Brooks & Dunn Recall Favorite Memories

Brooks & Dunn Recall Favorite Memories

Brooks & Dunn have plenty of great memories to look back on from their career that has spawned 20 years. The duo recently sat down with USA Today to give their top 10 memories…

Kix Brooks

1. When he realized, “This is it.”

The roar of the crowd was so great when the duo played Arco Arena in Sacramento that Brooks thought, “Man, are they really screaming for us? Good grief.”

2. First Academy of Country Music Awards.

“We won two awards that night, and it was the same week Neon Moon went No. 1. It was the perfect storm, and our sales kind of doubled.”

3. A wake-up call from home.

After Brooks got back from his first really long stretch on the road, his 4-year-old son asked his wife an innocent question that shocked the singer into re-evaluating his priorities: “Is he spending the night here tonight?”

4. His father sees him win ACM’s entertainer of the year.

“He always told me that I had the talent and encouraged me to compete on the national level.”

5. A $10,000-a-hole charity golf game he had no shot of winning.

Brooks was invited to play in a charity tournament against professional golfers Natalie Gulbis, John Daly and Arnold Palmer. “I stayed up all night partying and playing guitar and had to get up the next morning and tee off at 8. I won the skins game.”

6. Brooks & Dunn play at George W. Bush’s inauguration.

“You are standing there at the Lincoln Memorial on this huge stage next to Colin Powell, and you’re playing your music. That we were allowed an opportunity like that was pretty humbling.”

7. Going to Iraq with songwriter Bob DiPiero to play for U.S. troops.

“That was something I wanted to do, something I wanted to see, and something no one would have cared about if it wasn’t for Brooks & Dunn.”

8. Playing Radio City Music Hall.

When Brooks was “7 or 8,” his dad took him to see The Rockettes and The Odd Couple at Radio City. “And then the next time I went to New York City, I was playing on that stage.”

9. The Country Music Association Awards’ hotly contested move to New York in 2005.

Brooks was chairman of the CMA board that year, and he and Dunn were the show’s hosts. “I didn’t want to come out of there with everybody saying, ‘I told you so,’ and I don’t think they were.”

10. A different kind of radio play.

Brooks, who hosts the syndicated radio show American Country Countdown, just signed on for another three years. “I don’t think there’s a bigger country music fan out there than me, so it’s really fun to be able to share that.”

Ronnie Dunn

1. An announcement from American Airlines.

“When our first song, Brand New Man, made No. 1, my wife, Janine, was so excited that she called American Airlines, and the pilot announced it over the public-address system on the plane. When we landed in New Mexico, Kix and I got a standing ovation. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

2. Not bad for a first-timer.

“1991 was our first Academy of Country Music Awards show. It was our first time to attend an awards show. We won vocal duo of the year and top new vocal duo.”

3. No disputing who had the best song that year.

“Winning 2006 song of the year as writer and producer for Believe from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.”

4. Party guest: The Hag.

“Merle Haggard flying to Nashville and playing for one of our No. 1 parties in 1994.”

5. Opening act, Part I.

“Opening for the Rolling Stones in 2005.”

6. Opening act, Part II.

“Being asked to open for the Rolling Stones again.”

7. Playing the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“It was after 9/11. Security was insane. We finished the show, ran off stage and were taken by police escort to the USA/Russia hockey game. They seated us on the glass at midcourt, next to the U.S. hockey team. It was surreal.”

8. On both their lists.

“Playing for a presidential inauguration.”

9. A different party.

“The surprise of hearing Only in America begin to play after Barack Obama’s acceptance speech for his Democratic presidential nomination.”

10. The Last Rodeo.

“Ask me again on Aug. 11.”

Brooks & Dunn will part ways after “The Last Rodeo” tour ends on August 10.