20 Questions With Rascal Flatts

When Rascal Flatts sings “I’m Movin’ On,” they mean it. Throughout the next few months, the trio — Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney — will hit the road with Toby Keith and, on the CMT Most Wanted Live tour, with Brad Paisley. Their new album, Melt, comes out Oct. 29. In our 20 Questions feature, read what lead singer LeVox has to say about the band’s name, the cologne he wears and the time his leather pants ripped in a most embarrassing spot.

1. What was your first job?

My first job was working at a horse stable. I was a professional horse manure shoveler.

2. What does Rascal Flatts mean? It’s a catchy name and I like it.

Rascal Flatts doesn’t mean anything. Our logo is a dog that’s flat and run over, but we were actually in a club — playing at the Fiddle & Steel Guitar Bar in Nashville — and we were getting ready to sign with Lyric Street and we didn’t have a name. A buddy of ours said that was the name of his band back in the ’60s, so that’s how we got it.

3. Which professional sports teams do you follow?

Pro teams, we follow the Titans. I follow the 49ers. I love the 49ers. I follow the Cleveland Browns.

4. If you had a week off to do anything, what would you do?

I would take my wife and my daughter to some Caribbean vacation spot.

5. Do you like living in Tennessee, compared to Ohio?

I love living in Tennessee, but Ohio is always home to me. My heart is there.

6. I noticed Joe Don and Jay wear a lot of wristbands. Any significance?

Just the “cool” factor.

7. Does Joe Don have a tattoo on his arm? It shows that he gets one in the video for “I’m Movin’ On.”

No. Actually a lady just drew that freehand, with a Sharpie, on his arm.

8. I was at a concert recently and got to hug all you guys. I have to know, what kind of cologne do you wear?

I wear Happy for Men. Joe Don wears Curve. I don’t know if Jay wears anything. I don’t know what he wears.

9. What’s your most embarrassing moment on stage?

I had a pair of these leather pants and I went to jump up on the drum riser, crotch ripped open. Of course, my shirt was long enough, so you couldn’t see anything.

10. Which song do you have the most fun with in concert?

Probably “One Good Love.” The crowd participation, it’s the last song on the set. Jay and Joe Don get to jam out. Everybody’s just rockin’ on through that song. Plus, the message is good.

11. Any good stories to tell about touring with Jo Dee Messina?

Yeah, we got a bunch. I don’t know if there are any I can say on CMT.com. There was one time that we were playing in Ohio, and I kept seeing all these people holding up these white pieces of paper, and I could tell that there was a picture on there. What Jo Dee had done is she had gotten with my mom and Jay’s mom. They had these pictures of us as kids blown up, and she Xeroxed off all these copies of pictures when we were little, and everybody in the audience was holding these pictures of us up, you know, big ol’ crooked teeth and everything else. That was before the braces and all that stuff.

12. What do you guys do on the bus while traveling from place to place?

A lot of PlayStation, a lot of ESPN. I always watch the Outdoor Channel.

13. How do you travel comfortably with 10 people on one bus?

Well, it’s really pretty easy. We’ve got two big staterooms on here. You just find your little place there. You’re either in your bunk, or everybody either sits in the front or in the back. It’s really not too crowded.

14. If you were on Survivor, who would get kicked off first?

Let’s see, who would get kicked off first? Probably Boh, our keyboard player. Do you mean just between us three? Out of the three, it would probably be Jay because he doesn’t have any computer hook-up stuff out there to get him through. (Laughs) You know, he’s always on the computer.

15. I love Gary’s voice, but I know Jay and Joe Don have great voices too. Will they be singing lead vocals on a song for the second album?

No, they’re not. They’re stuck with little ol’ me for the second album too.

16. What advice would you give to the younger generation about being a singer?

I would say, if that’s where your heart is, and that’s what you want to do, you need to move where the music is happening. If you don’t live in Nashville, you need to move if what you want to do is country music. Then again, pop or anything else, R & B or whatever, then you’d have to move to L.A. or New York. You have to be in the environment where the type of music that you want to do is happening, and stay focused on it. You’re going to have rocky roads, but if that’s what the true passion of your heart is, stay determined. Get out there and sing as much as possible.

17. If you could pick an artist to collaborate with, who would it be?

As a whole band we’d like to do something with Aerosmith, but myself personally, I’d like to do something with Brian McKnight, Jamie Foxx, India.Arie, Justin Timberlake or Merle Haggard.

18. What music is in your CD player right now?

Bear in the Big Blue House, a Disney CD, for my daughter.

19. People are always interested in celebrities’ personal lives, and online especially, rumor and innuendo can fly from fans and people who claim to be “in-the-know.” Is that bothersome, and how do you deal with that?

No, it’s not bothersome. I mean, if it’s way out — I think it’s fine for everyone to get on there and talk. If it’s totally not the truth, it’s not bothersome for myself personally, because I don’t have a computer. You’ve got to realize that you’re a celebrity. No, it’s not that bothersome for us. It’s cool that our fans get to meet us and can tell other people if they’ve seen us or met us, all that kind of stuff. Usually we’re pretty good people, so there’s not a whole lot of negativity that goes on there, but everybody’s got an opinion.

20. What’s the most memorable thing a fan has done for you?

I think sharing their stories about how our music has touched their life. “I’m Movin’ On” was such a gift, such a blessing of a song. To be fortunate enough to cut that song and to touch as many people’s lives as that song’s touched. We appreciate our fans more than anything and sharing their stories with us. Before my daughter was born, personally, fans sent gifts and cards. There was one woman that made blankets by hand. Another fan had made an Elmo chair, a wooden Elmo chair — it had to take forever. That kind of stuff, those mementos, we keep all of them. So, that was very sweet. They’re our family on the road.