Tucker Beathard admits he’s the kind of guy who asks for forgiveness later.
“I don’t like to overthink things too much,” he said during our CMT.com interview. “Most of the time, the dumb decisions are always the best stories — you can always talk yourself out of something. But then you’ll look back and regret not doing it. I think you always regret what you didn’t do more than what you did do.”
Kicking back at the Nashville media firm that oversees his publicity, evidence of his asking forgiveness later is written in permanent ink in the form of six tattoos on his body. One of the first he ever got was a matching Psalm 27:1 tattoo he bought with his brother, C.J. Beathard. On his left forearm, there’s a tattoo of a compass he shares with his kindergarten teacher. Below it are the notes of the first song he ever learned on guitar, Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song.”
If he didn’t have an afternoon stacked with media interviews, Beathard would be with friends performing crazy stunts like the ones he performed in the official “Momma and Jesus” music video. The clip has him raising Cain all over town — a male blow-up doll rides a goat, then Beathard gets shot with paint ball guns while dressed in drag, then he rolls houses with friends and pedals through Nashville’s Lower Broadway in the nude on a pedal tavern.
CMT.com: Is the video something you’d be doing if you weren’t working?
Beathard: Yeah. The video is honestly just an excuse to do what I think is fun doing. We used to do stupid stuff like that all the time growing up and make videos. I wanted it to be like the Jackass crew and stuff like that. So when that idea came up, I just got all my friends together and we were like, “Dude, we get to do this for work.” So it’s just a really good excuse to be able to do what is fun. I’ve always loved doing stuff like that. Everything is either me or my friends doing the full-on stunts.
You seem like the kind of guy that people would judge by the cover. But I feel like there’s a lot more to you than what’s perceived. We’ve barely scratched the surface with “Rock On,” too.
I agree, 100 percent. That’s kind of what got me into songwriting in the first place — just kind of feeling misunderstood, judged and what not. It’s like screaming on the inside, but the only way to let it out is by writing. And that’s tough to kind of be represented by one song. But I’m proud. I’m really thankful for the support of “Rock On.” But, yeah, there’s a lot more to the story.
Who were some of the people in your life who believed in you when there wasn’t necessarily a reason to?
Definitely my football coaches and baseball coach in high school — Brad Myers. He was a huge role model for me and really got me in line. The way he ran his team, he was a great molder of men. So he’s one that specifically stands out and he always supported me. He really taught me a lot about life and helped me mature a lot. He’s one I’m always going to be grateful for.
How do you take care of your mind and soul 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 scenario, situation or a movie you watched. Wherever you get emotion, jot it down. When you look back to write a song, you’d see this idea or this line you had. It can at least trigger that emotion again and you can write about it.
Since your dad Casey co-wrote Eric Church’s “Homeboy” about you, does that affect the way you write about other people?
Naw. Not really. I actually like using names in songs even if I don’t know them. Half the time, I don’t even know if a song is being written about somebody. I don’t even know where a lot of my emotions come from, in general. I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and thought of a girl and wrote that song about her. I wrote songs about my dad when I was grounded in school because I was mad. But …
Was he a strict disciplinarian?
I didn’t plead my case well with him. I don’t think I can really argue much in my defense on me being grounded in school. But there’s a lot of stuff that I did that they were surprisingly pretty calm about.
As your career continues to grow, what about you do you hope never changes?
I definitely don’t ever want to feel like I’m too good or too big for anything. I don’t want people I actually care about — like family or close friends — say, “You’ve changed a lot. It’s getting to you.” I just always want to write songs that mean something to me. Hopefully, other people can relate to them. I just always keep in mind I’m very blessed to be able to do what I love every day. I don’t take it for granted, which is easy to do.
What is the No. 1 lesson Nashville music has taught you so far?
If you are an artist that’s passionate about who you are, don’t question your true gut just because some big business person says something. They’re not as smart as you think. It’s not that they’re always wrong. But nobody is going to know you better as an artist or what’s best for you than yourself at the end of the day.
Tucker Beathard starts Brantley Gilbert’s The Devil Don’t Sleep Tour Thursday (Feb. 2) in Reading, Pennsylvania. His full length debut is in the works with producer Angelo Petraglia.