Eric Church Says Rascal Flatts “Hated” That He Followed Them From City To City Playing Shows After Getting Kicked Off Their Tour

Eric Church Rascal Flatts country music
Jeff Kravitz/Rick Diamond via Getty Images

Eric Church has always been one to do things his own way.

After his first two singles at country radio, “How ‘Bout You” and “Two Pink Lines,” failed to generate any real buzz, and the subsequent ones did worse, Church released his sophomore album Carolina.

After his first two singles from that record, “Love Your Love The Most” and “Hell On The Heart” barely scratched the top 10,  he decided to buck his label and release “Smoke a Little Smoke” as his next single – after a label exec told him, “It’s your funeral.”

Well that one worked out pretty well for him.

Back in 2015, Church dropped a surprise album, Mr. Misunderstood, after sending it straight to his fans before announcing it to anyone in the media.

And the past few tours he’s been on, Church has gone out solo – not bringing along any openers – to give fans a 3+ hour show of all the songs they came to hear.

It’s safe to say that Chief really has forged his own path in country music.

And that goes back all the way to the early days, when he was briefly opening for Rascal Flatts on their Me and My Gang Tour in 2006.

Now right off the bat, I can’t think of any two acts that are less of a fit for the same tour. Church with his rock edge singing about drinking and smoking weed opening for the slicked back, bedazzled jean, mom-country pop sounds of Rascal Flatts.

That was a marriage that was destined to fail from the start. And that’s exactly what happened.

I’m sure you’re already familiar with the story, but according to Rascal Flatts, they asked Church several times to keep his set to the allotted time for the opener, and even let him go on earlier so he had more time to play. But Chief still wouldn’t follow the rules:

“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.’”

Well after once again breaking the rules at that Madison Square Garden show, Church was removed from the tour and replaced by an up-and-coming artist named Taylor Swift.

But Church already had a whole tour schedule planned – so he decided he was still going to visit all the cities on the Me and My Gang Tour, and started his own tour that would follow Rascal Flatts around for the rest of theirs.

Church recounts the story in an interview with Lindsay Czarniak on the Lunch with Lindsay podcast:

“I didn’t have anything else to do, so in the rest of the cities that Rascal Flatts went to – their tour was called the ‘Me and My Gang Tour,’ so we launched the ‘Me and Myself Tour.’ 

So I went to all the rock clubs in the city that Rascal Flatts was. So Rascal Flatts was playing the arena, right? I was playing the little rock club down the street, and I would start my show when their show ended.

And I did it every city the rest of the tour.”

Czarniak got a big kick out of Church following Levox and the crew around from city to city – as Church put it:

“I was stalking them.”

When asked whether Flatts knew that Church was stalking them around on their tour, Church laughed:

“Oh yeah, they hated it. Yeah they knew what we were doing.”

Church also admitted that he did it as a little bit of an “f you” to Rascal Flatts for removing him from the tour – well, actually not a little bit, as he admits that it was actually “a lot.”

But according to Church, by the last stop on the Me and Myself Tour, he had managed to build up a following from taking a stand:

“So we get to the last one and it was like, we had a pretty big following. Like it became a thing. And it gave us identity.

We stood for something, we made a decision. We’ve tried to do that our entire career, I mean I’ve done that a number of times where I don’t care if you agree with me, I’m gonna tell you what I think. I don’t care how it affects my career. That’s just who I am.

And I think that the real fanbases, they understand that and I think it makes them more passionate.”

Spot on. Obviously the decisions he’s made have worked out pretty well for Church, who’s gone from stalking Rascal Flatts on a tour that he was no longer a part of to selling out stadiums, and this summer going on an amphitheater tour with tons of artists from outside of mainstream country.

And it’s just hilarious to think of Gary LeVox, sitting in his dressing room getting his spiked hair fixed for a show, and seething about this guy named Eric Church following them around on tour after they kicked him off.

