OFFSTAGE: Toby Keith Unimpressed With His Forbes Status

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Who cares? That’s what Toby Keith told me on Saturday (Sept. 24). He was in Chicago, and we had a chance to talk, so I asked him about how it felt to be Forbes’ most recent highest-earning country star. “I don’t know who cares. I don’t know how they compile all of their numbers and things,” he said, sounding a little unimpressed with himself and the $50 million he reportedly made from May 2010 to May 2011. I explained, as best I could, that people might care because that’s almost too much money to even imagine. And that people want to see how it compares to what they make. And that people fantasize about what they’d do if they earned that much money in a single year. Keith still didn’t get why his income was so interesting. “I mean, it’s nice to be at the top and around it all the time,” he said. “We work hard enough that we’ve earned that position, but I don’t understand why people care. I guess they do. I don’t know. It’s just goofy. I guess it sells magazines.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.