"Our fans are amazing," LeVox said. "We're off the road for the next three months, cutting the new record. We actually miss the road a little bit, and we've only been off for two or three weeks. I'm already excited to get ready to go back out in July."
"What Hurts the Most" won for group video of the year at the fan-voted awards, besting the Dixie Chicks, Little Big Town and another Flatts video, "Life Is a Highway." Although they are often dismissed by music critics, LeVox believes the group's true validation comes from their fan base -- especially the 1 million-plus fans who attended their last tour. He says the trio's status as the top-selling group in any genre of music last year speaks for itself.
"We can take constructive criticism, but I think sometimes critics not only bash, but they deface everything of the night that they came out to see one of our shows," LeVox says. "It could have been a record-breaking show that outsold more tickets than anybody ever in the history of the building, and we're just totally drug through the ... you know."
He continues, "Again, that's why we -- and everybody else -- say that we make music for the fans and not the critics. As long as the fans love what we're doing, we'll continue to keep making records. They're the ones who are keeping us here."
Asked why the dramatic video for "What Hurts the Most" clicked with fans, guitarist Joe Don Rooney answered, "I think first and foremost, it's the actors in the video. [Video director] Shaun Silva had a great concept for the video, for a great song. It was actually his idea for the video and something we never even thought of. ... The idea that we broke it up and made it a mini-movie helped the song a little bit and gave you a new, fresh story for what the song is about. So many people get their own idea of what the song is and their own impression. That's really what music is about. But his idea nailed it and brought it home."
Rascal Flatts' new CD is scheduled for release in September. Bassist Jay DeMarcus said that all three members are excited -- and surprised -- about the music they've recorded so far with producer Dann Huff, who also worked with the group on last year's album, Me and My Gang.
"I think we're surprising ourselves," DeMarcus said. "Dann has a really great, uncanny ability to pull things out of us that, at times, we didn't even know were there.
"We're really exploring more of what we're about as a group. ... This time around with Dann, we're much more involved. We're playing a lot more, we're writing a lot more and we're more involved in getting to the heart and soul of what Rascal Flatts is really about. That's why it's so great to have this time off that we've gotten. It gives us more time to focus on the music that means so much to us. We're very, very passionate about being in the studio and creating that music because at the end of the day, we've got to live with it for the rest of our lives."