You can hear Church tell that story, along with his full conversation with Lindsay Czarniak and NASCAR driver Chase Elliott, on this week’s episode of the Lunch with Lindsay podcast here:

Eric Church Adds Six New Dates For ‘The Outsiders Revival Tour’

You now have six more chances to see Eric Church on his summer The Outsiders Revival Tour.

He added a handful of new stops to the previously-announced 27 cities on the schedule, including Charleston, South Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia, and another show in his home state of North Carolina at PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, among a few others.

In addition to all the great dates, Chief is bringing along an incredible cast of 18 different rotating openers with him on his first headlining amphitheater tour, with the likes of:

Whiskey Myers, Cody Jinks, Jelly Roll, Ashley McBryde, Koe Wetzel, Lainey Wilson, Midland, Parker McCollum, Travis Tritt, Elle King and Paul Cauthen, plus Jackson Dean, Morgan Wade, Muscadine Bloodline, Shane Smith & The Saints, Hailey Whitters, Ray Wylie Hubbard and The Red Clay Strays rotating as openers in different cities.

Tickets for the newly-added shows will be available to Church Choir members first, starting on Tuesday, January 24th, and general public on-sale will begin next Friday, January 27th:

“Once again due to continued overwhelming demand, we’re fired up to announce SIX additional shows are being added to The Outsiders Revival Tour! See below for details.

6.29 Charleston, SC w/ Ashley McBryde and Red Clay Strays
7.6 Toronto, ON w/ Koe Wetzel and Shane Smith & The Saints
7.27 Rogers, AR w/ Midland and Ray Wylie Hubbard*
8.24 Saratoga Springs, NY w/ Lainey Wilson and Red Clay Strays
9.21 Atlanta w/ Whiskey Myers
9.24 Charlotte w/ Whiskey Myers

Premium Church Choir members will have an exclusive presale opportunity for these shows beginning Tuesday, January 24th at 10AM local venue time. General on sale will begin Friday, January 27th at 10AM local venue time. *The Rogers, AR show presale will begin at 9AM CST on Tuesday, January 24th and general on sale will begin at 9AM CST on Friday, January 27th.

Choir members should check their emails for more information.”

Don’t miss it if Eric’s rolling through your town this summer…

Of the forthcoming trek, Eric says it will be a whole new ballgame for his team on this outdoor summer tour, headlining outdoor amphitheaters across the country for the very first time:

“When I approach touring, I’m always inspired by a new experience, a new way to gather, to express ourselves sonically and visually.

Whether it’s solo, in the round, double down; being able to bring a different perspective has always brought out our best creatively. Well, we have never done an outdoor summer tour. Never headlined amphitheaters.

Never brought a summer experience to your town that featured artists we want to share the summer with. Until now. See you in the season of sunshine with some fellow outsiders that shine brightest when the sun goes down.”

In one of the previous teasers, he included a clip from his 2013 Caught in the Act live album, where he details his first amphitheater concert in Charlotte, North Carolina, so this venture seems to also be some sort of nod to that early inspiration in a way:

“I still remember my first amphitheater concert. I was 16-years-old.”

This is easily the tour of the summer in my opinion, and I can only hope an album announcement won’t be too far behind… he released his most recent triple album, Heart & Soul, in April of 2021.

