“Fast and tight.” That’s how Brantley Gilbert says you have to ride a motorcycle.
I’ve never been on one. Ever. The only time I’ve even been close enough to touch a motorcycle was when Dierks Bentley brought his Harley-Davidson to Chicago for his Miles & Music for Kids charity ride.
But when I talked with Gilbert after his rehearsal at the CMT Music Awards in Nashville, he told me the way he learned to ride — just in case I ever get the courage to hop on.
“We ride fast and tight, right on top of each other. It’s a unit. So when one person turns, we all turn,” Gilbert said. “The pack kind of choreographs itself. We ride right beside each other and never think twice. We’ll even light cigarettes and hand ’em back and forth to each other. That’s how close we stay.”
The “Bottoms Up” singer explained he was hell on dirt bikes as a kid, but it wasn’t until he was older and he saw a motorcycle club riding down the highway that he got hooked.
And his family and friends taught him how to ride in a pack.
“I finally got old enough to get one when I turned 18. I learned that push and pull concept, and if I’d run too close to their line, they put their boot out and push my bike over if they had to,” he said of his entry-level days. “I just learned to trust them, and they learned to trust me. We take care of each other.”
Gilbert also takes care of his band members who have been with him for his nine-year ride to the top of the country charts.
“I love those guys to death. They’re my heart,” he said. “And it’s really, really cool to put in that kind of hard work, day in and day out, and see a No. 1. It means this hard work we’re doing is getting us somewhere.”