Garth Brooks: who is he?

Katie Rusch

Katie RuschMusic Row Musings

Superman and Clark Kent, Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus, the Jackrabbit mascot and the Easter Bunny. Although the latter is largely unconfirmed, there are many well-known alter egos, such as the former two, in the entertainment industry. Let me introduce you to one that you may not be as familiar with.

The Garth Brooks that music fans know was born Troyal Garth Brooks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1962. His country music career began in the late 1980s and from there he went on to become a dominant force in the industry. On radio, award shows and in concert, no one could beat him. His charismatic personality and traditional sound resonated with listeners of all ages and backgrounds, making him the Recording Industry Association of America’s best selling solo artist in U.S. history. That is a big deal. But what if I told you that Garth is also a high school dropout from Australia, the son of an Olympic swimmer, and the survivor of a serious car crash, which caused injuries that required extensive reconstructive surgery.

In 1999, the Garth energetic hat-act transformed him into Chris Gaines, a dark and pensive pop singer who lurked mysteriously behind a shadowy black wig and a rather odd-looking soul patch.

Garth created the alter ego because he was slated to star in a movie called The Lamb, which was to focus on the tortured life of the fictional star Chris Gaines. Instead of just portraying Gaines, Garth became him in many aspects of his life. He released a CD entitled The Life of Chris Gaines and made public appearances, such as a stint on Saturday Night Live, where he pretended to be Gaines.

Striking similarities between the life story and personal style that Garth generated for the film project left some to wonder whether he used Keith Urban’s real biography and appearance as a template for Gaines’.

Even though Garth fully embraced his creative venture, the public did not. The movie was never made, the CD did not live up to expectations and frankly people were a little “weirded” out by the whole situation. The failure of such a dramatic and elaborately concocted project proved that Garth could not have his cake and eat it too. It is unknown whether the two events are related, but Garth retired from recording and performing a little over a year after the Chris Gaines flop. Since then, Garth has been in and out of various degrees of retirement and during this time has released several CD boxed sets and performed select concerts.

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