Eric Church 2023 Tour Dates

* denotes festival dates

April 14*   Fort Lauderdale, Fla. / Fort Lauderdale Beach Park               Tortuga Music Festival
June 16*    Central Point, Ore. / Jackson County Expo                           Rogue Music Festival
June 17*    Santa Rosa, Calif. / Sonoma County Fairgrounds                 Country Summer Music Festival
June 22     Milwaukee, Wisc. / AF Insurance Amphitheater                    Elle King
June 23     Detroit, Mich. / Pine Knob Music Theatre                             Ashley McBryde, The Red Clay Strays
June 24     Cleveland, Ohio / Blossom Music Center                              Ashley McBryde, The Red Clay Strays
June 29     Charleston, S.C. / Credit One Stadium                                  Ashley McBryde, The Red Clay Strays
June 30     Charleston, S.C. / Credit One Stadium                                  Parker McCollum, Morgan Wade
July 1      Virginia Beach, Va. /                                                                Parker McCollum, Morgan Wade
July 6      Toronto, Ontario / Budweiser Stage                                       Koe Wetzel, Shane Smith & The Saints
July 7      Toronto, Ontario / Budweiser Stage                                       Koe Wetzel, Shane Smith & The Saints
July 8      Pittsburgh, Pa. / The Pavilion at Star Lake                              Koe Wetzel, Shane Smith & The Saints
July 14     Cincinnati, Ohio / Riverbend Music Center                           Travis Tritt, Muscadine Bloodline
July 15     St Louis, Mo. / Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre                   Travis Tritt, Muscadine Bloodline
July 23*    Minot, N.D. / North Dakota State Fairgrounds                     North Dakota State Fair
July 27     Rogers, Ark. / Walmart AMP                                                  Midland, Ray Wylie Hubbard
July 28     Dallas, Texas / Dos Equis Pavilion                                           Midland, Ray Wylie Hubbard
July 29     Austin, Texas / Germania Insurance Amphitheater                Midland, Ray Wylie Hubbard
Aug. 4      Raleigh, N.C. / Coastal Credit Union Music Park                   Cody Jinks
Aug. 5      Bristow, Va. / Jiffy Lube Live                                                  Cody Jinks
Aug. 11     Indianapolis, Ind. / Ruoff Music Center                                Cody Jinks
Aug. 12     Chicago, Ill. / Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre                   Cody Jinks
Aug. 13*    Des Moines, Iowa / Iowa State Fairgrounds                        Iowa State Fair
Aug. 17     Orange Beach, Ala. / The Wharf Amphitheater                    Lainey Wilson, Jackson Dean
Aug. 18     Orange Beach, Ala. / The Wharf Amphitheater                    Lainey Wilson, Jackson Dean
Aug. 19     Orange Beach, Ala. / The Wharf Amphitheater                    Lainey Wilson, Jackson Dean
Aug. 24     Sarasota Springs, N.Y. / Saratoga Performing Arts Center  Lainey Wilson, The Red Clay Strays
Aug. 25     Holmdel, N.J. / PNC Bank Arts Center                                 Whiskey Myers
Aug. 26     Philadelphia, Pa. / Freedom Mortgage Pavilion                  Whiskey Myers
Sept. 8     Portland, Ore. / RV Inn Style Resorts Amphitheater            Jelly Roll, Hailey Whitters
Sept. 9     George, Wash. / Gorge Amphitheatre                                 Jelly Roll, Hailey Whitters
Sept. 10    George, Wash. / Gorge Amphitheatre                                Jelly Roll, Hailey Whitters
Sept. 15    Albuquerque, N.M. / Isleta Amphitheater                          Paul Cauthen, Hailey Whitters
Sept. 16    Phoenix, Ariz. / Talking Stick Resort Amphitheatre            Jelly Roll, Paul Cauthen
Sept. 21    Atlanta, Ga. / Ameris Bank Amphitheatre                          Whiskey Myers
Sept. 22    Atlanta, Ga. / Ameris Bank Amphitheatre                          Whiskey Myers
Sept. 23    Charlotte, N.C. / PNC Music Pavilion                                 Whiskey Myers
Sept. 24    Charlotte, N.C. / PNC Music Pavilion                                  Whiskey Myers
Sept. 29    West Palm Beach, Fla. / iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre     Whiskey Myers
Sept. 30    Tampa, Fla. / MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre      Whiskey Myers
Oct. 7*     Bristol, Tenn. / Bristol Motor Speedway                             Country Thunder Bristol
Oct. 15*    Sacramento, Calif. / Discovery Park                                   GoldenSky Festival

“Springsteen/Born To Run (Medley/Live)”

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock