OTR Interviews

Country Music Superstar Brad Paisley Opens His 'Diary of a Player' to 'On the Record'

Country music superstar tells Greta how he became a 'Guitar Man' in revealing interview about new book

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," November 4, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Twenty number one hits, three Grammy awards, the CMA Entertainer of the Year crown, and that is certainly not all. Country music superstar Brad Paisley is now an author. It's called "Diary of a Player." Brad Paisley joined us to talk about his new book and play a little guitar.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: Brad, nice to see you.

BRAD PAISLEY, COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER: Nice to be here. Thanks for having me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Great new book.

PAISLEY: Thanks.

VAN SUSTEREN: It's called "Diary of a Player." But I thought it was a long thank you.

PAISLEY: It really is. It's meant to sort of inspire a little bit.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, it was nice that you thanked all the people that have been so important to your career.

PAISLEY: Yes, I did. I didn't set out really knowing what this would be. It was the idea of the co-writer who is in little print right there. He's a great writer who had this idea for this book for me. I thought OK. And it ended up as it started out. I realized what it is. It's almost like saying thank you to everybody who got me here as well as it's meant to sort of say this is how you do it if you're anything like me at all. There's a way. I don't feel like I was destined, necessarily, to be successful. I feel like it took a lot of hard work and some blessings in there, you know. But I think I beat the odds, maybe.

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, there are many parts I like about it, but you can't -- you want to know your grandfather. Everybody reading it would like to know your grandfather.

PAISLEY: Yes. And they would all like him, I think. He is the type of guy that was sort of an outspoken, funny, opinionated but charming with a twinkle in his eye old guy who loved music, and the best friend I ever had. He's probably the reason I have anything in this life because of that first Christmas gift when I was eight.

VAN SUSTEREN: He gave you a guitar.

PAISLEY: Yes. That's the way the book starts. I had my fingers crossed that I would get a Millennium Falcon or Battlestar Galactica toy, and life would have no meaning without one of those. But truthfully, I had no idea that the answer to every question I would ever have and the thing that would get me through every difficulty in life was waiting under the tree. It wasn't a Star Wars toy. Sorry, George Lucas.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why are you so good at the guitar?

PAISLEY: Some days I'm not.

VAN SUSTEREN: Most days you are. It's extraordinary. Why are you so good at this?

PAISLEY: I don't know. I don't feel like I have more ability or anything than somebody else. I really don't feel like I'm better than a lot of people. There are a lot of players than me. I think I'm unique. People say, who's better, Eddie Van Halen or Steve Vai? It's sort of like who do you like better, because honestly, at some point it's all opinion. If you're unique, that's the key as a guitar player. That's where a guy like B.B. King who plays like he plays with such soul and very few notes can destroy someone like me. I've played with him. He can destroy me with one note. Anything I've got going for me would be that I can think my way out of some of these situations guitar-wise, you know.

VAN SUSTEREN: You talk in the book about the early band. You were a young guy in high school. You've got this older band. They seemed much older at the time.

PAISLEY: They were way older than me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you have any video from that? I imagine that's quite a sight.

PAISLEY: It's hysterical. We have a lot of video of that. I was 11 years old when we first played our first gig, and they were in their 50s. And geez, they were called "The C Notes" because we got $100 for the gig, like the firemen's Christmas party. My friends called him "The Seniles." It was an interesting thing for me to grow up that way.

I say in the book I was saved by Garth Brooks who came along right as I started high school. Everybody was like that Brad sings country. I bet he could play a couple of those. The next thing at a party, they're bringing out an acoustic guitar and I'm cool thanks to Garth.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you get nervous on stage?

PAISLEY: Not anymore so much. I was nervous at the White House when I played the East Room, obviously. I was singing a song I had never sung before. I talk about that in there, too. I was singing a song called welcome to the future which is sort of about racial progress, especially the last verse. That was nerve-wracking because I didn't even really know that song that well to be singing it for the most powerful man in the world. But then most of the time now, if I know what I'm doing and I'm ready, I'm OK. Today I don't know what I'm doing.

VAN SUSTEREN: We'll see. But is it work for you when you go on stage or is it like this is really fun, or both?

PAISLEY: It's really fun. It's not work. It's really fun. You've got to come to a concert some time. What we do is a full-blown -- it's bells and whistles and lasers and explosion and video. It's no holds barred, put on a show at all costs, and really love that. And you can imagine why you walk out there excited to kind of present this to people that in this economy bought a ticket, you know. The fact they spent $50 or whatever for a ticket. I can't wait to go out there every night and say I hope you walk away feeling like this was more than what you expected.

VAN SUSTEREN: I think those are the successful performers, the ones who have fun doing it, and it's not a job.

PAISLEY: I hope so. If you can't have fun with this as your job, I don't know. Then you have a problem because it's just the absolute best way to make a living.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you brought your guitar.

PAISLEY: I did. Well, I reluctantly brought it. You're making me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Reluctantly?

PAISLEY: Yes. I'm so out of practice. I'm talking too much and writing. I need to be a player again. I did sing last night. Chet Atkins did a really, really cool thing. This is how he used to think. He was an absolute genius. He took "Yankee Doodle" since we're up north right now, and he took "Dixie," and he combined them. It's called Yankee Doodle Dixie. I learned it when I was younger. It's been a while. Wish me luck.

(MUSIC)

PAISLEY: I almost got it. It's the type of thing where you sit down and figure out great things you can do. And there's no limits to this instrument.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you read music or just hear it play?

PAISLEY: I don't really read. I used to in college a bit when I was studying some jazz stuff. It's all sort of -- it's sort of by ear for me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, it's a fabulous book. I don't have to tell you how great you are. That's a given. Everybody knows how good you are. People enjoy the book. They'll enjoy the book.

PAISLEY: I hope so. Thanks for being so kind about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: I hope you come back.

PAISLEY: Yes, I will.

VAN SUSTEREN: I'd love to go to a concert. Nice talking to you.

PAISLEY: You too.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAN SUSTEREN: There's so much more to our interview with him. Brad Paisley tells us a very unusual story of how he met his movie star wife. Now, you can see the entire interview with Brad Paisley on GretaWire.com, so make sure you go. You'll love it.