It was this week in 2011 Eric Church released his game changing album Chief.
The project shared his nickname and a look that Eric developed through performing on stage.
When it comes to the “look” – Eric says it started with contacts that would not stay in, “We have been playing a lot of little bars and clubs and honkytonks where the lights are about a foot from your face. And I wore contacts, where this all started, the initial inception was, my contacts would fall out, pop out on stage, and I would be blind for half the show, so I started wearing sunglasses, then I put on a hat to stop the sweat and it just became this thing, and we got in bigger venues, I tried to adjust that, but people in the crowds would have on hats and sunglasses and wouldn’t let me adjust that, so it just became this thing naturally. So, that was show time, it was kind of my uniform.”
Eric shares, “The band starting joking with me, when I put the hat and sunglasses on, they go ‘Alright, its Chief time, Chief’s here.’”
When it came to the nickname, Eric explains, “Well, Chief became my nickname on the road, really as a joke…I laughed about it…but what they didn’t know, the really cool part of the story, my grandpa was the chief of police in Granite Falls, North Carolina, and everybody called him ‘Chief.’ Everybody, my dad called him chief as his son-in-law, so it was just very neat to me, that across generations, it became my nickname naturally and nobody knew about it being my grandpa’s nickname, nobody.”
Eric Church says it was the sound and feel of his 3rd album that led to its title, “When it came time to title the record, because it felt live, and because it was something I wanted to show — a part of the live show, Chief was the right title from my point of view, but also because of my grandfather and what he meant to me. And I just thought it was the right title, and you know it happened so naturally, it happened so not thought out, you know. When I said the title of the record, I had to explain to everyone why, you know. They were going, ‘What’s chief?’ ‘Well, Chief’s a nickname.’ Then it became a cool thing when they heard about it being my grandfather’s nickname, too. It just felt like the perfect title to me.”
Chief contained a bunch of hits – including Eric’s very first number-1 song “Drink In My Hand” – he explains the story behind the song, “‘When we wrote this song …we were on tour…I think we were on tour with Miranda (Lambert) at the time, and I was on the bus with a couple of co-writers of mine, and we had just walked offstage and saw the crowd, saw our fans and saw ‘em put their beers in the air. You could just tell that they had worked all week and this was their moment to let all that wash away. And that was where the title was born from really. ‘Everything’s OK now, I’ve got a drink in my hand, and I’m relaxing and I’m chilling.’ That just became a really good song born from our fans. They’re the ones that inspired that, and it was on tour. It was on a tour bus, and I’ll never forget it.”
Of course in 2021 Eric is continuing to make music that fans are connecting with, like his latest single at country radio, “Heart On Fire” – check out the studio video for the track here…
Photo Credit: Anthony D’Angio