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"I Melt": Why Jay DeMarcus almost left Rascal Flatts over Joe Don Rooney's nude scene

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ABC/Mark LevineTwenty Years of Rascal Flatts: The Greatest Hits comes out Friday, ahead of the trio’s Farewell Tour, which they plan to reschedule post-COVID-19.

Jay DeMarcusGary LeVox, and Joe Don Rooney agree two songs helped put them on the map: “Life Is a Highway” from the Disney movie Cars; and “I Melt,” which sparked a groundbreaking video with an infamous shot of Joe Don’s backside. 

“Highway” is on the collection; “Melt” is not — and we may know the reason why: It almost broke up the band.

“I didn’t even know there was a nude scene in it,” Jay says of the video. “I stormed off the set because I was very angry that we were gonna put nudity in our video. That is the truth. I almost quit the band that day because our manager… did not tell me.”

“They sprung it on me at the shoot,” Jay reveals. “And I thought, ‘My Lord, I’ll never be able to go back to Lee University again or stick my head back in a Baptist church anywhere once this comes out.'”

The finished clip, however, softened Jay’s approach.

“It came out and it was tastefully done,” he explains, “and it was okay and you could go, ‘Oh, that’s not as bad.'”

Once the guys lapse into their easy banter, it’s clear no permanent damage was done.

“I just appreciate art,” Gary jokes.

“And a good butt…” Joe Don interjects.

“God handcrafted that thing…” Gary offers.

“Hand-cracked it?” Jay asks.

“…It took Joe Don’s butt to blow ‘I Melt’ up and get us on late night TV,” Gary continues. “So we’ve been kissing his butt ever since.”

“That’s actually the title of Joe Don’s memoir, Lightning McQueen and My A**,” Jay says, as they share a laugh.

By Stephen Hubbard
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfKFjqi2j8w&w=640&h=360]

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