Joe Nichols Interview
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
Last weekend we were fortunate enough to sit down with Joe Nichols and discuss his new album, the history behind him and the song "Baby Got Back" and so much more.
DRA: As with your other albums, Never Gets Old, has this very traditional country feel to it. What influences would you say played a factor in creating this album?
JOE: What influences me the most is every now and then I turn on a playlist and I will just go through songs randomly from the 70s or the 60s. Don Williams, sometimes Merle, sometimes something obscure, Randy Travis, and others like that. It reminds me of the records I first heard as a kid. I fell in love with the traditional sound and Randy Travis’ records were amazing.
My dad was a truck driver and I think one of the things I loved about that time in my life was he would take me in the truck with him for a week at a time and we would blare Keith Whitley’s same album until it got so embedded in my brain that I could sing every note, every word, and I knew exactly the amount of time it takes to get to the next song. I loved it and never got tired of it.
I learned to play guitar by myself. I had a six-string harmony with five strings on it. I would sit and play note by note, string by string to Merle Haggard songs because they are fairly easy. That’s how I learned to play guitar. I had some weird looking chord positions. As I started to play with other band guys, they would be like why do you play a G like that? I was like it just sounds right.
DRA: With all the buzz around it, we have to ask. How on earth did “Baby Got Back” end up on this album?
JOE: It is one of those snowball things that happened. Several years ago, I started doing that song in the show to kind of show off a humorous part of the show. It was so ridiculously far away from what I do. As a country guy, I found the most departed thing from country and that was one of the most iconic songs of the early 90s rap era. The country market demographics nowadays know that song. By doing it with my style and my way made everybody go what are you doing? It kinda became a thing and a part of the show.
When we were cutting this record, they told me we’ve got some time and the musicians. Let’s just throw this down in ten minutes and see what happens. We did that and now it is on the album. After we knew it was on the record, we were like let’s take this one step further and see if Mix would come in and do this video with us. We had this simple idea and knew it wouldn’t take much time. Mix was a funny guy and willing to do whatever we needed to make the thing great. It was fun. It’s shocking to see how much that video got watched.
DRA: You have now released nine studio records. Of all the records, which one would you say is your favorite?
JOE: I’ve always thought the first album, Man with a Memory, was where we set the bar. If I could do albums that good for the rest of my life then I would be happy.
We’ve come close a few times and I think this one (Never Gets Old) is as close to that record as anything I’ve done. That’s because of the total picture; all the elements on this record. We have a couple songs that sound like made for radio today, but still not matching everybody else. They could slide into a radio spot fairly easily. Of course, we have some throwback stuff like “I’d Sing About You”. My voice sounds like it did back then for some reason. We have some 90s country dance songs in there; which I see coming back in a big way. Some of the heavier stuff reminds me of the first record such as; “We all Carry Something” and the great message of “The Impossible” and “This Side of the River”. There are many great reasons why I like this record.
DRA: As we said before, we are really enjoying Never Gets Old. Two of our favorites are “I’d Sing About You” and “So You’re Saying”. Both have this very romantic tone to them. What would you say is the most romantic gesture you have ever done?
JOE: “So You’re Saying” is a real strong possibility to be the next single.
As far as romantic gesture, I have something I can’t really explain that I’m doing for our ten year anniversary. Hopefully she’ll enjoy it.
DRA: At this point in your career, you have been able to experience a lot of amazing things. What would you say is the craziest thing you have ever experienced?
JOE: The Grammys were crazy. I sat in the middle of Yoko Ono, Eminem, Halle Berry, and Hillary Duff. I was sitting there thinking why did they decide to put me in the middle. Why didn’t they all sit together and put me where all the country guys were at?
Dirt Road Anthems Fast Five
GO TO KARAOKE SONG:
Probably one of mine and I’d probably get booed off the stage.
ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE YOUR LIFE:
IF YOU COULD HAVE ONE SUPERPOWER WHAT WOULD IT BE:
X-ray vision since I was five. I bought the glasses, they didn’t work.
LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO:
Good Ole Boys Like Me
IF YOU COULD ONLY HAVE ONE MEAL FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE:
We would like to thank Joe for taking time to sit down with us. If you haven't purchased his new album, Never Gets Old, it is available on iTunes.