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.
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.”
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.