August 1, 2006--Think you know everything there is to know about Trace Adkins? Think again! Even if you're a longtime fan of this commanding entertainer, you're sure to learn something new about him in this revealing, exclusive GACTV.com interview. We asked YOU, the fans, to submit questions for our chat with Trace--and boy, did you ever! Thanks for the hundreds of e-mails!
Question 1: I've seen you many times in concert and have heard you say that you feed off your audience--so I was just wondering how you motivate yourself to do the singing and dancing parts in videos. For instance, in the video for "Swing" you are on the field singing, just you and the camera, no audience. How do you make it look so real?
Debbie Hill, Bradford, TN
Trace Adkins: You just pretend. Music videos are just artists trying to act, trying to pretend like there's an audience. You put yourself in that mindset and just do it. I hate it. It's not hard, it's just embarrassing at that point. It's uncomfortable because it seems very self-serving. You're not doing it for the entertainment of others--at least not immediately. Down the road, hopefully people will be entertained by it, but at that moment you feel self-conscious doing it.
Question 2: How long has it been since you had short hair--and would you ever cut it again?
Chris Myers, Oregon, MO
Trace Adkins: I'm not gonna say I won't cut it. Someday if I get a notion to...I don't know what would be the reason for me to cut it. I'm not planning on it right now. I haven't really cut any length off it since '91.
Question 3: If you could pick the perfect husbands for your girls, what type of man would he be--an executive, country boy, blue collar man?
(Jacki McMahand, San Diego, CA)
Trace Adkins: Well, I would hope that it would be somebody with a good heart and a good education. I wouldn't really put any other prejudices on them other than that. Just a good head and a good heart. I don't care where they're from.
[GACTV.com asks, "What if they were musicians?"] It depends on the guy, I guess. Some musicians are responsible people--but most of us aren't.
Question 4: Your live stage persona reflects a barely tamed rebel, yet you almost seem shy offstage. And then theres the charitable family man we all hear about. Who is the real Trace Adkins?
(Kathleen Gould, Tustin, CA)
Trace Adkins:Well, they're all the real me. Nothing is fake or put-on. Different situations call for different approaches. But they're all me. There's nothing fake about it. I think I'm more outgoing when I'm onstage because that's what is called for--at least I feel like it is. I try to be a little more energetic when I'm onstage. I'm not normally that way. I'm a pretty laid-back guy. But when I'm onstage, I kick it into another gear.
Question 5: You tour all over the country doing shows. The people you have to interact with are business people, fans, employees at the venues. How do you mentally switch gears when you get home to your family to be a father and a husband?
(Lynn Reid, Sarasota, FL)
Trace Adkins: Well, usually it does take me a day to decompress. I get home and that first day, I'm pretty worthless. I'm happy to see them, but I don't feel like going anywhere or doing anything. I take a day to just "veg" and do nothing. I wish it wasn't that way, but that's just how I feel when I get home.
[GACTV.com asks, "When you're on the road, you have people doing things for you. Is it hard to go home and have to do things for youself?"] You know, I think you can ask anybody that's ever worked for me--I'm probably one of the most low maintenance artists out there. I don't make demands. There aren't many things I need. I don't need extravagant things; I don't need the 'star treatment.' I don't require any of that. So it's not really that big of a deal when I get home. I don't expect things to be done for me.
Question 6: Youve said you admire Ronnie Milsap for his musical diversity. In what ways would you like to follow that example?
(Carla Liller, Mechanicsville, Maryland)
Trace Adkins: Well I try to. I think I record all different styles of music on my records. I'll just shamelessly admit that that's a direct influence from Ronnie Milsap. To me, he's a very brave artist, in so many different ways. He's had to overcome his blindness all his life--he's just a role model for me.
Question 7: Trace, being a father of five daughters is a huge job and takes lots of wisdom. What wisdom do you give your daughters that they will take through their whole lives?
(Fay Moore, Beavercreek, OH)
Trace Adkins: Wisdom--I don't really know about that. I don't so much try to lead by example. All the mistakes and foolish things and stupid decisions that I've made in my life, I just try to explain to them, 'I've already one that, and I don't think you should do that.' I try to guide them from experience--and if that's wisdom, so be it. But I don't really look at it that way. I try to guide them using my life lessons.
