News & Media

Paisley turns the tables and enjoys role as groupie

May 24, 2011, Joe Menzer,

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Country music superstar Brad Paisley answers this week's six questions.

1. Why did you decide to premiere your new music video in conjunction with last Saturday's Sprint All-Star Race?

Paisley: I feel like a complete NASCAR groupie. This [was] the second race this season I've gotten to attend [after doing a concert prior to the 2011 Daytona 500]. You're looking at somebody who is in fantasy camp, basically.

"I feel like a complete NASCAR groupie. This [was] the second race this season I've gotten to attend. You're looking at somebody who is in fantasy camp, basically."


I have a single out right now that's called Old Alabama, and features the country music superstar group Alabama. We decided to make a video to the song, and I like to have a good time making my videos. ... Luckily a lot of things I like, my fans like as well. This song, as I was writing it and recording it, I realized was not only a tribute to Alabama and their music -- but it really was a song about driving fast and listening to great, old music. And that kind of led my thought process down the path of classic cars, and NASCAR.

2. And that led to what?

Paisley: I had become friends with Rick Hendrick and spent a little time with him over at his Hendrick [Motorsports] facility. I'm also good friends now with [driver] Jeff Gordon. And I thought, 'You know what? I'm not exactly sure what this video is going to be -- but it's something that needs to happen in Charlotte, N.C.' I talked to my video director to see if Rick would be interested in loaning us a few cars and maybe some other stuff for this. He's such a great guy, he said, 'Come on out. We'll roll out the red carpet.' And so that's what we did. We shot the video in Charlotte, incorporating Jeff and actually Rick as a popcorn salesman. ... And we couldn't think of a better place to premiere the video than before the All-Star Race in Charlotte.

3. How was Mr. Hendrick in his role as a popcorn salesman?

Paisley: Very convincing, actually. He won't win an Oscar for it, but he did a good job. Darrell Waltrip is in the video as well ... it's got NASCAR all over it.

4. You worked with some other pretty famous people on your new album as well, didn't you?

Paisley: When you call an album This Is Country Music, it would be kind of pompous not to include anybody else that is responsible for the music that we all aspire to play. I tried to get a mix of both current artists and some, like Alabama, who were important from a historical perspective. We've got Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton and Alabama, obviously. We also have Marty Stuart and Sheryl Crow. The most interesting of the people I convinced to work with me was Clint Eastwood on the instrumental. I did an old-fashioned Western [song] and had him doing the whistling part, which sounds like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

5. Did you grow up a NASCAR fan, and if so who did you pull for?

Paisley: I'm more of a newer NASCAR fan. I liked it a lot growing up, and it's not far of a stretch if you liked the things that I liked. I've always liked cars and driving fast. You can ask the law enforcement authorities in the various towns that I've lived in.

So I used to watch it a little more laid back and not necessarily root for anyone in particular. Here, lately, just over the last few years, having two boys -- a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old now -- it's been really something I've become religious about in terms of being a fan. I don't miss many races. ... You get to know some of these people, like Rick and Jeff and Darrell Waltrip. I got to meet [the late] Dale Earnhardt many years ago and he was very nice to me. The next thing you know, you become very interested in this world and all that's happening in it. I'm obsessed at this point.

6. The NASCAR Foundation recently donated more than $400,000 for relief to victims of the tornadoes that ripped through Alabama and other areas. You're planning to donate artist royalties from the digital single sales of Old Alabama to the American Red Cross for the same purposes, aren't you?

Paisley: Yes, I am. I am very overpaid for getting to do what I do, something I love to do. If I'm going to have a song out there with Alabama in it, and we're making money off of it, it's the least I can do. I'm glad we're able to do it.