Jay DeMarcus Says the Pandemic Might Change Rascal Flatts’ Minds About Retirement
While 2020 was a year of loss and canceled plans for every country artist, few acts saw changes as big and disappointing to their tour calendar as Rascal Flatts. That's because the trio had planned to make 2020 their blowout final year as a band, complete with a Farewell Life Is a Highway Tour. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Rascal Flatts had to cancel that run, and they didn't immediately share any plans to reschedule the shows they'd booked to say goodbye to their fans.
"It sucked, let's be honest about it," admits Jay DeMarcus, one-third of the trio, during a recent conversation with Taste of Country Nights. "...You know, it's been really tough. It's been so hard to know that it was stripped away from us, and we didn't get to go out on our terms, and we didn't get to say goodbye and celebrate with our wonderful fan base. It's been a hard thing."
The timing was especially tough for the band: They announced their plans for retirement in January of 2020, just a couple of months before the onset of the pandemic shutdowns. The close chronology between their announcement and the ramp-up of the virus' spread has even led to some joking superstitions, DeMarcus adds.
"[Some people have] blamed us for the pandemic, because as soon as we announced our farewell tour, the world blew up," he says with a chuckle. "So some people are like, 'All you have to do is say you're not going to retire and the world will go back to normal.' And I wish that were the case."
All jokes aside, however, the last year and a half has caused DeMarcus to reflect on his retirement plans, and wonder if there might be some room for Rascal Flatts to continue in the future.
"The way this year's gone...it puts a lot of things in perspective, and really makes you take stock of things that are really, really important to you and the things that you just thought were important to you," he says.
"I think all of us are at this place right now to where it might not even be a farewell tour — who knows? We may feel compelled enough to go back out and do the music," DeMarcus elaborates. "I'm just speaking theoretically, but [we might consider doing] 10, 15 shows a year, enjoy our Rascal Flatts music along with the other things we have going on in our lives."
In the meantime, the three bandmates are busy at work on their own solo endeavors. Joe Don Rooney has said that he's focusing on songwriting, working with co-writers all over Music City. Meanwhile, Gary LeVox has released the first single off of a forthcoming gospel project.
For his part, DeMarcus has released a solo song, too — a tribute to his dad, who died in October of 2020 — but he's also focusing on Red Street Records, the Christian label he founded in 2018. DeMarcus also recently starred in DeMarcus Family Rules, a reality TV show on Netflix that follows the country star and his wife and children throughout their day-to-day life.
See Rascal Flatts Through the Years: