Award-winning entertainer Dallas Smith discusses his mental health journey with Don Amero live at Country Music Week in Calgary, AB.
Don Amero welcomes multiple JUNO and CCMA Award-winning entertainer, Dallas Smith to the Through the Fire Podcast. Episode three was taped live at Country Music Week ahead of the 2022 CCMA Awards in Calgary, AB.
Dallas Smith is one of the most celebrated artists in Canadian country music. Amassing 18 Canadian Gold-certified singles, four Canadian Gold-certified albums, and seven Canadian Platinum-certified singles along with more than 500 MILLION collective streams to date and 2 MILLION global album equivalents. Smith is also the first and only Canadian country artist in the Nielsen BDS era to have TWELVE #1 singles, including four consecutive chart-toppers from the same album, and closed out 2019 as the most played artist (domestic/international) at Canadian country radio for the year. Adding to the list of accolades, Smith is the sole Canadian country artist in the Nielsen BDS and Mediabase era to earn TWELVE #1 songs in history and have 23 consecutive singles peak in the Top 10 of the country airplay chart. Smith is the three-time CCMA Award winner for Entertainer of the Year (2019/2020/2021), continuing to set the bar high for Country music in all that he does.
In 2021, Smith launched the Lifted Dallas Smith Charitable Foundation – a non-profit organization committed to ensuring that mental health services are accessible to anyone and everyone in need.
Here are some other mental health resources:
Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse and Addiction – https://www.ccsa.ca
Canadian Center for Addiction – https://canadiancentreforaddictions.org
Canadian Mental Health Association – https://cmha.ca
Mood Disorders Society of Canada – https://mdsc.ca
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – https://www.camh.ca
Dallas Smith, everybody. Welcome to the Hot seat.
Hey, Don, how are you doing?
Good, man. Thanks for doing this.
This is- for a brand new podcaster, because there's no shortage of podcasts out there. There's lots. But I figure the kind of content that we're going to talk about and the things that we're going to uncover here hopefully help others out there, that's the reason why I wanted to have these. And I know you've been pretty vocal about mental health and wellness and the importance of that. We're going to get there okay in a little bit.
I've been wanting to sit down with you. We've known each other for a while. We've never actually sat down. It's always been like, hey, man, nice to see you.
It's always CCMA's in passing. You're doing something or whatever. High five. Bluetooth from across the hall.
Your journey. I know, obviously from what we all see in the public eye from your days now, as a country star, I'm going to get this number wrong, but 23? Top ten songs?
However many songs I've put out in the format, that's how many, I guess.
That's crazy. That's so cool, man. I think about that and I think about- you cross genres. You came over from the Default days, and you still do some of those tunes in your set now, don't you?
Yeah, we used to do Count On Me as well, but we do Wasting My Time pretty much every time. It's a really cool moment to be able to strip it down and be alone with the crowd.
One of the questions that's been lingering from my mind is, again, just giving me some context, where did it start for you? Was Default first? Or were there like, three or four really bad bands before?
I have a very unique story. Everybody finds their own path, and mine is unique. So I was born into Westminster, BC. And my parents had me in the Newton area of Surrey until I was about six. It was a pretty rough neighborhood. We moved to a new area, Walnut Grove in North Langley, just along the Fraser River. And I still live in the same area, just down the street. And yeah, it was a great place to grow up. It was a pretty small community at the time. Music was around my house a lot. I remember singing. My mom took me to percussion courses, just little workshops here and there, really young, and she was a women's professional choir, so it was a sweet adeline. So I grew up listening to my mom doing all of her vocal warm ups and harmonizing, and she used to ask me if, like, our pitch was and stuff. I sang along in the house as well and enjoyed doing that stuff until I got, like, I don't know, grade three, grade four. I apparently just shut up. I just became self conscious about or whatever, and I don't associate any memory with that. It's a little bit of a blinking.
You stopped singing.
I became shy about it, and that was the case until I was actually maybe opening up in 300 seat places for Nickelback, and that was the scene back then, so that was kind of what I was exposed to. And then the singer of what ended up being Default. So Jeremy and Danny. Singer left, and I would just go hang out and drink with them and party with them. So Friday night I was just like, fuck it, I'm going to go and get over this fear. I'm tired of being scared about this. It's something I really enjoy, and if there's anything I'm going to do, I want to just make this leap. And it was just to get over the fear, just to show I could do it. I didn't really- like, I grew up dreaming of being that. But I was so introverted. I just didn't associate me chasing that. I had a bunch of beer. Yeah, I got up and I sang and very similar to this. Wired mic into something like this, and sang Stone Temple Pilots' Plush. It was the first song I sang live in front of anybody since I was, like, six years old.
And then this is when- you're saying when you're 19?
Yeah, when I was 20 years old, I finally just gotten over that fear and had the opportunity to do it and took it. And a year and a half later, we had a US record deal. And then a year and a half year later after that, we had a US platinum record, and we're traveling all over the place.
So going from a very introverted, very self doubt driven young man. It was that whole ride. I really enjoyed it at the time. There was a lot of excess, a lot of drinking, a lot of drugs. I view that process now as, like, it was a great opportunity and I saw a lot of great things, but as a kid who didn't really have yeah, I was not ready for that at all. And I went to school, I got a lot of street smarts very quick. But, yeah, I look back on it and I look back and I was white knuckling it still at that time. And I look back a lot of those moments is, like, kind of honestly traumatic and had sort of native negative effects on me, which turned into a lot of more access and drinking and just being a not good version of yourself, like your family and everybody around you. Right? Right. And what comes with that is not being ready for the second record. After the grade, I just wasn't there. I wasn't even close to being prepared to be able to prepare for a second record for a band that had something in an artist, a person, a singer who had that come that fast. Right. So the second record did okay, not good in the US. And it just really hit us pretty hard. Right. We had a business manager who was like, if there's any accountants out there we were playing Canadian shows, and he was notting the GST to the government, and he was stealing. We ended up the label went bankrupt, TVT Records. I didn't have a record deal. We had a record, but no record deal. And then we found out that we were, like, in the whole 350 grand and there was no shows. So talk about from the peaks of, like, going from I'm just a kid singing in my fucking living room to, like, platinum record, all of that stuff, traveling, opening up for nickelback for two solid years all over the world.
And the reception is probably like, well, look, you guys are tearing it up, making so much money, living it up.
I mean, yeah, we made decent money, but it was split four ways and we had a manager stealing from us. So at the end of the day, right, it was decimating. All four of us were pretty much decimated financially. It was an amazing experience, but it was very traumatic. And all of that stuff came with lots of drinking, divorce, got a 17 year old boy. He's just a beautiful kid. And I got a chance to take another leap of faith. And I think I've told this story many times, and it's when I just had the opportunity to go down with a buddy and we just kind of went down. And now he's co owner of Big Loud Records and he lives on a big castle in a hill down there somewhere. And I've been able to kind of keep recording music and keep making records on my own terms and work with my friends and friends that actually coming back to that. It's like friends and on a label and a management team and everybody that understand me and my needs and the mental health stuff that goes on and how important family is to me. Like, my son is 17, but he asked me, Why did you never move down to Nashville? It's like fucking I like to sleep at night. It's the most important thing to me. I work with the team that ideally yeah, they want me down in Nashville, but they're great with me. Being up here right now in my career. I feel very supportive and I have for the last ten years working with my friends and stuff and kind of going through them the things I've been pretty open about mental health stuff throughout the last ten years with social media. Just kind of going through that process and with a great team and a great wife and a family that supports me. So I feel like it's never perfect with mental health stuff, but I have a good group of people that I know that are behind me and my back.
Supporting you all the way.
Has it always been music? Were you ever nine to five? Because music is like 14, 15 hours a day, 16 hours a day. It's more than a nine to five. But you were a nine to five at one point.
Yeah, I was talking about this today. Coming out of high school, I was an idiot for like, a year and a half. And then I went to BCIT for HVAC. So, like, commercial air conditioning in restaurants, you see the exposed pipes and all the rooftop units you put all those stuff in. It was good. I was in the band at that point and we were, like, recording and doing things and playing local shows and showcasing, and they were really supportive. So I would go and work a full 8 hours and drive an hour back downtown. I'd be covered in fiberglass from the piping and stuff and insulation, and we'd be singing in those things, running through songs.
So you're in Default things, hit the fan with all that, and then just catch me up here. Where the leap to the country community and kind of doing that? What happened in that gap between Default and that?
