Ready to ride Garth Brooks has 'Fresh Horses' for his biggest, longest tour ever
Tuesday, November 21, 1995. Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Story by Shirley Jenkins
Over the top? Well, yes. Still true to country? Of course. Garth Brooks is poised to do battle with no less than the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen this week, when his new album, ``Fresh Horses,'' hits record stores the same time as theirs. A three-year tour already is mapped out to carry him across the country and across the globe. Brooks hashed it all out during a phone interview the other day from his home, where he was interrupted a couple of times by his 3-year-old daughter, Taylor Mayne Pearl. His second daughter, August Anna, is 18 months old.
Question: Where have you been this year? Been busy making that little girl (August Anna) get up and walk and do some talking. It's been great. Alabama has a song called ``In Pictures'' out right now, ``I missed her first step'' and all that. And I heard that and started smiling because that's not me.
Do your daughters know you're Garth Brooks? No. They see George Strait or somebody on TV and they go, ``It's Daddy. '' And Taylor's getting old enough to go, ``That's not Daddy. '' She knows, but I don't think she knows who Garth Brooks is.
We had three trick-or-treaters for Halloween, in hats and all, who said they were Garth Brooks. No kiddin. ' Now, man, no offense to the ACMs or the CMAs, but that, right there, that's the award.
Tell us about this monster, three-year tour. When does it start?
In March. The first leg, the North American leg, will cover 77 cities. It'll take us into the spring of '97, at which time we'll embark on our European tour that'll end in the summer of '97. The Australian leg is still up; we're not sure what's gonna happen there. If we do the Australian leg, it'll take us into late fall. We'll pick up at the end of '97 and all through '98 with the last leg, 46 more cities in North America. Then we have a thing called an outdoor run that we really want to try, because we've lost West Texas, we've lost Little Rock, Fort Smith, Tulsa - we've lost these cities that don't have a venue that can hold the weight of our production from the ceiling. ... We're gonna try and do an outdoor run where we put up a four-poster system and play in either baseball parks or out in the middle of fields.
How do you feel about ``Fresh Horses'' coming out in the same week as new releases from Bruce Springsteen and the Beatles? I'm really in a no-lose situation, because if I get my butt kicked, it's by the Beatles. I still won't be happy about it, but it is by the Beatles. ... And if we hold our own against them, then it'll make country music look stronger.
You're panned for being influenced by '70s rock. What are your feelings on that? That's tough. If you look at your top touring acts in North America, the last time I looked - and this was before the Jerry Garcia incident - it was the Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Rod Stewart, Jimmy Buffett, the Stones. All these people have one thing in common: They were here in the '60s and '70s. I think that was a good era in music, with a lot of soul in there. I'm not saying a lot of soul isn't in today's music, but when you keep returning to something and people keep buying it, I think it must tell you something.
Some of the songs on ``Fresh Horses'' are fast, even for you. The whole band was just in a mode to cut loose and do some stuff. ... If you're counting ``She's Every Woman'' as a ballad, there are four ballads on the album. I was really happy with the weight balance between upbeat and ballads on the album.
Are you trying to bring country up to speed with rock? Oh, no, no. That's just me. I just do what I do. If radio can use this, then great for all of us. If they can't, then it's my understanding they've got plenty (of artists) to pick from.
We thought this album might be an acoustic one, but it's not. Everyone was expecting this album to be pop. Everyone said we were leaving (country). For the first time ever, I was involved (in writing) in eight of the 10 cuts, so it's a huge reflection of myself. It's the things I enjoy singing about. I got to sing about the band on the road, I got to sing about cowboys, and more importantly, the women who put up with those cowboys.
Some songs - like ``Midnight Cinderella'' and ``Rollin' '' - are a bit racy. That's the one thing on this album that might've bothered me, because of our kid following. But ``Midnight Cinderella'' was fun, and I've just gotta keep reminding myself that it was the coach that turned into a pumpkin, not Cinderella herself. The other one, ``Rollin','' the line that says, ``Sometimes you've gotta get naked and roll up your sleeves,'' I loved that line and I couldn't lose it.
You could go mainstream, leave country, whatever you want. Will you lose the hat, and Nashville with it? I've said it a hundred times. I'm under their flag, and until they get rid of me, I'm gonna stay here. Because I dig doing this. I don't personally think that any of us as artists have touched within 400 miles of the borders of what country music can do. I think there's more ground to explore in country music than I have left in my lifetime to do. So I don't want to go anywhere else. There's too many cool things in this music to find.