Jay DeMarcus Has Some Candid Words For Aspiring Artists

The former member of Rascal Flatts made a surprise appearance at our Golf and Guitars Event … and it wasn’t to perform

By kncitom on June 28, 2023
Tom with Jay DeMarcus, formerly of Rascal Flatts, at Golf and Guitars (photo: Pat Still)

We’ve had some big names at Golf and Guitars over the years: Kix Brooks, Jon Pardi, Charles Kelley of Lady A, Justin Moore, Chris Young, Morgan Wallen, Lainey Wilson…the list goes on and on. But, we’ve always known ahead of time they were going to be there.

Not so this year.

We found out the day of that Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts fame was scheduled to play in the tournament (not at– we’ll get to that in a moment), which was a little wild because his passion for golf is well known, and for years we’ve thought he’d be a great addition to the event. 

Turns out, he wanted his appearance to be under the radar. As you are probably aware, Jay, Gary LeVox and Joe Don Rooney called it quits with Rascal Flatts a few years back. They were planning one final tour in 2020, but that got scrapped because, you know, Covid. Since then, personal issues and diverging interests have kept the guys apart. 

And while nobody is saying they’ll never get back together (credible sources say a couple members have at least been communicating), in the meantime Jay has started his own record label, Red Street Records. He just signed Chris Lane, and he was at Golf and Guitars to support another act of his, Neon Union. For Jay, going from artist to label executive just makes sense.

I’ve always loved the business side of the music business.” he told us while waiting to tee off.  “For some reason I’ve loved being ‘behind the scenes’, producing, writing...” 

In fact, being in a band, much less a hugely successful one, wasn’t even on his radar when he first moved to town. But then…

One day I’m like ‘oh my gosh I’m in a band’, and it was great- don’t get me wrong- but it’s really fun for me to use a different skill set right now

We asked what the most challenging aspect of the transition has been for him. His candid answer was a bit of a surprise.

A lot of young artists are coming up today expect instant success, without a lot of input and without a lot of hard work.” he said matter-of-factly. “It’s elbow grease that gets you here: going out, having the right kind of work ethic, and working really, really hard because it just doesn’t happen overnight. We all know at the end of the day it all comes down to music, but you still gotta go work and you gotta be ready and willing to do anything to make your dreams come true.” Including, he said, playing at, and in, events like Golf and Guitars. “Sometimes, when I sit across from a young artist…and I tell them this, they look at me like I’m from a different planet. And I tell them, ‘trust me, I’ve been to where you’re trying to get to…it still takes hard work.”

In fact, Jay coming all the way out to Sacramento from Nashville just to show support for on of his acts epitomizes what he’s talking about. He definitely doesn’t need to travel to support them- there are representatives to do that. But, he did, because that’s part of what it takes to be successful.

Although we’re guessing, given his love of the game, a little golf on a beautiful day at a terrific event probably didn’t hurt. 

Hear our full 3 minute interview, here



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