wheels, taking his daughter Mollie for a spin and even doing the hokey pokey, Britt had to be coaxed onto the floor by his new wife, Rene. Rainwater skipped the roller skates altogether and zipped around the rink on a scooter. Although the party had a light-hearted tone, guests were asked to bring donations for Nashville’s Second Harvest Food Bank.
“We try every year to do something for Second Harvest,” Britt said. “We’ve gone around to several businesses in Nashville and collected cans of food and taken them to the warehouse before, so we just saved ourselves some legwork this time.”
Keyboardist Dean Sams was missing from the festivities. He was at the hospital with his wife, Kim, who is expecting their second child in January.
“She’s actually six weeks from when she’s due, but she’s having some complications right now,” explained McDonald. “She’s in the hospital with Dean at her side, so she might be having the baby early.” View Lonestar interview clip here.
Growing families just add to the excitement of what has already been an exhilarating year for Lonestar. As 2000 began, Lonely Grill had already sold a million copies and generated the multi-week country and pop Billboard No. 1 hit “Amazed.” The disc was certified double platinum in February and has since produced two more No. 1 hits in a row — “Smile” and “What About Now.” The project’s latest single, “Tell Her,” sits at No. 11 on the country singles chart. The album’s success clearly has been a breakthrough for the band.
“It’s happened at the right time in our careers, because we needed to make some noise,” McDonald said. “We didn’t have a lot of luck on the last album [1997's Crazy Nights] … I think what amazed us [with Lonely Grill] is we’re finally making music that we feel like is ours and the people, when they hear it on the radio, know right off that it’s Lonestar. That’s something we’re really proud of, that we’ve finally developed a true sound.” View Lonestar interview clip here.
The band spread their newly found “true sound” over to a Christmas album this year, and they’re now in the studio working on the follow-up to Lonely Grill. The New Year will find them on the road with George Strait, which McDonald calls “a milestone.”
“We grew up listening to his music in Texas, and he is the king,” he said. “To be on the same stage with George Strait is actually a dream come true for us. It’s going to be a great year next year.”