The 48-year-old singer-songwriter from Brooks & Dunn was a buddy of Dale Earnhardt's. The country duo played last week's Dale Earnhardt Tribute concert, which Fox airs on July 10.
SI: Do you ever think about Dale when you're onstage?
Brooks: He told me a long time ago that You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone was his favorite song and that every time he heard that, it reminded him of Neil Bonnett, a dear friend of his who was killed in his car. Every night I think about Dale when we're singing that song.
SI: Dale played a Kix Brooks look-alike in the video for Honky Tonk Truth. How did he do?
Brooks: He was great. You know, Dale once made an album. People told him that with modem technology they could make him sound like a great singer. He told me the record sucked so bad it was one of the most embarrassing moments of his life.
SI: Your song Sunday Money was inspired by Dale's life. How did the song come about?
Brooks: One day when we were in Charlotte together he told me the name of his boat was Sunday Money, and I was like, "That's a great name." So that night at my hotel I was fooling around with my guitar and ended up writing this song. The next day I played it for him, and he got all fired up about it. I gave him a cowriter credit on that one.
SI: In '99 Dale told you and Ronnie Dunn that you hadn't really made it until you were on a cereal box. The next year you made the front of Kellogg's Corn Flakes.
Brooks: I told Dale we were on something like 90 million boxes, and he shrugged and said, "Ninety million, that ain't no s—-." Probably because he was on two billion or so boxes of Wheaties.
SI: Teresa Earnhardt [Dale's widow] interviewed you guys for a piece that will be part of the concert broadcast. That must have been pretty emotional