Rascal Flatts: Eric Church 'disrespectful' during ill-fated tour with trio

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Rascal Flatts: Eric Church 'disrespectful' during ill-fated tour with trio

By Stephen L. Betts. CREATED Feb 3, 2014

Rascal Flatts is looking ahead to their new album, "Rewind," but in a recent interview, the trio was asked about their 2006 tour that that is still being talked about today, thanks to Taylor Swift. While accepting her Pinnacle award from the CMA in November, Taylor reminded the audience that she was invited to tour with Rascal Flatts on their Me & My Gang trek, because Eric Church, who had been the opening act, was fired from the gig for playing too long during his portion of the show.

In a radio interview, the threesome noted that labor fees are charged for any shows that go over their allotted time, and that because the singer had been playing too long, they would have to go on later, meaning paying those extra fees. The situation came to a head when Rascal Flatts played their first-ever show at New York's Madison Square Garden.    

"We asked [Eric] four times to stay to the allotted amount of time that he had to play," the group said. "We sat him down in our dressing room and we're 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.'

"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," they continued. "So the last time was Madison Square Garden, we said, 'It's really important tonight that you get off on time. ... Instead of going 12 minutes over like you're doing, we'll put you on 12 minutes earlier but you have to finish on time.' And he played 20 minutes over. And he started like 10 minutes late."

The group added, "We made that his last visit with us," and said, "It was kind of like a middle finger really."

They also noted, "Every time we see him now and run into him, it's fine, but it was just a bit disrespectful. Because when you're an opening act, we did our best to abide by the rules that the headliner laid out for us and you just do that and there was no goodwill being sent back to us so we were like, 'It's not worth the trouble, see ya.'"

For more from the interview, including details of the group's new album," click here.

"Rewind" will be in stores June 3. 

To hear the latest music from Rascal Flatts, Eric Church and more, go to Nashville Edge Radio.
Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts

Stephen L. Betts ("Steve") is a Nashville-based journalist who started his career as a tour guide, karaoke operator and library assistant at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.