Song is available for download to adult nightclub DJs courtesy of StripClubsMusic.com
by Dave Manack
He’s an undisputed legend of country music. But even if you’re not a big fan of country, it’s practically a certainty that you know one of — or several of — Toby Keith’s songs. “Red Solo Cup,” “I Love This Bar,” “Beer For My Horses,” “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” Ya, you know ‘em.
After two decades of crafting hit after hit and building a massive core audience of die-hard fans, Toby Keith can do whatever he wants. He can collaborate with whoever he wants (see his work with rocker Sammy Hagar), and he can write about whatever he wants. And even though he isn’t much into marijuana himself, he enjoys the culture enough that he wanted to pen a fun anthem dedicated toward it — hence, his latest track, “Wacky Tobaccy.”
ED Publications had a chance to catch up with Toby Keith recently, upon the release of the song and the hilarious video for “Wacky Tobaccy.” The track is available for download to adult nightclub DJs via StripJointsMusic.com.
ED: You obviously had a great time making the song and video for “Wacky Tobaccy.” What was the inspiration for writing this song at this stage of your career? With the success you’ve enjoyed, have you reached that stage of life where you feel like you can do anything you want without worrying about record label or industry reactions?
Toby Keith: “Wacky Tobaccy” was just an idea that needed to be written and I thought that with all the states going to legalization of marijuana and how big it has been in the news and stuff it was just a funny name and I could write a fun song about; so I just did a laundry list of everything I could think of and set it up and just had fun with it. Yes, I have reached the point in my career that I can do whatever I wanna do but I reached that point a long time ago. That was about the time I started dressing out of my closet instead of the way they wanted me to dress, the record label wanted me to dress. I got my own label in 2005, I just kinda started doing what I wanted to do. But it’s just about freedom — just do whatever you wanna do, write about what you wanna write about and let your fan base decide whether it’s worthy or not.
ED: How do you feel about seeing so many states now legalize marijuana either for medicinal purposes, recreational, or both? Is the stigma now gone from being a “pot smoker”?
Toby Keith: Well I always kinda thought, being in music business and around so many people who smoke every day, that it’s not really my high and I don’t function very well on it. I’m not what they call in “smoking shape,” I’m more of a drinker. I always thought the laws were overrated and over-cooked, over-done. So it really doesn’t affect me one way or the other. I think it will take a lot of crime off the streets.
ED: Our magazine and websites are read by thousands of adult nightclub owners and operators, as well as club DJs. Please tell these guys why they need to check out “Wacky Tobaccy,” and how fun would it be for you to walk into a strip club and hear your song playing?
Toby Keith: Well any time you walk into any club and hear your song playing, it’s cool no matter where it would be. But it would be hilarious to hear about a entertainer dancing to it, but other than that it’s always cool to hear your song being played in a bar you don’t expect it to be played in.
ED: You’re now approximately 20 years into an amazing career in country music. To what do you attribute your longevity? How would you describe yourself now as an artist, compared to when you started in the late 1990s?
Toby Keith: When I started in the ’90s, my career was different because I was having to answer to so many people and please a whole staff of record label people. Once I got to where I started doing things my way and having some success at it, it got really hard for them to come and tell me not to do something. I put out a lot of big songs, two I can think of right off the bat, “Beer for My Horses” and “I Wanna Talk About Me.” They were five-week, six-week number-one big-time smashes that the label wasn’t wanting to put out but I had enough success doing what I want at that point that they went along with it. Then all of a sudden it was a good idea for everybody, it’s the way that kinda goes. Longevity I think is just being persistent and not working the other guy.
ED: You’ve done several collaborations in your career; some with country legends like Willie Nelson, some with rock legends like your friend Sammy Hagar. How have these collaborations helped expose your music to different audiences?
Toby Keith: Well I think any time you can collaborate with someone in a different genre you can gain fans and sometimes you can gain really good friendships. Sammy is one of the cats I have known about 15 years so collaborating with him, Willie, Merle Haggard in my business and just different ages, different genres, different ideas ... a lot of Sammy’s fans that show up at the shows wear his stuff. Over the years with me and Sammy playing together and working together so many times, my fans become his fans and his fans become mine once they dig in and figure out what you’re really about instead of what they might have figured out in the newspaper or something. I think it’s cool, music gets to be the decision maker of the deal.
ED: Of all the songs you’ve ever written, what’s the one song you’re most proud of?
Toby Keith: Well it’s real easy, the song I am most proud of is “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” because I watched hundreds of very talented people go through Nashville when I was coming in and most of them folks didn’t make it and they were very talented people. Your career will only stand as mine has if you continually have hits and you’re very lucky if you can have a hit on your second or third album and still stay around because they move on pretty quick. “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” came out first and laid a great foundation for my career to stand on and gave me some opportunities to fail and still left some bullets left to fire. If you don’t have a song like that up front they may have moved on and you have never been heard of, but that song was the most important song to my career.