Backstage at the Flame Worthy Awards, Part Two

Reba McEntire, Minnie Driver, Alison Krauss Give Reporters the Scoop

A room full of music reporters pretty much missed the entire telecast of the CMT 2004 Flame Worthy Video Music Awards, due to a long list of celebrities coming back to chat. But with goofy conversations with country’s elite, nobody minded. Here’s some of what the famous folks had to say:

Reba McEntire, on winning the Johnny Cash Video Visionary Award: Number one, it’s great because it’s got Johnny Cash’s name on it. Johnny Cash is a wonderful man. I loved him to pieces. When I needed him, he was there. He took me on tour with him to Switzerland a long time ago. He was a very giving, giving man, and I sure do miss him. So now that they’ve named it [after him], it’s doubled and tripled what it means to me. Dolly was introducing the Visionary award by saying that people who stepped out and take chances and do different things. If they call me that, yeah, I have to agree with them. We [kept] taking a lot of chances and stuck our neck out, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

McEntire, on her videos: You know, somebody asked me a while ago how many videos I’ve done, and I don’t know the answer. [A reporter yells “30!”] Thirty?! Thirty?! How long have I been in the business? … Thirty. Gol-ly. Boy. I really liked the last two I did because I took a little break, and I really got into the last two. I think “Fancy” is the one that really holds up. “And Still” — shooting that one four hours outside of Guatemala City. That was an experience in itself. … “Cathy’s Clown” was great. All the ones with Vince Gill were great. I got to hang out with Vince. They were all special to me.

Dierks Bentley, on filming a live music video: Last night I played down in Starkville, Miss., to about 800 college kids lined up against the stage. We do a lot of gigs like that, and those are the crowds I like playing for the most. I’d love to get some of that footage, more than big concert arena footage. I love playing small bars and clubs. A lot of college kids with hats on backwards and girls wearing cowboy hats. … We’re definitely going to do a performance video sometime.

Minnie Driver, about her roots: I actually went to school in a weird, progressive school in the country, so I was away with the horses and the sheep. I’m dead serious: I can milk a cow. I’d be really good on Survivor, actually.

Minnie Driver, on meeting country stars: I wanted to meet Dolly Parton so badly, and I was waiting outside to come in here, and I missed the whole thing. I’m really bummed. She’s amazing. But I did meet Kenny Chesney. He’s really nice. And I really liked Dierks Bentley, as well, and his dog. I said “Hi” to his dog. Alison Krauss … we hadn’t met before. She is really crazy. When she comes in here, make her do an English accent. She won’t, but make her. Lock the door, and don’t let her leave until she does it. She tortured me with it before we went on stage and I was laughing and freaking out. She’s an evil lady!

Alison Krauss, on her Flame Worthy highlight: Definitely sharing the stage with [guitarist] Tony Rice. He’s an all-time hero. My favorite records ever made are some of Tony’s records. If I don’t know where my Tony Rice records are, I buy a new set. If I don’t know where they are right now, I go buy a new set.

Krauss, on finishing her new album: “We’re working on a new band record now, but I’m just telling you guys, it’s never going to get done. We’d like to finish it some day. It just doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. It just takes too long, and the stakes are too high. I just don’t want to suck.

Krauss, on dressing up: Some of my people are the ladies who cover up my natural beauty. … You know, it’s fun to be a “ho.”

Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus on video shoots: The thing I like about videos the most is being able to meet your wife there.

Rascal Flatts’ Gary LeVox, on the nomination for Joe Don’s butt: See, we actually had something planned. If Joe Don was to win the cameo thing, Jay had a huge can of spray paint underneath there, and it was actual paint. So, we were going to get up there, turn Joe Don around. … Jay was going to hit the big circle around it and give it an “X” and I was going to say, “Ladies and gentleman, Joe Don’s ass has left the building.”

Flame Worthy video director of the year Michael Salomon, on his success with Toby Keith’s videos: I guess nobody knows rednecks like a Jew from the city.

Blake Shelton, joking about being a presenter at the Flame Worthy Awards: I’m a little bit bitter. I gotta be honest with you. I think being asked to present a Flame Worthy award this year is kind of an extension of an organization feeling sorry for somebody who’s lost every major award that can be imagined. And it hurts. This year, in order to actually get my hands on a Flame Worthy, they allowed me to present. So, I got to feel what they’re made out of, and it’s plastic. They’re crap. So, I feel better about it.

Shelton, on Toby Keith’s dry sense of humor: He said “Blake, did you ever wonder why I asked you to do this tour with me?” And I said, “Well, yeah, I have. This is like the biggest thing that’s ever happened for me in my life. I have wondered.” And he goes, “Well, I wanted to prove to people that I don’t really need an opening act.”

Keith, on Shelton’s sense of humor: Blake’s such a good guy. Nobody poor-mouths himself worse than Blake. … After I lost for about the 32nd time at the CMAs, and I was 0-for-8 at one awards show, and I walked out of there with my ass kicked real good, he said, “Man, I hope if I’m ever nominated, it’s up against you. I’m sure to win.”

Keith, on the Flame Worthy Awards: This awards show is very important to me because I never do anything at our other industry awards. … I have a real tough time winning at the two industry awards but they’re not fan-voted awards, so that’s why this is very important to me, and why I always sit front and center and be a part of it.

Craig Shelburne has been writing for since 2002. He is also a producer for CMT Edge, Concrete Country and Live @ CMT.