Interview with Carlo Gonzalez of Mile High Drive

Carlo Gonzalez is a businessman, an entrepreneur and brilliant marketer. He has traveled all over the world and met with celebrities far and wide, to bring them the world of exotic cars right to their doorsteps. He represents the YOLO (You Only Live Once) lifestyle perfectly, and makes him the perfect guest for the Yolo Podcast with Yolo Rum Founders “Uncle” Phil Guerin and Producer WIGNZ.

We asked Carlo to tell us a little about Mile High Drives and his business adventures. This is what he told us.


Drives At Mile High Exotic Car Rental
Offering ultra exotic and luxury car rental services in Denver, CO and Phoenix, AZ.

Exotic Cars Worldwide

Exotic vehicle buyer/seller services around the globe.


I was tired of the regular job/work just like everyone else. So back in 2012, I basically did something that most people would consider completely irresponsible or just plain stupid. I drained my bank account to buy a Lamborghini to chase a dream. Yes, you heard it right. Drained my bank account. At the time, everyone thought I went crazy. Friends calling me all the time asking if “I was okay” and if I had literally gone bananas. Me being a huge supporter of Drake’s music….. I was just thinking”YOLO” the entire time! I told myself that NOW was the time to the risk. I had a plan and a passion. But most people doubted me at the time and straight-up laughed at my lucrative idea. But that didn’t stop me. I was 26 years when I made this life-changing decision, and here comes beautiful white Lamborghini I had just purchased that started a crazy and epic journey!


Drives At Mile High has now been operating in Denver for over 7 years. We offer daily exotic car rentals and group driving experiences. We’ve provided high-end car services for major events, athletes, musicians, such as:

Odell Beckham Jr
Jarvis Landry
21 Savage
Jeremy Hill
LeBron James

Alice Cooper
….. and more.
With my other company, Exotic Cars Worldwide, I started global exotic car buyers service. So basically I would track down sellers with high-end/collector cars around the world and connect them with the right buyers. The major perks is being able to travel the world to meet clients and see come of the craziest cars around the globe. 
Before the businesses really took off, I was just a regular guy who went to middle and high school in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. And now, I’m in cities like Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and London seeing AND driving Lamborghins and Ferraris. Not to mention riding in private helicopters with some of the scariest/most powerful people on the planet! Talk about YOLO.


The last celebrity that I had mentioned (Alice Cooper) definitely brings up a funny memory. I was one of the very first rental companies to have the brand new 2014 Corvette Stingray back in late 2013.

I received a random call from a person claiming he was Alice Cooper who REALLY needed the new Corvette Stingray for an upcoming event….. AND he wanted to deliver the car to his house. Of course, I didn’t believe him. I’m thinking this fool wants to steal the car!!

Slightly offended, he handed the phone over to his designated “car guy” where this person proceeded to pay for the rental. I still was extremely skeptical about the whole situation…… and thought there’s no way that was Alice Cooper. I’m thinking these guys have to be professional thieves.

I arrive to a huge beautiful house in Scottsdale….. and guess what??? There he is. The man himself. Alice Cooper. We chatted about cars for a bit and I got him going in the vehicle right away. As a huge thank you….. he opened his garage that was COMPLETELY PACKED with brand-new in-box electric guitars. He pulls one from the box, autographs the guitar, says thank you….. and then drives away in Corvette.


Odell contacted me for some vehicles when the Pro Bowl was in Arizona a while back. This was during the football season where he made his world-famous one-handed catch. I delivered a Ferrari to his house which he absolutely loved….. but, after a week or so he wanted something much faster with world-class performance. Of course, this meant the high powered McLaren sports car. But, his people made it very clear to NOT give him any ultra high-performance car for liability reasons.

So of course I secretly gave him an upgrade to the McLaren and made it clear to please keep it on the “down-low” so no one would know he had the ultra high-performance car. What happened next??? He broke the internet by showing up to a live ESPN event in the car. My phone blew up all day with non-stop text messages!! So much for keeping the upgraded car a secret.


The time when I accidentally created the most watched video in the world for 7 straight days. The famous skateboard kid and McLaren video generated over 13million views in 7 days. One of our cars had a damaged windshield. Instead of responsibly parking the car (like a normal person) until the windshield was replaced…… it was another YOLO moment, so I decided to smash the glass! 

We staged a fake accident involving a skateboard who smashed the windshield of our $250,000 McLaren after the car ran the stop sign and “hit” the skateboarder. We staged the accident by Littleman’s Ice Cream in the highlands in front of about 200 people. I did a TERRIBLE job of filming the whole accident with my phone. I wasn’t very optimistic about the video going viral at all. That night I uploaded the video on YouTube and went to bed. I woke up really late that morning. My phone was buzzing nonstop. I had missed calls from just about everyone in Denver. I finally called one of my buddies, who was an actor in video, and was screaming….. “DUDE!!! We’re all over the internet!!!”. He kept shouting that over and over again.

SnapChap, Instagram, Facebook, The Chive, Yahoo, CNN, Fox News, BBC…. the video is literally EVERYWHERE!!! News crews were on-site for an entire 2 days to investigate the “accident” in the highlands neighborhood in Denver.

Actor Nick Cannon loved the prank so much….. he sent his production team from New York to Denver to interview me in person. He wanted to feature the video on his show called Caught On Camera. The interview and video aired on the TV and created even more buzz. I had requests from TV shows in Japan, United Kingdom, China, Russia, Brazil, and more to feature the video on their network. The whole viral video experience was overwhelming and shocking at the same time. 


​The winters months are generally slower in the exotic car business. So one year I decided to send 4 of our cars to a company in Vegas to try and create a little more revenue during these months. Long story short, they never paid me anything from all the rentals for 2+ months. I then had to fly to Vegas myself with the spare keys and had to basically steal my own cars back from customers who has my vehicles. The memorable one was stealing one of my exotic cars from the Cosmopolitan hotel in front of all the valets and watch them in horror as I took off with the car. 
To get my cars back…… I had to stalk to valets, find out where they stored the keys, steal the original key from the valet box when they were distracted, and then essentially steal my own car back before the valet noticed. Have you ever stolen 4 exotic cars in one day?? Well, lets just say I had to.


McDonald’s Lamborghini
Recognized as the originator/content creator of taking a Lamborghini through the McDonald’s drive-through. Again, another YOLO moment. Who in their right mind would take their Lamborgini through McDonalds??? I would!!! I started this trend about 7 years ago. Today several social media influencers have followed the trend and done the same. 
Make Monday’s Fun Again (Exotic Car Pastry Fights)
I would nonstop work all weekends. That’s the busiest time in the exotic car business. So when Monday’s would come around, the the shop would be relatively uneventful. All my friends would also at be work. So was tough for me to pass time just sitting around bored on Mondays. And of course, no one in the corporate world likes Monday’s either. The solution??? Monday pastry fights. I would buy boxes of pastries at the grocery store. All my friends with corporate job would get off work a bit early and get to my shop at about 3:00pm. 
We would all jump into Lamborghinis and drive around the parking lot while throwing pastries at each other! Yes, we were grown men in our late 20’s / early 30’s throwing twinkies and cupcakes at each other. But we were having the time of our lives! You can call this immature. We called it living our best life. Or as you call it, YOLO! Afterwards, we would wash down all of the cars while laughing hysterically. The amount of fun we had made everyone feel alive again.

Interview with Nolan Carroll a Pro Football Player and Yolo Rum Investor

“Uncle” Phil and WIGNZ talk with Nolan Alexander Carroll II who is a former professional football player, entrepreneur and a Yolo Rum investor

Playing career

Nolan Carroll had a scholarship offer from Colorado University but started his college career as wide receiver, before transitioning to defensive back, in Maryland.  Drafted in 5th round by Miami in 2010. Nolan played four years in Miami before signing with Philadelphia for 2014 season, and then finished his career in Dallas as a Cowboy. Nolan Carroll scored on defensive TD on a pick 6 at home on Monday Night against NY Giants and Eli Manning.  Played 3 years in Philadelphia before signing with Dallas in 2017


Born on January 18, 1987 in Green Cove Springs, Florida.  Played soccer and football in high school at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs.  Broke leg in second game of senior season in high school missed the rest of the year.  His mother, Jennifer, is a former Lieutenant Governor of Florida and a former United States Navy lieutenant commander. His father, Nolan Carroll, was a Senior Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force.

In 2014 he started the Nolan Carroll Foundation  a program that supports (STEM) Science Technology Engineering and Math educational opportunities, job skill training and to promote and encourage physical activities for underprivileged and at-risk youths.  The mission of the Foundation is intended to broaden the horizons and increase opportunities for underprivileged and at-risk youths. Providing students a potential opportunity break the cycle of poverty, achieve their greatness and help improve their quality of life.


Events:  Charity Golf this past March, 2019 at Eagle Landing Golf Course Orange Park, FL.


Business Ventures

In addition to being a Yolo Rum investor he also owns Doob 3D Printing with location in Miami and an app called YooTroo that connects businesses with potential consumers by paying them to watch their ads.

Yolo Podcast Ep 001

We always feel that it’s important to keep our investors, who make us a democracy powered company, up to date on everything Yolo Rum. In 2019 our award winning company has evolved and updated our website, ways to communicate and expanded our distribution with Empire Distributors.

Yolo Rum also is now the official sponsor of the ‘Yolo Podcast’ a podcast that was created to entertain, engage and inform our audience about everything that represents the term, YOLO! Phil Guerin and WIGNZ who are the founders of Yolo Rum, host the podcast that is streamed LIVE and produced for the Yolo Podcast available everywhere that podcasts can be found.

This episode is our biggest yet, as we discuss everything that we has happened to our brand. Including our meeting that took place at Silicon Valley with Google.

Empire is a wholesale beverage distributor home to over 1,500 teammates across four states: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Colorado. Representing 1,000+ brands from around the world, their mission is simply to be the very best at building brands and developing people.

If you have a bar, restaurant or store that you think would be interested in carrying Yolo Rum contact us at

Yolo Rum Podcast with Video Producer Kevin Fox

Putting the Social back in Social Media with Kevin Fox

When it comes to getting engaged and staying relevant in the digital age, it doesn’t happen unless its online. So how do you connect audiences with the best rum in the world? Find out how Yolo is stepping up the game up by bringing on executive producer and digital media planner Kevin Fox.


From Childhood Passion to Full-time Profession

When it comes to turning your passion into your profession, there are few stories more unique than that of Kevin Fox Damata. His passion for capturing moments and creating content started when he was a young child. Armed with a VHS recorder gifted to him by his father, Damata and his brother produced their own commercials when he was just five years old.

“I was a product of the eighties, and I was constantly creating content,” he said. Damata’s instinct to create was fostered by a middle school education at a vocational school that allowed him the opportunity to actually go and do work in TV production.

“[The school] allowed students to go a public access station and learn the skills of being in TV productions,” he said. “Instead of doing the typical math, science, I would go to that station and participate in creating content.”

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After writing, shooting, and editing an award-winning film in middle school, Damata majored in Radio and Television in college; it wasn’t until his late twenties however, that production became a conscious career path for him.

“I kept doing it for years but always as a hobby,” he said. “I always had a camera, I’d always shoot something but I never took it as a career path until my late twenties.”

Balancing an education with entrepreneurial endeavors that included starting a café with his older brother, Damata took an approach that his life was his classroom. “I said in my mind, ‘a piece of paper is not going to change the course of my life,’” he said. “A lot of people go to college because they want the piece of paper at the end of it but they don’t know what they’re going to do. I knew exactly what I wanted to do—I was just trying to be a practitioner and learn the things I didn’t know through whatever avenue I could.”

Taking his hobby and turning it into a career also came from a need to follow his own path said Damata. “I started being a practitioner of video productions, of marketing, of branding, of journalism,” he said. “Having all of those skills wrapped up allowed me to become an entrepreneur in the digital marketing, social media [field].”

Taking Brands from Social Slump to Viral Video

One of the unique skills that Damata brings to the table, is his mastery of traditional media and willingness to embrace digital developments to bring brands the awareness and engagements they all need to succeed. “It was when I grabbed my smartphone and I shot something and then I was able to edit and post it that I realized…oh shit, this is going to be huge,” he said.

“I started noticing the way people were marketing their brands wasn’t getting the engagements anymore. I noticed what people were actually using their devices for,” he said. “They weren’t logging in to look at your commercial… you need to create experience pieces, organic videos that engage, educate, entertain or offer some kind of value to the consumer and I noticed that a lot brands weren’t doing it and they still don’t.”

As one of the creatives helping Yolo Rum grow to the next level in people’s cups and minds, Damata said that it’s all about genuine conversations and celebrating the real moments that bring us all together.

“The term is ‘social media,’” Damata said. “When you provide media, you’re only giving half of what is necessary to get your followers to engage in your product, so you need to be social. This means you have to actually engage with the people that are on your pages.”

Find Your Inspiration with Yolo Rum

Whether you’re living the dream every time you clock in, or seizing the day when you clock out, you only live once. Check out the rest of the podcast and then go do what you do best with Yolo Rum.

Yolo Rum Podcast with CEO Philip Guerin

Yolo is more than a premium rum brand, it’s a movement; find out why with CEO Philip Guerin.

Mission Rum Love with Phil Guerin

With rums of varying quality coming from more than 80 countries around the world, people are just beginning to discover how dynamic and delicious rum can be. For CEO Phil Guerin, rum love flourished over the course of more than 40 trips to Central America and the Caribbean.

Love & Rum in Central America

According to Guerin, the story of Yolo began in 2007 when he and his wife Jessica met while volunteering for the Cooperative for Education, non-profit organization dedicated to “breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala through education.”

As Guerin’s exposure to Central American and Caribbean culture grew, so did his appreciation and understanding of the kind of experience a premium rum can provide.

“When I was [travelling], rum is the spirit of choice for those in the Caribbean and in Central America,” he said. “Before then, I didn’t know rum was even good at all [and] when people try Yolo rum they’re really surprised at how high-quality the spirit is.”

Pairing with the Perfect Partners

With his mission to share rum love solidified, it was Guerin’s wife who helped him find the perfect rum-making partner: award-winning roñero, Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez. With a career defined by the search for the perfect rum, Fernandez was the last piece of the puzzle.

“My wife is really the person that connected us to Don Pancho and our distillery and our bottling company in Panama,” said Guerin. “It’s an amazing relationship. My wife was an executive in Central America and she was very well-connected…she came through in a huge way.”

After meeting and speaking with Fernandez, Guerin shared his vision for a premium rum that would wake Americans up to what rum could be.

“[I wanted to create] a spirit that could compare to a fine scotch or whiskey,” Guerin said. “I explained [to Don Pancho] how popular those dark spirits are in America and that for people to understand [how dynamic premium rum is], it really has to come across with the smokiness of the America charred white oak. The tannins from these barrels provide a lot of the butterscotch and vanilla flavors that come across in America whiskey.”

YOLO: You Only Live Once

Creating a high-quality rum to rival one of America’s favorite spirits wasn’t Guerin’s only goal. He also wanted to create a rum that would educate people about the experience a well-made rum can provide. “[Yolo] is a proprietary blend. It’s our blend, nobody has this blend, nobody has this profile and that’s why we’re able to go out and win these awards; because there’s nothing like our rum out there,” he said.

The recipe for Yolo wasn’t developed overnight. It took months for Don Pancho to develop a process that honored Guerin’s vision to deliver a high-quality flavor and experience to consumers. “Yolo is born from love in so many different ways…I truly believe it is the standard by which all rum should be held,” he said.

Armed with the formula for the perfect rum, next came developing a brand with as much punch as the spirit that it would define. After winning a five and a half year fight to secure the Yolo trademark, Yolo is defined by quality and passion. From thoughtful nuances like UV ink on each label to an explosively successful guerrilla-style approach to marketing that has been mimicked by industry giants, Yolo is changing the way people live and drink. “It’s not often that a brand creates passion,” Guerin said. “People have a passion for our brand…Yolo is a movement.”


Rocking the World of Rum with Greg Rock on the Yolo Rum Podcast

Discover the secret to building and spreading the rum love with Yolo Rum’s Vice President of Sales, Greg Rock.

What does it take to make the world’s best rum a household name? Find out with Yolo Rum’s Vice President of National Sales, Greg ‘the Rock.’ With a background in the liquor industry that’s unmatched, Rock has more than two decades of experience and passion for the people and the craft involved with working in the alcohol industry.

Defining What it Means to Be the Best with Greg Rock

Rock’s career started in high school at Coors’ Brewing company, where he got his feet wet and learned how to flex his sales muscles by working as a salesman and distributor. “Working the streets means working with the people and working with the accounts,” he said. “In my early years, I sold [the beer], threw it onto a two-wheeler, and wheeled [the beer] back in, to [my clients].”

Delivering an Excellent Experience From Client to Consumer

Whether you’re a Yolo retailer or consumer, part of what defines our mission is going above and beyond. Our team not only has a passion for the product, we also have a passion for the people in our industry, “In this industry…you need each other,” said Rock.

Since joining the Yolo team several months ago, Rock has brought his incredible knowledge and unparalleled network in the world of liquor sales to help Yolo continue to grow in 2019.

After being tapped by President of National Sales, Dave Elger to help Yolo break into the national rum market, Rock said joining the Yolo team was an offer he couldn’t refuse. “Dave just assured me that together with himself and Phil the owner, we could working something out…but after actually tasting the product, and seeing the product, and seeing the quality of the product, it really blows your mind,” he said.

The incredible set of personalities, investors, and support team driving Yolo also played a role in giving Rock the confidence to step in and grow Yolo into one of the most sought after rums in the country.

“You know, most other rums add sugars to make it sweeter, not ours,” said Rock, “A good quality rum can make a good, solid, and robust cocktail…that’s what Yolo rum did.”

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Riding the Wave of Success into 2019 with the Right Team

Both gluten-free and sugar-free, Yolo rum is one of few rums that relies on the quality of its ingredients and techniques instead of additives to change the flavor or color of their spirits. “If you really like rums, the gold you can drink straight on the rocks,” said Rock, “That’s the beauty of the gold, you can drink it straight, it’s very full-bodied, and a tremendous flavor.” In addition to a high-quality product, you also need passion said Rock. “If you’re passionate about something, there’s nothing stopping you. When I really tasted the quality of Yolo…I felt like it’s really something I can jump behind.”

Special thanks to Bar Elevate. Bar Elevate a spacious bar & grill located at 2831 W 120th Ave, Westminster, CO 80234,  is now serving Yolo Rum. Their menu features tasty American eats and great atmosphere to get relaxed.

Yolo Rum at Bar Elvate

Yolo Rum Podcast with Francois Baptiste

The ultimate Denver nightlife hustle with Francois Baptiste of 3DEEP Productions.

From the Boulder college scene to Denver’s hottest lounges, Francois has made a name and a space for urban culture in Colorado’s nightlife. For 15 years he and his partner in partying, Alvin LaCabe have played a pivotal role in bringing the best of urban culture, concerts, comedy, and fashion to the Denver club scene.

Francois’ passion for producing events has had an opportunity to take center stage through his ownership stake in 3DEEP Productions. Together with his business partners, 3DEEP produces weekly club nights, special events, concerts, and more in Denver. With decades of collective experience in Denver nightlife, the team at 3DEEP strives to give their guests and clients the best possible experience while cultivating a unique cultural haven for hip-hop in Colorado.

Getting their start by producing events for students at the University of Colorado, 3DEEP now produces the longest running hip hop night in Denver at Club Vinyl, Reggae on the Roof. Given his proximity to the music industry through a career as a promoter for House of Blues and host of a mixtape show on KS 107.5, Francois’ newest passion is to help build artists and produce concerts.

