Saturday, March 19, 2011


Toby Keith was in Nashville a couple weeks ago to unveil his own personal brand of Mezcal tequila, Wild Shot. He held a press conference at the BMI building on Music Row, where he explained his new product:

The question on a lot of minds is, why mezcal?

There has been a surge in the mezcal market. It's easy to get another tequila, but not many people are doing anything with mezcal. I saw the success my friend Sammy Hagar has had with Cabo Wabo, so instead of being a competitor in the tequila market, I wanted to do as I always do and get in on the ground floor where there is a lot of room for growth.

Will Wild Shot come complete with a worm at the bottom of the bottle?

Oh yeah, you don't want to miss out on that! You don't want to be the last guy holding the bottle either. They say the worm causes visions, but I think it's just reaching the bottom of bottle. If you're there when that happens, I don't think the worm has that much to do with it. [laughs]

Your latest single, 'Somewhere Else,' has a different feel to it. You've described the guy in it as 'the biggest loser in the world.' What made you choose it as a single now?

'Somewhere Else' is the third single off my album 'Bullets in the Gun,' and it is my favorite thing on the album. It's different from anything I've done, but at same time we didn't feel it was the right song to pull as the first single. After touring and and seeing the reaction to it, it makes you proud as a songwriter when you get that melody and word play going on. It's got a real homey, organic feel to the lyric, like you're singing about your neighbor. It's got a light feel to it, but it's about a serious issue. It's one of my favorite things I wrote last year and I am happy for it to get out.

The production sounds a little different for you, too.

When we were recording it, we wanted to take time to create its own vibe. We muted a harmonica and really spent a lot of time trying to create almost a percussion track out of the harmonic and drum sticks. I knew it would be single, so we spent more time than usual trying to create a different vibe for it.

You're nominated for ACM Entertainer of the Year. How do you feel about fans voting for the honor?
It's wonderful to have fans vote on Entertainer of the Year these last several years. I haven't been an award-friendly guy, and I kind of gave up on them years ago. I said all along if you let the fans vote, no one can complain. If you don't get nominated or don't win, you can't gripe. There's no place for politics playing into music. It's a fan-based industry; we all survive off our fans. I told a young man that we just signed the other night that all we can do is put our music out there and then it's up to the fans. Putting politics into it never made sense to me. If you don't win or get nominated, then work a little harder next year.