“I’ve been on vacation since, like, the first week in December. Somebody’s gotta pull me off this vacation,” Billy Currington told us Monday, phoning PopWatch from the Dry Tortugas, a cluster of seven islands 70 miles west of Key West. If the man behind the R&B-flavored country hit “Don’t” wants to
put thoughts of his steamy “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” video in our heads spend some time promoting his third album, Little Bit of Everything, we’re happy to oblige. After we confirmed that he’s sailing with the proper provisions — bottled water, “lots of wine,” rum, coconuts, and blackfin tuna — we kept the conversation appropriately breezy with an EW Pop Culture Personality Test. At least until he mentioned that he doesn’t own a TV…
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: In your “Don’t” video, you slide across the hood of a car Luke Duke-style. The first time you’ve ever done that, or just the most recent?
Billy Currington: I’d never done it before. Here’s how that shot made it into the video. We were just standing there, we were pretty much done, and a guy’s like, “Why don’t you just take off runnin’ and slide across that car.” I was like, “Okay.” I just did it one time. I jumped a little too high, and when I landed and hit the hood, it didn’t feel good, you know what I mean? It kinda hurt a little bit.
CMT has resurrected the old MTV show Cribs.
You’ve never seen Cribs?
I’ve never seen Cribs, but you know, you’re talkin’ to a guy who does stuff like what I’m doin’ now. I’m always outdoors somewhere. I never, ever see the TV. Tell me about it. I’ll do it. Don’t think I won’t do it! I’ll do the show!
They bring cameras to your home, and you give them a tour. My question is, when the crew arrives at your house, what’s the first thing you hide?
Ooh, my dope, my pot. No. I’m just kiddin’. [Laughs] Let’s see… dirty clothes. Everybody wants to hide those.
What song do you have to dance to anytime you hear it?
Anything Marvin Gaye. A good ol’ groove type song.
What song is your ringtone?
You know what, I want to have a song for my ringtone, but I can’t figure it out. If I could figure that out, Ray Charles’ “Georgia” would be on there today. [Currington is from Rincon, Ga., outside Savannah.]
If you could have written any song, what would it be?
“Candle in the Wind” [by Elton John and Bernie Taupin]. Every time I hear that song, I’m just like, Wow. What a great poet.
You said you don’t watch a lot of TV, but is there a movie you do have to watch every time you spot it on cable?
Really, I don’t even own a TV anymore. [Laughs]
[Not laughing] You don’t own a TV?
No. I don’t own a TV. I did a long time ago, but I gave it away. I bought it at a pawn shop that I used to work in, and it wasn’t that good anyway, so I gave it away, and I’ve never bought one since then.
How many years ago was that?
That was before I got a record deal, and that happened in 2001… I know I seem kinda behind the times, but I don’t pay it no attention anyway. It just makes noise for me.
Okay, let’s try movies. Is there a chick flick you’ll admit to liking?
I got you a good one on that. I like that movie where the two old people, at the end of the movie, die lying in the same bed together.
Yeah, I love The Notebook. I’ve mentioned that before, and you wouldn’t believe how people have gotten on me for saying that. Like it was girlie, or somethin’. I mean, who wouldn’t like The Notebook? [Laughs] I mean, seriously, that’s a heartfelt, make you cry, make you feel somethin’ kind of a movie. I’m afraid to mention that again, but I just did, right?
Yes, you did. Name something in pop culture that you think is underrated. Like, for instance, when I talked to fellow country singer Blake Shelton, he said he doesn’t think people truly appreciate the genius of The Golden Girls.
What’s The Golden Girls?
WHAT’S THE GOLDEN GIRLS? The TV show with Estelle Getty, Bea Arthur, Betty White, and Rue McClanahan?
Oh my god, you’re still on the TV. [Laughs]
I’m past it, Billy. Your answer does not have to be TV-related.
I know it was appreciated, but when I mention O Brother, Where Art Thou? as being one of my favorite movies, people are like, “Oh. Yeah. That was pretty cool.” But that was such a good film. Great actors, great lines, great humor. Everything about that movie was top-notch to me.
Who’s the person you’re most often mistaken for?
I’m gonna for sure have to say [country singer] Dierks Bentley. [Laughs] Oh, someone from the Grand Ole Opry came up to me the the other day. We were in an airport, and I’ve sung on the Grand Ole Opry with this lady 500 times, so, like, we know each other. We were gettin’ on the same plane, and I was just passin’ by the gate killin’ time, and she was comin’ the other way, and she was like, “Ohmygod, Dierks! What’s goin’ on?” She gives me this big hug, and I’m thinkin’, the whole time through the hug, when should I tell her? I never told her. [Laughs] So 30 minutes later, she’s sittin’ by her husband, and he’s also on the Grand Ole Opry, and I walk past him, and he’s like, “Billy, what’s up, man?” And she’s like, “That’s not Billy. That’s Dierks.” And I’m like, “No… I’m Billy.” That’s just one story. I’ve had many of ‘em.
Who’s the person you want to see in concert before you die?
How about this: For forever, I’ve been like, I got to see this one particular person. It’s Willie Nelson. I gotta see Willie before he dies, before I die, before whoever dies first. I just happened to be in this little tiny juke joint in Hawaii about a month ago. Just out in this hippie town, nothing there. And I start hearing these rumors that Willie Nelson is gonna play there tonight. I’m thinkin’ whatever, yeah. Later on, they come to the table and they’re like, “We need $30.” I’m like, “$30 for what?” “We’re tellin’ you, Willie’s fixin’ to play here.” I’m like, Willie Nelson ain’t comin’ into this piece of crap. No way. But I believed them for some reason, and sure enough, $30 and 30 minutes later, Willie shows up with his family, who are players themselves, and plays for two or three hours in this little nowhere town. In that moment in time, my dream was fulfilled. It was awesome. I mean, I was five feet away, hangin’ on a wall, just watchin’ Willie play electric guitar and burnin’ it up.
Who’s the person you most want to duet with?
That’s a tough question, after doing one with Shania Twain [2004's "Party For Two"]… Patti LaBelle, how about that? If I could sing with Patti LaBelle, that’s it. I don’t want to come back to music. I’m done. I’m kickin’ my feet up somewhere on some island.