Jay DeMarcus Reveals That Joe Don Rooney is 19 Months Sober
Though it's been a couple of years since Rascal Flatts announced their retirement, the trio still keep up with each other's personal struggles and accomplishments -- and Jay DeMarcus is celebrating a huge person win for his former band mate and friend Joe Don Rooney.
In an appearance on Savannah Chrisley's Unlocked With Savannah Chrisley podcast, DeMarcus reveals that Rooney is now sober, and has been for almost two years.
"Of course, Joe Don went through his very public debacle a couple of years ago," DeMarcus says, alluding to Rooney's fall 2021 arrest and DUI charge. "And he's better than I've heard him in 10 years. I mean, he's 19 months sober, and he's enjoying having some peace...and learning how to live again without his addiction.
"So, [I'm] really, really, really proud of him and where he's at right now," the singer and bassist continues.
Also in fall 2021, Rascal Flatts' lead singer Gary LeVox said that Rascal Flatts' split happened -- at least, in part -- because Rooney quit the band. That was new information, since when they first told fans they were parting ways, they explained that the decision came from their mutual wish to pursue solo careers.
LeVox and DeMarcus have both expressed dissatisfaction at the way the breakup went down. Rascal Flatts initially planned to retire after a massive 2020 farewell tour, but those plans were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the show dates were never rescheduled. For his part, DeMarcus has said in the past that he'd be open to a reunion.
But in his new interview, he suggests that despite Rooney's positive personal news, it would still be a long road to getting the band back together.
"There are just so many steps that would have to take place in order for us to get back to even talking about it," DeMarcus says. "...I think the further we get away from it, the harder it is to put it back together."
When it comes to the possibility of a Flatts redux, DeMarcus is never saying never -- but he also knows that it would be difficult, especially since he and his band mates "don't really communicate on a consistent basis" right now. Plus, they're all busy with solo pursuits: LeVox has released a couple of gospel-leaning solo projects, while DeMarcus is heading up his own Red Street Records.
"Gary's out kinda doing his own thing, and I think he's enjoying being the boss and calling all the shots. I don't begrudge him for that. It's hard to be the lead singer and have to consider other people's opinions because you have partners. I can't imagine how liberating that must be for him, to do things the way he wants to do it now," he acknowledges.
"But it's also liberating for me, too," DeMarcus adds. "Because there were times in our career that I looked at things and I would go, 'I absolutely know that this is not the right thing to do, but because I'm outvoted, we're gonna do it anyway, and we're gonna crash and burn here, because it's a dumb decision.' So all of us probably shared those frustrations at some point or another, even though we love each other and there was no hate or any misgivings."
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