Brad PaisleyBrad Paisley Brad Paisley carries the torch for every man who's ever lost a woman because of his obsession with bass fishing.
By Jeff Schroeder
Home: Nashville, Tenn.
Years fishing: About 23 years.
Favorite lure: Flukes, plastic worms and jigs in the wintertime, all on a spinning reel.
Favorite fishing hole: A two-acre private pond in Alabama owned by friend Kelley Lovelace.
Fishing buddies: Songwriters Lovelace and Tim Owens, Little Jimmie Dickens.
Largest bass ever caught: "A 7-pounder from that little pond in Alabama. But Tim Owens went to Mexico a couple of years ago and he's got a 16, which would be nice. One of these days I'd like to head down there myself."
Award-winning Arista Nashville recording artist Brad Paisley as been tagged "the torchbearer for traditional country music." In one of his latest hits, "I'm Gonna Miss Her," he also carries the torch for every American man who's ever lost a woman because of his obsession with bass fishing.
"Well I love her
But I love to fish
I spend all day out on this lake
And hell is all I catch
But today she met me at the door
Said I would have to choose
If I hit that fishin' hole today
She'd be packin 'all her things
And she'd be gone by noon
Well I'm gonna miss her... "
- Lyrics from "I'm Gonna Miss Her"
It started as kind of a lark. Country artist Brad Paisley and co-writer Frank Rogers were looking for a humorous song to break up the rhythm of Paisley's live show. In a few short days they came up with "I'm Gonna Miss Her," a tune about a man who, it turns out, loves his fishing more than his woman.
"Basically, the gist of the song is that she gives me a choice," Paisley said. "She says, 'If you go fishing today, that's it.' And you can tell by the title, 'I'm Gonna Miss Her,' what I choose to do."
The song worked live, so they Put it on a demo tape and pitched it to other Nashville artists. Alan Jackson expressed interest, but by that time Paisley had decided to record it himself and put it on his latest album, "Part II"
It was a small move. "I'm Gonna Miss Her," with its tongue-in-cheek response to what may be the one biggest quandary facing hardcore fishermen, resonated loudly with country fans - many of whom also happen to be anglers - and it became Paisley's latest hit single.
HONEY, YOU WERE DOOMED FROM THE START
Paisley grew up in the northern tip of West Virginia in a little hamlet on the Ohio River called Glen Dale. It was just the kind of place that breeds two kinds of men: country musicians and bass fishermen. Paisley turned out to be both.
"The Ohio River was literally walking distance from my house, so I grew up really looking forward to weekends when we would go fishing," Paisley said. "When I was little, my grandfather and my dad had a boat, and they would take me out. When you're a kid and you wind up being introduced to it at a young age, I don't think it ever leaves you. It's addictive. You just can't really stop, which is a good thing. I can't remember a time before we would go fishing."
The young Paisley caught his first bass by age 6 and owned his first guitar by age 8. From the get-go, it seems, he had laid the groundwork for a thriving appreciation of fishing as well as a very successful music career. He recounts his most memorable day on the water. It was with his grandfather, a musician who had given him his first guitar. It was also the last time Paisley ever fished with his grandfather, who had been diagnosed with cancer.
"He caught a 12-pound carp at the river - the biggest fish of his life," Paisley recalled fondly. "I was probably 12 or 13 at the time, and that was a neat thing. I remember we brought it home and stuck it in the rain bucket behind the house. Then that night he felt sorry for it and took it down to the river and let it go."
In college Paisley moved to Nashville to pursue his music aspirations and found the fishing scene just as inviting. He's a regular on Music City lakes like Old Hickory and Percy Priest, often making off-day trips with musical collaborators Tim Owens and Kelley Lovelace.
"The first royalty money I made off a song that I wrote, I went and bought an '88 Ranger - a boat that I still have," Paisley said. "When I bought it, it hadn't been used but a couple of times, and it's still in really great shape. I'll probably always keep it now because it's sentimental to me. It's really a neat-looking boat."
It didn't take long until Paisley's first album, "Who Needs Pictures," went platinum. His follow-up effort, "Part II," is doing extremely well, in no small part to the success of "I'm Gonna Miss Her." Part of the allure of the music is his adherence to the time-honored traditions established by early country artists. Recently, at Paisley's induction into the Grand Ole Opry at age 29, country music legend George Jones called him "the torchbearer for traditional country music."
Just as Paisley embraces the values embodied by traditional country music, he says the same principles are what also attract him to the sport of fishing. "Country music is what fishing is all about, which is simplicity, outdoors and nature," he said. "The kind of people that we sing about, more than anything this is what they do on the weekend. I grew up doing this, and I live for it. I am just absolutely so excited about any chance I have to get out on the lake. I think it's the same with listeners and fans out there - it's just a way of life. It's such an embedded part of the American lifestyle."
WASN'T MEANT TO BE
"I'm Gonna Miss Her" works so well because it's funny - and it comes from the heart. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Jerry Springer, ESPN's Dan Patrick and Ranger Boats' Forrest Wood make humorous cameos in the music video.
"Yeah, it's gone over really well Paisley said. "It's doing great for us and selling a lot of records. What's ironic about it is that most women like the song even better than guys do, and that's probably because they can relate."
Paisley can relate, too, though his is more a case of life imitating art rather than vice versa. See, the song is somewhat autobiographical, but sort in reverse.
"I had the idea (for the song) from growing up fishing and having seen it happen many times," he said. "When I wrote the song, I actually hadn't been there. But it kind of came true after I wrote it. There was this girlfriend. I can remember that one day she went shopping with this lady, the wife of wife of a friend of mine.
So they went shopping all day, and we went fishing. When I got home that night, she was all upset because I was supposed to take her to dinner, and I didn't get there in time. It was really a nice day on the lake, we were catching a lot of fish and we didn't want to leave, so we were a good four hours late coming home. When I got there, she got out of bed, met me at the door and said, 'That's it.' We broke up.
These days, though, Paisley has found that he has precious little time for much fishing, and, no, it's not because of a woman. His touring schedule is relentless, and he says that he's lucky if he can get out on the water about once a week when he's home.
"Yeah, it hurts," he said. But he does make room for his favorite pastime when he can, including hosting an annual bass tournament on Old Hickory Lake to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The band tours with a Ranger boat, too, a stage prop that accompanies the band every time it breaks into its latest fishing-themed hit. "It's an 18-foot Ranger boat hull cut in half with the bottom sitting on the stage looking like it's in water. We have a whole wooden dock around it that the drums sit on. It's pretty neat," Paisley said.
Whenever he can, the torchbearer for devoted fishermen everywhere makes his way to his favorite fishing hole down in Alabama with his buddy Lovelace for some big-bass hunting.
"We go to this little pond that his wife's family owns, "Paisley said. "It's just a little two-acre pond, but there's one fish in there we've lost before that's a monster, though. We're just dying to get it."
Dying to get the big one. Many of Paisley's fans know just what that feels like - and they're willing to forego the affections of an unsympathetic woman to do it. As the song says:
"I could beg her to stay
But that water's right
And the weather's perfect
No tellin' what I might catch today
Yeah, I'm gonna miss her
Oh, lookie there, I've got a bite."
Content provided by Bass Fishing Magazine, the official publication of FLW Outdoors
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