Eric Church was completely blacklisted from major tours for years, but in retrospect, it would be difficult for even him to argue that he didn't deserve it.

Church was a young newcomer to country music in 2006. He had just released his debut album, Sinners Like Me, when he landed the opening slot on Rascal Flatts' massive Me and My Gang headlining tour, but instead of celebrating the opportunity, Church chafed at the restrictions the tour placed on him in terms of stage space, length of set lists and more. He admits he deliberately pushed the limits again and again, walking onto the parts of the stage he was not supposed to use, playing too loud and repeatedly playing past his allotted stage time.

That cost Rascal Flatts a great deal of money, since their crew went on the clock at their set start time whether Church had left the stage or not, and after repeated warnings, they fired him from the tour. As Church tells the story, he was blacklisted from every major tour in country music for years thereafter, and he and his band were forced to build their touring career through a series of club performances. But Church did not stop there; he continued to harass Rascal Flatts for the remainder of their tour by staging a series of free shows in the cities they played, calling it the Me and Myself Tour.

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A young, mostly unknown performer named Taylor Swift replaced Church on the tour, and she captured the massive crowds, providing a huge career bump that helped catapult her to superstardom. She even sent Church her first Gold record as a thank you.

Taste of Country explored Church's firing in a recent episode of The Secret History of Country Music, a video series that uncovers some of country music's greatest untold stories. Every Monday, Taste of Country News host Ania Hammar reveals the true stories behind country music's biggest hits, moments and artists.

Carrie UnderwoodKid Rock and Miranda Lambert are among the artists already featured,  with many more to come. Be sure to subscribe to Taste of Country's YouTube channel so you never miss a new episode.

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