Jason Aldean Takes His ‘Kinda Party’ on the Road
Jason Aldean has a lot to smile about these days. His fourth studio album, 'My Kinda Party,' has been certified platinum, signifying sales of a million copies. His current single, 'Don't You Wanna Stay,' a duet with Kelly Clarkson, is screaming up the charts and he was recently named Billboard's No. 1 Male Country Artist for 2010 and the Top Independent Artist.
Beginning Friday (Jan. 21), the country star hit the road on his 2011 "My Kinda Party Tour," which kicked off in Little Rock, Ark. The 30-city trek continues through May and will feature opening acts Eric Church and the JaneDear Girls.
"When you first go out and start touring, it's not like you can go out and carry all the things that you would like to have out there," Jason tells The Boot during a break in rehearsals Monday afternoon. "That takes time. For us, this is the first year to go out and really be able to carry full video and be able to make it visually look cool and do things we've never been able to do before."
Though fans have been raving about Jason's live shows, he says he wanted to take things up a few notches on the new tour, and as a headliner, he's reached a level of success where he can create the kind of experience he wants to give his fans.
"It wasn't that long ago, it was all of us and our amps stretched across the stage and a couple of lights and that was about it," he says with a smile. "Now we're getting to go out and make it look huge, which is what you want when people come to see your show. This is the first year we've really been able to go out and make it look the way we want it to."
The Georgia native has come a long way since the days his parents would drive him to gigs because he didn't have a license. "When I was a kid about 14 or 15 years old, I had a little gig at one of the bars in Georgia and I couldn't really drive so [my mother] would drive and let me play a couple songs and get home about two in the morning and [she'd] have to be at work at 8 o'clock. She did that for a long time," Jason says recalling how his mom supported his musical endeavors. "Both my parents have seen this go from nothing to what it is now. It's pretty amazing. Even now, my mom comes out to a show--and even five or six years later, after she's watched it all--she still freaks out every time she comes out to a show. It's cool to see that reaction on her face."
Though proud to be a country artist, Jason admits he wants his show to have some rock edge. On the new tour, he plans to serve up a cover of Bon Jovi's classic 'Wanted Dead or Alive.' He's also setting the stage with a rock look. "We always wanted our set to have a rock 'n roll vibe to it," he says. "It looks like a Metallica show, which is cool. That's what we want." Jason was integrally involved in the look of the stage. "We went in and designed this whole set up originally last year, and the lighting and stuff is what's mainly different this year. We changed it up a little bit."
The set was also designed as a playground for him and his band. "I wanted something that had ramps I could run up on and give me places to go other than just down in the front and give the guys [room to move]," he revals. "I call it our playground. You want a little bit of a playground to run around on. When it comes to that stuff, I'm pretty involved. I want to make sure that it not only looks cool, but that's it's something we're gonna use."
Jason is excited about the tour and thrilled to be hitting the road with another platinum album under his belt. 'My Kinda Party' was released in November and has already sold more than a million units. The project is his fourth studio album and his third to be certified platinum. The Georgia native sold nearly 5 million total albums since his debut five years ago.
"The way the state of the music business is it's kind of unpredictable," Jason states. "Nobody can figure it out. Somebody will come out and sell 2 million copies of a record and the next one will come out and sell 200,000. So for us to be able to consistently go out there and hit that platinum mark is the thing that I feel like is really the coolest. In this day and age, with the economy the way it is, that's a good feeling."