How Did Eric Church Get The Nickname ‘The Chief’?

Sunglasses, a hat, and a make your own rules kind of attitude is what Eric Church is well known for, in addition to his musical prowess. The North Carolina native has long been known as “The Chief,” a nickname he unintentionally took on when his career first began.

The title first starting floating around before Church became a country music icon, during the days he spent much of his time on the road playing bars, clubs and honky tonks. When the lights, positioned just feet away, shined in his face, the singer turned to his shades for a little relief. Eventually, with the shades and a hat, Church assumed a new persona.

“I wore contacts, where this all started, the initial inception was, my contacts would fall out, pop out on stage, and I would be blind for half the show, so I started wearing sunglasses, then I put on a hat to stop the sweat and it just became this thing, and we got in bigger venues, I tried to adjust that, but people in the crowds would have on hats and sunglasses and wouldn’t let me adjust that, so it just became this thing naturally,” Church explained. “So, [when it] was show time, it was kind of my uniform. The band starting joking with me, when I put the hat and sunglasses on, they go ‘Alright, its Chief time, Chief’s here.’ But I laughed about it, it was a joke.”

What the band didn’t know, however, was that the nickname Chief had been in his family for years. Church’s grandfather was the chief of police in Granite Falls, North Carolina and everyone referred to him as such.

“Everybody, my dad called him chief as his son-in-law, so it was just very neat to me, that across generations, it became my nickname naturally and nobody knew about it being my grandpa’s nickname, nobody.”

As the nickname caught on, Church decided to name his third album Chief as the perfect homage to his grandfather, as well as his adopted moniker.


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