You may recall that ERIC CHURCH was infamously FIRED from the RASCAL FLATTS tour back in 2006. They replaced him with a teenager named TAYLOR SWIFT and the rest is history. Actually, it's partial history because they never told the whole story, until now.

They said, quote, "We asked him four times to stay to the allotted amount of time that he had to play. We sat him down in our dressing room and were like, 'Please, be off the stage because we still have to do our show.'" Turns out when a band goes overtime they're charged thousands of dollars by the minute in labor fees.

They said, quote, "The last time was Madison Square Garden and we said, 'It's really important that you get off on time.' "We told him, 'Instead of going 12 minutes over, we'll put you on 12 minutes early, but you have to finish on time.' And he played 20 minutes over. It was kind of like a middle finger to us."

(Speaking of Eric Church: His album "The Outsiders" is out NEXT Tuesday . . . but it's streaming for FREE right now at