Uncle Kracker Gets a New Tattoo While Chatting About Kenny Chesney, Tour Grub and Childhood Memories
Uncle Kracker, who's currently on the road with Kenny Chesney on this year's Goin' Coastal Tour and readying the release of new album 'Cigarettes and One Night Stands,' is sitting in a chair at a tattoo parlor getting inked while on the phone with Taste of Country ... and he says that yes, it does hurt. The multitasking country star -- who, by the way, prefers to be called by Matt (his real name) rather than Kracker, as it's the name he "feels best with" -- opens up to us about his friendship with tourmate Kenny Chesney, what he survives off of on the road and some intriguing childhood memories.
Do you have a lot of tattoos?
I have many, and in fact, I’m literally sitting in a tattoo chair as we speak. Right now Jeff Shay, who has been tattooing me for a while now, is doing the table of elements from that chart you may have seen before. It is the atomic symbol. It is the symbol for gold, and the tattoo says "stay gold."
How did you first meet Kenny Chesney?
I came up underneath Kid Rock, in a way, and Kenny came up kind of underneath Tim McGraw, so we met that way and we really related a lot to each other because of that. That is something we didn’t really put that together 'til years later. Music is the main thing we share a common interest in. He is very generous, and he gave me a car a few years ago when I opened for him, a '69 Plymouth Roadrunner. He is just a great dude. He is like the Elvis of country, giving presents to people all the time.
What's one thing we may not know about Kenny?
He still only eats chicken and broccoli Monday through Saturday. He has been doing that for years now. He also scrambles his eggs in a plastic bowl and microwaves them. Not very healthy!
What are Top 3 food items you always have on your tour bus?
Provolone cheese, beer nuts and oats and honey granola bars.
What's the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Pickled pig lips. Apparently these are everywhere in Louisiana. You usually find them next to the quail eggs. I found them in a gas station in Louisiana one time next to the Slim Jims. I don’t recommend them to anybody, though. I went through every emotion known to man after trying them. They are crunchy with cartilage, sort of like when you bite you lip but keep going. I didn’t actually swallow it. I only tried it ... so it is not something I look forward to trying ever again!
Of all of the things you've bought over the years, what is the best thing you ever spent money on?
Probably the ice machine in my kitchen, but I’m trying to get the kind of ice machine that crushes the cubes like White Castle does. I hear Sara Evans has one on her bus, so I’m going to have to have my people get a hold of her people and find out where she got it.
What is your very first childhood memory?
My parents are still freaked out that I remember this, but I was about 3 and my parents and my cousins and I were at a gathering at my grandparents' house. I remember there was a big to-do about a tornado that was coming through. They took my cousin Stacy who was just born at the time, and they put her in like this cooler and set her in this ditch. I remember being freaked out about why they were putting her in a cooler in a ditch.
Tell us about a scar you have and how you got it.
I was accident prone as a kid, so I have scars everywhere. I was 4-years-old and I climbed this fence to get in the back of the school yard to play in the playground. It was time to come home and all of us kids were racing to leave, and I got caught in the forked wires at the top of the fence. It slashed both my wrists so I came home bleeding. My mom was at bingo and only my dad was there, and he just slapped a Band-Aid on it and I was good to go. It was clearly wide open so when my mom got home she threw a fit and took me to the hospital where I had a lot of stitches.
Growing up, were you ever in the principal's office?
I actually ended up there a lot, and it was mostly for falling asleep in class. I would always wake up drooling. When I was a senior, I had government class and I slept so much my assignment was to write "I will not fall asleep in government class" like 250 to 300 times. It was a screwy class!
Who is someone that you look up to?
My grandpa Smith, my mom’s dad. I watched him raise a family of three kids on a shoestring budget, and he was still the happiest and wisest person I’ve ever met. He always had a great way of putting things. He was great with words and he always had a good answer. I think I get my logic from him. I’m a pretty logical cat and I think it’s from him. I looked up to him a lot because he kept a wife, he kept three kids, he was always happy, he worked in a factory and raised them all and that’s really something to look up to in this day and age when people just aren’t happy. I can admire someone like my grandpa who was always happy and proud.
What is something you can do better than anybody else?
I am pretty good at sitting on a couch with a 40 oz. glass of beer. I could waste an entire day doing that, I guess.
Watch the Uncle Kracker 'Good to Be Me' Video