The 48-year-old singer-songwriter from Brooks & Dunn was a buddy
of Dale Earnhardt's. The country duo played last week's Dale
Earnhardt Tribute concert, which Fox airs on July 10.
SI: Do you ever think about Dale when you're onstage?
Brooks: He told me a long time ago that You're Gonna Miss Me When
I'm Gone was his favorite song and that every time he heard that,
it reminded him of Neil Bonnett, a dear friend of his who was
killed in his car. Every night I think about Dale when we're
singing that song.
SI: Dale played a Kix Brooks look-alike in the video for Honky
Tonk Truth. How did he do?
Brooks: He was great. You know, Dale once made an album. People
told him that with modern technology they could make him sound
like a great singer. He told me the record sucked so bad it was
one of the most embarrassing moments of his life.
SI: Your song Sunday Money was inspired by Dale's life. How did
the song come about?
Brooks: One day when we were in Charlotte together he told me the
name of his boat was Sunday Money, and I was like, "That's a
great name." So that night at my hotel I was fooling around with
my guitar and ended up writing this song. The next day I played
it for him, and he got all fired up about it. I gave him a
cowriter credit on that one.
SI: In '99 Dale told you and Ronnie Dunn that you hadn't really
made it until you were on a cereal box. The next year you made
the front of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.
Brooks: I told Dale we were on something like 90 million boxes,
and he shrugged and said, "Ninety million, that ain't no s---."
Probably because he was on two billion or so boxes of Wheaties.
SI: Teresa Earnhardt [Dale's widow] interviewed you guys for a
piece that will be part of the concert broadcast. That must have
been pretty emotional.
Brooks: She makes it bearable because she's done such a great job
regrouping. The fact that I can look her in the eye and know
she's O.K. makes it bearable. I love talking about him because I
miss him so much.
SI: Finally, just how did you convince Ronnie to let your name
Brooks: Because Dunn and Brooks sounds like a clothing store or a
law firm. Not to mention he was out of the room.
COLOR PHOTO: LAURA FARR/ZUMA PRESS INC. Wrote a song with Dale
For more from Kix Brooks, go to si.com/scorecard.