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Glenn Beck

Billy Ray Cyrus Interview

Aired December 05, 2007 - 19:00   ET


GLENN BECK, HOST (voice-over): You know him for the classic tune, "Achy Breaky Heart."


BECK: But chances are your kids know him simply as Hannah Montana`s dad.

MILEY CYRUS, BILLY RAY CYRUS` DAUGHTER: I got two words for you: willpower.

BECK: Whether he`s "Dancing with the Stars" or simply being a dad, Billy Ray Cyrus has found his way back into American hearts with a brand- new album and a head of hair most guys would kill for -- sheesh -- the man, the music and the former mullet. Join me for an hour of honest questions.


BECK: Sorry, America! No more mullet. Billy Ray Cyrus, he may, unless you`re a country music fan, it may have fallen off your radar -- country music fan or, if you have kids, you know him as Robby Ray.

How are you, sir?

BILLY RAY CYRUS, COUNTRY MUSIC STAR: I`m doing great. How you doing?

BECK: Good to have you.

B. CYRUS: It`s an honor to be here. I love your show.

BECK: Thank you very much.

I have -- I have kids, of course, Disney is, plays a big part of their life and your daughter is the star, you`re the costar in it, but let`s start back with where you came from because, for a lot of people, you just kind of disappeared. You had "Achy Breaky Heart" and then you just kind of disappeared and now you`re back in the limelight.

I believe this is -- isn`t this the most successful Disney program ever or it`s one of their biggest success stories now, I know.

B. CYRUS: It`s doing really good.

BECK: Yes. So, you started, what did you want to be when you grew up?

B. CYRUS: I wanted to be Johnny Bench, the catcher for the Cincinnati Reds.

BECK: And you -- and you grew up in Kentucky.

B. CYRUS: I grew up in Flatwoods, Kentucky.

BECK: What was your family life like?

B. CYRUS: Well, my earliest memories are Saturday nights at my Papo Casto (ph) house. Papo means grandfather. And so I`d be at my Papo Casto`s (ph) house, and my mom and -- would play the piano and my Papo Casto (ph) would play fiddle. And my uncle and dad played the guitars, and we`d sing bluegrass, like, "Won`t You Come Home, Bill Bailey" and "Roll in My Sweet Baby`s Arms".

And then we`d go home from that, get a little bit of sleep and then...

BECK: Wait, wait, wait. Tell me where in Kentucky this is? I mean, it sounds like -- it sounds like the "Beverly Hillbillies".

B. CYRUS: Yes, Flatwoods, Kentucky, is right on the Ohio River and the Ohio River, you cross one direction and you`re in Arton (ph), Ohio, and go just a little bit up from that and you`re in West Virginia. It`s called the tricities.


B. CYRUS: And it`s, you know, Southern Appalachia.

BECK: Poor?

B. CYRUS: No...

BECK: Were you poor?

B. CYRUS: I didn`t think it about it at the time but, you know, we would be defined as extremely poor.

BECK: It`s weird how we -- when we grew up, because we`re about the same age. We grew up, we were working-class people. I mean, my folks never have any money. I mean, you know, it wasn`t Appalachia, but we never thought of ourselves as poor.

B. CYRUS: When I got a little bit older, I realized just exactly how financially poor we were. There was another place, all the -- what we called the rich people, they lived at a place called Bellefonte, and you know, sometimes, if the wind blew just right, you could hear all those kids swimming at the Bellefonte Country Club. And all I knew is I`ve never been there and, you know, never got to go swimming in a pool.

But our grand finale in the summer was if my mom would let me and my brother squirt each other down with a water hose, you know. So...

BECK: Right. OK. So you wanted to be -- you wanted to be Johnny Bench.

B. CYRUS: Yes.

BECK: Didn`t really work out for you?

B. CYRUS: I was going to say to you, my other papo, he was a Pentecostal preacher. And so on Saturday nights we`d play bluegrass music, and Sunday mornings, we`d be in his church where he would preach. And he would preach.

And my dad had a gospel quartet called the Crownsmen Quartet. And they were very successful in the Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia realm there, you know, kind of like the same circuit where my papo would go to these revivals and stuff.

And my dad would do these singings and up these hollers and stuff. And I`d go with him, and you know, we`d sing, "Swing Down, Sweet Chariot", "Old Rugged Cross" and "I`ll Fly Away". And it was feel-good music, both the bluegrass and the gospel, southern gospel. It was all feel-good music. And to this very day, that`s what I like to do, is make music that moves people.

BECK: Do you -- do you ever go back? Have you been back?

B. CYRUS: We`re going back next week. We`re doing a great, big in- store at my home town. Well, it`s really Ashland, Kentucky, is the biggest city close to Flatwoods, and it`s where I filmed the video of "Achy Breaky Heart". And my roots run very deep in that area there. And we`re going back to a Wal-Mart and doing an in-store.

BECK: What is it like? And we`ll get into this later, because you just moved out to Los Angeles, which is a million miles away from where you grew up.

