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Rascal Flatts members Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney invited a group of their industry colleagues to party and dine on Southern fare at Nashville restaurant Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant on Monday (June 11), in celebration their latest Billboard chart-topper, "Banjo," the first single off their album Changed.
"When you first start out you just want to hear yourself on the radio. You never know what the journey of a song's going to be or where it will end up, but for 'Banjo,' we thought it was a great representation of our new album, and to come out with that and for it to end up at No. 1 as quick as it did, it was great," Gary told reporters of the single prior to the event. "A lot of times you might get a No. 1 that no one wants to hear again, but I don't think 'Banjo' is one of those."
"Sometimes No. 1s are No. 2s, is what Gary's trying to say," Joe Don interjected.
For Jay, it was the tune's edgy sound and country lyrics that stood out. "It one of those things, it had the rock element in it, the lyric and everything else was centered around the banjo, so for me it was the perfect of marriage of both worlds, like pushing the edge with contemporary country but being very much at its core a country song," said Jay.
Rascal Flatts' Changed Tour kicks off on Friday (June 15), featuring Edens Edge, Little Big Town and Eli Young Band. "It's the first time all bands in country music have gotten together to do a tour together," says Jay. Though they have already paired with Little Big Town to record the Grand Funk Railroad classic " We're An American Band," which Gary says they will perform with Little Big Town during the encore of their shows during the Changed Tour, these three jokesters had some pretty humorous ideas for some additional onstage collaborations.
"I just think to put all three bands [Little Big Town, Eli Young Band and Edens Edge] together to do a medley of all of our stuff," says Joe Don.
"Perfect!" agrees Jay jokingly. "A tribute to us for all we've done for them. It would be awesome."
"There's a really neat section where Jimi [Westbrook] and Phillip [Sweet] of Little Big Town are going to do a tribute to [1980s British pop group] Wham! in the middle of their set," Jay continues with the antics.
"They don't know it yet, but they are going to do it," Joe Don added.
"'Father Figure,' from George Michael, I think Jimi's going to open with that," continues Jay.
In all seriousness, it's clear the trio respects the musical talents of their opening acts. "They are amazing singers, the harmonies of all three of the bands," says Gary. But just in case, maybe the opening acts should brush up on their '80s pop hits?