Brad Paisley is playing RodeoHouston tonight. But admit it, you don’t care to hear about the music, the show or any deeper meaning in his ballads. You want to know about life as a country music star.
So here, without further ado, are the five coolest things about being Brad Paisley.
You’re married to a babe-o-licious actress: Paisley and his wife of seven years, actress Kimberly Williams (Father of the Bride, TV’s According to Jim) live with their two children on their 85-acre spread near Nashville in Franklin, Tennessee. And Paisley’s not ashamed to say who rules the roost. "Yeah,” he says with hearty chuckle, “it’s similar to that song on my latest album — ‘It’s not who wears the pants, it’s who wears the skirt.’ She may let me hold the TV remote — but it is a puppet regime, I’m telling you that right now. Because the minute I switch over to The Speed Channel or Top Gear or anything like that — I’ll be punching in the numbers, and she’ll ask, ‘What are you doing?’ And I’ll say, ‘Well, I wanted to change it over from Grey’s Anatomy or whatever’s on. And she’ll say, ‘No, it’s not over with yet. You can watch that when we’re done.’”
You live where celebrities are left alone: “We don’t have paparazzi in Nashville,” Paisley says. “And anyway, I’m so far off the radar — the paparazzi has figured out who to follow, and it isn’t me. Actually, that would be hysterical, if they did want to follow me. They should try it. They should ride along with me for a day. They can come in the car if they want. I don’t care check it out. They’ll be bored stiff. It’d be like the worst episode ever of The Andy Griffith Show, where nothing ever happens.
You actually get to hang with Andy Griffith: Making a music video for “Waitin’ on a Woman” with the beloved veteran actor “was one of my proudest moments in my entire career,” Paisley says. “And he was so amazingly gracious to do that with me. I mean, here’s a guy who’s essentially retired to North Carolina to enjoy life. He still works. He likes to act when he’s offered the right things. But for him to bring that sort of dedication to something like this – and it wasn’t even his song. Of course, it ended up being his video, which is the greatest thing in the world. And I’m so glad that when it got nominated for Country Music Award (CMA) Video of the Year, it got nominated as ‘Brad Paisley with Andy Griffith.’ So he got his own CMA award when we won that.”
You also get to hang with Capt. James T. Kirk: Paisley has been buddy-buddy with William Shatner ever since Shatner made a guest appearance in Brad’s “Celebrity” music video. In fact, he helped write a song for Has Been, Shatner’s acclaimed album of prose-poems set to music. So when Shatner came to the Nashville Film Festival last year to introduce William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet, a well-received documentary inspired by Has Been, Brad invited him to spend some time over at the Paisley family farm. “And I’ll tell you one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen,” Paisley says. “I came home from the recording studio, and [Shatner] was already over at the house, playing with my two-year-old son in the basement — with light sabers. I walked in to see my son and Capt. Kirk, dueling with light sabers. I looked over at my wife, and asked: ‘What the hell kind of bizarre universe have I just walked into here?’”
You get to hang at the White House: Paisley was invited to perform “Welcome to the Future” for a very select audience — including President Barack Obama — at the White House last summer. And with good reason: Listen carefully to the third verse of that hard-rocking, good-time tune, and you’ll hear a shout out to “a man with a dream.” Yes, you guessed it: That was intended as a tip of the Stetson to the Commander in Chief. “Very few things have moved me the way I was moved on Election Night [in 2008],” Paisley says. “See, I was in New York that night, in Times Square, because we’d played Good Morning, America that day. And I think that, regardless of who you supported, you could not help but be completely moved. You looked around, and you saw people — blacks, whites — hugging each other. Total strangers, hugging each other. It was like a wound had just been healed. And you couldn’t help going back and thinking of the ‘I have a dream’ speech and things like that. I remember when the election was going on, even before people were wondering who was gonna win – it was still, ‘Who’s gonna be the nominee?’ – and you’d hear people say, ‘Well, it won’t be Obama. There’s just no way.’ And you knew why they were saying that. But now, well, it’s going to be a different time for my children. They’ll be able to grow up in a world where they won’t think an election like this one will be anything remarkable. And that’s a wonderful thing.”
(For even more cool stuff about Brad Paisley, check out Joe Leydon’s cover-story profile in Cowboys & Indians Magazine.)