B. CYRUS: It is.

BECK: What is it like to go back to Kentucky?

B. CYRUS: Well, it`s -- it`s sad for me now. My dad passed away a little over a year ago and, quite frankly, it`s -- it`s just not the same, you know. To go back there and not look up and see my dad, you know. It`s going to be really tough on me. I`ve been back one time since, and it was just sad.

But we`re going to go have a good time and I know that that`s -- you know, my dad, one of the things that my dad was most proud of was this foundation that we started called the Billy Ray Cyrus Charities Foundation. And my dad, he always -- his -- music to my dad was helping working people.

My dad loved to -- he was -- he ended up becoming very involved with the AFL-CIO and helping steelworkers and people that, you know, big companies might be trying to rip them off on some of their benefits.

And my dad ended up leaving his job at the steel mill and putting himself back in school and working his way through college. And he became a state representative for the 98th district of the state of Kentucky and retired from that after 20 years. He served as a legislator for 20 years.

And, again, he was passionate about helping people. I mean, it`s what he loved to do is help people. But he would take...

BECK: Wait, wait, how old was he when he went to college?

B. CYRUS: He was probably about 30, I`m just guessing.

BECK: I`ve got to tell you, I went back to college when I was 30, and it is the weirdest experience. It takes -- I think it takes real guts, because you`re sitting -- you`re sitting next to 18-year-olds who know more than you do and you`re like -- you know?

B. CYRUS: Very courageous move, and I admire my dad a great deal...

BECK: Good for him.

B. CYRUS: ... for making that move at that stage of his life.

But, you know, he -- for this foundation, he would read stories. We`d get letters from all over the world. And he always -- he really got off on trying to find the underdogs out there that might be getting looked over, maybe a boy`s home somewhere up in Kentucky somewhere, something that you wouldn`t necessarily hear about in the news or whatever.

And he`d read these stories, and we`d just try to pitch in and just, you know, just make the world a little better place, you know. My dad loved that stuff.

And you know, so, to this day, you know, I look -- looking back and think, man, if he was here right now, he would be loving this so much, to see his little granddaughter out there being Hannah Montana and all this that`s going on.

BECK: We`ll talk about religion here in a second, but you know that he is...

B. CYRUS: Absolutely.

BECK: So you didn`t make it into baseball. You didn`t really pursue that. You instead picked up a guitar and about 20 years old you started a band and made a pact with your brother, a ten-month pact. What was it?

B. CYRUS: Well, you know what happened with me. All those nights and all those times that they -- my family had them guitars out playing and all this stuff, and I`d look and see my dad`s big old guitar and I`d grab it and I`d go like this and try to sound like everybody else, but I couldn`t play, you know. That`s why I thought I must be intended to be Johnny Bench because I sure couldn`t play the guitar.

When I was 18 or 19 years old, I was going to school on a baseball scholarship and still thinking I was going to be Johnny Bench. I start hearing this voice saying, buy a guitar and start a band, buy a guitar and start a band.

Long story short, I ended up going to this Neil Diamond concert through a coincidence of fate and...

BECK: Bad luck.

B. CYRUS: And all this different stuff. I`m looking around and I go to this concert. I kept hearing this voice saying, "This is your purpose in life. Your purpose in life is to make music. You need to buy a guitar."

And I`m going, why, why, why? When I went to this concert, I heard Neil Diamond saying, "You know what? It doesn`t matter if you`re white or black or rich or poor or a man or a woman. If you believe in your dreams and have faith, you know, you can do anything in this world that you believe you can do."

Right then it`s like I had hands on me, saying, that`s your purpose. I bought a guitar the next day, and that voice said, buy a left-handed guitar. I didn`t know there was a difference. I`d been left-handed and left-footed my whole life, but I didn`t know there was a difference for right-handed, left-handed guitar player.

I went the next day and bought a left-handed guitar and started a band that night and found out, hey, I can play. I just had the guitar upside down.

BECK: And so wait a minute. You`re -- you made a ten-month pact on that -- on that day?

B. CYRUS: Yes.

BECK: A ten-month pact that you would give this ten months, you and your brother.

B. CYRUS: That`s right.

BECK: OK. And...

B. CYRUS: You`ve done some research.

BECK: Well, a little bit.

B. CYRUS: Quite frankly, that`s exactly what it was. I never tell people that, because it`s embarrassing.

BECK: Why is that embarrassing?

B. CYRUS: Oh, it`s just -- you know. I felt many, many, many more times on this journey to get to this very chair right here than I ever succeeded.

BECK: Are you kidding me? That`s what life is, man; it`s mainly failure. But you, you held out. It was ten months. And then, what was it, a week or a month before that was up you -- the pact was, in ten months, if we don`t have a job...

B. CYRUS: That`s right. That`s right.

BECK: ... we`ll give it up.

B. CYRUS: That`s right. That`s exactly right.

BECK: And what happened?

B. CYRUS: And I ended up landing a job as a house band at this little club in Arton (ph), Ohio, called Changes. And all of a sudden, I was making my living five nights a week, four sets a night.

BECK: And...

B. CYRUS: Playing in front of people and entertaining and singing and writing my songs and it was like -- it was just what was supposed to happen.

BECK: And a lot of people would give up after that place burned down. But then, you decided to go to Los Angeles.

B. CYRUS: That`s right. Yes. Yes. What happened, when that place burnt down, that club changes. Four years later, it burned down. And at that time, I`d been knocking on Nashville`s door. I`d drive down to Nashville just about every week and try and get a record deal and play my latest new song I wrote and all this different stuff.

And when that club burned down in 1984, everything was destroyed, except inside my guitar amp, which was melted like a candle. As I went through there and the place was all burnt and wet and black stuff all hanging down and water, I seen something white inside my guitar case. And with a flashlight and I go up inside there. And this little Bible was parted that I`d found in the floor, that old bar, and it said, "With every adversity lies the seed to something better."

And I just, again, I kind of felt those hands on me saying, OK. You`re supposed to take this moment now and since Nashville says, you know, you`re too rock `n` roll, then I guess you`re supposed to go to Los Angeles.

And I left like a few days later heading for L.A., thinking, man, I`m going to go out there. And if they say I`m too rock `n` roll, I`m going to try to get me a rock `n` roll deal. So I went out there spent a couple of years everybody telling me I was too country.

So you know, one of those things, again, back to failure. Thomas Edison said, "The most important ingredient for success is failure." Every time you fail, you eliminate one way that won`t work.

BECK: That`s exactly right.

Back with Billy Ray Cyrus in just a second.



BECK: This is a -- this is a song, "Some Gave All". It was a song that you wrote for a vet.

Let me go back. This came out at about the same time "Achy Breaky Heart" came out, which was a huge smash, but you were never accepted by Nashville. They really -- you still weren`t country enough, right?

B. CYRUS: Not really. I don`t -- I don`t know that it was more about what I sounded like than what I looked like. And also, the way I made my music.

To me, I always wanted to be real. I always thought an artist was someone who makes music that they live and the art of music and the way you make it. It was, you know, supposed to represent some type of integrity of the artist.

The guys I loved was Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings and Bruce Springsteen, you know. Those were guys that wrote and sang about what they lived. Well, I also had this concept in my mind that, quite frankly, held me back considerably.

And Nashville was, even if I would get a label talking to me about, OK, man, we might structure you a little deal, but you got to sound like this and you got to look like this and you got to wear a hat about this big.

And I was like, but that`s not what I do. I write my songs and this is what I do. I love working up my songs. I play them with my band. I got a sound. This is what I do, and it`s part of who I am.

They never was too much interested in that, but I did find one guy. His name was Harold Shed, and I wrote this song, "Some Gave All" back in 1989. And you know, I felt like -- it`s a song I wrote about a Vietnam veteran.

And in 1990, Harold Shed let me sit down. I said, "Man, if you just give me five minutes. I`m going to play you a song and if it ain`t good enough, I guess I should think about doing something else."

And I got my guitar out, and I played him the song, "Some Gave All". And he stood up off his couch and after being ten years of being told no, somebody finally looked at me and said, "I`m going to structure you a little deal. I`ll be right back."

And he came back in with the head of the label, and the guy shook my hand and said, "Hey, welcome to Mercury Polygram Records. We`ll call your manager."

And I was like, "Really?" I`m going to get my stuff and get out of there before they could change my mind. And I ran across the street and told my manager I just got a record deal. And that`s kind of the way it happened.

But you know, it was more about I just, you know, I was just original, you know. I didn`t really fit the club. And that`s all right. I never really wanted to. It`s what I do.

BECK: This was about Vietnam vets. I mean, you got -- you received a Bob Hope Congressional Medal. I mean, you`ve really kind of found a home with the military and the vets.

B. CYRUS: It was ironic, you know. I had written a song, again, "Some Gave All" back in 1989, and little did I know that at that same time period, there was a Vietnam veteran that was trying to get some songs cut down in Nashville and wasn`t really having a whole lot of luck at it.

And when I started cutting my album, I began with "Some Gave All" and I had nine other songs to go to finish the album. And a guy played me a pretty rough work tape of this little demo called "Don`t Tell My Heart". And it was just something about it.

You know, I said, "I love that, man. That`s me." And I went and worked it up with my band that night and started playing it. And immediately people started coming up and saying, play that "Achy Breaky" song, play that "Achy Breaky" song. And one thing went to another and I went and recorded it and it became a single and a big hit record. And it became on the album, "Some Gave All".

I threw off one of my songs that I had written. I wrote six or seven off that first album, "Some Gave All". And I threw one of mine off and added "Don`t Tell My Heart", which before the record came out, I felt like the title was wrong. I thought, man, I think the name of the song is "Achy Breaky Heart". And the record company changed the name, and I`m glad they did.

BECK: So what is your involvement now with the armed forces? Are you still involved with USO or -- what is your experience with the armed forces?

B. CYRUS: Well, it became, again, back -- ironic that, you know, here`s this fun little song, "Achy Breaky Heart". And when we began, the day the album was released, I happened to be playing at the Vietnam Veterans Wall in Washington, D.C., in 1992, in May of `92. It was Memorial Day weekend, part of Rolling Thunder.

And there were thousands and thousands and thousands of veterans there, and they were here to hear "Some Gave All". The song had kind of started leaking out a little bit. And you know, from that moment on, when we played "Some Gave All" there, it was just a real special moment, that this song took on a life of its own.

BECK: It`s amazing how, especially the Vietnam vets, just, up until - - you know, you experienced it in the `90s. I experienced it around the -- you know, around 2000, 2002, where people just started to feel like finally, they were feeling, thank you, you know? They carried that burden for so long by themselves.

B. CYRUS: It was -- you`re exactly right. And Don Von Tress, who wrote "Achy Breaky heart", you know, here all of a sudden, I`ve written, "Some Gave All". And Don Von Tress has written "Achy Breaky heart". And we meet each other in the studio and he shakes my hand, and he said, "Thank you for writing `Some Gave All`. It`s nice to hear someone big tribute to the Vietnam veterans."

BECK: Yes.

B. CYRUS: And said, "Well, thank you for writing `Achy Breaky Heart`." And little did we know how things are going to change. I ended up putting Don in my band. He and I went and toured the world a couple times.

BECK: Excellent.

B. CYRUS: He`s a heck of a guitar player. We wrote a bunch of songs together and became one of my best friends.

BECK: OK. When we come back, "Dancing with the Stars". And Billy Ray. Coming up.



KARINA SMIRNOFF, PROFESSIONAL DANCER: We have to figure out what your strengths and your weaknesses are.

B. CYRUS: Well, my strength is you.


B. CYRUS: And other than that, everything`s a weakness.

You can grant (ph) world-class ballroom dancer and you put her with a left-footed hillbilly from Kentucky? That`s not right.


BECK: That`s from "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC. Tough?

B. CYRUS: You ought to do that show.


B. CYRUS: You`ll love it. You`ll love it.

BECK: I`d have to follow the steps of Tucker Carlson. There would go my career.

B. CYRUS: Let me tell you, I knew, when they brought up the offer -- you know, and I was already in the middle of making this album. I`m busy as could be with "Hannah Montana".

BECK: Yes. Yes.

B. CYRUS: I got plenty of kids, you know. I got plenty of stuff to keep me busy.

BECK: National embarrassment.

B. CYRUS: Yes. So when they brought up, "Dancing with the Stars", I said, "You know what? I`m not a dancer. That`s a misconception about me. I`ve never danced in my life. I don`t know anything about dancing."

Anyway, my kids kept saying, "Come on, Daddy. You always said, can`t never did anything."

BECK: Really?

B. CYRUS: And my little girls, a 7-year-old, little girl, Noah, said, "Daddy, my teacher told me to tell you to never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game." And this and that plus my intuition. I listen to my inner voice every now and then.

BECK: Yes.

B. CYRUS: Sometimes it gets me in trouble and this time it did. It kept saying, "You got to do this."

But I`d say, "I can`t dance."

And but that voice would say, "You got to do this. You got to do this."

But you know what? I wouldn`t trade the experience for anything because of one thing.

BECK: Yes.

B. CYRUS: One night, you mentioned you`re from -- you spent some time in Louisville, Kentucky.

BECK: Yes.

B. CYRUS: On one given night, I look across the dance floor and there`s Muhammad Ali. And I said, "You know what? These judges are going to roast me no matter what I do, so I`m going to go see my hero."

And right at the end of my dance, I went over and kind of squared up, started throwing some punches. And he put that fist up there and threw a couple punches back. And so while I stood there getting roasted by the judges, he kept throwing those punches. And I was like, "Wow, that`s Muhammad Ali."

And when we took a break, he came and gave me a big hug. And that was just -- that was worth it all for me right there.

BECK: So I just have to get this straight, because my children would hang themselves if I did "Dancing with the Stars". My children would not be pushing them -- they`d be begging me, "Please, dear God, Dad, don`t do `Dancing with the Stars`."

Your children encouraged you to do it?

B. CYRUS: It`s sick.

BECK: It is. There`s something wrong with your children.

B. CYRUS: They wanted to see the old man punished. They wanted to see it. They want to see me make a fool out of myself.

BECK: I don`t understand how that works.

B. CYRUS: I don`t either.

BECK: Because I do that, I`ll go to the mall with them.

B. CYRUS: Yes.

BECK: And I`ll just, you know, I`ll just, hey, kid, I`m going to bust a move, if they`re misbehaving. I`ll announce it at Nordstrom`s.

B. CYRUS: That`s right.

BECK: "Dad`s about to bust a move."

B. CYRUS: Yes.

BECK: And they`re like, he`s lying, man.

B. CYRUS: I`m with you. It was a sick, twisted thing.

BECK: So what do you use to embarrass your kids?

B. CYRUS: Well, you know what? They kept saying, you know, "Come on. Go on with this thing. Do it, Dad. Do it." And one step led to another.

I knew right off the bat. I mean, I had no business out there. There were great dancers out there.

BECK: Yes.

B. CYRUS: Not only the professional dancers, and God bless my little partner, Karina. I mean, she`s a world champion. She gets stuck with me for a partner. That`s unfair.

But even some of the contestants were extremely good dancers, extremely good. I had no business out there, but in saying that, I wouldn`t trade that experience for anything.

BECK: Well, the Muhammad Ali thing...

B. CYRUS: It was great. It was great. And we did yesterday at this big in-store in Pennsylvania. And all these thousands of kids coming through, talking about "Hannah Montana" and "Dancing with the Stars". "Hannah Montana" and "Dancing with the Stars". Those people, boy...

BECK: See, I -- me, I would just be saying, stop reminding me of it.

All right. Grab your kids. We`re talking "Hannah Montana" with her one and only dad, Billy Ray Cyrus, after the break.



MILEY CYRUS, ACTRESS: I`m 14! I`m almost guaranteed to mess this up. You`re the adult. You`re supposed to tell me what to do.

B. CYRUS: What kind of a father would I be if I just ordered you around all the time?

M. CYRUS: A normal one!


BECK: That is a clip from Disney`s "Hannah Montana." It`s a tough role for you, it`s a stretch, where you`re playing the dad to your actual daughter.

B. CYRUS: That`s right.

BECK: Is it weird?

B. CYRUS: It`s great. It`s the highlight of my life getting to be part of "Hannah Montana." And, quite frankly, I have to give a lot of credit to my dad for getting me into acting. You know, in the mid-`90s, my dad kind of took me to the side, and I was lucky he was always my best friend, also. My dad said to me, you said, "You know what, son? I want you to have one of those careers like Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton." I said, "What do you mean by that, Dad?" He said, "I want one that will stand the test of time." And I said, "Well, how do I do that?" He said, "Well, look at Kenny and Dolly. They got into TV and films. You need to get into TV and films."

And I respected my dad`s opinion a great deal, so I happened to see where David Lynch was casting for "Mulholland Drive" out in L.A. and I thought, "Well, I`ll throw my hat in the ring and see if they hired me." And they hired me. I went to a little audition, and he hired me. And he told me on the set -- you know, I was a huge David Lynch fan. And he said to me, "You know, Cyrus, I`m not your manager or your agent, but I`m telling you, you could be an actor if you want to be one. Just be real, like you`re doing here in this movie."

And so the next week I read about this series called "Doc" and it represented hope and faith and love. And I said, "All right, God, if you want me to be an actor, then tell me what to do." And that voice said, "Go to the audition." I went to the audition. They hired me. Four years later, 88 episodes later, I was a full-time actor on "Doc." You know, it lasted for years and went into syndication. I came back from Toronto and said, "All right, I`m going to get serious about my music. I`m never going to do another series ever again." Next thing I know, here comes "Hannah Montana."

BECK: OK, so who was first, your daughter or you?

B. CYRUS: Miley was in first. The script came and I read the script. As soon as I read it, I said, "My goodness, this is Miley," I mean, only the little girl was called Chloe at the time. It was Chloe and Hannah Montana. And I said, "This is Hannah Montana." And she went up to the audition, and they said she was too small, too young. And she came back, and she was real down and depressed about it. And about four or five months later, Disney called and said, "Hey, maybe we`d like to take another look at you. Let`s see you again."

She went out, and then she auditioned, and it narrowed down from hundreds of girls to four and five. And somewhere around the four and the five, a call came back, "Would your dad be interested in being the dad?" And, luckily, I had enough wisdom to know that, hey, that was Miley`s ball game, and in all fairness to all girls that are auditioning and in fairness to Miley, whether she gets it or she don`t, I don`t ever want her to look back and say, "Well, that was because of my daddy."

So I said, you know what? The first thing is just see if Miley is Hannah Montana and how this is going to go. And then we could take it from there and figure it out. But the first decision needs to be made is, you know, who`s Hannah Montana? And where is she going to go?

And so they called -- a few days went by, and they cast Miley for Hannah, and they called and said, "Hey, we`re hiring the daddy tomorrow, but we`d like to take a meeting with you." I went out there, and they kind of auditioned me, and, you know, it was just pretty obvious the chemistry between Miley and I is just so real.

BECK: Yes. Are you at all concerned? I mean, the odds of Miley turning into Ron Howard -- meaning, sane -- pretty low. Living in Los Angeles, being a child star, hello? Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, name a million others, I mean, you know, we`re talking security guard city with Gary Coleman.

B. CYRUS: On my wish list of things that I wish Miley would turn into Ron Howard so they`d cast me in a great, big movie. But since that`s -- like you said, that`s highly unlikely that that`s going to happen, second of all, really, in reality, I know Miley`s got a great head on her shoulders. She`s got a great heart.

