I have just one question at this point.

Did Eric Church ever really listen to country music when he was growing up, or was he all about the Springsteen, AC/DC and (allegedly) Metallica?

Seriously, it seems that in every single interview of him that I have read or seen snippets from, Church is always talking about ’80s rock acts. Nowhere have I seen him talk about all the great records from people like Alan Jackson in the ’90s or the neo-traditionalist movement of the ’80s. (And even stalwarts like Waylon, Willie and George Jones were still cranking out great music then.) It’s always about classic rock and trying to justify its influence on modern mainstream country.

And Metallica. Don’t get me started. Yeah, I know I’ve turned into some sort of heavy-metal evangelist, but it seems like every single act out there looking for some sort of street cred mentions Metallica. And no one ever digs to find out just how deep that supposed affinity for heavy metal goes, i.e., “So you’re a fan of ’80s Metallica. What’d you think of their contemporaries, you know, bands like Megadeth, Anthrax and Iron Maiden?” And “hardest band in the history of heavy metal”? Dead giveaway right there, the only Metallica album Church has in his collection is this one. And he’s never heard of any of the other bands. Bet on it.

(Speaking of Iron Maiden, as much as I don’t go for her kind of music, I do have to give Lady Gaga props for being a fan.)

But back to Mr. Church. Another thing I thought was funny in this particular interview was how he talked about how he never shied away from saying what he thought. Granted, that is admirable in and of itself — but, to cite a better example, George Strait always made it pretty clear where he stood musically and he’s arguably the most reticent man on the face of the earth. He let his music do the talking. And the same could very well be said for Alan Jackson, even if he might grant more interviews than Strait.

As for the answer to my question, I am left to believe that Eric Church never was really a big country fan. I am left to believe that he just saw country as the fastest way to stardom, saw where it was going and his frustrated-’80s-rocker-born-20-years-too-late ass ran with it.

“He’s gone country, ohhh, back to his roots…”

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