Currently the manager of ‘Denver’s Hip Hop Hope,” artist Trev Rich, Baptiste is leveraging his experience and Rich’s passion to grow in the music industry. So, far the pairing has been a marked, success, with Rich’s song getting featured on the most recent Spiderman movie, “Into the Spider-verse,” by Marvel Comics.

The story of Rich’s feature on the song “Elevate,” in which he appears alongside hip-hop giants DJ Khalil, Denzel Curry, YBN Cordae, and SwaVay, is one as unlikely as it is serendipitous.

“It was luck,” said Baptiste, “A friend of a friend called Trev and he went to la to focus on writing. [While he was there] he lost his wallet and was about to jump on a plane and go home.”

Fortunately, fate intervened by means of an impromptu writing session. “We went into a writing session, just as a writer to write a hook for a potential song,” he said. A few weeks later, Rich and Baptiste received a career changing series of calls. “We got calls from our friend about the record and he told us, ‘they want to use your hook in the Spiderman movie, like the major motion picture…We couldn’t find anyone that did as well as you did it; we want to keep you on the hook.” The rest, as they say, is comic book history.

As 2019 heats up along with Rich’s career, Baptiste is still living like there’s no tomorrow “I don’t for myself I always try to do things that people said they want to accomplish. For example…I want to see where I can take Trev next.” Watch Francois keep taking things to the next level by going to

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3Deep Productions on the web

