"I was afraid I'd be forgotten by my fans if I took time off," Stone said.
But fans saw it differently. They wanted the singer, whose first hit was "I'd Be Better Off (In a Pine Box)," to take care of himself.
"It makes me feel pretty good that they care about me. They're saying 'Hey, it's good to see you back,' " Stone said.
It's good to be back, said Stone, who will give two concerts Saturday, April 25, at Martinsburg High School in Martinsburg, W.Va.
Stone, 41, said he is feeling wonderful these days.
"I had to slow down and get my body together," he said.
He quit smoking - it'll be three years on July 22 - and he also has changed his eating habits.
"I used to love a lot of pork. Things I'd never eaten before started tasting real good," he said.
His diet includes plenty of greens and rice, and he does a lot of grazing, eating small meals more often. He said his wife, Beth, has helped him change his eating habits.
"The only thing we've ever had arguments about was me eating bad," he said.
His bus has a kitchen, so he is able to have healthful meals while traveling.
Good health isn't the only thing the Stones are celebrating: They are expecting their first child together in June. Stone, who was married before, has four other children.
When he's not on the road, you can find him working on his log house.
He rides a bicycle for exercise, and he relaxes by riding motorcycles - he owns a 1500 Suzuki and a 1100 Yamaha.
He isn't pushing himself like he did when he first started his career.
"I was afraid it wasn't gonna fly; anything anyone asked, I'd do," he said.
He said he plans to have a good time at his Martinsburg concerts, where he'll be joined by his six-member band. He promises the high-energy show that has become his trademark.
Stone plays guitar, bass drums and keyboards, but not onstage.
"I quit playing because I enjoy walking and talking more ... so I can dance and act a fool," he said.