These days Morgan Wallen is one of the hottest tickets in country music.
The “Last Night” singer is currently on his massive One Night At A Time world tour, and aside from Taylor Swift and Zach Bryan, there may not be a harder ticket to come by in country music.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
Of course everybody has to start somewhere. And during an appearance on Theo Von’s This Past Weekend podcast awhile back, Morgan told the story of one show in particular when he was first starting out that may be one of his worst.
It was back when Morgan first moved to Nashville, and his agent booked him to play some cover band shows to get him and his band some more time on stage. Get him comfortable, get the band tight, get him in front of some crowds playing songs that everybody knows, seems like a smart move.
Well, maybe not.
According to Morgan, one of the first shows was in Greenville, North Carolina, home of East Carolina University. And if there’s one thing we know about Morgan, it’s that he’s not opposed to partying with some college girls – so he was looking forward to the show.
But that’s not how it turned out.
“We get there and the first thing the dude says to us, he’s like, ‘Yeah by the way guys, it’s rush week, none of the frats or sororities are allowed to go out this week.’
I’m like, ‘Ok, great. Maybe there’s some people that stuck around in this town that are a little younger. Or they didn’t make it to the frat.'”
Not looking good, playing a show in a college town where most of the college kids can’t attend. So Morgan does what any normal person would do in that situation – and starts pounding beers:
“As soon as he starts saying that I start pounding PBRs, just in the middle of the day. I’m like, ‘Oh, this is gonna be bad.'”
So by the time Morgan gets to the stage, he admits that he’s “pretty lit.” And he hasn’t had a chance to play with his band much, so as they’re going through the setlist of cover songs they’re supposed to play, apparently things aren’t going so well:
“There’s a bunch of songs on this list. So I’m damn near making up words to these songs, lit, singing, and there’s like four people, you know, one person kinda dancing a little bit…
I start, midway, I’m like halfway talking sh*t to the crowd. I’m like, ‘God, you guys suck.’
I’m just not having a good time. Not feeling it at all. Telling my band to replay the chorus and at the end, you know, ‘Let’s just keep this song going because I don’t know the next one.'”
And apparently Morgan wasn’t the only one who wasn’t enjoying himself:
“I’m pretty sure one of my buddies that I brought with me told the guy his bar sucked and he got kicked out of the bar.
One of the five people there was my buddy and he got kicked out because he was being an idiot.”
But Morgan said the whole experience taught him what he DIDN’T want to do with his career – and encouraged him to “get it together” so he could play shows with his own music:
“It was one of those moments where I knew I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t want to play cover band shows because it was extremely difficult and you just never know what you’re gonna get.
It was one of those moments where I was like, ‘Well, I need to get it together. I wanna make something of this. I really, really love singing, I really don’t like singing other people’s music the whole time, I would really like to sing my own, so let’s hone in and really work on this.’
And that was the worst one we ever did. The first one was the worst one.”
Well things have definitely changed since then – and Morgan’s definitely playing to more than four people these days.