3Deep Productions on Twitter

Interview Transcript

WIGNZ: All right. Here we go. Yolo Rum podcast. We are hanging out in the Yolo Rum studio, Yolo Rum office, the Yolo Rum Bar. At this point it’s fun because we try to get these names in here that represent Yolo. That represent the brand, that represent who we are as a company. It just happens to be that you’re part of this company, but you’re also a giant name. Joining us on the podcast today is Francois Baptiste. He is, I want to say a nightlife mogul. Can I say that? Is that?
Francois Baptiste: Yeah. You can say it. It sounds great.
WIGNZ: So a nightlife mogul in Denver. It’s nice because, dude, I’ve known you … We’ve known each other, but we haven’t know each other.
Francois: Right.
WIGNZ: Probably like 10, 11 years.
Francois: Maybe even longer than that.
WIGNZ: To maybe even longer than that, and we never got to hang out. I was doing the morning stuff, you were … We were opposite worlds.
Francois: Absolutely.
WIGNZ: And we’ve had DJ Chonz on here. So it only makes sense to have you on, so it’s exciting and I appreciate you coming on and hanging out with us today, man.
Francois: Oh, no problem. Thanks for having me. I really appreciate this. This is great.
WIGNZ: So give a little insight, for people that don’t know who you are. We have a lot of Yolo Rum investors, like yourself, that are watching this. A lot of people that just enjoy Yolo Rum. But, give them a little bit of your backstory. You started as just a CU student, I’m a CU alum too.
Francois: Yay! My man. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know that.
WIGNZ: I know, man.
Francois: This makes it even better.
WIGNZ: I’m finding out more, and more about you and I’m like, “Oh, go Buffs.” You know what I mean?
Francois: Yeah. I like it.
WIGNZ: But you were there when they were actually good football team.
Francois: I was there for a long time, I had a long college career. Maybe more than average. But, yeah, I saw them good and bad. That’s right. How’s that? No, I was there. It was a time when Kordell Stewart, and Michael Westbrook and all those guys. So, yeah, that was the heyday of CU football.
WIGNZ: That’s prime. Then, dude, you were there when … Because, I’m reading your story and I’m finding out you’re in Boulder. You were there when the Fox Theatre opened, and you were part of that? Is that right?
Francois: Yeah. You know, it’s crazy. I didn’t even know about that when I got there. Literally, two years later it opened up. Fox Theatre is pretty much one of the best small venues in the country. It’s won many awards. So, when it opened it was just kind of at the heyday of hip-hop too.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: So, the most incredible shows you have ever … you can ever imagine of artist played at the Fox Theatre. Some of them all at one stays. Like, one time it was just … This is how far it goes back, too. Outkast, Fugees, and The Roots on the same stage, at the Fox Theatre. The Fox Theatre only holds 650 people.
Francois: So just imagine that. When those albums came out and you were standing there like 10 feet away and seeing Lauryn Hill, and Outkast, and The Roots just playing in front of you on one show. That’s crazy, right.
WIGNZ: That’s amazing. You were there at the dawn of modern hip-hop, if you will. Because there was hip-hop before that, but you were there when all these legends were coming to pass. So, what was your role? I mean, so you were there at the Fox, you were part of that team, you saw all those. But what did you do to get there?
Francois: So, basically what I did was I helped bring the acts to Colorado. One of the things I’ve always had my own production company, which is called 3Deep Productions. So we used to do events, and we used to, back in the day especially, hip-hop was kind of frowned upon. It was kind of looked a little bit … Made people nervous when you do it.
WIGNZ: Yeah, yeah.
Francois: But our whole premise was to make it safe and have a good time. So, we always did that in CU Boulder. Then, I kind of got into the concert bug. So I started working with the Fox Theatre and assisting them to bring in these acts and promote them.
WIGNZ: You knew what you were doing? Or are you kind of figuring it out as you go? You faking the hustle, you just kind of … How did you know that?
Francois: Yeah. I mean, I think initially when you get into anything you kind of fake it till you make it.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: But, it’s passion. I love concerts, I love seeing people enjoy themselves. I like putting two to two together and sitting there and be like, “Wow, this show was incredible.” So, it was really like I taught myself a little bit as well. I taught myself what concert promotion was as well as other parts of the music business. I was really lucky to have a really good mentor at that time. His name was Don Strasburg, I always got to give him props. He’s actually still in the music business today, he’s actually the President of AEG Rocky Mountains.
Francois: So, but he kind of took me under his wing and kind of let me do what I needed to do and showed me how to do it, and I’m here today still doing it.
WIGNZ: So, then after Boulder you kind of looked at Denver and were like, “I want to get down to the Denver scene.” You left Boulder after 12 years, how long were you in Boulder?
Francois: Geeze, I was in Boulder about eight years.
WIGNZ: Okay.
Francois: Seven, eight years. No, you know, we were thinking about my career as I kind of, not necessarily fallen into things. But, things happen to connect the dots. You know, it’s like you meet somebody who meets somebody. So, really I got out of college, we were staying in Boulder I was working at a friend of mines record shop at that point. Helping them bring in hip-hop CDs and wax at that time. A friend of mine who worked at the Boulder Theatre had brought a gentlemen in and we introduced ourselves. I mean, it wasn’t really anything either. It was just really like, “Hey, nice to meet you.” He’s like, “Yeah, this is the VP of Universal Concerts,” at that time. We kind of hit it off, whatever. Probably six months after that, this is how bad I’m about to date myself, right.
Francois: So, my pager starts going off. It’s-
WIGNZ: Was it the one where you could page back, or was it just the-
Francois: No, this is the OG pager, okay.
WIGNZ: The two buttons, like the …
Francois: You get your number and then you decide if I call them back or what am I going to do. So it was kind of … I kept getting this number, I had just gotten off the plane. So I was like, “Okay, let me see who it was.” Because I had been calling them about something else and they never answered my call. So, called them back and they were like, “Hey, we have a assistant position, would you like to come and work here?” I was just like, “Well, let’s see I’m pretty broke after getting out of college.”
WIGNZ: What are my options here? What do I got.
Francois: Yeah, I’m not really doing too much. And I’ll be having my first corporate job. So, literally for the first year I pretty much traveled from Boulder to South Denver, DTC, we were at that time it was Universal Concerts, and back every day. That was crazy. Then I finally moved to Denver. So, that’s kind of how I made my way to Denver officially.
WIGNZ: Then, so you get in that scene and then when you’re in Denver are you doing the same thing that you’re doing in Boulder?
Francois: Well, I had to kind of reinvent myself because in Boulder we were doing mostly 18 and up events.
WIGNZ: Okay.
Francois: So, when I got down to Denver I had to kind of transfer into 21 and up. At that time I was 21. So, yeah, I just kind of got into the scene. I knew a lot of people from Denver that used to go to Boulder. Because at that time everybody went to Boulder. Everybody, all the big cool parties were in Boulder, not necessarily Denver. So, I kind of just weaved myself into the whole thing again and I’m there. You know before I forget. Let’s do a toast to-
WIGNZ: Yeah, cheers man.
Francois: Before I drink this.
WIGNZ: Thank you, man. Thank you. Cheers to you. Yolo.
Francois: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
WIGNZ: No, it’s awesome because … So, full circle. We see each other probably two or three weeks ago.
Francois: Yeah.
WIGNZ: You’re coming through the Flo Studio, the radio station over there. I’m like, “Oh, man. Haven’t seen you in forever.”
Francois: I know.
WIGNZ: Then I’m just like, because, dude, I’m going to be honest a hustler’s a hustler. You know, so I go, “Hey, you know what,” I was like, “This is the nightlife mogul.” I was like, “Know about Yolo Rum?” You’re all, “Dude, I’m an investor.” I was like, “Oh, shit.”
Francois: Yeah man.
WIGNZ: I was like, oh.
Francois: I got the information and I saw it, I read up on it. I knew it was already on the up and up and stuff. I was just like, I love this opportunity. I was like, I would love to invest in it. So, you know, after listening to Larry and Kathie and seeing what you were doing, I looked up the information next thing I know I’m investing into it.
WIGNZ: Yeah. You’re part of the brand, man.
Francois: Yeah, man.
WIGNZ: Well, it’s awesome to have you part of it because-
Francois: No, I appreciate it.
WIGNZ: I think that a hustler respects the hustle. So, reading about you, knowing about you, knowing your story it’s like, man you are the ultimate Denver nightlife hustle.
Francois: Well, thank you.
WIGNZ: So I read a magazine article, or not magazine article but the 303 Magazine online. So, you kind of recorded a saying, let me find it. You said, “I just don’t think Denver has always been … I think Denver’s always been its own worst enemy when it comes to the nightlife.” I think to a great … Do you go deeper into that and then you think it’s still the same?
Francois: Well, I think sometimes the media looks at the nightlife as a curse or a bad thing and they definitely over play certain situations. I think it’s two parts, one people have a self-responsibility when they go to the clubs. I think it’s kind of a lost art that when you go out at night and you have a cocktail you want to go home safe.
WIGNZ: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Francois: Like, you’re out there to meet people, have a good time, you know. I think people just forget that. Be kind to one another.
WIGNZ: You only live once. You only live once.
Francois: Yeah. You know, but I think people forget that and they mess it up. Also, I think Denver doesn’t understand what they have. Denver has been a growing city for a long time.
Francois: Denver is a mile high up in the air. So whether you’re visiting Denver, or even you live here, anything you drink is going to hit you three times as hard.
WIGNZ: Yes it is.
Francois: So, they-
WIGNZ: Speaking of which, why don’t we have a drink.
Francois: I’m with that.
WIGNZ: But you’re right.
Francois: But, I don’t think they’ve ever adjusted to the nightlife here in terms of how do we do it? Closing clubs at 3:00 in the morning to me is just … I’ve seen it first hand that pushing all these people out at the same time-
WIGNZ: Is asking for bad things.
Francois: It’s asking for trouble. The crazy thing is, it’s proven. It’s repeated over, and over, and over again. Let people kind of … When you get tired, let them go when they need to go. But, making sure it’s a hard close by 2:00 they’re adults.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: You know?
WIGNZ: It’s like when you … “Be home by 2:00 son.”
Francois: It’s good, and as anybody can sit here today and say, “Drinking and driving’s bad. I know my limits.” We are human.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: Unfortunately we are human and we make tons of mistakes. That’s what happens at the end of the night. People make terrible mistakes, whether you go home with the wrong person, you’re drinking and driving. I hope nobody does that, that’s the worst thing you can do.
Francois: Or, punching somebody in the face.
WIGNZ: Thank God for Uber now. You know what I mean? Like, Uber and Lyft but I don’t think enough people are even using that right now.
Francois: Here’s the goal, and I don’t want to get too deep in this, but that’s what I’m saying by the city. Because if you’re drunk and you leave your car at the meter you’re getting a $25 to a $50, maybe even a $75 ticket.
WIGNZ: On top of that bar tab from last night.
Francois: On top of the bar tab. So, that’s what I think prevents people from being safe at the end of the day, is you’re just like, “Bro, yes I know I need to go get a Uber. But, do I want to spend … ” That’s the way people think when they’re drunk. Like, “I’m not going to spend more money.”
WIGNZ: Yeah, yeah.
Francois: So, it’s a bad combination. So, yes, I think Denver nightlife is somewhat its own worst enemy.
WIGNZ: I mean, you’ve seen it enough, you’ve been in it long enough to see it. But on the flip side of that you’ve also been able to see Denver grow. I mean, if you go down Market Street or any of those streets it’s completely different than probably even five years ago, 10 years ago.
Francois: It’s completely different now. I mean, I think that the mindset of the clubs have changed too. I think there’s a really good positive energy out there with a lot of the clubs. There’s a lot of new clubs coming up. So I think, yeah, I mean the club scene is just changed last week. One of the clubs closed. So now there’s a big void in one of the clubs that closed, and one of the clubs going to pick it up, and there might be another club coming here from what I heard, you know. There’s all kinds of interesting-
WIGNZ: You doing some nightlife mogul? You getting into-
Francois: Yeah. You know, to be honest I’ve kind of taken a step back from the night clubs a little bit because I’ve been doing it so long.
WIGNZ: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Francois: My partner, Kevin, and (DJ) Squizzy (Taylor), and Cook have kind of taken that and ran with it. They’re doing amazing job with that. But, I’m kind of really into artist management and the concerts. As well as-
WIGNZ: And that’s how you guys started, I mean-
Francois: Yeah.
WIGNZ: You kind of went … You kind of are going back to where it all began.
Francois: Yeah, but on a much more … On a larger scale, and more responsibilities.
WIGNZ: Well, you understand the game.
Francois: Yeah.
WIGNZ: You understand the business a lot more.
Francois: Absolutely.
WIGNZ: So, let’s go into that. That’s 3 Deep then, right. 3 Deep-
Francois: 3 Deep Productions, yeah.
WIGNZ: 3 Deep Productions. So let’s talk about that a little bit. What does that mean for you if you’re in that artist game? I mean, we talked about Trev Rich. Let’s go into that, and then talk on that.
Francois: Well, you know, I manage Trev Rich. It’s been one of the best experience of my life just because there’s … The music business, especially in the artist realm, there’s twists and turns to everything. So, it’s been really interesting to kind of see where it goes next, you know. Trev is probably one of the best, he’s one of the smartest people I know in the music industry as well as the smartest on what he … How he sees his vision going forward.
WIGNZ: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Francois: You know, he was signed to Cash Money for awhile. He’s done numerous shows, he sold out many of the venues here in Denver. He was just featured on the Into the Spider-Verse Movie.
WIGNZ: All right, I was reading about that. That was almost unexpected, right? Or how did that come to be?
Francois: That was really … I don’t know if you can call everything luck, but I would say it was luck. It was literally a friend of a friend introduced Trev. Trev went out to LA to really focus on some publishing writing things.
WIGNZ: Okay.
Francois: He had lost his wallet, and didn’t have any means out there. So he was literally about to go jump on the plane to come back home. Because, that’s frustrating, being in LA, you don’t have a wallet, you don’t have a-
WIGNZ: Yeah, you got nothing.
Francois: You got a phone.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: Somebody called him said, “Trev, come to the studio. We want you to write for something.” So, he went into a writing session just as a writer to write the hook for a potential song at this point.
WIGNZ: Not knowing anything, like about Spider-Verse or any of that stuff.
Francois: Nope, nope. Nothing. You know, basically how you do the publishing as a writer is you write it, but you also somewhat perform it.
WIGNZ: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Francois: So he performed the hook, came back to Denver a week or two later. Kept getting calls from our friend in LA like, “Hey, I think this is going to do something.” Then they called him and said, “Hey, they want to keep your hook. They want to use your hook for the song on the Spider-Man movie. Like, the major motion picture movie.”
WIGNZ: Wow. Then you didn’t know how big that was going to be, because-
Francois: No, no. He just says a writer. So basically, somebody’s going to perform your song.
WIGNZ: Okay.
Francois: Do you understand what I’m saying?
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: So, they came back they were like, “We couldn’t find anybody that did it as well as you did it.”
Francois: “So, we want to keep you on the hook.” As you know, a record is all about the hooks.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: So, now he got a credit as a writer, and as an artist.
Francois: That’s why if you look in the credit it’s called, it’s Trevor Rich versus Trev Rich. Because he was only supposed to be a writer on it. Because he goes by his stage-
WIGNZ: They can’t give you a check for both, you know.
Francois: Well, no. They’ll give you a check for both. But what I’m saying, but his stage name is Trev Rich.
WIGNZ: Okay.
Francois: But his real name is Trevor Rich, and that’s what his publishing under. So, when you see in the movie and it comes down, it’s saying … No, it just says Trevor Rich.
Francois: Which is kind of funny to us because it’s just like-
WIGNZ: That’s awesome.
Francois: It’s not a mistake.
WIGNZ: It’s official.
Francois: It’s official, yeah.
WIGNZ: It’s official.
Francois: But it’s kind of a … It wasn’t meant to happen like that.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: Which is actually-
WIGNZ: The Spider-Verse was meant to be. That’s kind of exactly-
Francois: Have you seen the movie?
WIGNZ: I have not seen it, but I know that it blew up and it’s-
Francois: It’s amazing.
WIGNZ: Yeah. The kids are loving that. It’s like the animations supposed to be just off the chart in that.
Francois: I mean, the soundtrack is crazy. If you see it in 3D, it’s shot in some weird new comic looking thing. So it’s amazing. It’s amazing. So, yeah. It won a Golden Globe. And I’m pretty sure somewhere it’s going to be nominated for some kind of Oscar.
WIGNZ: That’s amazing. So what happens now? After all that where do you, and where’s Trevor Rich, like what’s the plan?
Francois: As we’re speaking right now Trev is in Atlanta writing … There’s a record label called Dreamville, which is the artist J Cole’s record label.
WIGNZ: Okay.
Francois: So, what they do … They’ve done two, so this is number three. It’s called Revenge III. Literally what they do is they take the industries best producers, writers, and artists and they go into a studio for six days and they just make crazy records. Like, I mean, it’s like you take all the artists from the Grammy’s and put them in the studio, that’s what it is right now. They asked him to come in there as an artist and a writer and just work with them.
WIGNZ: That’s amazing.
Francois: So, like-
WIGNZ: So you don’t know what he’s going to come out with.
Francois: He doesn’t know what he’s going to come out with.
WIGNZ: Yeah, he doesn’t know what he’s going to come out with.
Francois: But, the thing about it is, is in terms of networking and just being in that scene is crazy. It’s like, I don’t know it’d be like in the room … You love basketball, and then there’s Shaq, and Michael, and Koby-
WIGNZ: Then you’re playing ball with them. You’re playing ball with them, you’re not even just sitting out, their passing you the ball expecting you to shoot. Like, “Yo, you got to make that shot.” You’re like-
Francois: That’s exactly what it’s like. That’s exactly what it’s like. So, yeah, that’s what he’s doing. So, I think 2019 for Trev is going to be really big. I think there’s a good energy in the air. He just works hard. Man, he just really busts his ass and I think there’s a lot of stuff coming down-
WIGNZ: Well, so do you. You bust your butt too, man.
Francois: Yeah. Yeah, thanks. Me too.
WIGNZ: It’s a team effort. You know what the best part is, I mean you’ve been hanging out but you’re just nice. You know what I mean?
Francois: Thanks man.
WIGNZ: But, to be courteous to people because … Dude, come on let’s face it you do have a name in the Mile High City.
Francois: Appreciate that.
WIGNZ: You are known. It’s like a lot of people get to a certain position where they almost have an ego about them. We know of touched upon that. It’s like, only good vibes happen to good people. So, you got to keep that energy going. I don’t think if you had a bad attitude you’d be lasting as long as you have.
Francois: I would agree, but you know I think just my philosophy is I don’t take life too seriously. Does that make sense?
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: Like, I just kind of go with the flow and I always try to treat people like I want to be treated. I remember, over the years if met some really influential people. You know, the common theme amongst all those people is treat people how you want to be treated, you know. Treat the janitor the same way you treat a CEO type thing. Funny thing, too, is a lot of my friends from CU went on to be music moguls, basically.
Francois: Like, you know I look back and you could say, “I could have treated him like trash.”
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: You know-
WIGNZ: You never know.
Francois: It’s not even like you using people, but it’s just like you never know.
WIGNZ: You never know.
Francois: Some of these friends from college are lifelong friends that are true friends but they just happen to be crazy moguls in the industry, you know, so.
WIGNZ: So do you guys call each other for … Does it go that deep for advice?
Francois: Yeah.
WIGNZ: Like, where are you at in terms of your career and trying to manage these shows, and manage these artists that … Where do you see yourself now and where do you want to go?
Francois: I would say, you know that’s another interesting question. I don’t, I guess in a sense you’re supposed to have a plan. But, for myself I always try to do things that people said they wanted to accomplish.
WIGNZ: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Francois: You know? For example, Trev getting the record label signed. Or, Trev doing a movie. Like, I’m not doing that but that’s part of him. That’s part of our crew.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: I want to see what I can do for Trev next. Like, I want to say, “Trev let’s go win a Grammy.”
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: Okay, so how we going to win a Grammy?
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: You know? Like, let’s figure this out.
WIGNZ: Like being in Spider-Verse.
Francois: Yeah. Yeah, like let’s figure this out. You know, my professional career I definitely want to keep working in the concert business and have a long career on it. But, I don’t know. I’m kind of at that point where you’re just like, “I kind of know what I want to do-“
WIGNZ: Let the wind take the sail.
Francois: Yeah, I kind of like that approach. As long as everything’s paid, everybody in my family’s happy everything’s good. I’m not, I don’t complain too much.
WIGNZ: Yeah, no that’s good. So, do you get calls from a lot of artists where you maybe don’t want to take them on but you’re still willing to give them advice?
Francois: Oh, I’ll give anybody advice. I’ll give anybody advice, they just may not like it because I’m a very honest person. Like, I’m a very, you know, “This is what you need to do in my opinion if you want to succeed.” You can take the advice or you don’t, you know. It’s, again, like being in the same room with LeBron and Koby, all those guys. “Hey, man, you need to change your shot like this.”
Francois: You have a choice.
WIGNZ: Yep. You listen to them or you don’t. You grow and you go with the punches. I think that’s … We’re excited to have you part of the Yolo Rum team because that’s our team here. Good vibes, good energy. It was cool to have you come see the office.
Francois: I’m impressed. I am really impressed. Like, I didn’t know where I was coming today. I was pulling up, and I was like, “Wait a second. They have a real office going on.”
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: I was like, okay. Okay. I like this.
WIGNZ: And if you like taking people to that next level, well then you’re going to be able to help us and be part of that. So that’s-
Francois: I would definitely. You know, like I said, I really like the product. I really like the whole story behind it. I like that … I like the way it tastes. That’s the most important thing.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: You know? It’s like, you got to like the product.
WIGNZ: You have to. Especially when it’s liquor because otherwise you’re just going to be like, oh. You make that face after you drink it. You don’t make that with this.
Francois: But, they got good people surround it. You’re a part of this, Larry and Kathie. The staff I met today. Like, this is cool, man. This is good. I see nothing but positive vibes.
WIGNZ: Well, it’s exciting to have you. We appreciate you coming on the podcast.
Francois: Yeah man.
WIGNZ: I mean, I think we got to keep this going and seeing where we can help each other.
Francois: Absolutely.
WIGNZ: Because it’s crazy that after 11 years we finally got to sit down and it’s nice to have this conversation and see, “Oh, man, that’s the man behind the name.” Because, I will say this, that the name is synonymous in the radio industry at least. So, I mean it’s funny because it’s like I know you started in radio, or you were a part of it back in the day. But, even now you’re not. So, you haven’t necessarily been in it for a while. But your name’s still brought up and everyone-
Francois: That’s crazy.
WIGNZ: Everyone knows you, and even Phil the CEO of Yolo Rum was like, “Oh, Francois.” He unfortunately had to be in the Springs today but he wanted to meet you. It’s not even a celebrity-ism thing, I think it’s just more of a respect. I mean-
Francois: Yeah. Man, I think there’s always room to make a deal, make some money. Do something creative and cool. Like I said, I’m really excited about this.
WIGNZ: Yeah.
Francois: I’m really excited about this.
WIGNZ: Well, let’s do it together man.
Francois: Yeah, man.
WIGNZ: Anything you need we got you bro.
Francois: I appreciate it man.
WIGNZ: No, thanks so much. We look forward to more. If you want to see everything that he’s about, you want to see more on Trev Rich all you got to do is go to 3 Deep Productions, Francois hanging out with us. Yolo Rum, we’re going to have some drinks right now. Thank you for watching, thank you for listening. Yolo Rum podcast, and thank you Francois for coming on today, man.
Francois: Thank you.

