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Eric Church Ruffles Feathers with Rolling Stone Interview

Eric Church photo courtesy of Essential Broadcast Media. Taken by Ann-Marie Hensley

Eric Church recently gave a candid, profanity-laced interview to Rolling Stone and some of his comments have left Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton less than happy with him, reports The Boot. In the interview, Eric puts singing competitions such as The Voice, on which Blake is a coach, in his cross hairs.

“It’s become American Idol gone mad,” Eric said. “Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green f—ing turn around in a red chair, you get a deal? That’s crazy. I don’t know what would make an artist do that. You’re not an artist.”

Eric continued to voice his opinion on singing competitions, firmly stating he would never be a part of one. “If I was concerned about my legacy, there’s no f—ing way I would ever sit there [and be a reality-show judge],” he said. “Once your career becomes something other than the music, then that’s what it is. I’ll never make that mistake. I don’t care if I f—ing starve.”

Blake and Miranda both took to Twitter to respond to Eric’s comments. Miranda first turned heads as a contestant on Nashville Star and didn’t take long to respond. “Thanks Eric Church for saying I’m not a real artist. Or @kelly_clarkson, @carrieunderwood & @KeithUrban. Your (sic) welcome for the tour in 2010,” she tweeted.

Blake’s usually colorful tweets were a little more reserved regarding Eric’s comments. “I wish I misunderstood this,” Blake wrote, re-tweeting a link to an article containing parts of the interview. He later re-tweeted the article again, this time writing “Why? Just why?…”

Fellow artist Jimmy Wayne came to Blake’s defense, posting an open letter on his Facebook page recalling the first time he heard Blake play at a writer’s round in Nashville. Jimmy wrapped his letter by sharing his view on the current state of the music industry and calling Blake an ‘ambassador for country music.’

“Blake Shelton was asked to be on The Voice,” Jimmy wrote. “Anyone in their right mind would have taken that opportunity and would have done so at half the price. This not only generates traffic for Blake Shelton but it helps the entire country music genre. That’s our guy representing us on National TV. Our spokesperson. Our ambassador. When I look back and think of that tall skinny young man sitting behind that microphone in a round at Douglas Corner and see him now in that big red chair on The Voice helping others live their dream, it makes me proud to know him and call him a friend.”

In response to the reaction brought about by his interview, Eric has since issued a statement clarifying his statements made in Rolling Stone and apologizing to Miranda, reports The Boot. He does not mention Blake or retract his comments about singing competitions, however.

“The comment I made to Rolling Stone was part of a larger commentary on these types of reality television shows and the perception they create, not the artists involved with the shows themselves,” Eric said. “The shows make it appear that artists can shortcut their way to success. There are a lot of artists due to their own perseverance that have gone on to be successful after appearing on these shows, but the real obstacles come after the cameras stop rolling. Every artist has to follow up television appearances with dedication towards their craft, but these shows tend to gloss over that part and make it seem like you can be ordained into stardom. I have a problem with those perceived shortcuts, not just in the music industry. Many people have come to think they can just wake up and have things handed to them.

“I have a lot of respect for what artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and my friend Miranda Lambert have gone on to accomplish,” Eric continued. “This piece was never intended to tear down any individual, and I apologize to anybody I offended in trying to shed light on this issue. I am grateful for all of the artists and fans that have supported me along my journey and certainly did not mean for my comments to undermine their talent and achievements.”

Neither Miranda nor Blake have commented further since Eric’s statement was issued. Miranda did tweet a picture of an underlined quote from Eric in which he says, “It didn’t interest me to play for people who were 80 years old. They’ll be dead soon anyway. By the time you come back on tour and play again, they’ll be gone.” Along with the photo, Miranda wrote “Uh oh: Willie better hurry! He turned 79 yesterday!:)”

Eric cancelled his April 29 show in Bloomington, Illinois due to illness. Eric is scheduled to resume his tour schedule tomorrow, May 3, in Springfield and will play a sold-out show May 5 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

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