Well, I think we put Default we had a last record out in 2008 or something like that. 2007 and mid 2000s was like Keith Urban, like the Rascal Flat stuff, like early Dirk stuff. It was really like, some country music that had some rock elements and some great voices. And I wasn't liking lyrically, like, what was going on. I didn't identify with it, but what I was hearing in the different format was like a blend of, like, this is perfect, this is amazing. Everything that I love, and it's there. So I actually had a producer of our third record, the Default record. He actually stopped in the middle of a vocal take, and he looked at me and he goes, we should do a country record together. And I had my ex wife, my exfolather in law, he said that to me when I was in but I never in a million years would have thought that that would ever be something that it wasn't obvious on my path yet, but it was like hearing Keith Urban and hearing a lot of that stuff. I just started we're playing Default shows, and we have this great opportunity. We're opening up for three Days Grace and arenas all across Canada, and I'm in the back of the bus warming up to Herb and Rascal Flats Records, and I just found a really cool I just love the music. And during that time, Joey Moy, the guy was talking about who owns co owner Big Loud and produces my records and a bunch of others. We have been talking about our mutual love for that kind of stuff because we're both big rock fans. We love songs and the production and everything. Eventually, by the end of that Three Days Grace tour, we were in Montreal. Should be happy as all hell. I was miserable in the back of the bus, just doing what I did not want to do. And I messaged. It Joey. I said, country record, question mark. And then two weeks later, three weeks later, we were down in Nashville, and we were in a room with Craig Wiseman, all right? And that's kind of how that journey started for me.
And it's funny because you probably hear this from time to time. I got buddies of mine who are not country fans, and they go, Dallasmith, isn't it that Default guy?
Yeah, it's funny. Like, when I play most people in Canada figured it out, but when I play like a US festival or something, it's really funny watching them when I tell the story, and then I play wasting my time down there, it's hilarious.
They make the connection they go, oh, that's you said a second ago about. So you just love really good songs. I've been saying lately, like, I could get crucified in this room if I say this here, but I'm going to say it anyways.
There are people that say country music is the greatest genre in all the world. And I've been saying, I think a great song is the greatest genre in all the world.
Yeah. Because you could take a great country song and you could production dress it up, and it's the song.
Yeah, it's all about the song.
Yeah. Your new one is great, by the way. I've been thank you. That one.
Yeah, I wish. I really did. I tried to sing the Candy.
Great tune one, too.
Yeah. I've been friends with McKinney for quite a while. I've been a big fan for the last eight years, I think, or ten years, and be able to run the same label and be able to full circle with that.
Yeah. Want to go to the dark side? You've already exposed some of the dark side here in our conversation, but yeah.
I rambled on it for a while, honestly.
That's good. I think a lot of us, just from my perspective, I feel like I don't always get to hear that side.
It's 20 years. I'm 45 this year, so that stuff, like, thinking back, I almost kind of have to ramble on because it plays back. It's hard to piece it together in a story. I can just kind of have to clearly.
Right. Yeah. I struggle with that, too, because there's so many pieces of the story where you're trying to put all the things together and make it make sense to the listener. You did a good job.
Got you the mental health journey for you. I know you've been pretty vocal about that in the last couple of years. Can you pinpoint a place where it was like, I know this thing is a thing? For me? From what I understand, people who are struggling with their mental health, it's not a fix all. It's not just one thing that ends it. It's kind of like you always have to kind of stay on top of that mental. Mental health is something we all have to keep top of mind. So for you, when you come to the realization, like, oh, this is an important thing I need to address.
I actually had just said somebody who was a counselor. It was a new counselor. I had been going through terrible part in a relationship precristin.
When this would.
Have been like 1015 years ago, 15 years ago.
Yeah. It would have been like 20 08, 20 07, something like that.
So this is around the end of the default area, too.
Yeah. Around a lot of the heavy drinking and stuff like that. Right. So through counseling, first appointment, do sort of a thing. It was a second appointment, I can't remember. But anyways, it was very early and he gave me this questionnaire sheet. It was a lot of questions regarding and I've never seen it before, or it was like a questionnaire sort of to guide him where you are with your mental health and depression and stuff. And I scored pretty high, and he made no bones about it. He's like you're clinically depressed. So I remember just breaking down because I never really yeah, having somebody validate or verify and just like, all of a sudden, that opens up such a wave of emotion. Just keep talking about it. Right. But I remember that and yeah, I started going through that process, and I was with somebody at the time who was there, but not there. My initial journey with that, it's part of my fault, too, because I still was drinking a lot, but I was drinking heavily on wellbutrin, was the first one that I was given it's the medication. Yeah. And apparently you're not supposed to drink on that one. I'm sure I knew that, but I was beyond reasoning with and stuff like that. So my first experience with that stuff was like just chaos. Chaos. It's the darkest time. Darkest, yeah. Been through divorce and dealing with not being there every day, the sun and.