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Yolo Rum Podcast with Chef David

Chef David Bondarchuck is a nationally known Chef from Denver, Colorado. Chef David has provided decorating services for several sitting Presidents, has his own cooking book ‘From Scratch, hosts his own cooking show, has earned notoriety on The Martha Stewart Show, HGTV and Food Network’. In addition to all of that, Chef David is also an investor of the delicious, gluten free, sugar free and award winning Yolo Rum.

Chef David appearance on Martha Stewart.

Bananas Foster Recipe with Yolo Rum Gold.

Bananas Foster Recipe-as featured in the new Cookbook from Chef David Bondarchuck of Scratch Catering Services titled “From Scratch”

What you Need

3 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter

1/3 cup of brown sugar

3 whole bananas slice in half long ways

1oz of YOLO Rum Gold

What to Do

Melt the 3 Tablespoons of Butter in a frying pan, the brown sugar to the butter, then quickly add the sliced whole bananas halves to the sugar/butter mixture, cut side down first, allow the bananas to cook until caramelized, before attempting to turn them. Carefully turn the banana’s to caramelize the opposite side. 

Lastly, add 1oz of YOLO rum Gold, to the pan and ignite the alcohol using a extended lighter, once the flame dissipates remove pan from heat. And serve the Banana’s foster in bowls and or with ice cream. Enjoy!

Get the New “From Scratch” Cookbook out now exclusively at Amazon!

Order Chef David’s on Amazon

The first cookbook from David Bondarchuck, David’s love for cooking, baking, decorating, entertaining, crafting, and design has made him Denver’s premiere “From Scratch” caterer and lifestyle expert.

Contact Chef David for Caterting Services.

David Bondarchuck

Scratch Catering Services


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Speaker 1: This, is the Yolo Rum pod cast.

Speaker 1: I hear this is where the party’s at.

WIGNZ: Ah, that’s right. So you can sit down, and pour yourself a tall glass of shut up and don’t speak for the next hour.

Speaker 1: With Wiggins.

WIGNZ: Yolo Rum post cast. Producer Wiggins here, and before we get into the guest. I have to congratulate the Yolo Rum team and all of the investors. Because, Yolo Rum in 30 day we have gains over 200 new accounts and more than 300 cases have been placed throughout Colorado. That is because of you investors, that’s because everyone listening to this pod cast. You bought some, to told everyone about Yolo Rum, and you got some. That’s the message. And, if you need Yolo Rum near you email

WIGNZ: But, today, I’m excited because I’ve talk with David before, but Larry and Kathie, they are really good friend with him.

WIGNZ: Chef David Bondarchuck. Oh my god man where do I start? White house holiday decorator, featured on Martha Stewart, HGTV Food Network’s holiday baking championship. You have your own show now, you have your own cooking book out, my god man, when do you breathe? But, welcome to the show Chef David.

Chef David: Hey! What’s up, what’s up?

WIGNZ: Dude where do we start? I mean-

Chef David: I think the last time we left off I basically just kinda told my personal story, of how I went from homeless to success, just through my love of cooking.

WIGNZ: Yeah. Well-

Chef David: And so-

WIGNZ: How did that start? Cause, Kathie said that earlier and I was like, “Wait, wait, wait. You can’t yadda, yadda, yadda that.” There’s something that happened there. What is that story? Remind everyone that might not know.

Chef David: So, when I was 15, I found myself homeless. I was living on basically the streets, but staying in a youth homeless shelter over Colfax and Sims, The Gemini House. They gave me bus tokens every day. Instead of hanging out in the day with the other people from the shelter. I used my bus tokens and road the Colfax bus down to Broadway. There at the Denver Public library, I immersed myself in books. At that point I had dropped out of school, and I really didn’t have a purpose. I found myself reading books, and I ultimately was inspired my Martha Stewart and-

WIGNZ: Just any book or did you have an objective when you were going in there. Like Martha Stewart, how did you narrow it down to her? You know what I mean?

Chef David: Well I used to bake when I was growing up with my grandma. So, I just kind of went to some baking books. To me it was … therapeutic and I could kind of escape my problems, just by kind of reminiscing of what I did with my grandma in the kitchen.

Chef David: One day, I returned back to the shelter and they had this television on. There was this woman and she was decorating Christmas trees at the White House, and making gingerbread mansions and decorating wreaths. In that moment I realized if I wanted to be somebody, if I wanted to go somewhere, I had to do it myself. Just like this woman on TV. At that point I didn’t even know she was Martha Stewart, but I ultimately found out that’s who it was.

Chef David: Then I stared studying her, cause I wanted to have a beautiful life and not be this homeless guy, and all of these things.

WIGNZ: Were her books self help books? Or were they-

Chef David: I read them as self help books. I read them like text books. Like, okay if you want something beautiful, maybe you can’t afford it but maybe you can make it. Which honestly, to be perfectly honest with you, it sometimes cost more to make it that it did to buy it.

WIGNZ: Yeah.

Chef David: Let’s call a spade, a spade here. But, nontheless I was inspired by Martha and-

WIGNZ: So, it’s all a racket David? Is that what you’re saying?

Chef David: Well no, I mean. Sometimes people come to me and they’re like … Oh this is prefect for this. You do know what Pinterest is to caterers? It’s Web MD to like doctors.

Chef David: So, people come to me and they’re like, “Oh. I want to have this event, this is my Pinterest board.”

Chef David: I’m like, “Okay, I’m not Merlin, and your budget is not infinite.” You know? Anyhow, that’s just kinda how that goes.

Chef David: Soon after I got back into school and all this, whatever. Scratch was born, because people started ordering my food. They started ordering my food from me. Not because I was a business, but because I would cook for myself and bake for myself, but then I couldn’t eat it.

Chef David: I read this meme one time on Facebook and it said, “I don’t often cooks spaghetti, but when I do I cook enough for a small village.” And, that’s so true. I would make these meals and I didn’t want to eat them for a week, so I gave them away. And, then people started ordering my food. They’re like, “Hey can you cook that stuff you made that one time?” Or, “Can you make your cupcakes?” Or whatever. So I’m like, “Yeah, sure.”

WIGNZ: But, wait, wait, wait. We yadda, yadda’d a whole way to the Scratch Catering, because you were reading the books and the books … What happened after you read the books?

Chef David: I started testing the recipes and then I couldn’t eat the whole thing, so I started giving it away. Then people started ordering from me. It was literally all an accident.

WIGNZ: That’s amazing.

Chef David: None of this was planned. I didn’t say, “I want to be a caterer when I grow up.”

Chef David: Actually in high school I wanted to be the gay Britney Spears. I wanted to be Adam Lambert before was ever Adam Lambert.

WIGNZ: So were you jealous of Adam Lambert?

Chef David: No. I’m more attractive than Adam Lambert.

WIGNZ: This is true, this is true, and you probably cook better than him too.

Chef David: I hope so! I hope so.

WIGNZ: Wait, so. You read these books, and then you just said, “Okay, I’m making too much food, I’m just gonna give it out.” Then you just started what? Hey, check this out? Who did you give it out to?

Chef David: Neighbors, people at church, people at work, people at school, my friends, my family, I just started giving them this stuff. When I made sauce, or I made whatever, I would just jar it up and give it to people.

WIGNZ: Yeah. Oh my god you were the best friend to have.

Chef David: It was fun, right.

WIGNZ: Did you realize, “Hey, I could sell this.”

Chef David: Yeah, so people started ordering form me like, “Hey my cousins getting married. Can you make your cupcakes?” Or, “I’m going to a friends house, can I bring a pie?” Or, “Hey, I have some important people coming to dinner. Can you just some cook your chicken?”

Chef David: It kind of became my side hustle, and it paid my way through community college, and bought my school books. I was like, “Hey I could probably do this.”

WIGNZ: So did you go to community college for cooking too?

Chef David: No. I actually went to CCD, Community College of Denver. I studied journalism. I wanted to be on TV, That was my whole thing.

WIGNZ: Wow. So you were almost predestined to be a TV chef.

Chef David: Well, I hope so. I never went to Le Cordon Blue. I never went to Johnson Wales, I’m not technically a classically trained chef. I’ve read enough book and I’ve done enough recipes and lord knows I’ve been in business, now in Denver, this is my tenth year.

WIGNZ: Congrats.

Chef David: I think, I know how to cook now.

WIGNZ: Yeah. Wow. So, did you have to look into what people were charging? How did you know how that business even worked?

WIGNZ: So you knew, okay I’m gonna read these books, they’re gonna help me learn how to cook. I’ve mastered cooking, now I’m gonna start this business, but no clue probably of any business. Right?

Chef David: No. When I originally started I was just like, “Well I paid like 80 bucks for the ingredients.” And, then they would just pay me back. I just did it cause it was fun and I had nothing else to do.

WIGNZ: Breaking even, yeah.

Chef David: Then once you start getting in the thick of it, and you’re like, “I’m actually catering and I’m working my butt off here, I should be getting paid for this.” Then you start adjusting your price that way. Do I even know if I’m at the right price point now? I don’t know, but I make a living, so it’s great.

WIGNZ: Yeah. That’s amazing. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. How did you transition from … So every one out there how do they contact Scratch Catering? If they want to get in contact, how do they do that?

Chef David: Oh, they can go to, they can also follow @scratchcatering on Twitter, Instagram and my Facebook page David Bondarchuck.

WIGNZ: So everyone’s coming to you now, you know you got a business here. How the heck did that transition to going to the White House?

Chef David: I said to myself, when I became a caterer, I needed some street cred or some credibility. You know what I’m saying.

WIGNZ: So you’re going to the top. You’re all, “I need some credibility.”

Chef David: Exactly! Why not?

Chef David: I stared sending letters and pictures of my events and my table scapes and things like that, from what I had been working on to the White House. For the longest time I never heard anything.

WIGNZ: Did you know even where to send it? Who do you send that to?

Chef David: I just send it to 1600 Pennsylvania. Just straight up the White House. Just hey.

WIGNZ: I Googled that address, there’s the address.

Chef David: Yeah.

WIGNZ: Who’d you write attention to? Who was the name? Just White House?

Chef David: First Lady.

WIGNZ: First Lady, wow.

Chef David: Yeah. I started with Barbara Bush and then I started sending stuff to Michelle Obama. Then, it was August of 2011, I received a letter from the White House. Before I could even open it, I was thinking, either they’re gonna say yes or they’re gonna say, please stop sending us this crap.

WIGNZ: Cease and desist. Secret service freaking out.

Chef David: Right!

Chef David: It was actually an invitation to come … from Michelle Obama.


Chef David: I have it framed at my house.

WIGNZ: Well of course. Why wouldn’t you?

Chef David: Right.

WIGNZ: That’s amazing.

Chef David: That was like the moment. I was like, “breakthrough, I finally get to go.”

Chef David: When I finally got there, I kinda felt like, Oh my gosh. Am I good enough for this? You know how you-

WIGNZ: You get nervous. Yeah.

Chef David: Self doubt. But, then they made me lead decorator in the Red Room and then I returned to do some in the Green Room that first year. I actually went twice.

WIGNZ: Wow. Wait so- We yadda yadda’d that. They pay for the flight, for you to fly out there and all that stuff? All that was taken care of?

Chef David: No, all of that was out of my own pocket.

WIGNZ: Okay. They just say, “Hey come out here we want you to decorate.” Did they say, bring the decorations? Here’s a budget for decorations? What happened there?

Chef David: The First Lady usually plans the White House decorations, and the theme in March, of that year. All of the buying and that happens over the summer. Then, they pull ornaments that have been used in the White House previously.

Chef David: Dating all the way back to, I think the first, First Lady that actually decorated the White House wan Jacquelyn Kennedy, she kind of started this whole tradition.

Chef David: They pull all these ornaments that they’ve used and that you just reuse, reuse, reuse. A lot of the ornaments are actually made all around the world at different military bases, by families and children. Then, they’re shipped to the White House, and then we do the blue tree or-

WIGNZ: You’re planning this in March though. In March, this comes about and then you’re told this all the decorations that you have to play with, plan it out. They you come in there with a strategy that Michelle gave you, that she was like, “Hey, this is what we’re looking for.” Or did you just go in there and wing it?

Chef David: Kind of a little bit of both.

WIGNZ: Okay.

Chef David: I found out in August. So they’d already planned the theme for that year. When I get to D.C. in November, then I’m told what the theme is finally, then we’re told what room we’re gonna be in, and then start pulling at the Presidential Warehouse. Which is actually in Virginia, not even in D.C.

Chef David: We make our pulls and we kind of put it together the two days before we go in. Then for three days we’re actually in the house decorating.

WIGNZ: Did you go to where they pulled it?

Chef David: Yeah.

WIGNZ: So, it’s this massive warehouse with just-

Chef David: Oh it’s a huge warehouse. It’s kind of like Home Depot meets Hobby Lobby.

WIGNZ: Okay.

Chef David: It’s rows and rows, this massive, massive warehouse, and everything that’s ever been in the White House, or that’s made for the White House is still in this-

Chef David: Or that’s made for the White House that’s still in this warehouse?


Chef David: Chandeliers that they pull, everything.

WIGNZ: So other than being at a Brittany Spears concert, that was the best thing to be at for you? Wasn’t it?

Chef David: I wanted to go through more boxes but security said no. I was like peeking in totes.

WIGNZ: Oh my god dude! Alright, so you grab the boxes, you’re heading back to the White House then? Right? You got all the everything pulled, and now what? What do you do in that room?

Chef David: So now you get it together and you put it together, they assigned me six different volunteers for the first year in the red room, and we all worked together to bring the vision together so in the red room I didn’t want to do red on red, so I went with accents in the room, golds, browns, those different thing, and that’s how I decorated the trees.

WIGNZ: Wow, and then so they loved it so much they said come back next year?

Chef David: They did, so an interesting thing that happened was I was done with the red room and that was it. They called me back to the White House to do the green room. Michelle Obama and Laura Dowling, Laura Dowling was the florist for the White House. They didn’t get along-

WIGNZ: Oh wow!

Chef David: They didn’t get along at all.

WIGNZ: So you could sense it? Like just the tension there or was there like?

Chef David: I don’t know, but they just did not get along. So in the green room, what they typically do is like recycle, renew, reuse. And so what had happened was, Laura had made these huge boxwood trees out of recycled pop cans, and so when the First Lady and her team came through, they were like, you know … The First Lady has this whole like Get Fit, Eat Right, we have the garden outside at the White House-

WIGNZ: Yeah, a bunch of soda cans up there…

Chef David: Right, and they’re like, how is this gonna look when they’re like, oh we made these trees out of Coke cans.

WIGNZ: All the left over Coke cans that we told you not to drink. Hahah

Chef David: So they pulled all of this stuff out of the green room, and they’re like Bumberchuck, we need you. SO at that time, there was no time to go back to the Presidential warehouse. 

WIGNZ: Was it like an ER moment.

Chef David: It was crazy! I mean, I’m down at the Doubletree I’m done waiting, cause the volunteers get to go to a dinner that Wednesday after the whole decorating and I’m like done. So it’s the last day of the decorating effort, the next day the press is coming, they’re like Bumberchcuk we need you. So I’m like-

WIGNZ: You literally got a call-

Chef David: From the White House-

Chef David: Yes!

WIGNZ: That said Bumberchuck, we need you! That’s like an action movie!

Chef David: It was wild, so I went, and I went from room, to room, to room, and not every decorator and not every volunteer used everything that was pulled, so I was like Cinderella’s mice gathering all the junk.

WIGNZ: Hahahahha

Chef David: From different rooms in the White House, I like stuck ’em all in whatever. I was still glittering sticks when they were down, like the press-

WIGNZ: Taking pictures.

Chef David: The…

WIGNZ: You’re sweating, you’re like, we’re about to lose him Doctor, we’re about to lose him!

Chef David: It was crazy! The press was in the Diplomat room, and I’m still glittering, I got in trouble with the Curator at the White House because I put a vile of Martha Stewart glitter in the vintage fireplace, and you’re not supposed to do that.


Chef David: But like I had to hide it from somewhere, I’m like they’re coming by, I was still glittering and doing whatever, it was like Blairwitch meets Martha Stewart, cause I was like glittering twigs that people had literally cut off from decorating other trees.

WIGNZ: Beads of sweat running down your forehead.

Chef David: So the press gets to the room and they say, who are you, what brought you to the White House? At that point, I thought they were going to ask me how I decorated and all this whatever. They just wanted to know me, so I just told them the truth, when I was 15 I was homeless and I always wanted to come to the White House, I saw Martha Stewart here, so now here I am, Martha Stewart she better watch out.

Chef David: And it was like a challenge to Martha Stewart, it wasn’t like awe I love her.

Chef David: So I went back to Denver, they air the story on all the news media outlets, that I was homeless and I was inspired by Martha, this that or whatever. SO then I come back to Denver and my phone rings, and it’s the White House, again. And I’m like what the fuck do they want? Did I mess up something? Did I break an antique? They just wanted my permission to pass on my contact information

WIGNZ: To Martha Stewart.

Chef David: I was like oh great.


Chef David: That was truly a moment.

WIGNZ: Yeah, cause you’re national news at that point. You’re trending and you just called out- International news for god’s sake.

Chef David: Yeah, I was interviewed like via satellite for a show in Canada, and a show in Britain because of this story.

WIGNZ: That’s amazing. So then was Martha mad? What happens next? So Martha Stewarts people call you, or they call the White House, you give the White House permission to give them the contact info, do they call you right away? Do they call you, what happened?

Chef David: So, yeah they called me. Producers called me, assistants called me and they wanted me on the show, but then again, there’s no money in TV, everyone thinks there’s all this money in TV, there’s not much money in TV. So I had to pay my own way to New York City to be on her show. Isn’t that wild?

WIGNZ: Oh my god.

Chef David: And I literally didn’t have any money. And it was like December, it was December 21st so it was like basically Christmas travel time. So can you imagine with a few days notice how much the tickets were?

Chef David: It was crazy.

WIGNZ: Oh my god.

Chef David: So my partner Carl he actually, we maxed out like two credit cards, and he bought my ticket, I’ll never forget that, it was gift ever.

WIGNZ: That’s your ride or die. That’s amazing.

Chef David: And I got to New York City and got to meet Martha, and they surprised me on the show with a message from Michelle Obama. You can see the video by the way at Just type in my name.

WIGNZ: I’m sure it’s on you tube as well.

Chef David: Yes, yes.

WIGNZ: SO we’re gonna post that up on hey thank you for everyone, we’ve revamped the website, so is earlier to find yellowrun all over the state, all over Florida, all over New Jersey. We’re trying to be international like Chef David over here, but we Yellow Run is expanding because of you as well, you have your new cook book out, tell us a little bit about that, cause that looks like the holy grail right there, that’s the bible.

Chef David: Yes. So this cookbook is 550 pages, full color, its available exclusively on Amazon cause I’m like busy, like I don’t have time to box up 30 books tonight and go stand in line at the post office.

WIGNZ: Hahahah.

Chef David: So what happens is this is available on Amazon and when you order it they print it, and they ship it to you. Recipes in this book come from essentially my entire life.

WIGNZ: Its called from scratch.

Chef David: Its called from Scratch, just like the catering company scratch catering services, and actually this book is companion to my own TV show. The very first one. Its called from scratch as well.

WIGNZ: And then that’s what the CW Saturdays right?

Chef David: Yep. Here in Denver it airs if you want to see more of me, if you remember me from the holiday baking championship on food network, call your local CW and request the show from scratch.

WIGNZ: That’s awesome, so okay, you have the book from scratch, which I’m blown away that most people didn’t even use that, that’s so awesome for the title of a recipe book. So then you get the TV show before the book? After the book?

Chef David: So I started filming my show after I left food network from filming that show. And at first I kind of just did a You Tube channel.

WIGNZ: Because at that point everything that happened with Martha Stewart just blew you up right? Is that how you got on all these other shows? Because you went on Martha and then it kinda domino effect and all that?

Chef David: So when I did the Martha Stewart show, I returned to Denver and then everybody wanted to know, who is this guy? He was on Martha, he went to the White House, what’s going on? SO I got a call from Nine News. They did a whole story on me, and basically told my whole story from rags to riches. So then they invited me on weekly to start cooking for the four o’clock new cast. So then, from that, I did that for three years. Every week. And then from there …

WIGNZ: You’re not making any money probably right?

Chef David: No, made no money. SO then I got a call from food network they wanted me to be on this new baking show. I signed a contract with them, went out there, signed and everything. When I came back, they let me know that the contract I had signed didn’t allow me to be on an NBC station, so I was no longer allowed to be on Nine News. SO I said, well what am I supposed to do, I have this weekly cooking gig. They got me on Fox just randomly, and I was thinking to myself, okay, if this is just to promote the show, and I’ve lost my ability to promote myself in Denver, I’m pretty much screwed.

WIGNZ: How stressful.

Chef David: So every time I go and did something, its kind of like Beyonce, I have to slay, like no matter what.

WIGNZ: Put your mind to it.

Chef David: Right. 

Chef David: And I did it, and they loved it, and then the producers from the everyday show started having me on regularly.

WIGNZ: Because that’s when you met Kathy right?

Chef David: Correct.

WIGNZ: And that relationship between you guys started to from. So then you’re on the everyday show cooking for them, you’re back into it, are you working on the book as you’re doing the TV show? Is this an ongoing thing?

Chef David: Yeah, this book really os a product of being on TV for eight years. Family recipes and all my catering recipes. If you want to know how to be a caterer I mean I’m sorry to say but these are all my recipes.

WIGNZ: It’s your blue print

Chef David: This is the model, this is you know, replicate it for instead of eight to ten, we replicate it for 100-1000.

WIGNZ: So you’re moving up, you go to the White House.

WIGNZ: Well first, you’re homeless, then you read books and you get inspired, you email the First Lady, write her name on the box, send it to the White House. You call out Martha Stewart, you make international news, you go on Marta Stewart, you come back out here, you’re on Nine News, you go from Nine News over to Fox on the everyday show-

Chef David: On the food network.

WIGNZ: After food Network. Oh and how can I forget food network for god’s sake. Dude you, has this been an ongoing thing non stop for you. Are you… and now its just the momentum’s picked up, are you tired? Or are you just at this peak where you’re just like, now what’s next? 

Chef David: You’ve gotta keep going, you cannot stop. But for me, it’s always about being in the moment and turning out the best you can do at that time no matter what.

Chef David: That’s how you be successful, you can never stop, you have to just keep believing in yourself. Sometimes you’re gonna fall, sometimes you’re gonna trip, sometimes you’re gonna have a bad day. But you have to keep going, that’s exactly how to do it.

WIGNZ: Yeah, you don’t give up. So now when you do your show, its 30 minutes?

Chef David: Yep

WIGNZ: SO this is your first full length show, other than the food network, but that’s a whole produced piece with multiple people on it. This is you-

Chef David: Right.

WIGNZ: Were you nervous? How did you prepare for that?

Chef David: So in order to get my own show, no one offered me my own show. I just always wanted one. So three years ago I started my own production company, call ed scratch productions. I funded and produced my own show and two others actually that no one’s ever heard of or seen yet before.


Chef David: And this is the first one to make air, and I’m very excited about it.

WIGNZ: SO you’ve been prepping for this moment. You’ve been ready for that.

Chef David: And there’s so much more, I can’t wait for people to jump on the bandwagon cause there’s so, so much more.

WIGNZ: Who keeps track of your social media and all that now?

Chef David: Me.

Chef David: So, so much more.

WIGNZ: Who keeps track of social media and all that now? Oh that’s you? All of that’s you?

Chef David: Me. It’s all me. If you need a job call me, I’m Chef David. Just Google me and you will find my phone number. Call me if you need a job. You might need some help.

WIGNZ: You might also find a video of him calling out Martha Stewart, or pictures with him at the White House.

Chef David: Yeah. Who knows what else you’d find if you Google me. We should probably test that before we run this podcast.

WIGNZ: Oh my God, yeah. We don’t know what’s popping up.

Chef David: Good lord.

