Update: Love & Theft's Stephen Barker Liles has pretty much confirmed in a new interview what I suspected in writing this story … Trace had gotten angry at Larsen for shadowing him for so long and following him to the cruise. Stephen also said that the guy had started signing autographs with Trace's name. Thankfully he says no punches were thrown between the two men.
As you've probably heard by now, Trace Adkins' cruise this week ended up being anything but smooth sailing and Trace has since checked himself into rehab for alcohol.
Since yesterday, I've heard from multiple people who are on the cruise that Trace was asked to leave the ship and didn't just leave because he felt the need to head to rehab. I'm happy he's gone back to rehab, no matter how he got there, but since yesterday I've been kind of curious what the story is with the guy Trace got into the tussle with.
Up until now, all we've known him as is a Trace Adkins impersonator and that's been about it.
Well in this day and age it doesn't take long for things to get around so now let me introduce you to Michael Larsen, the impersonator who is probably on minute 2 of his now quickly ticking away 15 who riled up country's resident gentle giant, Trace Adkins.
According to at least two people I've spoken to who are on the cruise, Michael was also asked to leave the ship, but this is unconfirmed (TMZ says he's still on board).
While most of the story has been focused on the more famous of the boxing buddies, I wanted to see if I could figure out something about the guy Trace got into the fight with. Everything here is my opinion and not an indication of what actually happened, so take it for what it's worth.
Anyway, from what I've pieced together (again, none of this is official, just things people have told me and comments I've read in various places), Larsen has been following Trace around for quite a while, using his looks to try and establish himself as a Trace Adkins impersonator. I've also been told he made a pest of himself following Trace around for years.
In all honesty, I don't think he looks that much like Trace, but apparently he's passable enough to get a reputation. According to LinkedIn, Larsen's a lineman by trade and celebrity look-a-like on the side.
I would like to mention that I am also a celebrity look a-like for the country artist Trace Adkins. I am available for charity events & commercials & so on..
I am also an actor with Parkview Christian Church, I have 12 yrs experience of being on stage..
He's also spent a lot of time commenting on Trace's Facebook. You can go on various status updates of Trace's and find comments from Larsen if you just look for them. The one below is from nearly four years ago.
Now you might notice the picture in the top right of the picture above. That's not Trace's Dangerous Man CD cover, it's actually a picture Larsen has on his Facebook that's made to look like the CD cover.
Some people are saying the picture had Larsen's face photoshopped onto Trace's CD cover, but I don't think it is. Instead I think Larsen just worked hard to make it look like Trace's CD cover. The photo is also Larsen's cover picture on his Facebook. Not a crime but maybe a little weird.
From the various stories floating around now, some people are saying that Larsen followed Trace around to the point of being creepy, trying hard to get his attention and even maybe enjoying when people thought he was Trace. In fact, when Trace did the country cruise with Blake Shelton back in 2012, some people say Larsen was on that cruise too. True? Again, it's just Facebook talk, but Facebook talk is often correct so we'll say it's at least a possibility.
There's also at least one video on YouTube of Michael "performing" as Trace.
And then there's the video of the two meeting that TMZ dug up (watch below). In it you can hear Trace laughing and saying meeting Larsen sort of freaked him out. He's having fun with the whole thing, but how many meetings would it take before it wasn't funny anymore and really and truly freaked Trace out?
Two? Three? Ten? Heck, I don't know.
What we do know is that at some point on the cruise Trace and his wannabe met in a bar (whether by accident or on purpose) on the ship. It's also rumored that Larsen was singing a karaoke version of one of Trace's songs at the time and may possibly have been signing autographs with Trace's name.
I'm honestly starting to wonder if Trace was maybe just a smidgen tired of having a bordering-on-creepy shadow. I mean they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but at what point does flattery move into just plain weird and a little scary territory?
At what point do you go from a super fan to something more?
I really feel bad that Trace is getting a bad rap for fighting with a doppelganger and then heading back to rehab when there's probably a lot more to the story.
No disrespect to Michael Larsen, and he can certainly email me and tell his side if he's of a mind to, but I'm thinking it might just be time to look for a new hobby.