Aaron Tippin Interview

He's an accomplished body builder, a certified pilot, and now he's ready to take on the world of country music. And, he's not doing too badly for himself. U.S.A. Today calls him the big discovery of 1991. Music Row magazine says he's a "star". And, R.CA./BMG Records has released his debut album, "You've Got To Stand For Something".
Aaron Tippin is his name, and country is his — life.

Q. - Aaron, how did you know you could be successful in Nashville?
A. - It's the want to I guess. I don't think you know anything. You don't know what you can do until you try. My dad's always taught me, there's nothing on this earth but human beings, and if one human being can do something, another can do it. You know, that's the first thing a mechanic ever overcomes. I think people lift the hood on their cars and they go, "My God, I can't work on this. Look at this thing." If you'll always stop, and think, another human being did this. And if they did it, you can figure out what's wrong with it, and fix it. I was up here running a gamble. I think you gotta take all your fears and cast them aside, all your pride. Many of us come to this town, and it doesn't work out, and folks give up. I probably came to Nashville with the attitude of being famous, and reap great fortune. One morning I woke up, and I thought I see this a few ways. I can pack it up and go on back home and suffer my pride, or I can pack up and go somewhere else, and never go home and forget about music, or I can just dig in here, and I can commit my lift to something. No matter what comes, forget about the fame and fortune, and just lock in and do this, for nothing more, than I love it. I made up my mind, I said I've learned how to live cheap. I can live cheap, and I will. I'm gonna stay here in this town and write songs, if I have to live under a bridge. I made that commitment and within a month's time, I no longer was chasing the music business. It was chasing me. When your heart gets right, and you're doing this for the right reason, suddenly, things start to happen. If you're in this for nothing more than the me aspect, I don't think you've got a very long life in this career. I've sworn myself on to the betterment and longevity of country music. When I finally throw in the towel on this thing, all I want to be said is, he drove her a little further down the road.

Q. - It's a rare combination you possess — a musician who's also a bodybuilder.
A. - I think we've taken a turn from the musician status of being a druggie and drunk all the time. Maybe, especially in country music. I think a lot of record labels look at some longevity, in an artist. When they see somebody that's really taking care of themselves, stayin' in shape, they get the thought that these people are gonna stay with it. When I saw myself, changin' myself, man, that was a tremendous experience. Suddenly, I realized, motivation is such a powerful tool. And that's all it took.

Q. - What does it mean when Billboard Magazine wrote, "Tippin's vocals are authentic country pushed to the extreme."
A. - In some cases, if I find it in a song that I can add some of the ancient yodeling, I'm obliged to do that. I'm not only for today's country music, I don't ever want us to forget about yesterday's. I guess when they call me an extremist, that suits me fine, because one thing I want to be is plenty country.

Q. - Your hometown of Travelers Rest, South Carolina — what big city is that near?
A. - It's close to Greenville, South Carolina. Actually, I just gave that name because it's the closest town to where I live. Actually, there is no town where I live. It's nestled up in the Blue Ridge mountain range of the Appalachians. It's just three or four communities big enough to have a high school. The closest town was about ten miles. So, where we grew up was very rural.

Q. - Did you ever get any country artists come through to perform?
A. - They would come in to Greenville Memorial Auditorium and play there. Actually, I only went to a few shows. Every once in a while I got the opportunity to go, I'd go, but not very often.

Q. - You performed in Bob Hope's Christmas Show for the troops in the Persian Gulf last year. It was Hope's daughter Linda that recommended you?
A. - She had seen a spiel in U.S.A. Today that Mr. Zimmerman had done on me. That kind of got her to wonderin'. They were huntin' somebody in the country music field to go to Saudi. How she actually found out about it, I don't really know. The first information I got was that she had heard a tape. She heard the song "You've Got To Stand For Something" and said this is the type of song we've got to take to these people.

Q. - That must've been an emotional experience for you — performing for our troops.
A. - You're right. It's hard for me to sit and talk about it. I get highly emotional. I would end my show with "You've Got To Stand For Something". When I saw those people come to their feet and holler out "yes", this is us, we believe we're over here for a worthy cause. I got the sensation that they believed in themselves. I was very proud to take the message to them that we believed in them. It was a great exchange.

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