View Full Version : GB Article

03-17-2000, 12:05 PM
got this article off the AOL Garth board, nothing new tho just a nice article.....<BR>__________________________________<P>Garth Brooks: On Success <P>Finding Garth Brooks before a concert may be one of the most difficult tasks a reporter could have. Most performers can be found relaxing (usually napping) in a dressing room or being whisked off to a promotional radio or television spot. But to find Garth after the final sound check, one need only seek out the worst seat in the house—the most absolutely miserable spot for anyone to watch a two-hour (sometimes more) concert from. Find that spot and the guy with the baseball cap, sweat pants and tee shirt: that's Garth. Yep, that's him, all right, the biggest-selling performer of all time sitting in rafter seats transforming himself into that one fan in that one spot. "To give the best show possible, you need to know what it's like to be one of the people stuck in these seats," says Brooks, looking down on the empty arena. "These people spend their hard-earned money to see a show, and they need to come away with a special feeling."<P>Brooks has always maintained this type of tight relationship with those less fortunate fans sitting in the high altitude seats. He, like other entertainers such as Billy Joel, sends security guards to the rafter seats before shows with front-row upgrade tickets for these, the most faithful of his fans. For Brooks, keeping connected to his back-row fans doesn't stop there, however. He has also been known to fly across a sold-out audience to forgotten sections of arenas, giving these people a taste of the front row, even if just for a few minutes. He has also made climbing rope ladders and swinging over frenzied fans—all while singing away—an art form.<P>"When Garth does these crazy things, he makes people feel connected to him," explains Nancy Brooks, country music reporter for Metro Source News. "People feel like Garth cares about them. Like he's someone they could sit down and talk to."<P>And with Garth, it's true. Most anyone could sit down and chat with him. He not only finds it natural to entertain every single person in the arena, but he believes it to be his responsibility.<P>"Everything I have and have enjoyed in this business is due to the people who buy CDs or come out to concerts," Brooks says. "It's those people who have made my career possible."<P>Born Troyal Garth Brooks on February 7, 1962, to Troyal Raymond, and Colleen Carroll Brooks, Garth was introduced to the entertainment business at an early age. His mother, who passed away this past summer after a valiant battle with cancer, was a recording artist in the 1950s with Capitol Records.<P>"We had music in our house all the time," Brooks said. "My mother had a big influence on me musically."<P>Brooks spent most of his teenage years and early 20s honing his skills as an athlete and musician. His athletic ability paved a way for him to attend Oklahoma State University on a track scholarship where he earned a degree in marketing. His college years also gave Brooks the opportunity to improve his music and lay the groundwork for his stage show while he made his way across Oklahoma and Texas from one honky-tonk bar to another."Those were great times," Brooks has said. "Hanging out with a bunch of my buddies and playing music…it was some of the most fun I've ever had."<P>And while his buddies were content playing small bars and frat parties, Garth wanted more. In 1986, he said goodbye to then girlfriend Sandy Mahl, packed up his car and headed to Nashville on nothing more than a guitar and lofty goals.<P>He lasted 23 hours.<P>After returning home and working on his sound, Garth bore down and took one of his biggest and ultimately most important risks of his career and life. He packed up the car again and, this time with his new bride, Sandy, went back to Nashville.<P>"Without Sandy," Garth says. "I would have never stayed that second time. "And that would have been it."<P>At one point, Garth became so frustrated with the slamming doors and broken promises of Nashville, he sat in his car pounding on the steering wheel complaining to his wife and wondering out loud if it was all worth the struggle. It was Sandy, not Garth, who found the courage to stay. She gave him an ultimatum.<P>"Either we stay and you get it done or we go home," Sandy told her husband. "But if we go home, we're not coming back."<P>The couple stayed and Sandy did temporary clerical work, Garth worked at a boot store and the couple cleaned a church, all the while working towards that one big break. It came, but not after nearly every producer in Nashville heard and rejected the guy from Oklahoma. During amateur night at a local bar in Nashville, one of the performers scheduled to take the stage before Garth never showed up, bumping him up a spot in that night's lineup. Terrified and not completely prepared, Garth took the stage and let his instincts take over. He played his own songs and tunes by other performers with the high-energy, bang-em-up, take-no-prisoners style his fans have come to love today. When his 15 minutes were up and he was shaking people's hands, an executive from Capitol signed him to a deal. The contract offer was made by Lynn Shults, one of the people who had recently passed on Garth.