Q&A with Rascal Flatts founders Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus

Tricia Despres

Rewind 30 or so years, and Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus were just ordinary teenagers living in Ohio, with posters of Farrah Fawcett and Aerosmith lining their bedroom walls.

Fast forward to today and, alongside fellow band member Joe Don Rooney, LeVox and DeMarcus make up the most awarded country group of the past decade. Fresh off the success of their latest single "Rewind" and the May 13 release of their new album of the same name, the cousins from Columbus sat down with Columbus Monthly to reminisce a bit.

As kids, did you ever envision starting a music career together?

Jay DeMarcus: This has all been one big beautiful surprise that I never saw coming. Gary and I always got along really well as kids, but we never planned to start a band and live our lives together like this. I think the good Lord had a lot to do with it.

Gary LeVox: I have always been amazed at Jay's talent and have always been his biggest fan. But the chance to share the stage and do all of this crazy, amazing, wonderful, record-breaking things with my cousin? It's still unbelievable.

How often do you get back to the Columbus area?

JD: I live 1,000 memories over and over again every time I go back to my city. My folks still live there, and I try to come back as much as possible to play music with my dad. There is nothing like visiting your roots and remembering when you didn't have a care in the world. I still feel those old nostalgic feelings when I drive down the streets of Columbus.

GL: Columbus has grown so much, though! I almost need to get a driver because I don't know where things are anymore. I mean, there are malls where streets used to be! It's crazy.

If you could "rewind" any moment of your childhood growing up here, what would it be?

JD: I would love, just one more time, to have my grandpa pick me up from basketball practice, take me to the drive-through at Dairy Queen on Indianola Avenue, get a Peanut Buster Parfait, eat it on the way home, wait for my mom to come home from work and, once she did, watch television on the couch while I smelled her cooking from the living room. It would be worth just about anything if I could go back in time and relive those moments again.

GL: Same thing for me. I would love to get picked up from basketball practice and come home and shoot my bow in the yard with my dad and brother until it was time for dinner. I just crave the typical Midwest evenings of my youth. There was nothing better in the world.