The Rascal Flatts met and began performing together at the Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar in in Nashville. The bar, which is located on the famous Printer's Alley, where countless musical legends have performed, is shutting down at the end of the year.
"It's really really heartbreaking," Rascal Flatts' bassist Jay DeMarcus told TODAY's Lester Holt. "It's going to be an emotional night."
To commemorate the demise of the bar that launched their career, the trio is performing a series of concerts there. The group shared with Holt on TODAY on Sunday, their story of how they got their start, and band name, at the bar.
- On how they started 15 years ago: DeMarcus said that his cousin, lead vocalist Gary LeVox, was visiting Nashville, and the two joined another guitarist on stage. The bar's owners, "came up to us and said, 'What are you guys doing? We'd like to give you guys Tuesday nights,' DeMarcus said. "Right on the spot."
- On how they knew they had something special: LeVox said he knew during the first song the trio played together, "Church on a Cumberland Road." "We didn't talk about who was going to take what part or anything," he said. "We hit the first chorus and we were like, 'Wow what was that?'"
- On how they got their first record deal: The group, without a band name at the time, recorded a four-song demo tape. One executive heard the tape, and said he would give the group a deal if they could perform half of the demo tape live. "And we did," DeMarcus said.
- On how they got their name: Someone who was watching the band perform at the Fiddle and Steel Guitar Bar had a suggestion. "He said, 'I had a band in the '60s. We did Bar Mitzvahs and high school dances and we called ourselves Rascal Flatts," DeMarcus said. The group then signed a contract on a napkin in the bar to pay $5,000 for the name. "I think that's what we did with our signing bonus," LeVox said, "Paid for our name on a napkin."
After the interview, The Rascal Flatts let Holt join them on stage, playing bass, at the legendary bar during one of their recent performances.