John Rich has had a long and interesting career. He got his start by singing at Opryland USA in high school. From there, Rich went on to be one of the founding members of Lonestar. In that band, he played bass and sang high harmonies. Also, Rich sometimes sang lead vocals.
Lonestar formed in 1992 and John Rich was with them until January of 1998. While he was part of the band, they released two singles that made it to the top of the chart. Both “No News” and “Come Crying to Me” were chart-toppers. The band went on to have eight more chart-topping hits and won several awards. Rich carved out a successful solo career and later became one half of the hit duo Big & Rich.
Today, John Rich holds no bad blood for his fellow bandmates. In fact, he says that they made the right decision in kicking him out of the band. He told Marty Smith all about it on the latest episode of The Road You Leave Behind.
John Rich Says Lonestar Made The Right Choice
During the podcast, John and Marty discussed much of Rich’s career. At one point, Marty Smith asked the question that fans have been wanting to know the answer to since the late nineties.
“So, what was it that inspired or led you to leave Lonestar? Why was that the right choice for you?”
John Rich got a laugh out of the question and replied, “What a funny way to ask that question. I love that,” he said with a Texas-sized grin. Rich continued, saying, “Nothing inspired me to leave. The better question would be, ‘What inspired them to fire me?’”
Marty Smith said that he didn’t realize that was how it happened. To be fair, most other people don’t either. In fact, John Rich went on to say that the “press clippings” never said that he was fired. In fact, most sources still note that Rich left the band for a solo career. This is most likely because it sounds better than the actual story.
John Rich was more than happy to clear the air about what happened between him and his former bandmates. Lonestar gave Rich the boot over major creative differences. He said, “I wanted to write songs like ‘Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,’ and they wanted to write songs like ‘Mr. Mom,’.”
John Rich said it was just, “two totally different lifestyles going on,” in the band. On top of that, he admits to being a “knot-headed kid from Texas,” who was just starting to see the money and recognition roll in. So in his mind, no one could tell him what to do.
The “Gut Punch” Moment
Months after being kicked out of Lonestar, John Rich got a proverbial gut punch while sitting in his living room. He was sitting at home watching the CMA Awards. That night, Lonestar took the stage and performed “Amazed,” which spent eight weeks on the top of the charts. It was, Rich said, “One of the biggest country songs ever.” That night Lonestar was also nominated for two awards.
This was enough for John Rich to see that they made the right choice in parting ways with him. Later in the interview, he said that he told himself, “Well hell, they let you be in the band when you shouldn’t have been there anyway,” referencing the fact that he could barely play bass when he joined the band. He concluded, “It’s their right to send you home anytime they want to.”