Brad Paisley on “Accidental Racist,” Five Months Later

Remember in April when Brad Paisley‘s “Accidental Racist” song was all anyone could talk about? Well, it’s back. Because Paisley did a lengthy interview with New York magazine , and he talks and talks about what he learned from recording his controversial duet with LL Cool J. He admits the whole thing was a learning experience for him, and that “no one cared more about getting this right than LL and I.”

If you have some time, read the whole Q&A. And if you don’t, here are a few of the highlights from Paisley’s answers:

“I didn’t know it was possible for an album cut to make the news, let alone to be headline news.”

“This song was meant to generate discussion among the people who listen to my albums. What I was most worried about is that my fan base would think that I was preaching to them. The last thing I ever want to do is be preachy.”

“The majority of my fans said, ‘We know you, we love you — and we don’t understand the controversy, we don’t get why everyone is so mad.’ Which tells you all you need to know, right there. There is a gulf of understanding that I was trying to address.”

“If there’s a key line in the song — and this was really criticized, really taken out of context, in my view — it’s the line, ‘It ain’t like I can walk a mile in someone else’s skin.’ That’s a line about the character’s limitations, as a white man, his inability to truly understand the experience of an African-American.”

“This album was all about me getting out of my southern comfort zone. ‘Accidental Racist’ is the prime example. It’s awkward and it’s messy. And it’s also exciting and fun. That’s the journey I’m on now.”

“I love being an enigma. You don’t know if my next song is going to be about a pickup truck or if it’s going to be a weird gospel song called ‘Those Crazy Christians.’”

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