OnlyOnAOL: Why Garth Brooks always puts his daughters first

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Garth Brooks On His World Tour

By: Donna Freydkin

We'll have whatever he's having. Make it a double. Or, why not, a triple.

Garth Brooks, the best-selling solo artist of all time, is launching his own SiriusXM radio channel on Sept. 8. And he's in the midst of a major tour. The shows are mostly sold out. This, after Brooks tooks years off, away from the music business, to raise his three daughters in Oklahoma, where he was born and went to college.

Exhaustion? Leave that malaise to another celebrity.

"You got to remember that I took the time off, never thinking I'd get to do it again. If anyone hears me complaining, slap the shit out of me. You get out there. Are you going to suck for these people? Get out there and put on the show of your life," he says.

Now, his daughters are grown, and he feels compelled to make music again. The desire to temporarily retire came from a very simple and basic need to watch his kids grow up – not from a tour bus, but from the soccer field. "My mom and dad were at everything, whether I was starting the game or not. My dad worked his ass off but always found the time somehow," says Brooks.

He knew his first marriage to Sandy Mahl,was over, and although well-able to afford paid childcare help, "I didn't want someone else raising my kids. I couldn't ask (my ex-wife) to do my job for me. So we moved back to Oklahoma. Every day we traded the kids. They got used to having two of everything. Now, they're 24, 22 and 20. I'm really proud of the people that they are. They'll do the right thing," he says.

He sporadically worked between 2001 and 2009, but his focus was on home. Ask him about his brood, and Brooks beams with pride. "Every day gets better and better. And then you realize they take care of you. My girls take care of me every day."

He's been serious about protecting their privacy, telling one story about a photographer who inadvertently captured one of the kids' faces in a photo and returned the shot to Brooks, realizing the musician did not want those pictures out there. "If they want to make themselves known, that's their own thing," he says of his kids.

Brooks is jocular and relaxed about everything except being on stage. He plays every concert like its his last. And pours his heart into his music. About those album sales figures? "My mom bought a lot of those – try and remember that," he cracks.

For him, a radio station is the next frontier, to feature both newcomers, breakthroughs and legends like Merle Haggard. "It's the natural next step for us. It's a great place for music from anybody. There's music we want to keep alive. You must pass that along," he says, appearing unsurprised when told how many millennials aren't even aware of who the Beastie Boys, as just one example, are or why they matter.

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Merle Haggard and Garth Brooks
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Merle Haggard and Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks (L), Miranda Lambert and George Strait sing "Happy Birthday" to Merle Haggard (not shown) before presenting him with the Crystal Milestone Award at the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada April 6, 2014. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) (ACMAWARDS-SHOW)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Merle Haggard (C) accepts the ACM Crystal Milestone Award from (L-R) recording artists Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and George Strait onstage during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: (EDITORS NOTE: This image was processed using digital filters) (L-R) Recording artists George Strait, Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and Merle Haggard attend the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Christopher Polk/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Merle Haggard (R) accepts the ACM Crystal Milestone Award from recording artist Garth Brooks during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: (L-R) Recording artist Merle Haggard, Theresa Ann Lane, recording artist Trisha Yearwood and recording artist Garth Brooks attend the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rick Diamond/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Merle Haggard (R) accepts the ACM Crystal Milestone Award from (L-R) singer/songwriters Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and George Strait onstage during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Merle Haggard (L) accepts the ACM Crystal Milestone Award from (L-R) singer/songwriters Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and George Strait onstage during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/ACMA2014/Getty Images for ACM)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Merle Haggard (R) accepts the ACM Crystal Milestone Award from (L-R) recording artists Garth Brooks, Miranda Lambert and George Strait onstage during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 06: Singer/songwriter Merle Haggard (R) accepts the ACM Crystal Milestone Award from singer-songwriter Garth Brooks (L) onstage during the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 6, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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