<P>For Sandy, the break came as no surprise, according to Garth. "She believed in me before I did," Garth has said about his wife.<P>Sandy's strength has always been an important part of what Garth Brooks is. She not only sat by Garth when he was ready to quit that night in the car, but she also stood beside him when he stumbled personally.<P>"It's no secret that Sandy and I have been through some tough times," Garth says. "But we're working hard to keep that special thing we have together."<P>It was also Sandy who held Garth's hand during the 1990 Academy of Country Music Awards televised ceremony when he watched Clint Black walk off with the three awards he had also been nominated for.<P>As difficult as it was for Garth to go home empty-handed, it only made him more committed to his work. This was, after all, the same performer who ran home after his first 23 hours in Nashville only to return and conquer. In retrospect, Garth says taking those early risks was as important as writing his first songs.<P>"It's easy to avoid risks," Brooks said prior to batting practice with the San Diego Padres last spring. "You can sit back, rest on your laurels and be scared, or you can take some chances, be scared and willing to let the chips fall where they may."<P>It has been risk taking that has carried Garth from being just another strummin' cowboy on the local radio station to super stardom. When his second CD, No Fences, included a song that tackled the topic of domestic abuses, Garth didn't back down from the swirl of controversy. In fact, when "The Thunder Rolls" video was pulled from most video networks due to its violent nature, Garth, who portrayed the abusive husband in the video, seized the opportunity to discuss this and other social ills, all the while having his picture plastered all over the country.<P>"I have always gone with what my heart says," Garth has said about "Thunder," "and I think taking on topics like domestic violence is the right thing to do."<P>Although his CD and videos helped keep Garth's name in front of the masses early on, it was stories about his stage show that circulated all over the music industry. His concerts always showcase his love for every type of music from James Taylor to KISS. Smashing guitars, flames, jumping into the crowd, screeching into the microphone one minute and then holding a single rose while quietly singing love songs with tears streaming down his face another, Garth had people eating out of his hands.<P>"His concerts are the big thing with Garth," says Nancy Brooks. "When you go to a Garth Brooks concert, you will have two or three hours of the widest emotional range you can possibly have."<P>With the knowledge of his stage prowess, Garth took his show into the living rooms of America in 1991 with his first of four televised concerts for NBC. "This is Garth Brooks" introduced the man Rolling Stone dubbed "The Cat in the Hat" to all of America. It was then that most Americans began to understand the phenomena that is Garth. As part of the two-hour special, Garth used two-minute pieces throughout the show to literally introduce himself to viewers. He allowed people the chance to see Garth the man kicking around in his Oklahoma State football jersey, while his friends and band members told stories about their front man.<P>"That was such a great move," Nancy Brooks says. "He almost forced people to pay attention to him. I mean he beamed himself into the homes of America."<P>And in doing so he beamed himself into the hearts of folks from New York to L.A.<P>Since then, his concerts have become almost legendary worldwide. Tickets to Garth Brooks concerts are gobbled up in the expected markets like Nashville and Houston, not to mention the not-so-usual country markets like Detroit, L.A. and New York. And unlike some performers, Brooks expels the same level of intensity and energy whether he's playing Cowboys Stadium in Irving, Texas, or the New Haven Coliseum in coastal Connecticut. His fans appreciate the effort and show this in their loyalty.<P>Nearly half a million of those loyal fans packed New York's Central Park in August of 1997 for an HBO concert. While some took the subway from Queens for the free concert, others trekked from as far away as northern Idaho and even England. One woman with a thick British accent said she would have traveled to hell and back to spend an evening with Garth.<P>"Standing up there before all of those people in the middle of New York was terrifying," Garth said. "But at the same time it was absolutely wonderful." In doing the Central Park show, Brooks joined an exclusive group of Central Park performers, including Diana Ross, Simon and Garfunkel and Elton John.<P>"This was definitely a first," said one New York City cop following the show. "That guy puts on an amazing show."