06/22/2009 at 01:00 AM EDT
>• The guitarist—whose band is up for two CMT Music Awards June 16 —dishes on working with country stars and shedding rock-star habits.
ON GOING COUNTRY [Working with?] Taylor Swift was cool. She was influenced by Shania Twain, [whose ex] Mutt Lange produced Def Leppard's songs. And I know she's more bluegrass, but I'd like Alison Krauss to [do our music].
ON CLEAN LIVING I haven't had a drink in 22 years, and I've been a vegetarian for 25. I can box for 12 rounds. I couldn't do that at age 20.
ON HIS TOUR DIET It's tough when I want Doritos and it's no carbs after 5. So I eat tofu and raw chard. But chocolate is my downfall.
ON HIS BODY THEN VS. NOW Mixed martial arts changed me. I was skinny and geeky. Now I'm ripped. I can still fit in my old clothes, but my chest pops the buttons!
ON TOURING THIS SUMMER I'm stoked: We became uncool in the '90s, but now people are going nuts and swooning again.