Penthouse Retrospective

by Alanna Nash Originally Published: December, 2010

Gary Allan | 10 Years Ago This Month

That was your third marriage. Will Gary Allan remarry?

If it was perfect. It’s really difficult for me to think about. I’m pretty hard to get close to now.

You had a stalker for a while. How did that come about?

Well, my first experience, the woman came up to me in a bar and tapped me on the back of the head and yelled really loud, “Hey, we need to talk!” I said, “Well, my friend’s playing. Maybe after that.” And she tapped me on the head again and said, “We need to talk now!” And I remember looking back and saying “No. Beat it.” And she started screaming louder. She said, “Why, Mr. Fuckin’ Big,” and didn’t stop. I looked up at her and said, “You don’t look remotely familiar to me.” She kept screaming, so I got up and walked out, and she “motherfuck”-ed me out of the bar. A couple of weeks later, she came to my house. I told her she needed to go, and then she came back when I wasn’t home. My neighbor called and said, “There’s a woman kicking your dog and throwing stuff at your cars.” I went to court over it, and it’s not over yet. It’s just been the creepiest thing.

What kind of woman are you attracted to? What constitutes a sexy woman?

Confidence. A woman’s attitude is most of it. She can’t be arrogant, but she has to have some mystery to her.

And she has to like tattoos. You have some very serious artwork going on there.

Well, I’ve always liked tattoos. I got my first one when I was 15. My mom cried and said, “You may as well rob banks. You look like a criminal now.” I’ve got a skull on my left arm. He’s pointing a shotgun at you with one hand, and he’s rolling the dice with the other. To me, that symbolizes what we do. Music is like rolling the dice. It’s a gamble, but we’re taking the fucking money anyway [laughs]. And the one on my right arm is a tribute [to Angela]. It’s an angel sitting in a broken heart. And on my back, I’ve got a huge tattoo. It’s the stuff that my logos are drawn from: the bronc rider, the skeleton guy.

What kind of kid were you growing up?

I was a good kid. My mom was very Mormon, still to this day has never drank, smoked, and my dad was the polar opposite. He smoked and drank. I’ve played bars with him since I was 12.1 had to go outside during the breaks because I was underage, and somebody would have to come out and stand with me because I was so little. I think I spun out once as a kid and did a bunch of drugs and drank, but after that, I really didn’t drink until I was 25, until I got divorced the first time. I didn’t want to do a bunch of drugs, but I didn’t really want to feel like me. But yeah, I was a very straight kid. I think it was because I had drunk people hitting on me in the bars. When the older ladies hit on me when I was 14 and 15, the whole alcohol thing was just a turn-off.

You got your first record-deal offer when you were 15, but your father refused to sign it because he thought you weren’t ready.

Yeah. His exact words were, “You need to play for the people who love you, the people who hate you, and the people who could care less. And then you need to learn to play for yourself.” He said I was imitating people, and I had to wait until I found myself, which I didn’t do until I was 23. So many people out there touring and headlining today didn’t come up like that. They got their deal off a karaoke contest and have no body of work. And it’s sad, because we’ll never see them be the best that they can be. They’re just singing a bunch of songs that other people already did. How can they take me through a night of emotion? There’s no way to deliver emotion like that.

Certainly not in country music.

Oh, and it’s really disappointing to watch them take this pop approach to it. The result is, a lot of our stuff is being watered down. And I’m really worried about it never coming back.

Carrie Underwood won Entertainer of the Year [at the Academy of Country Music Awards], and she’s not even 40. How do you even do that? Back when I was a kid, even if you were rock or pop, you couldn’t help but be influenced by the depth that came out of country music, by Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson. It was just such hard-core truth. I remember the Highwaymen tour that they did. I was in the third or fourth row, and I just had chills, I was so blown away by them. And nobody was rock in’. It was just words they were cutting you with. That was when I said, “Here’s what I want to do.”

And [Merle] Haggard was huge to me. Now it’s all kind of poppy and candy-ish. It’s a drag.

“No Regrets” harks back to the Highwaymen era, in that it’s a song about difficult truths.

I’ve just gotten to a point where I can sing songs like that. I just told my band that we’re going to switch that into the show and create a moment like that. I don’t know if I will be able to talk about it, but I’ll be able to do some of the really emotional songs. Usually I stay away from all that stuff, because I’ll end up crying and just be a mess for the show. But’! think this is the year.

You may, of course, see what’s up with Gary Allan today, should you so desire. We do try to be helpful.

The maverick singer-songwriter has almost become cliche in modern culture, but Gary Allan proudly leads the life in the real world.

Leave a Reply