Eric Church Wants Fans to ‘Read the Whole Book’
He may have had his biggest success with a tender love song, but Eric Church warns there is much more to him -- and his fans -- than the sweet sentiment he sang about in his recent Top 10 hit.
"You get a lot of people who hear a single like 'Love Your Love the Most' and they'll come to a show and they'll see people who have been there for hours," he tells Nashville's Tennessean newspaper. "They're tattooed and they are in front of the stage and their beer is above their head and people are on their shoulders. It's at best unsafe ... It's a rowdy group."
The song, while a bit of a departure for the southern rocker, was exactly what he needed to broaden his mostly male fan base. "It changed the audience dramatically," he explains. "The thing I'm most proud of, though, is that we didn't change what we did to get a top ten song."
Covering every topic in his music, from a death-row execution in 'Lightning' to singing about the joys of recreational drug and alcohol use in 'Smoke a Little Smoke,' Eric insists all the pieces fit perfectly. "Anybody can listen to a snapshot and say 'I like that guy' and not delve into who he is. My belief is that they buy that record, they put that record in, and there's not a point to take that record out. And, they become fans of the entire project. In order to make the kind of fans I want to make, true fans, they have to read the whole book, not just one chapter."
Fiercely proud of his loyal fans, dubbed the Church Choir, Eric did learn one valuable lesson about the placement of certain songs during his live show. At one time performing 'Smoke a Little Smoke' during his regular set, the song is now the very last one Eric plays before he walks off stage. "The audience got so riled up and we just couldn't recover. I don't know what it is about that song, except there's a lot of people out there who feel that way and are starved for that kind of music."
His latest single, 'Hell on the Heart,' came from his own personal experience. "It's a true story," he laughs. "I come from a small town, and in a small town the same four or five guys at some point in time will end up with the same four or five guys at some point in time will end up with the same four or five girls. There was one girl, she burned through all of us," he recalls.
Eric Church on AOL Music