[GACTV.com asks, "Your daughters span quite an age range. Are there some things that, because of their age, they'll go to Rhonda to discuss?"] Yeah. As long as they go to somebody. I would like for them to feel comfortable coming to me to talk about anything they want to. But there's some things with girls that I'd just as soon they go to somebody else. You know, most of those 'girl things.' (laughs)
Question 8: You've struggled and worked hard to accomplish what you have to date in your career. How do you feel about these reality shows that hand over a recording contract at the end of approximately 12 weeks?
(Debbie Jo Land, Brownsburg, IN)
Trace Adkins: I'm not gonna slight anybody. That's an arduous process to go through. If you've come to the end of one of those things, you deserve to be there. You've got talent. If you didn't, you wouldn't be there. All they're gonna give you is a shot. They can make you a "fruit fly" star. What does a fruit fly live--two or three days? Then once you get out on the road, if you can't deliver consistently and make the right choices, and treat people the right way, you'll just fade away.
Question 9: It is well known that you love to play golf. If there was ANY golf course in the world you could play on which one would it be AND which golf pro would be giving you the FREE lesson?
(Robin West, Bloomington, IL)
Trace Adkins: (laughs) If I was going to get a lesson from anybody, it would be from Tiger Woods. That would be pretty cool. As far as the golf course, shoot, I've had the opportunity to play some of the finest courses in the world. So I guess I'd just play that one hole there in the de-militarized zone between North and South Korea.
Question 10: Many artists have had trouble with their vocal chords, some even resulting in surgery. With all the dates on your tour schedule, how do manage to keep your voice in such good condition?
(Deb Skrtich, Brook Park, OH)
Trace Adkins: You know, I think it just comes from all those years of doing those four or five-hour dance hall gigs. Your voice is like a muscle--you really develop it from that kind of use. I really can't think of anything else. I don't do anything special to take care of my voice. I found now that since I don't drink anymore, it stays in a lot better shape.
[GAC asks, "So you don't do vocal warmup exercises before you sing?"] Nah, I don't do any of that stuff. I know I probably should, but I don't. I hear that some people do that stuff--and I just think it sounds goofy.
Question 11: When you pick songs to be on your album, is there a certain topic or subject that you would never record?
(Amber Kraemer, Eldon, MO)
Trace Adkins: You have to draw the line every now and then. I'll get a song that's just so dirty or just off-the-chart crude, and you know, you just can't do that stuff. Although some of them are the funniest songs I've ever heard in my life. Those are good campfire songs.
Question 12: Who did you listen to growing up, and who do you listen to now?
(Rhonda Patch, Deland, FL)
Trace Adkins: Well, growing up, I listened to everything that my daddy owned in his collection of country music--Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Johnny Cash, Jerry Reed, Buck Owens--those legendary guys that were hot back then. He had all that stuff, and that's most of what I listened to. And then I also listened to southern gospel quartet stuff, southern rock. I'm a product of all the stuff that was happening back then.
I don't really listen to anything much anymore. I truly don't. That's unfortunate, but I get my music fix now on the stage. I'm not a fan of me, but I've got a great band and I get my fix from those guys every night. So I don't really listen to too much music anymore, unfortunately. I told somebody the other day, 'I bet plumbers don't come home in the evening after a long day and crawl under the sink and take the trap off just to look at it.'
Question 13: When did it finally hit you that you had made it and that you were a star?
(Linda Langlais, Methuen, Mass)
Trace Adkins: When Cledus T. Judd did a parody of one of my songs.
[GACTV.com asks, "Did you like it?"] Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny. That's how you know.
Question 14: I would like you to ask Trace about strange conversations he's had with fans. I met him in Vegas earlier this year and was so star struck I talked to him about people dying at his performances. I'd like to hear I'm not the only one who gets tongue tied and says bizarre things!!
(Carrie Doll, Saginaw MI)
Trace Adkins: I hear some strange things sometimes. And sometimes people will walk up and they'll say something that seems very abstract. You don't really know what it was about, and then they'll just walk away. You're just left standing there going, 'What the hell was that about?' It happens from time to time, so no, she's not alone.
[GACTV.com asks, "Does anybody make you feel that starstruck?"] Yeah, I've been in the presence of a couple of people like that. Ray Charles was one in particular. I was doing a show one time and he was there. I couldn't bring myself to even approach him.
Question 15: You're a star, but when you're at home do you have to take out the trash and mow your own lawn?
(Jill McKee, Easley SC)
Trace Adkins: I don't mow the lawn, but I do take out the trash. I only live a couple miles from the dump. I told my wife, "The trash pickup thing is ridiculous. The dump's on the way to the farm.' I go down there almost every day, so I just take it to the dump--no big deal."
Question 16: Who taught you to "move your hips" the way you do--and can you teach my husband to move his hips like you?
(Carey Wells, Winder GA)
Trace Adkins: (laughs) Nobody taught me to do that. Again, I go back to playing those dance gigs. When I was playing clubs in Texas, you'd get on stage and play for an hour and then you'd have a 30-minute break. You'd play another hour and take a 30-minute break. You had to do something on break--and usually, I went dancing. I never took a class or nothing.
Question 17: In the video "Swing", it shows you hitting the ball out of the park. Was that really you that hit it out of the park?
(Sharon Clark, Crestwood, KY)
Trace Adkins: No. I hit some deep balls, but none of them went over the fence. I was just humiliated. I hadn't stepped up to the plate probably in 20 years, since I was playing city league softball. But I used to be able to hit it out of the park, and I used to be able to hit a baseball out of the park. I thought I could still do it, but evidently not.
Question 18: Do you have any tattoos--and if so, what and where are they?
(Teresa Deegan, Bordentown, NJ)
Trace Adkins: I don't have any. If I ever think of something profound enough that I want indelibly on my skin, maybe I'll do it. But I haven't run across that little jewel yet. You got to mean that sh*t!
Question 19: When you first got your record deal, what did you spend your first real big check on?
(Sherry Vreeland, Wales, Mass.)
Trace Adkins: I had some bills I had to pay, so that's what I did--I paid them off. I didn't buy anything.
Question 20: With all your fans out there and all the gifts you get, have you ever felt stalked?
(Brenda Nitzke, Bremerton, WA)
Trace Adkins: I don't even know how to answer that. Sometimes people can take it a step too far and make you feel a little uncomfortable. I don't know if I would go so far as to say I was being stalked. But sometimes when people do overstep their bounds, it makes you feel uncomfortable.
[GACTV.com asks, "How do you deal with people who might get a little too excited and not behave the way they'd normally behave?"] You just say, 'You're in my bubble. Step away or I'll be forced to kill you.'
Question 21: I recently attended a concert you performed in New Berlin, Illinois and when you sang "Arlington" you asked that the crowd pay respect to the men and women who have fought for this country.What made you want to do that song and how do you feel about our veterans?
(LaDonna Young, Springfield, IL)
Trace Adkins: I wanted to do that song because I wanted to pay respect to the veterans, to the people who paid the ultimate price for their country. It's nothing political or anything like that. It's simply paying respect to people who paid it all.
Question 22: You have been through quite a bit to get where you are today and I was wondering if you see yourself doing a book and/or movie about your life story--or if you would prefer not to relive it all or put your family through it all again?
(Brenda Kennedy, Morganton, WV)
Trace Adkins: Well, it would be a strange experience. It would probably make a few people uncomfortable. My mother, namely. (laughs) But me too. I've been approached about the book already. I'm thinking about it, mulling that over in my head right now. I don't know what I'm going to do yet.
Question 23: What kinds of foods do you eat on the road--and what do you really look forward to eating when you get home and off of that bus?
(Britt Edson, Raeford, NC)
Trace Adkins: I'm not a high maintenance kind of guy. I eat whatever's there. I'm not that picky about it. I don't really care that much. If it's edible, I'll pretty much eat it. Which really comes in handy because my wife can't cook very good. Bless her heart, she tries hard. I shouldn't say that, because she's getting much better. She can cook some things pretty good.
[GACTV.com asks, "Can your daughters cook?"] Not really. They can when forced to, for their own survival.
[GACTV.com asks, "How about you?"] No. If survival mandates it, I'll cook something. But if not, I'll just eat something out of a can. I don't really care.
Question 24: If you had the opportunity to serve in the Armed Forces, which branch would you choose and why?