Just heavy stuff, for sure.
Holes in the walls, and it was bad. So I went through that process, changed medication, and throughout the years, it's still going through it. I'm learning more and more that even though I switch medications and I've gone through different things and parts of my life in the last 15 years, the medication helps and there's a place for it and for sure, but you really have to go. For me, I'm learning, like, that cognitive therapy stuff and the breathing. I live so much in my emotional part of my brain and my fight or flight reptile brain, and I'm learning that the more that I do that, the more that I feel like I can come down off my medication a little bit because I feel like I'm in a good spot. But yeah, just for other reasons, I started going to different therapy and we started doing a lot of that stuff. So, like I said, it's a never ending journey with it. You're always tinkering with it and what stresses and what's going on with your life and the environment. So that's kind of the process I'm going through right now. I'm chaotic. I don't sit down very well.
I relate, although we're sitting this is.
Pretty good, but we're doing something like the meditation and stuff. And I'm like a spiritual guy, but I'm not like, I'm not going to go to Tibet and do my own thing, you know what I'm saying? But I'm getting into that stuff of it. I'm going to try to come off the medication. And it's never not scary. It's just kind of a process right.
I heard, speaking of monks, there was an interview, I watched a documentary and a monk talking about how he would live with his anxiety. And he went to his teachers and he would say, I'm just afraid of this thing. And the monk said, well, instead of trying to push it away or run away from this thing that's in your mind, he said, welcome it, understand that it's there, say hello, acknowledge it and breathe through it.
That's the whole thing. Keep yourself right there. Instead of being afraid and relying on or being afraid of what this thing could be or what this thing reminds you of that happened in the past. Anxiety. That's the thing. So, yeah, it's a process. I'm constantly learning about it, and my kids have been in theory thing, right. It's just anxiety and what comes with that? Learning these things and passing them on to our children are a massive, massive thing. Those are tools we don't teach in different societies and different cultures, meditation, and those things happen. And there's a reason why those societies aren't on as much medication. We aren't given these tools. We're just like it's thrown out in this chaos world and we live in a different part of our brain where monks like you're saying, you live with it, think about it, but don't panic. You have to learn how to control your breathing and you can keep yourself in this part of your brain, right? And that will take away the anxiety and a different way for your brain to rewire itself into not going into the fear in the fight or flight ship. Yeah.
A common thread in discussions that I'm having with folks like this. I love this because I've always been a hard on my sleeve guy. I've always told people about the highs and the lows and the darkest times of my life. And I love this because it gives me an opportunity to have these deeper conversations with others and dig a bit. And so, again, I'm glad that you're here. I can dig a bit on Dallas Smith.
Yeah, well, I think I think we got along right away. So maybe that's the kind maybe that's the common thing. Maybe.
But I was going to say the common thread is breath. Breath is a big I keep hearing that over and over and over as folks are out there here today or listening at home. I think we take for granted every breath that we get. I found a weird nerd fact here. I listened to an instagram post came up, and it's Neil degrasse Tyson. He said, you know, every breath you take, there's more neurons in that breath than there are breaths in all of the atmosphere of the Earth, in every single breath. Isn't that a crazy stat?
I can't make sense of that in my head. Can anybody else explain that to me?
Another nerd fact. He said, in a glass of water, there's more molecules in that glass of water than there are glasses of water on the entire earth. So think about that.
Okay, now we're going to take our commercial break. It's fascinating to me, these things that we have and we take for granted, but I was going to ask you now was talk about the darkest days. We talked about medication and how that sort of thing my son, he's ADHD and is on medication, and we at first were a little bit worried about crossing the threshold into medication, and we thought, no, we can manage this with all our stuff. And somebody said to us, if somebody, you know, needs glasses, do you deny them the glasses? If somebody, you know, needs minerals or vitamins or things in their body, do you deny them that? If somebody has ADHD and medication is going to help them, do you deny them that? It's like, oh, right. Their brain just doesn't actually work the same way as I'm on that stuff right now.
Yeah, I came across the fact that I was I had some of that, and I started inquiring with family friends, and I mentioned this to one of my close family friends, and they were like, duh. Yeah, I met you when you were seven, and you've been like that in your entire life, that's like, go back to passing on to your kids and stuff like that. My parents didn't really think of medication was a thing, but I truly believe, like, if my parents were educated on that and I was given the opportunity to do that, I think that my world would have been a little less introverted, a little less how I dealt with it. I internalized it.
