Eric Church Got Kicked Off Rascal Flatts’ Tour For Playing Too Loud & Too Long In 2006

Joe Don Rooney, Jay DeMarcus, Gary LeVox are posing for a picture
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Even to this day, when it comes to the most obscure combination of touring country artists, I can’t help but think of Eric Church opening for Rascal Flatts.

Well, sure enough it happened back in 2006, when Church was just a wide eyed Carolina boy that was ready to explode onto the mainstream country music scene, singing boot stompers like “Sinners Like Me,” “How ‘Bout You,” “Pledge Allegiance To The Hag,” “Two Pink Lines,” and more.

And then there’s Disney’s favorite country band, Rascal Flatts, who is the definition of Nashville’s Broadway music scene, with songs like “Bless The Broken Road,” “Mayberry,” “What Hurts The Most,” “Life is a Highway,” and more.

Needless to say, between Chief and Gary LeVox and the boys, they couldn’t be more polar opposite.

In fact, they were so polar opposite, that Rascal Flatts kicked Church off their tour because he was playing too loud and too long.

According to an old interview for Broadway’s Electric Barnyard, Flatts asked more than a few times to keep it down and get off the stage on time. They even let him go on earlier, but Eric rocked just a little too hard for them:

“We asked him four times to stay to the allotted amount of time that he had to play. We sat him down in our dressing room and were like, ‘Look, we’ll put you on early so you can play longer. But please, just be off the stage because we still have to do our show.’

And for every minute that you go over time, especially in New York City, you’re charged thousands of dollars by the minute in labor fees. So the last time was Madison Square Garden. We said, ‘It’s really important that you get off on time.’”

But then at Madison Square Garden, Eric started a bit late and played 20 minutes over his time slot, ultimately resulting in his removal from the tour. According to lead singer Gary LeVox, it was a middle finger to the band:

“So we made that his last visit with us… it was kind of like a middle finger really.”

Eric later admitted to the shenanigans in an interview with, but also doubled down on giving his fans a show:

“Yeah. We played a little bit too loud, a little bit longer than we were supposed to. I was a new act and I came out there and people paid a lot of money for a ticket and I was going to give them a show.

We came out and gave them a show. We got fired at Madison Square Garden, which is a fun story.”

And of course, kicking Chief off the tour opened the door for this newcomer named Taylor Swift to hit the road with Flatts…

“We were replaced by this little, young girl named Taylor Swift. I don’t know what happened to her.

Actually, she called me after I got fired. I read in the paper that we were fired. But she called and said ‘I want you to know that I love what you do.’

I joked with her, ‘This is your crowd; they’re going to love you. You’re going to owe me your first gold record.’ I was kidding, but when she got her first gold record she gave me one. It came with a note: ‘Thanks for playing too long and too loud on the Flatts tour. I sincerely appreciate it. Taylor’.”

Yeah, I feel like OG TSwift was a much better match to Rascal Flatt’s style back in the day.

But needless to say, Rascal Flatts giving Chief the axe didn’t even put a dent in his career.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock