Gary LeVox Recalls Childhood Heartbreak
Like most people, Rascal Flatts' Gary LeVox has had his share of personal ups and downs. His parents divorced when he was eight years old, and his mother remarried two years later. When he was 18, his mother and stepfather announced they, too, were divorcing.
"I was shattered. I wanted a father," LeVox reveals in an candid interview in the latest issue of Reader's Digest. "My stepdad hasn't been part of my life since then. Sometimes I think about reaching out to him."
Through the difficult times, LeVox did have something to keep him going. Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, he could always count on music, saying it was "all that mattered" to him.
Courtesy of the Valory Music Co.
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"Whether at home or church, music was what we did as a family," he recalls. "Every Saturday night, I stayed with my grandparents. My grandpa played guitar, my cousin [and current Rascal Flatts bandmate Jay DeMarcus] played piano, my grandmother played the spoons, and I sang. I memorized songs like the spiritual hymn 'The Old Rugged Cross' and sang it over and over. My grandmother was Pentecostal, and she'd say, 'Secular music is from the devil,' but she thought country music was OK. I wasn't allowed to listen to the Kinks, but I could listen to Merle Haggard."
LeVox also recounts his experiences working with the Ohio Department of Mental Retardation, a job he held for ten years.
"I was responsible for 85 people at one time, teaching them skills so they could live on their own and get jobs. I became their father, their best friend, and their confidant."
LeVox, who married wife Tara in 1999, admits that one regret he has is that his grandparents passed on before ever getting to hold his children, Brittany, eight, and Brooklyn, five, or to see him perform. When it comes to his kids, LeVox freely admits he's -- in his own words -- a sap.
"It's hard to remember life before my daughters. Some days I'll be singing in the studio and think of them and just start crying. It's like, 'Man up, Gary, come on.'"
The 38-year-old says that when it comes to Rascal Flatts' live concerts, like the title of the trio's upcoming album, their fans are 'Unstoppable.'
"We've had women schedule their C-sections around our tour dates," says LeVox. "If you have great songs, people come out to see you."
Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney will release 'Unstoppable' on April 7, and will kick off the tour of the same name on June 5, stopping -- briefly, as the title suggests -- in more than 60 cities over the next two years.