<P>Brooks understands his roots and loves honoring those who came before him, as was evident during the Central Park show. Billy Joel joined him onstage, much to the joy of the Big Apple crowd. Joel and Brooks performed one of each other's tunes with the Piano Man at the keyboard. Then to wrap up the show, Garth brought out the legendary Don McLean, who led Garth, his band and the exhausted crowd in one of rock's biggest anthems, "American Pie." <P>"It's just a way for me to show my respect and appreciation for those performers I grew up listening to."<P>As his popularity grew and his name became synonymous with other stars, Garth roped in more loyal fans when he stuck to previous agreements in spite of the potential for lost revenue. In 1990, Garth had agreed to play a stint at the Silver Spring Gala in Arlington, Texas, for just $10,000. By the time the show had come, Garth was a megastar raking in millions of dollars and being one of the most sought-after musicians in the world, yet he played the show and then donated his fee to charity. In Queens, New York, a similar situation occurred and Garth brought in more than 12,000 fans for a fund-raiser for the New York Metro Country Music Association. <P>For many people, falling in love with an artist comes down to one thing…does this person care about me? Garth understands the need for people to be cared about and spends his time freely signing autographs and posing for photos, all the while making the one person he is speaking to feel as if he or she is the only person in the room. As one woman said after waiting an hour-and-a-half for an autograph outside the Peoria Sports Complex in Arizona during Garth's brief stint as a professional baseball player, "He didn't just sign my shirt, he actually talked to me."<P>As his stature grew in the music industry, Garth continued to keep focused on his target audience, the average guy riding around in his pickup truck listening to country music. That is, perhaps, why Garth has fought to keep his CDs and tickets reasonably priced. During his world tour Garth charged just $17.50 per ticket, while the Eagles forced fans to fork over $100 a seat. And while CDs were reaching into the $30 and $40 range, Garth worked hard to keep his releases reasonably priced at $20. <P>"People work hard for the money they have," Garth has said. "They shouldn't have to pay ridiculous prices to enjoy music." Garth has also gone to bat for common people, almost like a modern-day Robin Hood. When the House of Representatives voted to cut millions of dollars from the endowments for art, entertainment and humanities and public broadcasting, Garth teamed up with other celebrities to protest the move.<P>In keeping with his appreciation for all types of music, in 1996 Garth stood before a nationally televised audience and a room full of his peers ranging from talents in R&B to heavy metal. It was then that Garth declined to be honored over TLC, Green Day, Boyz II Men and Hootie and the Blowfish as the entertainer of year. Garth said it would be unfair to single out one performer and style above all others. Said Garth, "I mean no disrespect…Music is made up of a lot of people and if we're one artist short, then we all become a lesser music." With that he humbly walked away to a standing ovation. Now as a new millennium is ushered in, the king of country music stands at the threshold of something new and exciting. Garth has set aside his cowboy hat and tight jeans for long, jet-black hair (a wig).<P>Garth Brooks in the Life of Chris Gaines was released in the fall and has been warmly accepted by fans and critics alike.<P>The CD is part of a prequel to his first full-length feature film, The Lamb. Not much information has been released about the film, except that Garth will portray a musician struggling to come to terms with his own life as a superstar. And although this may not necessarily be a stretch for Garth, it is, once again, a major career risk.<P>"Nothing this guy does surprises me anymore," says Nancy Brooks. "From what I hear, the movie is supposed to be great."<P>Especially if you watch it from the back row.<P>Scott Schulte is a freelance writer out of Mesa, Arizona. <BR>___________________________________<P>aRi<P>N

03-17-2000, 12:32 PM
Thanks for sharing that! I read the whole thing! :)<P>MargaretN

03-17-2000, 12:39 PM
LOL.... WOW that is some good aritcle...<P>One question though, where did you get this article from... I love it..<P>NellyN

03-17-2000, 01:34 PM
Very cool article Ari :D :D :D<P>Thanks for sharing :)<P>BrianN

03-17-2000, 01:46 PM
Bravo! Bravo!<P>Excellent article, and all so true!<P>Thanks for sharing it with us.<P>~Ann~N

03-17-2000, 03:16 PM
Thanks for sharing such a great article. I always enjoy reading positive news about Garth. :DN

03-17-2000, 03:59 PM
Awesome article :) Thanks for sharing it with us :)N

03-17-2000, 04:53 PM
Thanks Ari,<P>I knew some of the stuff, but lots of it was new and interesting. I can never read enough about Garth, I get to see so little here so it is really nice.<P>Thanks again,<BR>Always appreciated.<BR>Ana :)N