06/16/2008

11 QUESTIONS WITH ALAN JACKSON

by Deborah Evans-Price
AOL - The Boot


The notoriously reserved Alan Jackson is not a big fan of interviews. He simply just doesn't like talking about himself! But in this candid chat, The Boot stretches the living legend out of his comfort zone a little bit, getting him to open up about life at home with his girls, the young stars who impress him and his surprisingly simple plans to celebrate turning the big 5-0.

If you're not on the road touring, what is a typical day like for you?

I get up with the girls [his three daughters] about 5:30 in the morning and get them off to school. I try to work out two or three days a week. We have a trainer come to the house and I walk a three-mile track around the property. I do stuff around the house, fiddle with my cars and boats. Typically, we're going to ball games two, three or four days a week -- basketball, volleyball or soccer.

Describe your demeanor during your girls' games. Are you intense?

I cheer, but I'm not one of those screaming parents [who] scream at the referee or try to tell all the children what to do. I enjoy watching them play, and I try not to get too serious. It's just young girls playing sports. They probably will never play again once they get out of high school. I try to let them enjoy it and not be so serious about it.

Did you play sports in school?

I did when I was young, up until about 12, and then I started working after school. I played basketball and football -- that's all we had back then. I played basketball some in a church league when I got a little older, but I never was that good. What I always told people is 'I'm tall, that's all.'

Given your success, what do you indulge in?

Even when I didn't have money, I was always buying something -- some old car or an old motorcycle. I'd drive it for a while and then sell it and make some money. Now I buy things that I've always wanted, or something a little nicer or a collectible.

Do you ever think about how life would have been if you hadn't been successful in music?

Denise and I wouldn't have known all this that we have now, so we wouldn't have missed it. I think we would have continued working and had kids, and we'd still be going to the lake on weekends. We probably wouldn't have a nice home and expensive boats, but we'd be doing the same kind of thing. I think we would have been happy and made the best of it.

You have three daughters: Mattie, 17, Ali, 14, and Dani, 10. Do you try to intimidate their dates?

No, they might be a little scared, but I don't try to scare them. I'm pretty easygoing, and I don't worry about the girls. They make good choices. We just try to keep our eye on them a little bit.

Do the girls' friends view you as a celebrity or just their friend's dad?

[I] don't act like a celebrity. I've never been a big showboat. We don't have big parties. We have a lot of nice things and do things that we wouldn't have otherwise, but other than that, we're just here. Denise is in the kitchen cooking, and I'm watching football. We're just regular people, and I think they don't get that celebrity feeling, really.

You are very quiet and reserved. How can someone be such a brilliant lyricist but not like to talk?

It's easier writing, because you think about what you're going to say and say it in ways that you won't be able to communicate to someone in person. I've been doing interviews forever. You just get tired of talking about yourself. If you want to talk about cars or boats, I'd be more excited about talking. I just don't like chit-chatting.

What's your favorite country song?

'He Stopped Loving Her Today' is a simple classic. It says it all.

Who among the new crop of country artists impresses you?

Brad [Paisley] writes some good stuff ... and Josh Turner. Taylor Swift, I really haven't heard much of her stuff, but that song about the tears on the guitar ['Teardrops on My Guitar'], that's a good song. It's a well-written song, especially from a young girl like that.

You'll turn 50 in October. How do you plan to celebrate?

Might go to Cracker Barrel or something.

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