By LARRY VAUGHT
After Troy Gentry was killed in a helicopter crash in September, it took time for Montgomery Gentry lead singer Eddie Montgomery and other band members time to decide what they wanted to do without their friend and co-star.
“Last winter Eddie and I were texting. One text made me realize that I wanted to come back and have his (Montgomery’s) back,” said Bo Garrett, lead guitarist for Montgomery Gentry. “He said, ‘Brother, it is all we know how to do.’ I knew then he was right.”
Montgomery Gentry is back on tour — the band will perform in Lexington in August and in Renfro Valley in November — and slowly adjusting to not having Gentry with them.
“When something like that happens ,you don’t know for sure how to react or adjust, ” Garrett said. “Troy’s death was unexpected and he was so close to all of us. But we have found a new normal for us. We have accepted the fact that it is okay to have fun and enjoy shows because he would want that. So we started enjoying ourselves and started being able to laugh.
“Troy was always picking on me non-stop and Eddie has picked up the slack on that. But I would not want it any other way.”
Garrett shared one story of how Gentry enjoyed being the band’s prankster. The band had only been on the road about two years and all rode on the same bus at that point. Festivals were the band’s normal gig.
“No dressing rooms. We had to use the Porta Potty and you learned to always make sure no guys saw you go in there,” Garrett recalled. “But once Troy was hiding and after I went in I started hearing this noice. He duct taped me into the Porta Potty backstage and it was about 100 degrees.
“I knew if I freaked out, Troy would eat it up. I tried to remain calm and eventually I heard the duct tape coming off. But he got all the stage hands, crew and band all lined up and they all started applauding when I came out. Troy did enjoy his pranks, and that was a good one.”
Montgomery Gentry fans always appreciated that mischievous side of Gentry, too, and know how others in the band miss him. Garrett said Montgomery Gentry has drawn energy from fans since going back on tour. Gentry’s guitar is placed on stage every show and every show ends with a tribute to him.
“When we do Troy’s songs, some of us do the singing now,” Garrett said. “We just thought it was best to keep it within the MG family when we do those songs.
“There are times when the emotions will just take over. Something will happen or we will see something that reminds us of T-Roy. I am reminded of him every day and I am sure Eddie is even more than me.”
Garrett said Montgomery is back being himself on stage and having a good time, something it took time for him to do.
“You have to accept the fact that you can be yourself and it is okay,” Garrett said. “When we first went back out, it was like we were not supposed to enjoy ourselves. But then we realized he (Gentry) would be the one kicking our butts and telling us to do it the right way. Eddie sounds great and when he is giving all he has got, he puts on a heck of a show. The shows are different but still fun and full of energy. We like to think we are still kicking butt and taking names.”