Chris Janson

Artist, Husband, Pilot and...Griswold?


To start out I’d like to go back a little way to when you first got your chance on the Bobby Bones Show.  Tell me a little bit about how that came about.

Buy Me A Boat
Warner Bros.
            Sure man.  I was actually the first guest ever on his show way before “Buy Me A Boat”.  I sent boat, the demo of it was going to go on i-tunes, to like 5 people.  I thought they might say something nice on twitter, or something like that and he [Bobby Bones] was one of them.  The next morning, I woke up and he was playing it, which was not in my plan.  So, it just happened totally on a whim and it changed my life. 

 

It intrigues me how you soared up the charts with that song independently and you didn’t have the backing of the major record labels.  It just a phenomenal thing.

            Thank you.  It’s just a huge blessing
 

Rolling Stone called you the “best show stealer”.  I’ve seen you play and I’d hate to be the guy that goes on after you.

            Thank you.  Thank you.

 

You mentioned that you have a self-proclaimed love of Guns N Roses all the way to Hank Williams.  How do you find the right balance of the two to make the music that you do?

 Photo ©In Action Photos/Chad Johnson 

Photo ©In Action Photos/Chad Johnson 

            Oh, well I grow up with both.  I wrote my first five songs with Guns N Roses when they were in Velvet Revolver formation.  Shoot man, and I don’t go anywhere without a Hank Jr. or Sr. record in my truck. 
So, how do I find my balance for my music between the two? You know what I just let what inspires me, inspire me. The inspiration behind Buy Me A Boat was Country State of Mind.

 

I think that is what draws your fans to you.  You just kind of write about what inspires you.

            Real life. People love real life.  Country fans are so real man.  People forget that.  They forget that they are so real.  There just people. 
 

One of your fans even said “...everyday music for the everyday American…”  which I thought was perfect.

            It’s like the perfect quote ever! Yeah, thank you.  They did nail it.
 

Continuing with the whole fan aspect.  I think it's cool that they just don’t embrace you and your music, they embrace your whole family. Everything about it. it's like a Janson family reunion.

            It’s a tribe.  It really is.  Thank you man! That’s quite a complement.  Yeah, I noticed that too.  I think that, well I don’t even think, I know people gravitate towards that because, again, it’s real.  And I think that a lot of that, and I say this in a nice way, a lot of that is missing in today’s society.  It’s just missing and we live a very close knit lifestyle and I wouldn’t be doing it without my wife and my kids involved every step of the way.  I think it's just different and fresh and something people aren’t used to on a daily basis.  The fact that it’s connecting is a huge blessing.  It’s given me the opportunity with the new single “holding Her” to really…. it’s my single not because I want to promote, promote, promote a song.  It’s my single because it’s my heart.  It’s really where my heart is and who I am.  I think it’s the best song I’ve ever written.  It’s my favorite song, by far, that I’ve ever written and I just wanted to put my best work forward.   All in conjunction with that, with the social media and everything it just ties together so nicely. 
 

Do you ever find it hard to draw that line in social media where the artist Chris Janson stops and the family man starts?

            No, because I don’t do anything without my wife.  I’m not a lone tweeter or Facebooker.  We do it together.  That keeps it clean, safe and easy going.  And here she is!  [Kelly walks in] That’s how we keep it distinctively easy. Does that make sense?

 

Yeah, that makes perfect sense.  Just a couple other fan quotes that I saw “Great attitude and reliability” – Jennifer Lahman Florida

            Thank you! I love hearing that.  That’s very kind. 

 

Since Kelly’s here now – one fan wrote “Kelly, an example of pure girl power.” - Tricia Nellson(?)

            Kelly – Aww, that’s so sweet.

 

We were just talking about the great fan connection and how it’s a Janson family.  It’s not just Chris’s music there in love with, it's Chris’s music & the family. 

            I guess you could put it in relation to, not that it was always his wife and kids around, but a lot of times it was – Willie Nelson and family.  If you go to a Willie Nelson show his kids were on stage.

 

I was thinking Partridge family.

 Copyright Warner Brothers - Vacation (1983)

Copyright Warner Brothers - Vacation (1983)

            (Laughing) Kelly – What did they nickname us?
            Chris – The Griswold’s.

Yes!

            Kelly – It’s pretty chaotic around our bus right now. 
            Chris – Believe me, I am like Clark.  I’m wild like Clark at Wally World.  I’m that guy! I’m the guy who is going to get it done no matter what. 

 

Couple other fun things I want to talk about real quick.  At a recent show, you mentioned how you had just flew in.  I want to talk about the pilot Chris Janson and see if maybe the love affair with Southwest is going to turn into Chris Janson the pilot with Southwest?

            (Chris laughing) Quite a promotion!  If we get free charters, hell yeah!  On a serious note you have to have some extreme ratings to fly those kinds of planes.  But, at this point I am just a student pilot and I just got my first certification.  I’m waiting on that in the mail.  Tim McGraw, my buddy, he got me into it.  We were having the talk one time, as Dads, cause he’s another great example of a good family man.  He said that it just buys your time back when you haven’t been home a lot.  I needed time back at home.  We needed time back at home.  When you have a hectic schedule it’s a good thing but it’s a double edge sword.  It’s a very big blessing to be as busy as we are.  However, to keep some normalcy of “back porch living”, so to speak, sometimes you have to fly home.  So, learning to pilot has been a very challenging thing for me.  I do two things decent – write songs and sing them.  Piloting a plane is something I never had in the cards for me, but I’m loving it and I’m doing a pretty good job I guess. 

 

You mentioned staying grounded – “back porch living”, do you find there something that keeps you grounded when all this fame is coming on?

            Chris – Oh yeah, Jesus Christ.
            Kelly – And your kids.  I would say our daughter.
            Chris – And bus drivers! (laughs) Bus drivers will humble your ass. 
            Kelly – We’ve learnt a lot this year. 
            Chris – We’ve learnt a lot. When you go from sleeping in your car to then traveling with your girlfriend, before your married, in your truck with your “bonus kids” before they are your bonus kids – but you already consider them your bonus kids.  Then you get married and then you get to the artistry phases as you build this thing and you are still independent.  Your touring enough to where you’re not making hardly anything, but you’re paying for a really low end 1987 car.  You’re just doing it, but you kind of feel like you making it a little bit, but your really not.  Then you get a record deal and start having some hits, THEN the real work starts.  That’s when all the hassle and taxing stuff comes along and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!  You just have to take everything in stride.  Honestly, Jesus Christ and Christianity has got us through everything
 

We have one fan question from Twitter.  Jed Harding @jedneck – Who’s your biggest writing influence and who inspires you the most with your entertaining?

            Chris - Oh, Hank Williams Jr and Jerry Lee Lewis
            Kelly – Song writing?  Which one’s song writing?
            Chris – Ahh, Hank Jr.  He writes some cool ass songs.  Not only that, he’s recorded some of mine which makes me like him even more. I couldn’t just say Hank.  I’d have to say Merle Haggard too.

 

Chris, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today.  I truly appreciate it.

            Your welcome man!

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