(Lorie Ann Schneidt, Bethesda, Maryland)
Trace Adkins: It would have been the Marine Corps. I almost went. I had to make a decision between that or playing college football. I really wanted to try to play college ball. I remember Sargeant Vinnie Greggs--I'll never forget him. He called me on a Friday and said, 'We've got you set up tomorrow morning in Bosier City to take the placement exam.' I was like, 'Dude, I think I'm gonna go try to play football. I've got this opportunity to go play ball, so I'm gonna do that.' But I would've gone into the Marine Corps. Why? Because they're the Marine Corps. Other branches of the military have their special forces, but Marines are Marines. They're all badasses.
Question 25: Trace, I hear you are going to be in an upcoming issue of Playgirl... How much of you?
P.S. I also heard it may be the October issue... if so, thanks in advance for the birthday present.
(Lori Powers, Rialto, CA)
Trace Adkins: So far, nobody's called me about a photo shoot or anything. It may just be an article, for all I know. Let's just put it this way--I haven't been naked in a room with a camera yet, so I guess it's not gonna happen.
[GACTV.com asks, "Would you do that?"] No. I got too many scars.
Question 26: Who would you most like to sit down and have a conversation with--and what would you talk about?
(Donna Majors, Henderson, KY)
Trace Adkins: Everybody says, 'Jesus Christ, and we'd sit down and talk about heaven.' But if it was somebody living, I'd like to sit down with some guy in the Black Ops in the Pentagon that has the highest clearance possible in the government, and just ask questions about stuff. (laughs) Just get the real low-down on what all is going on! I know you guys ain't telling us everything--now tell me what's happening! I'd like to know.
Question 27: How do you feel about having your picture taken--especially the times you don't know it's being taken? Are you used to having to smile hundreds of times?
(Sandi Sexton, Columbus, OH)
Trace Adkins: Yeah, you get used to it, sure. That's fine, I dont care. It comes with the territory. I don't like to pose for pictures, though. Not by myself. If somebody wants to take a picture with me, that's fine. We'll stand there and both look at their camera and smile. But I don't like to pose by myself, like when you go to those awards shows and you have to walk down that carpet, and all those people are hollering at you. I find that so annoying. I really want to smack some of them around. I just want to go, 'Stop hollering at me! That's rude!' I hate that.
Question 28: How long have you been riding a Harley, and what is your favorite Harley model--and do you ride it?
(Dale Heinen, Occoquan, VA)
Trace Adkins: I dont ride a Harley. Everybody thinks I do. I can ride a motorcycle. I've ridden them off and on over the years. But it's never really been an obsession with me. I dig it, it's cool and everything. But I don't have time. Right now in my life, I'd feel guilty if I took an hour out for myself and rode around on a motorcycle. The whole time I'd be thinking, 'Man, I really ought to be doing something else.'
Question 29: Do you have any plans to ever visit the UK? I've seen Keith Urban and Dierks Bentley, but you are the man we all want to see! We are so starved of country music in the UK so please do the red eye flight over one day!
(Alan Pope, Staffordshire, England)
Trace Adkins: I would love to. And this year we released a compilation album in Europe. Hopefully it'll create a little interest and we can go over there and work. I've always wanted to go over there, but I want it to be legitimate. I don't want to just go over there for nothing. Not that I need to go over there and make a lot of money. But I'd like to at least be able to pay for the trip. (laughs) I would like for enough people to show up that I could break even.
Question 30: As the wife of an oil field hand, I know how hard it is. I was just wondering if there is ever a time you miss your old job and wish you could do both?
(Christina Fowler, Honey Island TX)
Trace Adkins: Oh I miss it all the time. I really do. I miss the camaraderie and the machismo. It was a man's job, a man's world out there in the oil field, on drilling rigs. I enjoyed it. I thrived on it. I took great pride in being a good roughneck and a good derrick hand. At that time, I didn't think there was any better in the world. Any time I'm on the water now, it makes me think about being offshore. I miss it all the time.
[GACTV.com asks, "Do you think you would ever go back to that?"] No, I couldn't pass the physical now. That's just something I could never go back and do
Question 31: I saw you at the House of Blues on July 11--what did you think about those four women fist fighting over your cowboy hat? It was obvious your guitar player found it entertaining.
(Cheryl James, Poplarville, MS)
Trace Adkins: (laughs) I didn't see that. I threw the hat, but then I left the stage. I didn't really pay much attention to what was going on after that. It was a nice hat.