And what I`ve always tried to be to Miley is what I am on the show. I try to be her best friend. I try to be that to all my kids. I try to be the one they want to talk to when they`re having a problem. You know, I`ve always tried to be my kids` friend. And so I think she`s going to be all right, but I`m the last guy in the world to cast a stone at any of these kids, because, heck, man, I`ve made mistakes along the way, and I`ve been to the fair and seen the bear.

And I happen to be very good at making mistakes. But the key to making a mistake is, once you realize you`re not doing the right thing, then try to make a decision to readjust. And my dad always said, "Stand still, and then figure it out, and then take the step in the right direction." And I think all these girls -- you know, Lindsay in particular at this moment, you know, I`m praying for her that she`ll get herself together. She just needs to put all -- turn the TV off and just focus on herself, and getting her heart right, and getting her head on and saying, "OK, I can save this."

BECK: Let me go back to something you just said, because I think I understand what you`re saying, but -- and I think I agree with you in the way you mean it. But there`s got to be a lot of people that are watching TV saying, "You don`t need to be your daughter`s best friend. You need to be her dad."

B. CYRUS: Well, that`s true. That`s true. And I have to plead guilty on that charge. And one of the things I`ve had a problem doing, I`ve never been able to spank my kids. I`ve never been able to -- I`ve never been much on discipline at all.

BECK: Wait a minute, so...

B. CYRUS: I taught them how to build a good snowman, how to ride a motorcycle, how to ride a horse, how to roast a wiener properly over a fire, and a good marshmallow. You know, those type of things, I was good at that. But discipline I always left up to the mama. She was really, really good at that. That never was -- I never was really good at that. But also, in my mind...

BECK: So wait a minute, are you...

B. CYRUS: I`m her friend.

BECK: Are you saying to me that you`re her buddy, and you`re not the one who says, "You`re going to load the dishwasher" every night? Because I understand she does. She loads the dishwasher every night. She goes to church every Sunday. You take away her computer privileges when she...

B. CYRUS: Her mama does.

BECK: You don`t?

B. CYRUS: I don`t.

BECK: You`re like -- you were out in the corner, and you`re like, "I was with you the whole time."

B. CYRUS: You know, her mama does a real good job, and I yield -- I`ve always -- I just want to be the person that Miley needs to talk to somebody, she can talk to me. I`ll tell you one thing, I find it odd this morning...

BECK: Hang on. Hang on. I got -- I`m sorry.

B. CYRUS: That`s OK. Don`t be sorry. It`s your show. You don`t have to be sorry.

BECK: No, no, I know, but this is driving me crazy.

B. CYRUS: Don`t let it drive you crazy.

BECK: What is that -- what is that from you, then? Why -- what is -- your dad was your best friend.

B. CYRUS: Right.

BECK: But he taught you an awful lot.

B. CYRUS: That`s right.

BECK: Was he not a disciplinarian? I don`t mean to be crass here. Are you a cowardly guy?

B. CYRUS: Oh, no, no, no. Oh, no, no, no, not at all.

BECK: What is it that you don`t want to discipline your kid for?

B. CYRUS: You know what? The good news is with my kids, I`ve never found myself in a position to have to, really.

BECK: Because of your wife.

B. CYRUS: They`ve really never done anything tragically bad, you know? They`ve made their mistakes, and we`ve been able to just kind of adjust and go our way through. I`ll tell you this, looking at Lindsay`s situation right now, I saw her dad on just about every network in New York this morning, out here talking about Lindsay, and I thought...

BECK: You actually ran into her dad.

B. CYRUS: Yes, I seen him today at one of the places where I was doing an interview. And I sat there and I thought to myself, I thought, "You know what? If that was Miley, I wouldn`t be over here in New York doing interviews. I`d be catching a flight to L.A. and getting in there and just sitting down with her and saying, `Honey, let me just sit here. I don`t care if it takes a day, a week, or a year. Let`s just sit here until we figure this out. I`ll order a pizza, you know? Whatever it takes.`" But that`s...

BECK: Good for you.

B. CYRUS: Just my way of thought, and I`m not saying my way is right. Trust me. Different things work right for different people, you know? I swear it does. I know that.

BECK: I want you to know, I tell my kids this all the time. Now, I mean, I don`t tell my young -- I have four kids. I don`t tell my two youngest. I tell my two older kids now: I`ve been bluffing my whole time of being your dad. I have no idea. So I`m not judging you by any stretch of the imagination, but I`m just trying to figure, because I`ve done enough research on your family to know, your family`s together, your kids are together. You`ve gone to the point where you`ve said, "I`m going to give you part of the house as you get older because you ain`t leaving. You`re not leaving until you`re 20." What`s the story on that?

B. CYRUS: Well, the story is, it works better when they think it, and they say it, than when I do it and shove it at them, you know what I mean? Miley, I hope you`re not listening. But, you know, when it`s their idea, it works a lot better.

