20 Questions With the Warren Brothers

The Foul-Mouthed Duo Discuss Songwriting, Sobriety and 'Barely Famous'

Are they TV stars or country stars? Most people would say, "Neither one." Still, they're back for a second season of Barely Famous (which debuts Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CMT), and they just released the album Barely Famous Hits. Outrageous even when the cameras are off, Brett and Brad answer questions from CMT.com readers about their family heritage, their next album and the one thing they won't ever do again. Beware: They cuss a lot.

1. Your show is hilarious and so much fun to watch. Did CMT approach you guys with the idea, or did you approach them?

Brett: We approached them. We started talking about our lives and how funny it was that we got invited to celebrity golf tournaments and nobody knew who we were. We just thought, "S**t like this happens all the time, to a lot of people." We knew big celebrities. We knew we had access to Tim and Faith and Kenny Chesney. We're friends with Dierks Bentley. It was, like, we had access to these people that these fans love. We had this funny scenario, but we didn't know how to put it together, so we came with that. Told them about our life and what we've been through, and we fed off that.

2. Are there some days when you just want to hide from the cameras following you around?

Brad: Yeah. That's probably when you get the best TV -- when you want to hide from the camera, but you can't. That's probably where the best shows come from.

3. What would you say is the most frustrating part of being "barely famous"?

Brett: At the end of the year, looking at how much money you made. How much work you put in and how much money you made.

Brad: Other than money, we love what we do.

Brett: We're not obsessed with money, but we do work really hard.

Brad: We've got a lot of kids.

Brett: Yeah, so we do stress about how much we're going to make.

Brad: We think we should at least be rich if we have to put up with all this bulls**t. (laughs)

4. Do you still get butterflies when you meet "famous" people?

Brett: No. Never have, really.

Brad: Well, the first couple of times, but hey, whatever. When you're hanging around with too many of them too often, I do get sick to my stomach, but never butterflies.

5. I'm just wondering when we'll hear some more pretty piano music from you. I love your rocking stuff, but I also love your slow and pretty stuff, as well.

Brett: We're going do a record soon called Wood. It's going to be acoustic -- just us and our acoustic guitars. We'll get all of our sensitive crap out there.

6. Can you tell us what was the best piece of advice you were ever given -- by anyone, for any reason? The one that caused one of those "a-ha" moments in life?

Brad: A songwriter told us when we first started writing, "Learn how to say 'I love you,' without saying 'I love you.'"

Brett: Our dad told us, "Who you are and who you want to be are two different things." So sometimes you've got to roll with what's working for you.

Brad: So now we're comedians instead of f**king artists.

7. Your TV show seems to portray, as I'm sure it is intended, a more juvenile side to your personalities. Are you afraid the music industry executives might not take your music as seriously as you would like?

Brad: We stopped caring what they thought two years ago. Really.

Brett: We don't really care what they think, but we've had more success on CMT for our videos in the past two years than we ever had, and we've had more success as songwriters.

Brad: Other people thought that. I never thought that, but other people thought that about us, and it has worked the opposite.

Brett: If you write a good song, and let's say Faith Hill wants to cut it, I don't think she cares if you have a reality show where you get a colonic or if you sit around trying to be serious.

8. Are you guys sober now, and if so, what brought that about?

Brad: Three and a-half months.

Brett: Fatigue, abuse, doing stupid s**t.

Brad: You know, it stopped being fun. We actually tried about a year ago to stop, but it didn't take. So I went ahead and went to rehab. It wasn't like we were underneath the bridge or anything like that. ... It's been so fun not being f**ked-up that it must have been a problem because I've been having a ball.

Brett: In this business, there's always, "Let's go have a drink, let's go do this, let's go do that," and, all of a sudden, you're getting drunk and doing drugs five or six nights a week.

Brad: One drink never did s**t for me but make me want another. "Let's go have a beer" is the funniest thing I ever said to somebody. I've never in my life sat down and had a beer. If we did that s**t at lunch, the afternoon was cashed. We're excessive, period. It feels good though. I work out and then smoke a cigarette on my way to the car. I smoke all day.

Brett: But you still don't feel as bad as when you were partying, do you?

Brad: Not nearly. It wears out your mind, body and spirit fast.

9. As songwriters, do you ever write songs with a specific artist in mind?

Brett: We have before, yeah.

Brad: It doesn't always work out well. It doesn't even work out well often, but we have tried to do that, yeah.

10. When did you guys start playing and writing your music?

Brad: We had a hit children's record when I was 3 and Brett was 1 called "Give Me Back My Binky." (laughs) No. We've been doing this a long time, since we were teenagers but our songs just sucked.

11. How did you guys get interested in country music?

Brett: Our dad. Our dad was a huge country music fan. He sang and played.

Brad: We've always loved the singer-songwriters.

Brett: But it was our dad though. It was all he ever listened to.

12. I am a huge fan of the brothers, and I really enjoy some of their lyrics. I am curious where they got the inspiration for the lyrics in "Southern Baptist Heartbreak" -- "press-on nails and a run in her hose."

Brad: Boy, take your pick. We grew up in the Baptist church, so we came by that song completely honestly.

Brett: That song was easy.

Brad: We just wrote the truth.

Brett: If you find a good topic, you can just start saying what you want.

