Chase Rice goes to a place he’s never gone before in his career in the accompanying video for his deeply heavy and highly emotional song, “Bench Seat.”
Directed by Kaiser Cunningham, this seven-plus-minute short film finds Rice digging deep into the often silent struggles of mental health as he puts a lens on the real-life story of his college friend, who nearly took his own life.
“My buddy was in a really dark place – to the point where he was ready to end his own life. It took a lot for him to take me back to that moment, but when he told me what stopped him it stopped me in my tracks,” Rice recalls of his friend’s story and what led to him penning the track in a recent press release. “His dog came and laid his head on his lap, and that connection saved him.”
“His dog ended up kind of saving his life. He had the gun to his head, and he looked down at the dog,” Rice previously told PEOPLE. “The dog did the head tilt and like looked at him like, ‘What you doing?’”
This lengthy clip not only gives viewers insight into Rice’s buddy’s backstory, but also shows just how much one moment can change a person’s life. For Rice’s friend, that moment came from the unconditional love of a dog.
The opening scene of the video has Rice depicting his friend as the lead character. He exits a therapy session only to be stopped by a group member, who suggests he look into getting a dog to help cope with his condition. Rice then drives to an animal shelter, where he inquires about a dog, who he ends up taking home with him. As the clip progresses, it becomes evident the video – like the song – is built on the perspective of the dog.
View this post on Instagram
Midway through the clip, folks see a shift as they are introduced to the realities of what can happen if someone struggling with mental health doesn’t receive the proper assistance. Rice’s character loses his battle with mental health while his pregnant girlfriend and his dog ultimately lose their best friend – him. But perhaps the most chilling moment of the clip comes at the end when he calls the dog home.
“I wrote this song by myself with the point of view from the dog’s perspective – which might not be obvious right away – and what that moment might have meant for the two of them if not for that intervention,” Rice explained of the song and video, which he carefully crafted together to deliver what has become a Music Video Of The Year-worthy clip.
He continued, “For the first time in my career, I could envision the whole video as I was writing the song. I wanted to shine a light on the topic of mental health because this is something that makes way too many people feel alone, and especially when addiction becomes part of the picture, one bad moment can have horrible consequences. I personally know how hard it can be to ask for help when you need it, but I hope this helps start a few more conversations and to let people know they really aren’t alone.”
Rice adds that although his friend has since recovered from his struggles with mental health, at the time of his lowest, “it was impossible to see anything but the heaviness.”
“He was able to get the help he needed, though, and now he’s living a beautiful life and starting a family,” Rice said. “That’s what this video is really about – showing you the potential for a happy end to the story if you can find a way to get help through the dark times.”
Before debuting the accompanying video for the track, Rice, who has charted three No. 1 hits thus far, took to social media to share how “Bench Seat” has become his favorite song and how meaningful and important the music video is for him as well.
View this post on Instagram
“Most real thing I’ve ever done comes out tomorrow at midnight. I’ve been nervous to even put this out. It shows a lot. It’s real. It’s emotional. This is my favorite song I’ve ever released. Bench Seat. My first and probably only dog song,” he captioned alongside the post, which includes the words: “The video that comes out tomorrow for ‘Bench Seat’ is the darkest but most real thing I’ve ever done in music. I wouldn’t show your kids, and I want y’all to know it covers addiction, self-harm, depression, etc. Too many people struggle with it, and it’s time to shine some light on it. A dog saved my best friend’s life, and my dog Jack has blessed mine more than I ever thought he could. This is based on that story. Just know you are never alone. Talk to family. Talk to friends. Hell, talk to me. Love you all.”
“Bench Seat,” which follows previous releases, “I Hate Cowboys,” “Way Down Yonder,” and “Key West & Colorado,” will appear on Rice’s upcoming album, I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go To Hell. The 13-track project serves as a tribute to his late father and is due out on Feb. 10.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, please contact the SAMHSA helpline, at 1-800-662-HELP.
Additionally, Chase Rice will soon embark on his headlining Way Down Yonder Tour, which features support from Conner Smith, Tyler Braden, Ashland Craft, Dalton Dover, Avery Anna, Kameron Marlowe and Red Southall Band on select dates. The trek kicks off on March 3 at Harrah’s Laughlin Casino & Hotel in Laughlin, Nevada and run through August 5, where the Way Down Yonder Tour will wrap up in Camrose, Alberta at Big Valley Jamboree.
View this post on Instagram
For tour dates, tickets and the latest news on his forthcoming new album, I Hate Cowboys & All Dogs Go To Hell, visit https://www.chaserice.com.
Way Down Yonder Tour Dates
March 3 – Laughlin, Nev.- Harrah’s Laughlin
March 4 – Tucson, Ariz. – Cologuard Classic
March 9 – Indianapolis, Ind. Egyptian Room at Old National Centre *
March 10 – Detroit, Mich. – The Fillmore Detroit*
March 11 – Grand Rapids, Mich. The Intersection*
March 23 – Wichita, Kan. The Cotillion ^
March 24 – Sioux Falls, S.D. The Alliance Center ^
March 25 – Omaha, Neb. The Admiral ^
March 31 – Lexington, Ky. Manchester Music Hall #
April 1 – Columbus, Ohio The Bluestone #
April 2 – Buffalo, N.Y. Town Ballroom #
April 6 – Binghamton, N.Y. Touch of Texas $
April 7 – Bensalem, PA Parx Casino $
April 8 – Norfolk, VA The NorVa $
April 11 – Nashville, Tenn. Ryman Auditorium ~
April 13 – Albany, N.Y. Empire Live $~
April 14 – Boston, Mass. House of Blues $~
April 15 – Sayreville, N.J. Starland Ballroom $~
April 21 – Atlanta, Ga. Coca Cola Roxy !~
April 22 – Wilmington, N.C. Live Oak Bank Pavilion !~
April 27 – Athens, Ga. Georgia Theatre ~
April 28 – St. Petersburg, Fla. Jannus Live +
April 29 – Daytona Beach, Fla. Daytona Beach Bandshell +
May 4 – St. Louis, Mo. The Factory at The District *
May 5 – Clear Lake, Iowa The Surf Ballroom *
May 6 – Minneapolis, Minn. The Fillmore Minneapolis *
May 12 – Milwaukee, Wis. The Rave +~
May 13 – Chicago, Ill. Gallagher Way +~
May 18 – Richmond, Va. The National
May 20 – Morgantown, W.V. Ruby Amphitheater
June 3 – Panama City Beach, Fla. – Gulf Coast Jam
June 10 – Clinton, Iowa – Tailgate N’ Tallboys
June 16 – North Lawrence, Ohio – The Country Fest
June 17 – London, Ohio – Coburn Farms
June 22 – Baltimore, Md. – Rams Head Live $~
June 23 – Wantagh, N.Y. – Mulcahy’s $~
June 24 – Jordan, N.Y. – Kegs Canalside $~
June 29 – Hampton Beach, N.H. – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom +~
June 30 – Hyannis, Mass. – Cape Cod Melody Tent +~
July 1 – Webster, Mass. – Indian Ranch +~
July 14 – Topeka, Kan. – Country Stampede
Aug. 3 – Detroit Lakes, Minn. – WE Fest
Aug. 5. – Camrose, Alberta. – Big Valley Jamboree
* Conner Smith
^ Tyler Braden
# Ashland Craft
$ Dalton Dover
~ Avery Anna
! Kameron Marlowe
+ Read Southall Band