My wife thinks I have it, but I think all of us think their husbands have it. I'm not totally sure I joke, but I think I really do need to do some work. But on the other side of that, is that what you say in the dark days, what did you say was the light? What was the light?
That there's no doubt. Like, not to be dramatic about it, but I would not be breathing sitting on this earth if it wasn't for my son, period. No doubt about it. So that was my guiding light. I just like, yeah, no, I'm going to be there for him as much as I need to. And I knew that whatever it was was hopefully temporary and yeah, that was it. So it was a long journey. Yeah, but that was it. That was the beginning of the light for me. I was like, yeah, I'm not going that way. I'm going this way.
Yes. A couple of dads here, by the way. I got three kids. You got three kids. For myself, they are the light of my life. I often say with my kids, my stock kept going up, too. When my son was born ten years ago, all of a sudden, it was a little bit harder to get me out of the house, a little bit harder to book a Donna Mary. Not quite that hard, but still, like, I got you.
And then my daughter showed up and it was another level of like so every time I got a kid, I make a little bit more money, basically. So it's just like, oh, my third kid's here now I'm worth this much because it's like, that much harder to get me out of the house.
Demand. Supply and demand.
Supply and demand.
You were demanded at your house a lot.
But I'm done at three. I'm just stopping. We're finished.
It gives you a high five and then had the work done, somebody else takes over.
Yeah, I don't think so. But I know for us, I'm saying this publicly now because this is in the podcast, but every one of my kids, we didn't plan them. We know how they were made, but they were all happy accidents. They were glad that they're here. Yeah, I remember early on, too, I didn't think I would have kids. I thought being a musician and having kids, how do you manage that? The kid life and the music life.
Well, Kirsten was born in 2005, so that was like it was pre everything internet, like, pre everything. I think Skype maybe was very early, if that was one of the first ones.
I think MySpace was huge.
Yeah, that was the thing. Right. So when we would go away in the rock days, radio tours and all that stuff, and there are decent chunks that I had missed back when with a band. And back in those days, it was kind of like you had no choice, this is what you signed up for. And it was just part of the deal. You made it work. Carson's got a fantastic mum. It's just always been a fantastic mum through his entire childhood, so it was always really a good backbone. And no matter what was going on with her and I, it was always just like the schedule would always be moved and was very understanding with that kind of stuff and never made it about used him as a chest pawn, you know what I mean? So it was made as good as it possibly could have been, for sure. So him and I had a really good relationship and still have a great.
Relationship, because now you have two younger ones.
Yeah, six and three.
You said six and two.
Eight and eight and almost two. Yeah, but it was so different with Carson because it was just a separation and being on the road so much and just not having to be a FaceTime and stuff.
Yeah. It's much different with this two kids.
The pandemic for me, and none of us wish it had ever happened, but in some ways, it offered me a beautiful gift. And I often say this. Because I like you. I don't sit still. I want to keep moving. I do a million things. Too many things, probably. But when the pandemic hit, it was like the world said, Stop. And I got to just be dad. And it was pretty beautiful for a while.
Yeah. Everybody had their bitterness with it, but hopefully everybody got that something to make it sort of palatable and light in that dark time. Right. We don't have a war.
If this was it, we got instead of being shipped off or somewhere else. Right. We got to spend that chunk of time in a traumatic society event. Right. World event with our kids side by side. It's pretty cool. I don't think that ever happened. I don't think so. You go with your six year old, the Cole Mill. I don't know. What would you do back then?
So much Netflix.
Yeah. Way too much phone. Way too much fell into that. Kids fell into that.
At this stage of your life, of your career, you've been really key in helping a lot of people, too. And I think on both the mental health advocacy work, there's this term, mental health. I always think people often think, well, that's for people who are mental health stuff. We all have to juggle the mental health of ourselves. Some of us do a really good job of it, some of us not so well.
Is your brain healthy?
Yeah, that's really what it is. And you've been on the front lines of that, and you've also been on the front lines of helping a lot of artists along the way and being able to support. Is that the long journey for you? Do you want to keep doing that?
Yeah, I'd love to. I've been inspired by a lot of people throughout my career and start off with the Nickelback guys and how they offered up. Just very entrepreneurial with what they did. Check him and wrote some songs with us and took us out on tour.
You got pals.
