By People Staff
November 08, 2006 12:00 PM

THE NEW OUTLAWS

Waylon Jennings had his black leather, and Willie Nelson his pigtails. Country’s newest outlaws—John Rich, 32 (right), and “Big” Kenny Alphin, 42—rode in on a Horse of a Different Color, with sequined dinner jackets, feathered top hats, a pronounced taste for the surreal and an emcee dubbed Two Foot Fred, a dancing dwarf partial to orange marabou. But their wild stage shows and rock- and hip-hop-infused beats have upended traditional notions of what makes country music. Fans love ’em, purists hate ’em, and the guys? They’re just trying to get along.

J.R.:

“Kenny and I both made a lot of music before Big & Rich, and Nashville said, ‘It’s good, but we don’t know how to market that.'”

K.A.:

“Ultimately you have to believe in yourself. I don’t call our music rebellious. I call it honest. We want to be the greatest show on earth. The shock factor is a little bit of entertainment. If we can figure a way to shoot Two Foot Fred 200 feet in the air, well, by God, it’s entertainment.”

J.R.:

“There is nothing that we would never do. Our goals are to change country music, be cutting-edge artists and have a good time. And I want to take Missy Elliott as my date to the CMA Awards. Be sure you put that in.”

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