Brad: Especially if you live [like that] for most of your adolescent life. We saw that happen a lot. Our mother hates that song because it hits home to her.

Brett: If you smoked, you were a drug addict. If you did anything wrong, they always came down and said that they had a problem with it.

Brad: Short skirts and nail polish were like sin at one point. I mean, come on.

Brett: They say God looks at your heart, not your thighs.

Brad: Brett looks at your thighs.

Brett: I do, yeah, for sure.

13. I have always enjoyed listening to you over the years talk about how important family is to you, especially your biggest fans -- your mom and dad. I got to wondering how you might complete this sentence: "We come from a long line of ... (fill in the blank)"

Brett: Alcoholics. (laughs) A long line of... entertainers.

Brad: No. We come from a long line of nothin'.

Brett: That sounds bad.

Brad: No. We're like our dad, but we're not like anyone else in our family.

Brett: Our whole family, they're people people. ... I don't know how to say that.

Brad: Charming motherf**kers. (laughs)

Brett: We come from a long line of charming motherf**kers. It sounds like a line out of Pulp Fiction: "Yeah, I come from a long line of charming motherf**kers."

14. Do you guys feel that country radio has turned a deaf ear to you just because your music tends not to peak that high on the charts, and how do you deal with those frustrations?

Brett: I think there is a stigma with us. It's like they're jaded. They are, don't you think? There are people out there who say, "Well, they didn't happen then, and they're not going to happen now."

Brad: You know what, though? The glass is half empty and half full. For one thing, the fact that we didn't get one early hit helped us get a television show. The fact that we didn't hoard every song we wrote -- because we didn't always have a record coming out -- means that we've gotten to write songs for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill and Van Zant. It's all been a blessing and a curse. We're lucky. We were hanging with Harlan Howard one time, and this songwriter was complaining that nobody was cutting his songs. Harlan said, "Nobody sent for you, kid." We're lucky.

Brett: Garth Brooks said it best: "Sometimes I thank God ... for cheeseburgers."

Brad: It's all worked out well. I think it's sometimes how you handle it. I definitely think we've grown as people -- even recently, like in the last year -- because we accept where we are in our career. I don't even think it's a bad thing. It's given us a lot of drive to do other things. We might not have ever gotten into TV, and we love doing TV now. But we probably would have never gotten into it.

15. Is there anything that either of you wouldn't do?

Brad: I know I won't do drugs anymore. (laughs)

Brett: I tell you what we won't do is give up control ever again ... full control ... just let someone else dictate how you are perceived. As long as we are in control of how we are perceived, we can make asses of ourselves. At least we know we did it.

Brad: We don't mind looking bad. We just want to look bad in the light we decided we're going to look bad in.

16. What kind of motorcycles do you guys have? Do you always bring them on the road with you?

Brett: Yes. I have a 2005 V-Rod.

Brad: I have a 2001 Fat Boy. Harley-Davidson, both of them. And, yes, we recently started bringing them on the road, and they go wherever we go. Most people's trailers are full of gear. All of our gear is under the bus, and we have three motorcycles in the trailer.

Brett: We carry an extra one in case a friend comes along.

17. Brad, I know that, besides writing music, you have written some short stories. Are there any plans to publish some of them?

Brad: Yeah, but I'd have to do it under an assumed name because they are kind of offensive. I'm into Charles Bukowski and weird s**t like that. Hunter S. Thompson. You know, maybe.

18. I can't explain it, but I really enjoyed season one of Barely Famous. I am curious: Do the Warren Brothers really recommend colonics?

Brett: No! That feeling when you're in line at Space Mountain and you've got to take a poop and you're running as fast as you can because you've got to s**t so bad -- it feels like that.

19. I watched you guys on Nashville Star and, I'm sorry, you stunk. Not only in your judging, but the way you dressed, talked, sang, acted and, above all, you look dirty and raunchy! Why don't you clean up your act and yourselves a little before you perform? Heck, people might get to like you after a while.

Brett: I've got two words for her: Lynyrd Skynrd.

Brad: Hey, everybody's taste is different. I am so sick of seeing fat guys with a really nice haircut and a clean-shaven face that we call the country music standard now. We are who we are. If you don't like grungy, you're probably right. Listen to somebody else. We're a little grimy, and we like it.

Brett: The person that wrote that question must have been on Nashville Star or must have been that lady we [critiqued] on Dr. Phil.

Brad: I love it, man. If everyone likes you, nobody loves you. And I'm absolutely not at all affected or offended by that.

Brett: It's awesome that they ask you a question as a way to get back at you.

Brad: You got any more of those?

Brett: You ought to start one on the site that says, "The Warren Brothers will only answer negative questions." Or, "They will only answer questions from people who hate them and think they suck."

20. You'll be touring with Brooks & Dunn and Big & Rich this summer. How will you put up with the pranksters (Brooks & Dunn) and the partyers (Big & Rich)?

Brad: There's nobody who can party harder than us.

Brett: We have a lot less to lose than anybody on that tour, so we're very dangerous.

Brad: You don't want to prank us because we don't give a rat's ass.

Brett: They could walk up to us, dump cow s**t on our heads, take my guitar off my neck and break it in the middle of our biggest song, and it really won't bother me that much.

Brad: But when we shave Ronnie's pubic hair in the middle of "Neon Moon," it's going to be a little embarrassing.

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