Diamond Rio Say Success Taught Them to Value Their Fans … and ‘Lots of Stupid Things’
Diamond Rio have accomplished more than most in their decades-long career. The six-man group, made up of Marty Roe, Jimmy Olander, Dana Williams, Brian Prout, Gene Johnson and Dan Truman, has won numerous awards (including a Grammy), sold millions of albums and charted more than two dozen singles, five of which landed in the top spot. But their fondest career accolade, at least for some members, isn't at all tied to those successes; according to Olander, one of their best accomplishments, at least so far, is being invited to join the prestigious Grand Ole Opry.
"That happened in ’98. I used to sneak into the Opry when I was playing, sneak into the matinees, years ago. That was a really, really big deal," Olander tells The Boot. "I’m still a fan of music. When I was walking in the Opry down the hallway and Ricky Skaggs said, ‘Hey Jimmy,' and called me by name, I was like, ‘Oh man, that’s awesome,’ because I was a big Ricky Skaggs fan."
Of course, Diamond Rio couldn't exist without their loyal fans. The band's members agree that the love their fans have shown them is still a highlight of their professional lives, even after more than 25 years together.
"Over the years, I’ve learned there is absolutely zero loyalty in the business side," says Williams. "But the fans, there is loyalty there that, I guess, just goes until you quit, because they just keep coming, no matter what, whether you’re having records or not, new records out. It’s good to learn that."
Adds Olander, "People think that it's fame or money and success [that's the best part, but,] it’s been all of the personal relationships that have really made a difference. And the relationships I have with my partners. Getting to do this after all this time, I still have a lot of respect for them musically, and as guys, so it’s really cool."
As artists who have come after Diamond Rio cite the iconic group among their influences (including Jerrod Niemann who included the band on his latest album, This Ride), it might seem as though the "One More Day" singers would be full of words of wisdom for the newer class of performers. And while they certainly have learned plenty in their time together, most of the wisdom they want to pass on is less conventional than one might expect.
"We’ve learned stupid things, lots of stupid things," Olander says with a laugh. "You sign somebody’s arm, it messes up your Sharpie, so you can’t sign another autograph. There’s all of those little, stupid things that we’ve learned. On a hot day, I wear two shirts, because if I don’t, I’m going to look like I’m straight out of a sauna.
"There’s all these bizarre things," he continues. "When we first started having hits, when everything started getting really cool, we had some fans that would seek us out. All of a sudden, I started walking by more Dumpsters because we’d be brought in the back way. All of a sudden, success started smelling like trash."
Adds Williams, "I know how to turn on every shower in America!"