Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus Came to Play
When Rascal Flatts went into the studio to make their self-titled debut album in 2000, they recorded it with Nashville session players. But they had a goal in mind for next time -- they were determined to play as a band on their own records.
"That was our argument," bassist Jay DeMarcus tells Bass Player magazine. "That's what Joe Don Rooney and I do. He plays guitar and I play bass -- and there's no reason to call it a band if you're not gonna have the guys in the band playing on the records."
When it came time for the trio to go back in the studio a couple of years later to record their second album, 'Melt,' which they also co-produced, the band stood their musical ground in the session-cat-dominated Nashville scene. Jay remembers a defining moment in the studio, for himself as a bassist, and also for Rascal Flatts, as a band.
"We were new artists, and the producers didn't know us very well, so I kind of see their point of view," he reflects. "They didn't know what they'd be getting, and they didn't want to put some untested guy in the studio playing with a bunch of session guys, and potentially putting them in a place where they were wasting a bunch of money if I couldn't deliver."
But Jay was so confident in his musical prowess as a bassist, that he made their producers an offer they couldn't refuse.
"We sat down and I said, Look, it's my record, I want a shot... and if it sucks, I'll spend money out of my own pocket to replace it."
That offer was followed by what would be the turning point for Rascal Flatts as a band in the studio for every album that would follow.
"We did the first track on that second record, and the producers were sitting there," Jay recalls. "The drummer, Lonnie Wilson, came into the control room, and we listened back to the first take, and he started laughing. He was like, 'Man, that's awesome! There's no reason why you shouldn't be playing on all kinds of records.' And our producer at the time, Mark Bright, turned around and started chuckling, 'All right, all right, I was wrong, I was wrong. I'm sorry. And after that, it was all good. That's how we started playing on our records."
Every Rascal Flatts album since that time has been certified multi-platinum. And 'Unstoppable,' their latest, is the group's fourth consecutive disc to debut at No. 1.