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Superstar Trace Adkins pulls no punches—about his life, career and the way he sees the world—in his new book, A Personal Stand: Observations and Opinions From a Freethinking Roughneck. The big Louisiana native is on a huge roll these days, with the book, his American Man, Greatest Hits Volume II CD due Dec. 4 and his role in a celebrity edition of NBC's The Apprentice, which returns in January—not to mention yet another hit song and video with "I Got My Game On." Trace recently sat down with CW for his most expansive interview ever for the magazine. Read on to learn more about the life and opinions of this very "freethinking roughneck."
CW: You talked in the book about the time you were shot [by his second then wife]. You said the girls [Trace's two daughters from his first marriage] were upstairs at the time, did they wake up?
TA: Not to my knowledge. I don’t think they woke up. The way it was relayed to me after the fact was the babysitter came over, she was called over, some friend of ours who babysat the kids from time to time, she came over to our house and actually had to wake them up and take them home with her.
CW: How long were you conscious, were you unconscious when they put you in the ambulance?
TA: I don’t recall that. Like I say in the book, the last conscious memory that I had was when I laid down on that tile floor. I seemed to think I have memories after that, but it’s hard for me to say, that they were conscious memories.
CW: Were you conscious enough to know enough that where you were hit, this could be it?
TA: No, I don’t think I really knew. I think I knew I was hit in the chest, but I didn’t know it had gone in under one arm and come out under the other arm. You’re body really does a beautiful thing when you get hurt that bad. It just shuts down. The shock takes over and you don’t feel the pain and it protects you in a way.
CW: I was watching Ken Burns' WWII series on PBS. Everybody was willing to make sacrifices and do without things … sugar, meat, rubber.
TA: I have been too! Isn’t that great? Milk, beef, gas, cars. There was a period of time there for a few years, you couldn’t get a new car. They weren’t making them. People today would go, 'What? What do you mean you aren’t making cars this year?' It would blow people’s minds. We are so spoiled and so soft.
CW: What is it about the song “Out of My Dreams" that made you want to record it on your second album for your younger brother, Scott [who was killed in a car crash in the early ‘90s]? TA: Because at the time, he was still visiting me in my dreams.
CW: Do you ever sing that song these days?
TA: I haven’t sung that song in years, it’s been along time.
CW: Is it a problem when you do?
TA: No, it’s the healing thing. Eventually it’s not so painful anymore and in a way, it’s sad too. I was lamenting the fact one day that it’s hard for me to see him in my mind when I try to visualize him, it’s hard for me.
CW: Do you feel guilty about that?
TA: Yes, sure.
CW: Was Piggly Wiggly the last job where you had to wear a tie?
TA: Just this one. Every now and then you have to wear a tie. Like the “Game On” video is the first time I had a tie on since … I don’t remember when it was.
CW: I know you're not a fan of soccer as an American sport. If you had a son who came home and said he'd joined the soccer team. Would that be about the worst thing he could say to you?
TA: No, if he was playing soccer to stay in shape for playing football, that would be fine. That’s going to induce some ire I know. It’s a European sport and it ought to stay a European sport; that’s how I feel about it. We’ve got better sports, we don’t need soccer.
For more from Trace, check out his cover story in the Dec. 3 issue of Country Weekly.