Jason Aldean on His Life, Career, Music, and Hunting
August 22, 2016
Jason Aldean's day job is pretty noisy.
Aldean's life runs a mile a minute with screaming fans, his band, and everyone surrounding him — there's enough volume to make normal folks cover their ears.
But Aldean loves it all, so it's not often he wants to turn it off.
When he does, though, it's hunting that helps him find silence. There's no problem a treestand and some properly tuned archery equipment can't solve.
Aldean is most known for his music and his ability to entertain just about anyone willing to buy a ticket, but nowadays those in the hunting world also know him as one of those crazy-ass Buck Commanders. You know, the guys who paint their faces, go on TV, and kill (lots) of big deer.
On the heels of his becoming the face for Field & Stream stores, appearing in national commercials with his father, Barry, and helping to promote outdoor traditions, Petersen's Hunting sat down with Aldean to find out what's on the horizon, and why hunting helps drive his success on and off the stage.
Petersen's Hunting: We'll start with a softball. How'd you get into hunting?
Jason Aldean: Actually, my dad and my grandfather would come up to Georgia for about a week every Thanksgiving. When I was old enough to go along, they let me join in. Spending that time with them was just how I got started and why I loved it. Some years down the road my grandfather passed away, and I found myself hunting less. It just wasn't fun for me to go anymore. I didn't hunt for quite a while until I met some of the Buck Commander guys. With that crew I rediscovered how fun it was'¦being in deer camp, filming everything and just hanging out with a bunch of your buddies. I'd never really done it like that before. It sparked a whole new interest for me.
PH: You get a chance to work with a lot of brands. What does it mean to you to go all in with Field & Stream stores and what they stand for?
JA: The history they have is huge. Field & Stream has been around forever. They've built their brand around family and, with me having kids of my own, I want to get them involved. Field & Stream stores have great products and do a great job of capturing why we go outdoors and I'm looking forward to being a part of the team over there.
PH: Do you have any good stories from your Buck Commander hunts, or the crew in general?
JA: All of us on that show have different personalities, and bring different things to the table. We want it to be just like everyone else, you show up at hunting camp with your buddies and rag on each other and have fun. At the end of the day [in the Buck Commander crew] you love each other like brothers'¦but you do get pranks played all the time.
You have to have your head on a swivel. There's been a lot of that stuff. This year we got Luke [Bryan], made him think the Game Warden had a little something for him. We look forward to those times all years. We only have a few weeks we are all together. It's full throttle the whole hunt.
PH: Any good hunts coming up this fall? What's exciting for you?
JA: I actually plan my touring and concerts a lot of times around hunting season. Fall is a great time for it, too. We've been traveling all year and playing shows, so it's nice to decompress a little bit, look back at the year and reflect a little bit. The lifestyle we have is so fast-paced, crazy and hectic, so when I have a chance to get in a treestand it helps keep me sane. The peace and quiet do a lot of good. And every time a big buck walks out I get a feeling of adrenaline, every time.
PH: What's hunting mean to you? Is it just the peace it brings that gets you out there or is there more?
JA: To me it's about the shared stories, the camaraderie you have with your friends and, obviously, everything we go out and shoot we bring back and it feeds the camp. It's just a cool vibe and something great for me to be around.
PH: So we're going to hit you with some quick ones. Short answers, whatever comes to mind.
PH: What is the most badass hunting gun (or caliber) ever made?
JA: The gun that I used to kill my first deer. It was a side-by-side 16-gauge. It was an old gun that my dad had — it had a slug in it — I was sitting at the base of some tree and I shot a doe. I actually have that gun now, it's in the safe at home.
PH: Coolest car ever made?
JA: The Ford Raptor. Had that truck for a few years and actually sold it. Two or three weeks after I got rid of it I was kicking myself. Lucky enough for me Ford's coming out with a new Raptor this fall. I'm getting ready to trade 'er in for another one of those. That truck is mean. A lot of power.
PH: Describe what the typical Jason Aldean fan looks like in 2016.
JA: You look out at our crowd and you see a lot of different people. There's high school and college kids, both sexes, little kids and older folks, I really don't try to cater to one demographic or the other.
They work hard during the week and come to out to party and have a good time.
PH: What do you love most about the music you're making today?
JA: With each record I try to keep it new and fresh, push new territories, never abandoning what got me here. I want to keep up with the times, but still make it mine.
PH: What do you hate most about the music business?
JA: I think it's the political side of it. Probably what everyone else hates about their job. As the artist, I just want to go out and cut my records. I want to entertain people. I really don't care about the political stuff that goes into it.
PH: What does it mean to be a redneck?
JA: To me that turn means blue collar people, every day people. You enjoy doing simple things in life — hunting, fishing, and hanging around with your friends drinking beer. That's how I grew up.