On Oct. 1, 2017, Jason Aldean’s headlining set at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas became the site of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Fifty-eight fans were killed and hundreds more injured in the attack. Understandably, Jason needed some time away from the stage and the public eye in order to fully comprehend what happened that night.
In a new interview with the national radio show “Ty, Kelly & Chuck,” Jason explains his state of mind in the days and weeks after the shooting.
He says getting back onstage and performing for his fans again shortly after Las Vegas helped him keep going. The birth of his son, Memphis, in December was healing, too.
Jason says, “It kind of gave us something else to focus on.”
In the wake of the attack, Jason and his wife, Brittany, quickly went back to Vegas to visit with victims and first responders.
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Feels surreal being back in Vegas today. Visiting some of the strongest people we have ever met… fighting the toughest battle of them all… for their lives. You have helped us try to begin the healing process by seeing the strength each one of you have. Thank you for today. We will never forget. #vegasstrong 🙌🏼
The weekend after the shooting, Jason performed Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
It was an act of defiance against the madman who claimed so many lives in Las Vegas, but Jason didn’t say a lot about the attack publicly at that time.
He now explains, “The thing was, it happened, and then immediately you go into trying to deal with it and you’ve got to play shows. People are wanting to interview you and talk about it, and I really didn’t want to talk about it, honestly, at the time.”
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Over the last 24 hrs I have gone through lots of emotions. Fear, Anger, Heartache, Compassion and many others. I truely dont understand why a person would want to take the life of another. Something has changed in this country and in this world lately that is scary to see. This world is becoming the kind of place i am afraid to raise my children in. At the end of the day we arent Democrats or Republicans, Whites or Blacks, Men or Women. We are all humans and we are all Americans and its time to start acting like it and stand together as ONE! That is the only way we will ever get this Country to be better than it has ever been, but we have a long way to go and we have to start now. My heart aches for the Victims and their families of this Senseless act. I am so sorry for the hurt and pain everyone is feeling right now and there are no words i can say to to take that pain away. Just know u all are in my heart and my prayers as we all go through this together. Time to come together and stop the hate! #stopthehate #prayforlasvegas
Over the holidays and into the new year, Jason and his crew have all taken time to really process what happened in Las Vegas.
He says, “It wasn’t until we got off the road and had a little downtime to get yourself together a little bit. I think that’s been a big help.”
As he gears up to return to the road in May, Jason is determined to keep bringing his music to his fans like he always has. It’s a balance of dealing with the effects of what happened in Las Vegas while also not letting that tragedy stop him from doing his job.
He says, “Out of all the shows I’ve played, all the years I’ve been on the road, and for that to happen that time, I know that’s not normal. That’s the thing I keeping trying to tell myself. It’s probably never going to happen again. It was what it was. It was crazy, and it’s just one of those things. For me, I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever forget. It’ll be something that’s always be there that I remember. But at the same time, I feel like it’s not something you can sort of let dictate the way you live life and do everything from here on out.”
Just as he sang about on “Saturday Night Live,” Jason is determined not to back down in the face of evil.
“I think the only way you can honor people when something like that happens is to go out and do what it is you do,” he says. “I think if you lay down and you go, ‘Well, I don’t want to tour anymore,’ or ‘I don’t want to do this’ or ‘I don’t want to do that,’ I don’t think that’s honoring people. I think that’s letting the bad guy win. For me, it’s going out and doing business as usual and, like I said, it’ll always be in the back of my mind. It’ll always be something I remember. I don’t know if you ever get over that, but you try to move on and do your thing.”
Jason’s “High Noon Neon” tour kicks off May 10. It follows the release of his new album, “Rearview Town,” on April 13. The album’s first single, “You Make It Easy,” is out now.