Oh, yeah. All those guys, that kind of stuff. Like them taking us under their wing and taking us on that journey and helping us miss some of the pitfalls that a lot of ours bands would go through back in the time. I wish they would have told us to get a different business manager, but they missed one. But like that. And I saw that with the stuff down in Nashville and just people supporting people and building a community and a family around you, people that you want to be around. Life's too short. I work with assholes. I want to help people that I didn't deserve it and surround myself by great people, and hopefully we can all flourish. Yeah, it's really important. Just those examples have been sent to me, so I just trying to pay that forward, and it's fun.
That's really cool, man. On this thing that I do, this podcast, I like to ask and find out what's inspiring people today. Is there podcasts or books or shows, documentaries? Things that what do you dive into to inspire yourself? Do you just sort of get surprised by things that are inspiring you or do you look to certain sources?
I'm trying to give a my hyper focus weirdness into what I was talking about, like positive things for myself. So a lot more therapy and just diving into some stuff that I just getting some answers and things of why things are the way they are. And I'm honestly trying to be inspired by that and trying to just go down that journey more so than I ever have. Family going back and listening to some records that I know that just had a lot of meaning to me as.
A desert island record.
When you do, like, top three records, it's easy. When you do top one, that's so difficult.
I'll take three down to Maryland.
It's not one of my records, let me tell you. It would be what's the story? Oasis. Okay. I would say I would say probably Diorama by Silver Chair, which is kind of an oddball one. And then I would say dirt by Alice in chains.
Mine would be jagged little pill.
Oh, yeah, that's more set.
Probably counting crows. That's a good one. I remember what that album is called. And my number one. One would be a tossup between five days of May blue rodeo and John Mayer's Continuum. Okay.
There's a couple of mine. Yeah. Just because you didn't ask.
What are your three favorites? You could put that in editing. There you go. My first music memory of, like, oh, my God, I love this was Abbey Road. That Abbey Road medley just came into the bathroom window and all that stuff. Pauline Pam and all that stuff. That was like my dad had an alarm clock, my bed thing. And my dad, on Sunday nights, would put on the Am station and it had the old readings, those stories, like, back in the world of the world. Yeah, I always thought it was pretty cool. And instead of falling asleep like I would always do, I actually made it through that whole episode episode. And then the first thing that kicked off and I never heard it. My Beatles a lot, a ton of the house, but I never heard that for whatever reason. And it just started off and I was just, like, amazed. And that was like the first goose bumps and really inspired by music was that otherwise none of the stuff was just around, and it was around me. But that was the first, like, where I started really digging into records and then Zeppelin and all that stuff.
I know I asked this off the top, and if you're okay with it, does anybody in the room have a question for Dallas? Because I think you were really kind to share your time, brother. Yes.
My name is Amanda. I'm a big fan of you guys. Just so you know. Tipping Point is still on my top 25 most played.
Yeah. I was in University of Lethridge when you opened for Florida Georg Line, and I left after your show because I was like, I'm good. Anyway, what I was wondering is, I feel like in country music culture, there's a lot of emphasis on drinking. Like, is your cup full? Is everybody partying tonight? And a lot of the music focuses around drinking. So I was just asking how you cope with that and get through shows when that's such a big part of the culture of country music.
Yeah, I've never really had an issue with singing up. Yeah. Because when I finally decided to, I had quit drinking a couple of times, but when I finally, like, it was laid out on the line again, like a turning point in your life where it's like, I'm either going down this path or I'm going to go down this path. It's such an easy thing for me not to drink now. Like, I feel very fortunate.
Never really don't drink at all.
I'm five and a half years sober now. Okay. So it's a fairly, fairly newish thing. I kind of put that to bed. And I think, like, the drinking thing is everybody's own journey. I'm jealous of people who can have a sober drink, just like a social drink and just hang out. It was not really my thing because just the inner turmoil and stuff, you just try to disappear and try to numb it. Right. So that was always my thing. I remember back in the default days, we were on a three month run and Jeremy and I were like, we tried to go as long as we could. We got blackout drunk every single night. It was well over a month and a half every single night. And you sweat it off the next show if you don't like garbage. And then right away you start drinking near the end of the show and right back at it. Right? I put that stuff to bed.
It's not really an issue.
I know what you mean, though. I think there's this sort of running joke about this song is either going to have a truck or a beer on a console. And that idea of perpetuating this alcohol thing, I'm one of those ones who can have a drink and just be fine with it. I think that there's a number of people who just enjoy a drink for the sake of enjoying a drink, but the danger is that there's a number of people that also have that one drink and it turns something on and they can't stop. And I think that's what we're talking about is sort of how do you find a way to like, you've got a big audience, right? You've got a pretty big audience that pays attention to what you say and what you do. And I even think about that with my sort of smaller audience and just saying, how can I help the person on the other side that may be in that place of like, if you can't handle this, don't do it. If you can, then so be it. But it's hard because we also can't tell people how to live.