BECK: You just moved to L.A.

B. CYRUS: That`s right.

BECK: And you had to move a second time once you got to L.A. because you had so many people coming to your door ringing the doorbell saying, "Is Hannah Montana here?"

B. CYRUS: That`s right.

BECK: What has this been like in L.A., the king of Plasticville, what has that been like? And now you`re living behind a gated community, a guy who`s, you know, from Kentucky?

B. CYRUS: It`s odd for me, you know? Again, I miss my farm in Tennessee, you know? I miss riding my horses and being out there and gathering eggs in the morning. And a lot of stuff about that that I love, and everything comes with a price. And sometimes you have to sacrifice. I had to put what I love and my selfishness behind me right now, because this is not only a great time for me to go through this with my family, but I need to be there with my family.

And, you know, it scares me to death when I leave Los Angeles, you know, and think, "What if something happens and I`m over in New York?" Then I feel like I, as long as they can -- you know, if I can be around there and kind of guard the fort a little bit and just, again, be there and be everybody`s friend.

BECK: Let me make a recommendation, because I love California and Californians. I say you get the horses and the chicken coops and move them into the gated community. You`ll be very popular, at least with me. You`ll be very popular. More with Billy Ray Cyrus coming up in just a second.


BECK: That`s "Ready, Set, Go" off the brand-new album that has just come out, "Home at Last," came out July 24th. The inspiration for the song?

B. CYRUS: The inspiration came the day that Disney called and said that they had picked up the series and ordered 26 episodes. We`d already done the pilot, and we realized that the Cyrus family needed to move to California. And Tish loaded up the car and got a U-Haul and put a bunch of stuff in and off she went driving with all my kids to California.

And I stayed behind to figure out just a few things, tie up some loose ends, make sure my horses were all cool and the farm was secured. And as they drove off, you know, and I saw that U-Haul just disappearing into the sunset going down the driveway, it was a moment of realizing that I had just let my little girl go. And I walked in my house, and my guitar was leaning against the wall there. It was an old guitar, the one I wrote "Some Gave All" with. I call it Songwriter, and I saw it leaning there, and I picked it up, as I often do to release my emotions. And like an old friend, I just start playing a little something. I was saying, "Ready, set, don`t go. Ready, set, don`t go."

And it started coming to me, and I felt like I had something going. I called a buddy of mine, who`s a number-one hit smash songwriter named Casey Bethard, and he came over right then, and we finished it, and it became the cornerstone and the brand-new single of this album.

BECK: I just listened to the album yesterday, and that one jumped out at me, and also "Flying By."

B. CYRUS: Oh, my goodness, what a song.

BECK: What a great song.

B. CYRUS: It`s unbelievable.

BECK: You know what it is? It`s what you said earlier that you just have to be who you are, and I could tell who you were from those two songs. And I could just -- I could relate to you, because it was about, "Oh, my gosh, everything`s just flying by so fast."

B. CYRUS: It is.

BECK: My kids are, they`re infants, and then we`re at a funeral. They`re watching me being lowered into the ground.

B. CYRUS: The song, "Flying By," is one of the best, most well- written songs ever in the history of time. It`s written by a guy named Jeffrey Steele and Tom Cambridge (ph), who wrote that song. And it`s two of the greatest songwriters in the world there. And when I heard the song, I just immediately -- I said, "You know what? I`ve got to record that. That`s my life." And it really does say everything that a man could feel.

BECK: Yes, I just have to -- I just have to share with the audience that, when we went into break, Billy Ray said to me, "I just don`t like controversy." And I said, "See, there it is! There it is." And we discovered that you are my wife, and I am your wife in our relationships.

B. CYRUS: We`re going to make headlines now.

BECK: Yes, because my wife -- I can hear her think, but she doesn`t like controversy. And she steers away from saying the harsh things or saying anything as much as she possibly can, and that`s you.

B. CYRUS: Yes, I don`t like to argue. I hate confrontation. And I just -- you know, I just try to let everything -- I want everything to be smooth. I want the whole world to be smooth. I want everybody to quit fighting and killing each other and love each other.

There was a song on the album, "Put a Little Love in your Heart." It`s a really important song. It was a big record when I was a kid, and I think people need to hear this song again, because it`s about love. You know, we got Earth Day, and we got Mother`s Day and Father`s Day. We need to have one day where the whole world could just love each other. I know that it`s highly unlikely, again, probably more likely my daughter will turn into Ron Howard.

BECK: Right.

B. CYRUS: But if the whole world could just do something nice for their fellow man on one given day, just everybody just love each other one day, it might save us from self-destructing as a human race.

BECK: You strike me -- and I don`t know if the -- I don`t know if you can -- I hate television in so many ways, because you can`t -- I go home all the time and I say, "Honey, watch this moment. I could tell right then when I was sitting across that he was lying to me or I could tell this," and you just -- when I get home and I watch the TV show I`m like, "You can`t see it."

