Interview with THE FRONTMEN’s Tim Rushlow and Larry Stewart
TC: The Frontmen. Tell me a little about you. Little Texas. In England, back in the early 90’?…
TF (Tim Rushlow): The 1940’s? (Laughs)
TC: Back in the 90’s, we had CMT, we haven’t had it in a while, but Little Texas, I have many albums.
TF (Tim Rushlow): Well, that’s a good thing!
TC: So, we have Little Texas, and then we have Restless Heart, which I have to say, I don’t know much about, but we want to know more!
TF (Tim Rushlow): I can tell you about Restless Heart. Of Little Texas, Lonestar and Restless Heart, Restless Heart hit the market first. There had not been, with the exception of Alabama, there hadn’t been a vocal group that had come along that had a really Eagle-esque platform. Restless Heart is who we wanted to emulate. We wanted to be like those guys.
TF (Larry Stewart): What he’s saying is, “I’m old. That’s what he’s saying.”
TF: (Tim Rushlow): (Laughs). Yeah, not so much, but we love Restless Heart, and there’s a common thread that runs between Lonestar to Restless Heart to Little Texas. So, we’ve got 30 number one hits, 30 million records sold between the three bands, three lead singers of those bands with a concert violinist that plays with us unplugged, and we’ve been doing these shows for six years.
TC: Who came up with this idea?
TF (Tim Rushlow): The guy that’s not here.
TF: (Larry Stewart): Richie McDonald of Lonestar, the guy that’s not here, he’s sick, so you don’t want him here. So, anyway, he and I were doing a fundraiser down in Louisiana many years ago, and you know, that kind of started with a songwriter in the round thing that goes on a lot. Some solo artists were starting to do the same thing, three great solo artists going around and doing an acoustic set. Richie said, “I’ve got this idea, everybody’s doing all that stuff. What do you think if we got three lead singers of bands and call it The Frontmen?” I about fell out of my chair and I said, “I love the idea!” Well, long story short, we asked Randy Owen of Alabama. We did a few shows because he was on William Morris, and that went by and we thought of Tim Rushlow of Little Texas, ever heard of him?
TC: The name rings a bell. (Laughing all around)
TF (Larry Stewart): So, he came on the scene and all of a sudden it busted open, we were doing some shows, he got us some shows overseas, on and on. We started doing five to ten shows a year, and that’s where we are now six years later, and we now have a new single.
TC: When you’re on the road, do you sing your hits from your separate bands?
TF (Larry Stewart): No, Restless Heart does all Alabama songs in our show. (Laughs)
TF (Tim Rushlow): Yeah, that’s the fun part about the show. We get to swap the songs around and when you go from Richie singing “Amazed” to Larry singing “Bluest Eyes in Texas” and me singing “What Might Have Been” or “Amy’s Back in Austin” or whatever. Then I do “God Blessed Texas”, then Larry does “I’ll Still Be Loving You”, then Richie does “I’m Already There” or “Front Porch Looking In”, I mean, you can go two full hours and hear nothing but hits.
TC: I want to go to a show!
TF (Tim Rushlow): So, for us, it’s a real fun feeling on stage because we really enjoy what we do, but for an audience member, we’re watching them connect the dots. “Oh my God, I forgot he sang that! Oh, I love that song!”
TC: Well, you have a new single out, so you’re actually making new music as well.
TF (Tim Rushlow): We are. Yeah, we found a song that was just really, really, really good and it kind of stood for us thanking radio for giving us a platform to have a career for 30 years, and at the same time thanking the fans and giving them something that I think lyrically, speaks for all of us, because the song talks about, you know, this being the soundtrack of their life. We hear every night when we do our shows, “Oh my God, you guys you have no idea, your music was the soundtrack of my life.” So, when that line popped up in the lyric of this song, we went, “Wow, this is perfect!” So, we recorded it and we put it out to radio all on our own just to see what would happen, if there was going to be a warm reaction or not, and the reaction’s been pretty amazing. We’ll see where it goes.
TF (Tim Rushlow): Obviously, Richie sings for Lonestar, Larry sings for Restless Heart, I have a big band, that’s what I do now. We’re really busy with our separate stuff with our bands, but we come together collectively, do a dozen shows a year, and then put out a single just to see what radio might think about it.
