Rascal Flatts Celebrate a Dynamite Decade
Rascal Flatts are celebrating an impressive milestone: their 10th anniversary as one of country's hottest bands. Guitarist Joe Don Rooney recently reflected on their humble beginnings, and the trio's goals for the future.
"We started at the Fiddle & Steel Guitar Bar in Printer's Alley in Nashville," Joe Don tells Country Weekly, "and some other clubs on Broadway, back in January 1999. That's where I met Jay [Demarcus]. He introduced me to Gary [LeVox] and we started singing together. Ten years have gone by fast, in the blink of an eye."
They flew by partly because the band was so busy, at least for the first half of their career. "We burned up the road for a lot of years, says Joe Don. "The first six years, we were doing 150 dates a year. That's a lot of living out of a suitcase. But we always felt like there was a purpose and a direction. We tried to go with that, to go with the gut, go with the heart and cut the best songs we could find-whether somebody else in town wrote it or we got lucky enough to write a good one."
Their hard work paid off. With five No. 1 albums, more than 20 Top 10 songs, and over 30 major awards already won, the guys can finally see the results of all their hard work. "We have a lot more control over our schedule now that we're headliners. We don't have to do as many shows in a year, which frees us up to spend more time with our families. We can have a little downtime, recharge the batteries and be fresh and ready to go at it. And anytime we go somewhere and do something we have a lot more energy, a little more oomph behind us because we've got some hits in the bag now."
Still, with all their success, they admit they want even more. "I think [the future] is what we want to make of it," Joe Don says. "If we want to dig in deeper and work harder, I think we can do some even bigger things. It's all up to us, and it always has been-it's just taken us until now to realize that, I think. We have goals set for ourselves. We want to win a Grammy, we want to sell out football stadiums, there are plenty of big things to shoot for. The ultimate goal is to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame and maybe be members of the Grand Ole Opry someday. That would be our long-term goals, for sure."
The group made history earlier this year when they became the first country act to sell out Madison Square Garden three years in a row. They're once again nominated for Vocal Group of the Year at the upcoming CMA Awards on Nov. 11.