Charlie Robison Discusses Gary Overton Rant: ‘This Wasn’t Personal’
After Overton made a comment to Nashville's Tennessean that "If you’re not on country radio, you don’t exist," Robison didn't hold back his feelings in a Facebook post, blasting Overton and other music industry executives who "sit behind your big desk and act like me and all the the Texas/Red Dirt artists don't exist." And now that few weeks have passed, he still isn't backing down from his statements.
"I [do] not know [Overton]," Robison tells Saving Country Music. "This wasn’t personal in any way. I wouldn’t recognize him if I saw him on the street. He could have very easily been the head of Warner Bros. or whatever. It would have been the same reaction."
Robison also insists that his passionate, sometimes harsh, words weren't the result of too much alcohol.
"On a scale from 1 to 10, I was probably about a 3," he says about his level of inebriation while writing the Facebook post.
The Texan -- who in the past, in addition to his time with Sony, also spent time on Warner Bros. -- says that he's gotten to see both the good and the bad side of working with a major record label.
"As an independent country artist, my experience is probably way better than most," he notes. "But I still got to see on a daily basis how a major label works and how those people were just clueless. A lot of guys that I worked with were great and really in my corner. But there were a lot of them, especially the higher-ups when I was with Warner Bros., that just treated me like a second-class citizen because I wasn’t trying to fit their mold."
Robison has instead found success, on his own terms, in the Texas music scene, where he continues to tour, make music and enjoy radio airplay, which is why he finds Overton's comments particularly disturbing.
"When I was in Nashville, I had four different songs on the charts," he notes. "And I think one of my singles went to No. 12 or something. And then one year, one of my songs was on the charts longer than any other single for that year. So I’ve been on the radio. It wasn’t coming from this disgruntled place of 'I’ve never been on the radio, so I’m going to be all pissed off.' It wasn’t anything like that at all. It was, 'You have a lot of gall to say that, buddy.'"
Overton has since announced his resignation, though it is unclear how big a role the backlash from his comments played in that decision.
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