TC: It sounds like it’s really good fun, not like your other “day jobs”, just fun when you all get together. (Annette speaking)
TC: Yes, not like it’s a high-pressure thing. (Patti speaking)
TF (Tim Rushlow): It is fun. We just played a show Saturday night, it was sold out, down in Biloxi, in Gulfport, Mississippi, at the Island View Casino Resort, crammed 600 people in this killer little showroom.
TC: Are you touring mainly in the south?
TF (Larry Stewart and Tim Rushlow both chimed in here): No, we’re all over. We’re going to Phoenix, Jackpot in Nevada, Minnesota, we’re kind of all over.
TF (Larry Stewart): We’re coming to London.
TF (Tim Rushlow): Yes, we’re coming to London. You just find us where to play and we’ll be there.
TF (Larry Stewart, in his best British voice): We could play the Grand Theatre if you’d like us to.
TC: The Royal Albert Hall, could you imagine?
TF (Tim Rushlow): Can you pull that off?
TF (Larry Stewart): I would be so nervous to do that place.
TF: (Tim Rushlow): Call the Queen, come on, make that happen.
TC: She IS the Queen. The Queen just got fired and she’s taking over. (Patti speaking about Annette)
TF (Tim Rushlow): That would be fantastic. That would be very royal.
TF: (Larry Stewart): Have us! That would be great! We’ll even play your living room, we don’t have to do Royal Albert Hall.
TF (Tim Rushlow): We could just play a pub, just find us a good pub.
TF (Larry Stewart in that amazing British accent again): A proper pub.
TF (Tim Rushlow): Some fish and chips, a microphone, a couple guitars, we’re there.
TC: Everybody wants fish and chips when they come over.
TF (Tim Rushlow): It’ll be grassroots. We’ll come in low and just build it, you know. As long as I don’t have to pay taxes when we’re there we’re good. (Laughing). Did I say that? I’m sorry. I thought, “What are they bitching about over there? It’s no big deal.” Then I heard what your taxes were, and I went, “Wow, wow, I thought I had it bad!”
TC: So, for your new music, will you be doing a video?
TF (Tim Rushlow): That’s a great question? We’ve never been asked that before. I don’t know. It really will depend on what’s dictated, you know. If it’s something that feels natural that should happen at some point, yeah, maybe.
TF (Larry Stewart): I don’t know, if we could get like, three iPhones at different angles, and just do an iPhone video…
TF (Tim Rushlow): We sure could.
TC: I have one, we could do one right now. Start singing.
TC: I’m sure you’ve played so many venues, but do you have a highlight, somewhere you would love to play?
TF (Tim Rushlow): You’ve already said it. We’d love to play the Royal Albert Hall. I mean, it’s stunning. That would be awesome. As far as somewhere we haven’t played, we’ve played all around the world. We’ve been really blessed to play some crazy good places.
TC: I think maybe God blessed you in Texas.
TF (Tim Rushlow): Yeah, that’s the rumor.
TC: Alright then, how about this. Where’s the WORST place you’ve ever played?
TF (Tim Rushlow): Oooh… there’s a long list of honky tonks back in the 80’s that could fall on this list.
TF (Larry Stewart): Nasty.
TC: So bad you can’t even name them?
TF (Tim Rushlow): I’ll name one. Bad Bob’s, which is a honky tonk in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, was, without a doubt the worst, because Bob, the owner, who’s really bad…
TC: Thus, the name, BAD Bob’s.
TF (Tim Rushlow): Yeah, BAD, and not BAD like Michael Jackson cool, thumbs down bad. He put his gun on the table to pay us and just said he didn’t really want to pay us because our hair was too long, and he didn’t like me because I had my first wireless microphone and I came off the stage into the crowd. He came and got me by the back of the collar of my shirt and he said, “Get back on that stage boy, you’re scarin’ off my drunks!” It scared me to death. He also told me to lose my jacket because it had fringe on it and he said people would think I was a biker. So, the next day, we went to the truck stop and we bought six Ely Western Wear shirts, all matching, and we wore ‘em, and we walked in, and he literally goes, “Well, that’s more like it boys right there, that’s what I’m talking ‘bout!” Then we just died. Then we proceeded to play “Silver Wings” by Merle Haggard for an hour for one whole set! And that’s the truth!
TC: That’s a great story, and since we’re out of time, it’s also a great way to end the interview. We really hope to catch you guys on the road and please do make your way over to the UK as well.
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