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Darius Rucker Talks 'Good Time' Tour, the Super Bowl and His Hootie Days
Darius Rucker has just announced plans for his upcoming 2016 Good For A Good Time tour, which begins June 3 at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa, Fla., and will play about 30 dates at mostly amphitheaters this summer. This will be Rucker's second full-blown headlining tour -- as a country act. Rucker's former band, the multi-platinum Hootie & the Blowfish, was an arena-level touring act for much of the '90s. Rucker embarked on a country music career in 2008 on Capitol Nashville, and released his fourth country album in March of last year, which produced the single for which the tour is named. Rucker's 2013 No. 1 single "Wagon Wheel" won a Grammy Award and was nominated for Song of the Year at the CMA and ACM awards.
On the Good for a Good Time tour, Rucker will once again team up with Project Rebuild to present mortgage-free homes to combat wounded heroes and Gold Star spouses. Rucker, along with Lieutenant General Leroy Sisco, founder of the Military Warriors Support Foundation, presented 14 more homes in 2015. In a new chat with Billboard, the South Carolina native weighs in on the upcoming tour, the upcoming election and who he likes in Super Bowl 50.
Billboard: "Good for a Good Time" seems a likely title for the second run on an album cycle.
Darius Rucker: I think so. Everybody wants to have a good time, especially at a concert, that's why everybody goes. I love the song so much, it's old-school country, I love playing it live and I thought it was a great name for the tour.
So last year's Southern Style tour was your first headlining run as a country act, how'd it go?
It was great, we had a blast, put up some good numbers, and had a lot of fun.
Did you play a lot of amphitheaters with Hootie & the Blowfish?
Yeah, we played all those places, and last year we played most of the places that were around when [Hootie] was still touring.
I bet you would have never imagined back then that you'd be back headlining solo as a country act.
Yeah, that was crazy. We played the performing arts center in Jersey last year, and Hootie played there so many times, we had so many great stories about there, I remember going back and thinking, "man, I'm here, playing country music, and it's my show, and it's sold out." That was awesome.
Working up to a big venue headliner is a big milestone and not easy to do, an act can spend a lot of years in those B and C slots. For you to get back to the top of the bill is a huge win.
I agree. It's a great feeling to work so hard the last eight or nine years I've been doing [country], to see it come to fruition. My first [country] gig I was the baby band on the Brad Paisley/Dierks Bentley tour, now here I am playing some of those same places we played then, headlining, and getting to do it all over again by myself. It's a lot of fun.
One thing about it, in country music, if you're patient and work the system, do your part, you can get there. Dierks moved up, and now you've moved up.
Absolutely. If you have good songs, go out and play and play and play, like you said, you work your way up. And then, who knows, one day you're headlining, and you're helping out a couple other bands that are coming along opening up for you. It's something you work for, and it's really cool to get there, I'll tell you that.
You've got Dan + Shay and Michael Ray out on your tour, what did you learn as a support act that might make life easier for your support this year?
I'm really big into, "we're all in this together." One of the reasons I pick the bands I do is it's guys I want to get to know better, hang out with, have a beer with. I want them to leave my tour, and then when they're headlining on their own say, "the best tour I was on was Darius' tour, we had so much fun, everybody was a good dude." That's what we go for, because we're all in it together, we're all selling tickets, we're all out there as as team. That's how we treat it, it's not "the Darius Rucker show," it's "the Darius, Dan + Shay, and Michael show," let's go do it.
What kind of feedback have you had on who you're going out with since you announced?
All the young girls are going crazy about Dan + Shay (laughs), we're gonna have a lot of them out at the shows. It's going to be fun, the reaction has been great.
Are you playing any festivals this year?
At the end of the summer and into the fall I start doing some of them, like I do the Houston Rodeo this year and some stuff like that. You get five or six great bands, you do your slot and go on, all killer, no filler, I love that. You get to hang out with people that you usually don't get to hang out with because you don't tour together, so you're having a few beers, playing music, hanging out, and having a good time.
So you're working with Gen. Sisco again this year on Project Rebuild?
Gen. Sisco is the best, every time I get to hang out with him he's just a good guy. It's just great to be out there giving away those houses to veterans, to be a part of that, to meet everybody and to hear their stories, the stories of these heroes who did amazing things to get where they are. To be able to give them a place that they're going to live in maybe the rest of their lives with their families, that's awesome.
So, who's your pick in the Super Bowl?
I'm gonna go with the Panthers. I'd love to see Peyton [Manning] go out with a win, but I also like the Panthers, being from South Carolina. I think the Panthers are going to score 30, and I don't think the Broncos can score 31.
Are you following the presidential election process, watching the debates?
Oh yeah, I watch it all, it's all so entertaining now. I'm a voter, I vote, so I watch it all, listen to all the candidates, and then make my decision. It's a lot of fun right now.
Southern Style has been out almost a year, are you working on anything new?
Yeah, we're already in the studio working on a new record, already writing, we've recorded some stuff, and I'm going back in soon.