Chase Rice is ready for the road. Of course, coronavirus put everyone’s touring plans on hold, yet this star isn’t letting it stop him from releasing a brand new project, The Album Part II.
During an interview with CMT Hot 20 Countdown, he spoke from his farm about his future plans, his dedication to his band and crew, and his decision to move forward with the new release, a four-song project that arrives just four months after The Album Part I.
“I figured, for me, a different way to put out music. I don’t see a whole lot of people going to buy CDs anymore, throwing ‘em in their truck and listening to the whole album like I used to,” he says. “So instead of fighting it, I was like, hey, what’s the best way to get each song the most respect that it can possibly have? So I put out The Album Part I. I had seven songs on it — and that was honestly too many. I want to put out less music more often and give the songs an actual opportunity to be heard.”
CMT: It sounds like there wasn’t any hesitation to postpone this new music with what’s going on. You felt it was important to just release it, right?
Yeah, absolutely. For me, personally, when they let us play again, if it’s legal and it’s under the guidelines of the government, or the state or the county or however that works — nobody really knows right now — I’m going to go play music. I’m gonna play live and whoever wants to show up can show up.
We’re going to keep it as safe as possible but I’m not going to let something like this scare me out of [playing]. The biggest thing for me is, I’m not going to try to get rich off this thing. I’m not trying to go get famous off of playing shows and releasing music. I’ve got to pay my band! I haven’t fired anybody. And I’m not going to do that. Hopefully, I can afford to not fire anybody down the road, but I can’t afford it for that long because I’ve got an unbelievable band and an unbelievable crew and I’ve got to pay ‘em. So I’m going to go play music.
And along with that, I don’t want to postpone putting out new music because… Why? What’s the point? Let’s put out new music. I’ve got it ready to roll. I’m not gonna let my world stop because of this thing. So I wanted to put out music and show coronavirus, or whatever the hell is going on these days — I wanted to show that I’m not afraid of it. I’m putting out new music and we’re going to go out and play.
You made the choice to continue to pay your band and crew despite what’s going on. Tell me about that decision.
I was presented with a bunch of different options, and my opinion is if I’m the leader and I’m the boss (or whatever you want to call me) of these guys, and we’ve gone out for seven years of pretty hard touring, I benefit from that throughout those seven years. I’ve got a beautiful place here, I’ve got land that I never thought I’d be able to afford. I can’t just get rich all the time and reap the rewards of that, then also once one bad thing happens, just fold.
Those guys have been there for me. They’ve had opportunities to go play for other bands. They’ve had opportunities to do other things and they stuck by my side. And they’ve stuck by my side when I’ve been hard to work with sometimes. I’ve done things that usually guys would leave a band for. But they decided to talk to me about it. And I decided to talk to them about some of the stuff they’ve done. And we’ve become a family throughout all the ups and downs of the last seven years. …
And my biggest thing, too, is I’m not in this thing for the next two or three years. This is a career for me. I mean, you look at Chesney, you look at McGraw. I learned a lot from those guys. The way they treat their people, the way they treat anybody. It’s inspiring for me to see that and see these guys have a 30-year career. That’s what we’re in this for, and we’re going to keep making music as long as possible. I can’t do it without those guys, so I’m here for them.
Speaking of being on the road before coronavirus hit, you were planning on playing some big venues for your career. How do you see touring going forward, if it does, this year?
From what I’ve heard, I don’t think any of the major tours are going to happen this year. I think it’s over until 2021. And that’s out of my hands. We’ve got a weird career because in ‘14, ’15, I toured with Dierks and Kenny, but most of the time outside of those two tours I’ve done my own thing. …
This year was really the first year we bolted out of the smaller 2,000 to 5,000-seat venues into the arenas, with Rascal Flatts, with Lady Antebellum, with another act that I don’t even know that’s going to happen yet. It wasn’t announced so I can’t say it, but that was supposed to be for the fall.
So we finally got out of those places and now it’s looking like we’re gonna have to go back to what we’ve done — when in all reality, we’re built for this. We’re built to go into these smaller 2,000 to 5,000 [capacity venues], 1000, whatever it is… I’ll play to whoever wants to show up. So we’re going to try to put together something for me to go play to as many people as they’ll legally let us play to.
I’m going to go play music. I’m going to try to pay my band, try to pay my guys and most importantly, try to get out there and raise some spirits and give people something to do. Give me something to do. I love touring, I love doing music and playing live, so I’ll still do it if they let us.