Joe Nichols, ‘An Old Friend of Mine’ – Exclusive Video Premiere
"Rarely does a song come along that accurately describes the pain and the power of addiction. In a lot of ways, saying goodbye to an addiction is like saying goodbye to an old friend; someone who has been there for you in good times and in bad times. I'm thankful I have something worth living for and fighting for, and I'm thankful for this song." -- Joe Nichols
Joe Nichols didn't have to brush up on his acting skills for the 'An Old Friend of Mine' video shoot. The emotion you see on his face and hear in his voice is very real. Watch the exclusive world premiere of the video below, then read about its personal meaning to the country star who's approaching his one year anniversary of sobriety.
When this song was pitched to you, did you feel like it was written specifically for you?
Definitely. I wish I'd written it! I was fortunate enough to find something that expressed everything I'd been through. The first time I heard it, it stopped me. I knew this song had to be on the album. It's purely done for me. I felt so strongly about it. There have been several songs that have been strong to me personally but that I knew probably wouldn't be a single, but I went into the studio and cut it anyway. This is one of those songs. Hopefully, it will see the light of day.
Was it important for you to keep the video simple, to focus on the emotion and the lyrics?
We thought it would be most effective if it was just me and a camera -- one on one. There's no added extras, no side story, nothing pretty to look at. It's just me telling my story to the camera ... which was awkward! If you watch the video, it's kind of uncomfortable tension. But that's what makes it powerful. Telling your story of addiction is uncomfortable, and that's what we wanted to capture.
You weren't in an awkward position for long, because I heard you shot this entire video in one take!
Well, maybe not one take! We did a couple of takes, for when we didn't see the fly in the room on the first take! [laughs] But it was one continuous shot. It was probably the best video set I've been on in all my life, because it was maybe 45 minutes or an hour long.
There's a scene in the video where you're clearly thinking about your wife, Heather. Was that planned?
That's what makes that director [Rob Dennis] a really smart guy. He did that without being prompted. "There's a story here, that's on this body. If you can look at his body language and these different parts of him that are cringing -- that's what's going to tell the story." He didn't tell me to fidget with my wedding ring. He just said, "Hey, let's see what happens when you sing this song." It just came together.
If people didn't know your story, they might think you're a great actor, because you convey the emotion so well.
Thank you. Heather and I have watched the video together, and we get the same feeling. It's our story -- it's my story and her story, being involved with me. That's why it's hard to watch. We look at it and remember the pain. But it draws us in. It may be an uncomfortable feeling, but it's powerful.
You liken alcohol to a friend who's been there for you in good times and bad. In your own situation, do the bad memories outweigh the good?
[Laughs] That depends on the day! I just think the overall memory of it is negative. It's different for everybody, but for me the negative outweighs the good.
How long have you been sober now?
It's coming up on 11 months.