Right. Yeah. From the audience, you can probably tell when you look out in the audience which one has a problem with it, which one doesn't, for the most part.
Yeah. Honestly, it's never really something I really even thought about. But it'd be interesting to like yeah, I'm not judgmental with that at all. I'm pretty vocal marijuana use. That's my advice. I use that to but going down the zone. But I'm trying to cut back from that because that also takes me present too. Right?
I'm not judgy or whatever.
Yeah. And that's a tough question because it is so prevalent in music in general.
In society. In society.
Alcohol, another tricky thought for me is to think that governments earn so much of their money based on human addiction. You know, tobacco, gambling, alcohol. Like, our government's budgets are based on speeding tickets. All the things that we do presumably wrong, is how they're making a lot of their money. So it's really strange to think, like, is there a society that exists without those things in place? I don't know. Maybe I've not done the research, but I don't know.
But for me, my view on alcohol now is I just wish there was something else out there. Because if you are not in a good place, it takes you to a not good place. It's a tough thing and it gasolates you. It's just a shitty to me, it's a shitty drug. I prefer other stuff, and I think other stuff are better for you, but teach their own.
I know there's been an attempt at dry events, dry things. But I think the struggle is sometimes those events are trying to make money as well. And so if we had the answer, we'd let you know. But it's one of those things that we definitely I think the society itself is wrestling with what that is. But really good question and important to be thinking about. Does anybody else in the audience have a question? Yeah.
My name is Justine.
Hi. How are you?
Good. How are you?
Long time, no see.
I know. So my question is, I feel like you've accomplished a lot in the course of your extensive career. You've toured the world number one songs. Like, pretty much done all of it. Do you have anything at the top of your bucket list, like a venue that you've never played or something that you want to accomplish that you're like? That would be super cool to do.
I mean, for bucket list venues, there's not a whole lot. Red Rocks is one of them. I think just like any spot in Madison Square Gardens, being able to go into that building and you're playing it regardless if you're like, headlining or opening, whatever, it doesn't matter.
It's pretty cool.
So I think those two be a top list for sure.
Hi, this is for both of you. My name is Tammy from Barry, Ontario. Anyways, my question is, both of you are dads. Both of you guys have mental health issues. Are you watching your children for any signs and being prepared for taking those steps? Like, oh, I'm recognizing that behavioral issues, and this is how you're going to deal with it?
Oh, we are in it. We are in the fire with that. Absolutely. With more than one kid, two different types of experiences. And that's why I feel so blessed to be in this time where we have a lot of research and can start to give my kids the tools that I didn't have as soon as I've recognized the symptoms and sort of the things that I recognize for sure. And like, instead of behavioral issues that you used to, just like, you get smacked about, it's not about what is being done. It's an emotion you've learned about how differently to handle things and handle children. And I feel really blessed to be with that information and have that knowledge.
We live in a day and age now where it's important to be thinking, like you said kind of earlier, like, our folks probably didn't think so much. They were told to walk it off or suck it up.
Nobody's bad. They're bad parents and love them. They love me dearly. But we evolve. We just evolve with knowledge, and we always have, and we always will.
And the tools that they have, we're not the tools we have now. I think with my son, we started noticing things with him, and we took him to a specialist, and he did some one on one work with him to find out about ADHD. And it really is the last thing I want to do as a parent is fail to see those things and help my child walk through that a bit. And so we're doing the best we can with all that stuff. And again, luckily, I've got a wife who's really on top of things. And yeah, I don't know if you would echo that too, but yeah, my.
Wife has an absolute thirst for that knowledge. She really is on my team, and she gives me a lot of knowledge that she comes across and stuff.
I get instagram posts. She supports me. Check this out. Read this. Look at this.
Dude, seriously. We'll show this afterwards, but it's just constant, like, oh, my God. Therapy this, breathing that. Like, I get it. Okay.
How're you doing? Send me a funny one every once in a while. This one funny.
We send it to dad jokes.
Yeah. Anybody else?
Thanks, by the way, for hanging out with us today and listening in. And I say this a lot with people, with my shows, is that you didn't have to come, you didn't have to sit here, but you did and you gave us the gift of your ears and that means a lot to us.
