Matt Sanders: So what's up with name, "Pure BS"? What's so pure about it?
Blake Shelton: Making this album was a ... long, drug-out process for me. We probably cut, I don't know, 17 or 18 songs for this particular album. And during that time I was going through a divorce and just really leaning on this particular music in a lot of ways. We wanted to make a good album, and I wanted to express myself, and probably for the first time it's an album that's just about my feelings and some things I was going through and who I am as a person. From top to bottom I really felt like it had my stamp on it.
And I guess that's what the pure part is. There's really no music on there I can't look at and see myself in, and I can't say that honestly about the other three albums, as far as every single song on 'em.
MS: Was that hard to do?
BS: Not really. I mean, my life has always kind of been an open book, and if you do this you're already in the public eye anyway, you know. And it's really hard to keep stuff that close to you. Eventually people find out if it's something worth finding out. So I've always just taken the approach of just not really having any secrets -- I was pretty open about all the things I was going through, and just lay it out there on the line, and people either love you or hate you for it. To me, that's what country music is, it's honesty.
MS: Do you really feel like you're the world's greatest lover and dancing machine when you drink?
BS: Oh, absolutely. I'm Superman when I drink.
MS: Are you a partying type of guy, or is that just image?
BS: That's the tough thing about what I do, it's hard not to feel like every day is a party. That sure wears you down in a hurry, but if people come out to a concert with the idea that they're going to have a good time and sing along and party, that's the same idea about concerts that I have, except I do 'em every night.
If you don't get into it and feel that way about it, I'm afraid it would turn into work. And if you had the idea that, hey, I'm going to kind of lay off tonight and I'm not gonna really cut loose tonight, then you're probably gonna bring half as good a show, and I don't ever want to do that. So that's just kind of how I approach it, I guess.
MS: On "Pure BS" you cut a track with George Jones and John Anderson, two of your heroes. What was that like?
BS: Oh man, it was unbelievable. Of course, I had met both of 'em before briefly a few times, but ... I didn't feel like I really knew 'em that well, George probably a little bit more than John. So I was really nervous if they would even want to do it or not. And once they agreed to it, I really got nervous because I realized: Are they gonna like this song, are they gonna like me, are they gonna be short with me?
And they're both, after spending that day with them, John Anderson's never met a stranger and George Jones is one of the sweetest guys I've ever met.
You never want to meet one of your heroes and then they disappoint you, and I certainly wasn't disappointed with George or John. In fact, I kind of walked away from that deal with those guys even on a higher level in my mind.
MS: Besides those guys who inspired you as a country artist?
BS: Earl Thomas Conley is still my all-time favorite vocalist. But, heck man, it's hard for me to pick just one guy, having said that, because I'm just such a fan of country music, there's so many different artists that have influenced me, from Dan Seals to Conway Twitty. There's a pile of 'em that I've always been a big fan of.
MS: In researching you I read you're also a fan of Twisted Sister and Ted Nugent.
BS: Man, I tell you what, when I was a kid I didn't know there was country music and rock music: It was all music to me. And as I started getting a little bit older, I realized I was more gravitating toward the Waylons and Hank Juniors and people like that. I realized I was really more of a country fan than anything, even though there will always be other bands and artists that I'm into, like Ted. The Black Crowes, I love the Black Crowes, too, but I'm about 95 percent country.
MS: What was it like to be a judge on "Nashville Star" and pass judgment on people wanting to go where you've been?
BS: I hated that. That's what I hated about that job, but I had to realize at some point there that the network hired me to be entertaining and to be honest, and that was kind of a fine line to walk for me, because I don't feel I'm in a position to tell somebody if they're good or they suck -- I'm still learning as I go. But all I could do was just be honest and tell 'em what was on my mind.
I really got into that show. I thought I was going to hate doing that, but I ended up loving it, which surprised me. But I think once you're honest a couple of times on something like that you kind of ease into it and you feel more comfortable doing it. By the end of the season I felt pretty comfortable about just saying what was on my mind, and trying to be funny and helpful at the same time.
MS: I read that last year you moved back to Oklahoma to take a break from Nashville. Why?
BS: Honestly, my plan had always been to live in Oklahoma, it just took a lot longer than I had planned on. Nashville is just too big a town for me, honestly. It didn't have as much to do with the business as much as just the actual city itself.
Now I live in a town that's probably about 5,000, which is maybe a little too small.
MS: You used to have the long hair look going on, now your hair's short. Did it just get on your nerves?
BS: Yeah, pretty much. Honestly, I ended up cutting it off because people stopped asking me to.