LESS IS MORE
An ominous sign greets spectators at the Skatepark of Austin: beware of flying boards and people. watch at your own risk!
But Chris Cagle won't be scared off so easily - the Texas native boldly walks past the signs and into the center of the action. That's because for his new video, he's agreed to sing "Chicks Dig It" with six professional skaters and BMX bicycle-racing superstars Kevin Robinson and Kenny Bartram whizzing past him at breakneck speeds.
"There should be hazard pay for this!" quips Chris, moments after getting smacked in the shins with a runaway skateboard. "It's a little crazy and dangerous in there."
Other than walking away in one piece, Chris' goal for the clip - which you can see anytime at capitolnashville.com, by the way - was to bridge the gap between country music and extreme sports.
"There's people that think all musicians are drug addicts and womanizers," Chris says. "And I think there's a lot of country people who think all skateboarders are punks. But a lot of them are great guys."
"Chicks Dig It," the latest hit from the Texas native's self-titled album, is a lighthearted look at the battle of the sexes. "The song itself is really just a tongue-in-cheek poke at male ego," says Chris. "Everything we've ever done in this world, nine times out of 10, is to impress a woman. And 10 times out of 10, it gets us in trouble!"
Nonetheless, it seems to work. "Women think it's romantic that a guy would do something so stupid and make a fool of themselves in front of the world for their love," figures Chris. "They think it's romantic to see a guy completely let go of his ego - doing something completely absurd just to get noticed. I've done it. We all have."
Chris himself has been in the battle-of-the-sexes trenches lately, having recently split from his wife of less than a year. He blames the divorce on the difficulties of combining marriage and career.
"In retrospect, it's simple," he says. "I had someone in my life who chose not to stay in the car when I pulled over to get gas. I got back on the freeway and had a place to go.
"I wish her well. She's a great person, but it didn't work. And it's forced me to grow, to be able to deal with the pain, anger and guilt. It's something really personal that I have to get through on my own. I take it one day at a time. And it's not going to affect my career."
In fact, he's already demonstrated that it won't - as it turns out, his upbeat-sounding CD was made during a very difficult time. "There was tremendous pressure," he recalls. "My marriage was falling apart, and I had three months to write and record an album. It was scary, but I'm grateful to have had it come off the way it did."
Still, Chris realizes the toll his dedication to music has taken on his personal life. "For me, the last two years have been spent learning how to balance those things," he says. "I'm not complaining at all. I've played 400 shows in three years and I still love it, song after song. I really enjoy what I do. Even if there's a price to pay, there's no price greater than not being able to do this.
"But I'll tell you this: I won't ever get married again until I know the person I'm marrying is someone I'd leave the business for. If it got to that point, I'd make sure I'd be willing to put everything down and go fix my marriage. That's the way I want to love and be loved."
Ironically, one of Chris' goals these days is for there to be less of him to love. Fans watching the "Chicks Dig It" video won't just see a new attitude, but a whole new look, too. The clip was shot after six weeks of a new training regimen that had already resulted in some significant weight loss.
"Let's face it, Kenny Chesney made waves with his body," says Chris, who hired Royka's InnerStrength, the same Nashville fitness coaches that helped shape Kenny.
"I was fat," declares Chris.
"I put on 36 pounds in two years. So I got a trainer, and they're teaching me a life pattern that will help me."
Chris describes his new routine: "For starters, no beer. I eat six small meals a day - fistfuls of proteins, carbs and vegetables. And I do tremendous workouts. The regimen turns me into a little crying baby, but it's worth it. This is the best time and money I can spend on my career."
While Chris plans to show off his new physique lounging beachside during his annual holiday jaunt to the Caribbean, he's adamant that the chance to make fancy music videos and take international getaways hasn't gone to his head.
"I don't look at myself as a star at all," he says. "When I can sell out arenas, maybe I'll be a star. I'm an overcomer. That's the way I feel about my life. I've had some obstacles in my way, and found a way to get around, through or over them without hurting anyone.
"I'm just sowing the seeds. And hopefully a couple of years from now the trees will be firmly rooted, and we'll get a harvest once a year. And as long as we leave the towns we play with a positive vibe in our wake, we've been successful.
"I just like to think I work very hard at doing the right thing. It's all anyone can do."