Garth Brooks kicked off his Inside Studio G livestream on Monday (June 12) by addressing some backlash to comments he made to Billboard last week about carrying all beers — including Bud Light — at his Nashville bar.
The country superstar made the original comments last week in a Billboard Country Live Q&A with Melinda Newman, Billboard‘s executive editor, West Coast and Nashville. “I know this sounds corny, but I want it to be the Chick-Fil-A of honky-tonks,” he said during the conversation about his Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky Tonk, currently under construction in Nashville. “I want it to be a place you feel safe in, I want it to be a place where you feel like there are manners and people like one another. And yes, we’re going to serve every brand of beer. We just are. It’s not our decision to make. Our thing is this: If you come into this house, love one another. If you’re an a–hole, there are plenty of other places on lower Broadway you can go.”
The comments — made after Bud Light came under fire earlier this year from Kid Rock and other vocal critics for partnering with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney — kicked up a new round of backlash, this time against Brooks, from the likes of Florida congressman Matt Gaetz and others on social media.
For his part, Brooks is unbothered by the response, doubling down on his message of love and inclusion during Monday’s Inside Studio G, which streams weekly on the singer’s Facebook page.
“We did an interview with Melinda Newman from Billboard, and from that came quite a little bit of a stir,” he said. “So let’s … address two things on it. One is diversity. Inclusiveness: That’s me. That’s always been me. We got the same kind of thing on ‘We Shall Be Free,’ people wanting to burn our stuff, and I get it,” he said, referencing the 1992 song he wrote after being in Los Angeles for the ACM Awards during the L.A. Riots; “We Shall Be Free” peaked at No. 12 on Hot Country Songs – his first track to miss the top 10 on the chart up to that point, due to some country stations banning the track.
“Everybody’s got their opinions,” he added during the livestream. “But inclusiveness is always going to be me. I think diversity is the answer to the problems that are here and the problems that are coming. So I love diversity. All-inclusive, so all are welcome. I understand that that might not be other people’s opinions, but that’s OK, man. They have their opinions, they have their beliefs; I have mine.
“Second thing, though: Let’s talk about being a bar owner,” he continued. “I’m a bar owner now. Are we going to have the most popular beers in the thing? Yes. That’s not our call if we don’t or not. It’s the patrons’ call — the bosses, right? Bring ’em in there. If they don’t want it, then I got to go to the distributor and say, ‘Man, your stuff’s not selling.’ And then action gets taken. But the truth is, it’s those people in those seats that make those decisions, and that’s what Friends in Low Places is going to be.”
Brooks finished his response by continuing to encourage a loving environment in his future bar. “Here’s the deal, man: If you want to come to Friends in Low Places, come in. Come in with love. Come in with tolerance, patience. Come in with an open mind, and it’s cool. And if you’re one of those people who just can’t do that, I get it. If you ever are one of those people who want to try, come! Let’s have some fun. I don’t know how to explain it any better than that.”
The country star continues his Garth Brooks/Plus ONE Las Vegas residency at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace next month, with his next date on July 6.
Watch Brooks’ new Inside Studio G livestream and part of his Billboard Country Live Q&A below.