Rising artist Tucker Beathard and his band have a motto for the road: “This is what we quit school for.”
After high school, the self-taught musician was offered a baseball scholarship from Middle Tennessee State University, but he turned it down to pursue music full time.
“School just wasn’t my thing,” Beathard admitted while chewing the fat and some Bubblicious gum during our CMT.com. “They’ve got a great music program, though.”
With his debut single “Rock On” inside the Top 10 and climbing, it looks like taking the risk of not going to college has paid off for the former high school athlete. He has spent the summer on tour with Dierks Bentley, Randy Houser and Cam, and his inaugural headlining trek — the Rock On College Tour — starts Oct. 13 in Champaign, Illinois with Aubrie Sellers. Starting Dec. 3, he will be across the pond for the second time this year for three shows in Dublin, London and Glasgow.
Additionally, the lyrics on his first six-song EP Fight Like Hell, out Oct. 7, show that the recording artist is a deep thinker, and the rhythmic finger pickin’ throughout the music sticks in the brain upon first listen. He co-wrote all of the songs and played both drums and lead guitar on the collection. Four of the tracks were co-written with his hit-making father, Casey Beathard, who is among the songwriters behind Kenny Chesney’s “Don’t Blink,” “The Boys of Fall” and Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song.”
While getting to know the younger Beathard on a rare day back home in Nashville, he revealed his first few years touring the country in a 15-passenger van was quite the education.
“We’ve got a shotgun seat [at life] at 3 a.m.,” he said, “trying to keep the bass player awake while he’s driving and just soaking up the big Montana sky. It’s one of the coolest things.”
CMT.com: What has been your favorite summer memory on tour with Dierks Bentley?
Beathard: It’s always fun because he always brings out people at the end of the show for his closing song “Drunk on a Plane.” Anyone who is backstage is free to run out onstage. It’s always cool.
Recently in Virginia, we got to play paint ball against Navy SEALs. I don’t get starstruck, but SEALs are the exception for me. They are the world’s most bad-ass people. If they heard me saying this they’d be like, “Dude, shut up.” They are the most normal and humble guys.
Did you get creamed?
We actually held our own. It was the Somewhere on a Beach crew against all the SEALs. I think we might have even won all the games we played. One of the SEALs broke his leg. We were in the middle of playing and then we heard somebody screaming. The refs were like, “Everybody stop!” I thought, “What the heck could have possibly happened that’s making one of them scream like that?” He snapped his ankle pretty good. But that same night, he came and rocked out at the show.
Playing 200 dates a year, I’m sure you have no downtime. But what do you like to do? Laundry and Netflix?
Laundry. Definitely. I like playing sports and hanging out with friends.
What guitarists do you love and who do you hope fans will discover listening to your music?
I’ve always loved ‘70s rock, I mean, not just ‘70s rock. But ‘70s rock was so riff-driven like Joe Walsh’s guitar riff on “Life’s Been Good.” That’s such a cool lick. Then I like Kings of Leon a lot. I think their guitar parts are so cool because they’re really simple, but they’re melodic and it’s good.
How do you take care of your mind as a creative person? What feeds you?
Really anything. I don’t necessarily know where my song ideas they come from, but I like reading quotes and poems and stuff like that. You’re just always trying to keep your radar on for something that happens, or a feeling that you felt from a situation. Where ever you get emotion from, jot it down. When you look back for a song, you’d see this idea or this line you had, and it can at least trigger that emotion again and you can write about it.
Learn more about Beathard as he takes questions directly from fans in his first Facebook Live chat for CMT.