So thanks. You didn't stand up and walk out mid. Yeah, I appreciate that. Get out of here.
Hello, my name is Arlene and I wanted to thank you guys. My voice is shaking. I want to thank you guys for the conversation because it is a fellow mental illness mental health ADHD over here. One of my really powerful posts that you posted actually was when you had your medication in your hand. I wanted to thank you for that because that was really bunched a lot to me. But my question is I actually do write music as well and it's usually about mental health, mental illness. I find it the fine line between not being able to be digestible for people or being too dark or too heavy. Do you have any advice about that?
Like anything? I think it's about relationship. When you're reaching people with whatever you're doing, if there's a relationship there, you can kind of go wherever. But it has to start with like a handshake. Right. And even a virtual handshake. I sometimes find, I guess if I'm understanding the question correctly from my perspective, is being able to build relationships with people that are watching what you're doing. And you know Dallas and you would watch him. So when he shared that post you were already in, he had won you over. Right. And so I think that post that was like the heart on his sleeve, kind of like here's where I'm at. And I think that relationship that you have with people that are watching you, that's going to go a long way and you can kind of go wherever and some of it's going to be done. It's just being real. I think the real is what I'm thinking.
Yeah. And I'm assuming that process is a very therapeutic thing for you, right? Absolutely. Yeah. So I think about everybody who's in the same position and feel the same way or can take a piece of that and relate to it. Maybe not entirely, but it doesn't have to be. And just think of those are the people that you're going to touched. Touched and reached out to and connected with. And that's going to be doing it in a way that's therapeutic and authentic to your journey through this. Right. So I think don't put too many boxes and or keep it in a box too much to make it digestible. Just put your voice on and then if it speaks to you, it'll speak to others for sure.
Awesome. Thank you.
And I heard this really cool another thing, I got all these posts again, inspired by. But somebody said recently, if people aren't listening to you, then move on. Stop talking. Your value is your voice. And if people don't want to hear it, then don't give it.
Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot of people out there. There's a lot of ears that you can speak to. Don't stress. Yeah.
And don't worry about those that aren't listening, because there are those that do.
There always will. Yeah.
I had this I was talking to somebody this morning. It's funny, because as musicians, I don't know what this is for you, but for me, I'll be singing to a crowd of people in the house is full and one person sitting there with you. They don't care about my music. And all I can think of this happened last night. All I could think about is that one person who didn't look at me and didn't smile when I was smiling at them. And I was like, but yet I've got a room full of people that are loving it. But it's like, that one person I.
Didn'T yeah, that's a process. That's something you got to get over eventually. I remember I remember doing this week, earlier on in the country journey, when the first big tourism we did, the first big opportunities was opening up for Bob Seger, like, playing right before Bob Seger. And it's like a legit like, there's bikers in there. Like legit music fans, like, real deal songwriting and stuff. And it was all going great. It was going really well. When the crowd over, and nobody I didn't see anything. That was too bad. And then I played Wasting My Time, and I saw this big biker just stand up and go, fuck. Stuck his finger at me. Stood there for, like, a good verse. I was rattled. I was rattled. I was not expecting that, of course, but, yeah, you learn. And then I go back to Big Valley Jamboree. We played a bunch a few years back, and it was during the daytime, and I called a whole bunch of people up to the front, like, I just couldn't. And it was an old guy, old farmer. They're sitting there with his wife, and he was pissed off, and he just sat there, and his old farmer flipping the bird. And I just looked at the difference of how you handle it. I just went over there, and I just gave him a kiss. So, yeah, he put the finger down.
I played a whole series of concerts and care homes in Manitoba, so different audience for sure. I played a care home. I remember I was about four songs in, and I'm in my head going, all these people are loving my stuff. I'm a singer song like my beautiful finger picking style and one guy in the back goes, don't you know any good songs? And that's stuck with me ever since. There's always those moments, man. Oh, my God.
So good. I think we're nearing the end here, folks. Thanks so much for being here. Dallas. Hey, you are honestly a big part of leading this conversation, I think, in this whole country, in this genre, outside of this genre. So, man, I really am grateful for you and the work you're doing. I'm hoping we can do some work together down the road.
Yeah, man, absolutely. I appreciate the opportunity to have me on here and like I said, we're both kind of heart and sleep kind of guy. So just talk about it while we're going through it. And going back to your question, it's just talk openly, it's true to you and you're going to speak and connect to a lot of people and I think you and I hopefully have done that a little bit.