Garth Brooks Spared No Detail When Creating Chris Gaines’ Backstory
Garth Brooks' 1999 transformation into rock star Chris Gaines was ... well, let's just call it extremely thorough. Gaines even has his own episode of the VH1 series Behind the Music!
The Garth Brooks-as-Chris Gaines experiment, shall we say, is easy enough to explain on the surface: Brooks was then country music's biggest star, and his Red Strokes Entertainment production company, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, began developing a movie called The Lamb, which would tell the story of fictional rock star Gaines. Brooks, hoping to create a bit of interest in the project, released Garth Brooks in ... The Life of Chris Gaines, a greatest hits project culled from Gaines' numerous albums for Capitol Records, which he'd released over a multi-decade span.
If you're already starting to get confused about what's real and what's fake -- well, we don't blame you, but that description doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the world that Brooks created around Gaines. That Behind the Music episode? It features interviews with, among others, real-life music icon Billy Joel, playing himself, and real-life actress Maria Costa, playing herself ... in a fictional universe in which she and Gaines were dating.
Other details discussed in Gaines' real-but-fake Behind the Music episode include the the various (and numerous, and fictional) tragedies of Gaines' (entirely made-up) life, his (fictional) sex addiction, and the details surrounding his (fictional) father's (fictional) death on Nov. 15, 1990. Taste of Country host Ania Hammar will guide you through a few more of the incredibly well thought-out details in this week's The Secret History of Country Music episode, which readers can watch above.
While Brooks' turn as Gaines is, two decades later, largely regarded as a goofy bit of country music history, it was also both a success and a failure. The Life of Chris Gaines hit No. 2 on the charts, sold more than 2 million copies and spawned the Top 5 single "Lost in You" -- but those numbers were nothing compared to what Brooks was used to at the time.
In the end, The Lamb never got made. Plenty of people just couldn't figure out what the heck Brooks was up to with the whole thing. A forthcoming Secret History episode will delve deeper into that.
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