You have just a sense of goodness about you. You just have a -- I don`t know how to explain it. Just you seem like a real, genuine, good guy. How much of that comes from your upbringing with, you know, the preaching in the family and the singing of the gospel and going to church? I know you still go to church every Sunday.

B. CYRUS: Thank you so much for saying that, first of all. And second of all, I just think that we`re all here to live for the light. There`s something much more to life that can`t just be something that just goes by and then you`re buried and dead. We`re all here for a reason, and I believe that our reason that we`re put on this Earth is to give back. And, you know, that`s just why we`re here.

I`ve always felt that I had a purpose and that it was God`s plan for me to buy a guitar and start a band. And through the music, I would find what I was supposed to do in this world to represent the light. I`m just always trying to -- "Some Gave All" to me is a way of life, not only in song, but in the way I live my life. I feel like you should give everything you got to everybody to make the world the best place it can be.

BECK: OK. So Miley, her nickname is Miley, but it`s actually is short for Smiley, which is also a nickname. Her real name is Destiny Hope.

B. CYRUS: That`s right.

BECK: Whose destiny, her destiny or your destiny?

B. CYRUS: Well, I never heard it quite put like that. It`s true that, when she was -- before she was born, I looked at her mama and looked at her little belly there, and I said, "You know what? That little girl inside you there, her name is Destiny Hope." And she was like, "Oh, OK, I like the name, but why are you saying this?"

Because I believe -- I told her exactly, I said, I had a vision that it was her destiny to bring hope to the world. She`s like, "Oh, that`s pretty deep." And I said, "Well, I`m just telling you what I feel. I believe that that little girl inside of you, that it is her destiny to bring hope to the world." And she named her that, and she`s making a lot of people smile and making a lot of people happy. So I feel like it might be a little bit of her destiny, and certainly it is part of mine.

BECK: Back in a minute, final moments with Billy Ray Cyrus.


BECK: Wow, the mullet. Regrets?

B. CYRUS: Oh, lord, no. Lord, no. You wouldn`t believe how aerodynamic a mullet is in a rainstorm, you know what I mean?

BECK: Is it true that your wife stopping you from...

B. CYRUS: Had a mullet?

BECK: No, is stopping you from doing it again?


BECK: It`s not true?

B. CYRUS: Well, it is, yes, yes. I hate controversy...

BECK: You`d go for it again, wouldn`t you?

B. CYRUS: I`d do it right now. I`m serious. I miss my mullet.

BECK: Do you?

B. CYRUS: I had a song my last album called, "I Want My Mullet Back." If you watched "Dancing with the Stars" that first dance, I knew everything was going downhill. When we danced, the first song they wanted us to dance to was a song called "I Want My Mullet Back." And I said, "Are you sure about that?" And they said, "Come on, they`re going to love it." So we had this dance all devised now. It was quite a nice cha-cha, I believe. But what happened was, at the end...

BECK: What was it again?

B. CYRUS: Cha-cha.

BECK: A nice cha-cha.

B. CYRUS: When I pulled her mullet at the end, somebody had like super-glued it to her skull, and it wouldn`t come off, and people thought that was rehearsed, but it wasn`t. We did it 10,000 times before that and the mullet came off every time. If I would have made a list of what`s the worst thing that could happen, Cyrus, when you do this dance? I would have said, well, if the mullet don`t come off, I`m a dead duck. Man, I pulled that mullet, and I pulled it twice, and when her scalp raised, I said, "Man, this is not good." And so I knew I was in for a heck of a ride from L.A.

BECK: Well, have you ever thought of getting what I like to call the reverse skunk, which is gray here in an odd, kind of falling out, look like a toupee but not a toupee look?

B. CYRUS: That`s right, that`s right, bald on top and long in the back?

BECK: Yes.

B. CYRUS: That`s called a skullet.

BECK: Good. You learn something new every day.

B. CYRUS: I know someone who has one right now.

BECK: OK, I don`t think we need to go down this road. Thank you so much.

B. CYRUS: Wait a minute, wait, you can`t say good-bye. I got something for you.

BECK: What?

B. CYRUS: Well, I thought that this right here, I thought this might look pretty good on you, Glenn.

BECK: That`s -- no, that`s...

B. CYRUS: Look at this. If that ain`t a nice pelt, I don`t know what is. Look at that, man. Amazing.

BECK: You know what`s sad? This actually looks better than my real hair.

B. CYRUS: They can`t see it.

BECK: It looks more real.

B. CYRUS: You got to put it down on right here so that people know you`re serious about it, man.

BECK: Yes.

B. CYRUS: Hey, I`ve made my goal in life, I`m doing Glenn Beck`s hair.

BECK: Can I tell you something?

B. CYRUS: Looks good, man.

BECK: Larry King wouldn`t put up with that.

B. CYRUS: Look at that.

BECK: Nope. Billy Ray, thank you very much.

B. CYRUS: You got it, buddy.

BECK: Thank you.