WIGNZ: So, you know what it’s exciting too because in the long list of everything you’ve achieved, I think that I get to be most proud that you’re part of Yolo Rum.

Chef David: Yes.

WIGNZ: You’re an investor of Yolo Rum. Talk about that and what that means to you, because we send this out to all of our investors and not everyone who’s listening is an investor, they don’t know what that means. How did that make you feel? What made you think this is an opportunity to jump in on?

Chef David: Well, I’ve known about Yolo Rum even before they were selling the shares. Larry and Kathie did the Yolo Rum studio out of Larry’s basement.

WIGNZ: Yup that’s right.

Chef David: That was my first introduction to what Yolo was, and I was like Larry what is this all about. And he was like “Oh you gotta try it, it’s great.” And I tried it and I mean I’m not a biggo drinker or anything like this but it was so smooth and it was so great and I knew that I loved it. And it’s at a price point where I don’t feel guilty with using it in recipes. It’s not like some crazy amount a bottle. I started cooking with it.

WIGNZ: Yeah. I was going to say was that your first thought, because you being a chef, when you try that and immediately you’re not thinking oh I love to drink rum, you’re thinking I can use this in an ingredient right?

Chef David: Oh absolutely. I use it for simple syrups. It’s great also for drinks, but I love it in baking. The price of vanilla went through the roof a couple of years ago. It’s $30 for a bottle like this so I started using Yolo Rum instead of vanilla in cookies, everything and everyone loves it.

WIGNZ: Wow. That’s awesome.

Chef David: And they’re like what’s your secret. How come your cookies are so good. Cause I’m putting the rum right in there. Actually I love it so much, not because I’m an investor and I want this to become a whole commercial, but I put it in my book. I did my bananas foster on page 508 in my book with Yolo Rum Gold and I’m telling you it the best recipe for bananas foster. I actually won an award for this recipe.

WIGNZ: No. The picture in that is phenomenal. Actually all the pictures that you have in there. Do you have a picture for almost every recipe?

Chef David: I tried so hard to a picture for every recipe because I felt like if people saw it and they could connect with it, then they knew they could make it once they read it and attempted it. And this recipe for bananas foster is so cool because all of the photos for this book we actually shot in my basement, and I cooked all the food and I staged it all and this picture is so cool because you can’t really photograph fire with the lights on so you have to turn the lights off. But you can’t see the food.

WIGNZ: Yeah. But then you can’t see the food.

Chef David: So the dark and the light picture are over the top of each other. This picture for bananas foster is actually two photos in one. They’ve just been overlaid on each other. I just love this photo so, so much.

WIGNZ: Wow that’s awesome.

Chef David: I just love this photo so, so much.

WIGNZ: No it looks delicious. Now are you going to work on another book? Are you gonna promote this? What happens now that you have a cookbook out? What do you do?

Chef David: So now I tell everybody at catering events, hey did you like this meal. The recipes from tonight’s meal are available in my new cookbook. I schlepped this to the t.v. station, I tell all my friends about it, I put it on social media. I self published this, I didn’t have some big publisher behind me I kinda cut out the middle man.

WIGNZ: You self published a 500 page book by yourself? My man. Look at that. Logo and all, that is how you do it.

Chef David: I sure did. Scratch Productions, right there on that lip. Scratch Productions baby yeah!

WIGNZ: And even the back of it are those the rum cookies on there? What cookies are those?

Chef David: Those are the oatmeal but yeah they have a little rum in there.

WIGNZ: A little Yolo in there. That’s awesome. So you got everything going on, what’s your next big game plan? What do you think in envisioning next? Where do you go after you hit this peak of the White House and calling out Martha Stewart?

Chef David: Well Martha Stewart is a nice lady and she did inspire me so I don’t want to make it sound like I’m being douche baggy here.

WIGNZ: Yeah. No no no, it was all good stuff. No.

Chef David: Just keep doing great things. Every once in a while a milestone will come along, but it’s really the day to day that get you to those milestones.

WIGNZ: Yeah.

Chef David: I’m here, I’m serving the people of Denver, I’ve got my cookbook … My new show airs every week for the next 13 weeks, all new episodes here in Denver anyhow.

WIGNZ: Saturdays, 3pm, on channel 2.

Chef David: Yep you got it. It’s called From Scratch. We just keep pushing on, pushing on.

WIGNZ: Do you wanna go national? Obviously.

Chef David: Absolutely. I’m having some disks made and I’m going to mail them to different stations.

WIGNZ: It worked for you before.

Chef David: Right. Just mail it to the White House right? Maybe not this White House but none the less. No no no it’ll get lost to file 13 somewhere.

WIGNZ: Yeah. Yeah don’t go to this one. He doesn’t even eat healthy man. He stopped at a McDonald’s anyways, so don’t worry about that guy. And then he’s forgetting what he ate after he ate it.

Chef David: Clinton ate McDonald’s too remember? He had the Big Mac run.

WIGNZ: Oh that is right.

Chef David: Don’t dog on the Golden Arch now cause some of us got guilty pleasures okay.

WIGNZ: Dude he would run there. I remember seeing that as a kid and Phil Hartman made fun of that.

Chef David: Yes on SNL.

WIGNZ: So what the guy likes McDonald’s.

Chef David: There you go.

WIGNZ: No that’s awesome. Alright well Chef David Bondarchuck, thank you man.

Chef David: Thanks for having me. This has been awesome.

WIGNZ: This was super fun I’m excited that you’re an investor of Yolo Rum. I’m excited that you keep making these recipes. I’m hoping that we can get more recipes from you with Yolo Rum and we can through em on our website and kinda cross network with each other. For Gods sake you went into the White House just writing the letter. Hey Phil, I think we need to just write a letter to the White House and tell them to try Yolo Rum. That seems to be the amazing trick. But you were inspired man, rags to riches in front of me. That’s a motivating story. And I guess we can wrap it up after this, but do you feel like you want to give back to people? Is that kind of an over arching goal? To come from where you came from, do you feel like you want to help others?

Chef David: Oh absolutely. And I do, but I don’t really brag about it cause I feel people who say we did this or we did that or we donated for this, they’re doing it for publicity. I just be a good person because I think that’s what I need to do. All of my left over food goes down to the Mission. Every Tuesday when I cater down at the state capital, I cater for a homeless organization that actually teaches homeless people job skills.

WIGNZ: Oh that’s amazing yeah.

Chef David: So when they’re in this program they need meals every day and I provide a meal for them every Tuesday. If someone needs a meal and they ask-

WIGNZ: Do you ever want to tell them your story? Hey man I’ve been there, don’t worry. Yeah.

Chef David: I do. Because I don’t want them to think I’m just walking in there. I want them to know that I understand where they’re at and what they’re going through.

WIGNZ:  Yeah.

Chef David: I do tell that story but I try and make it more about them as about me.

WIGNZ: Them. Yeah I know.

Chef David: Cause I really do it for them.

WIGNZ: Yeah. That’s gotta be the hardest thing in the world to have gone through, but now you’re in this situation where you can give back and there’s nothing better than that. I got a scholarship from a guy … I wasn’t gonna go to college. At my school they didn’t have college recruits. I’m with the Army, I’m with the Navy. And they are all, let’s see how fast you can run around this track and they would tell you. So my mom was a single mom, at 14 grand a year. I watched her clean houses, like toilets. Hand and knees. It was so hard to go into these large, huge houses and you watch your mom sticking your hand in a toilet bowl and then you go home to your trailer park and we only have one story here. So you go through these situations where one you are able to give back to that. There’s nothing better than that in the world. I think it’s amazing what you’re doing right now. And the food you’re making is amazing. You’re investing in all the right places. I wish you the best. Again check that out, From Scratch is the show right?

Chef David: Correct.

WIGNZ: Saturdays on CW. Channel 2. 3pm check it out, it’s on for the next 13 weeks. He’s an amazing cook, you seen him on the Everyday Show with Kathie J. Give your shout out. And the book. The biggest thing of it all. Tell them one more time where they can get that book.

Chef David: Exclusively at Shameless plug right there.

WIGNZ: Not a shameless plug at all. That’s what it’s all about. Thank you for coming on man. Nothing but the best. We’ll talk to you in what another two years and who knows where you’re gonna be. International superstar. Yep.

Chef David: There you go. Follow me.

WIGNZ: The Yolo Rum Podcast. Remember the new website is up. In 30 days we have 200 new accounts and 300 cases places throughout Colorado. That is because of you, that’s because the listeners, that’s because of everyone that loves Yolo Rum. So get some. Thank you for coming on, Chef David. And we’ll see you next week.

Speaker 2: This is the Yolo Rum Podcast, with WIGNZ. Download and subscribe and never miss a Yolo Rum episode. Yolo Rum episode. Yolo Rum episode.

Yolo Rum Podcast Interview with DJ Chonz


Yolo Rum Podcast Interview with Radio Bums Founder: DJ Chonz

WIGNZ talks with DJ Chonz about music, the radio industry, KS1075 and hustling. They also talk about Chonz new RadioBums DJ School and how Chonz started his own scholarship with CU Denver and supporting the community. Check out the interview on Yolo Rum Podcast player and more below.

Support the Yolo Rum Podcast by subscribing and giving us a five star rating on iTunes and Follow WIGNZ on Twitter @JayWignz, on  Instagram @WIGNZ and LIKE his Producer WIGNZ Page on Facebook.
Producer Wignz and DJ Chonz Radio Bums Yolo Rum Podcast

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DJ Chonz Interview Transcription

WIGNZ:                Yolo Rum podcast, and normally when I do these podcasts I try to, especially have a guest on, I try to write some notes down, try to make sure I know what I’m going to bring up. But for this guest today, I didn’t even need that, man. We go back, way back, without even … We worked with each other, but we didn’t work with each other. We were on two different planets. I got with us today for the Yolo Rum podcast DJ Chonz. Welcome to the show, man.
DJ Chonz:            Thanks for having me. No show prep, dog, what’s really going on over here?
WIGNZ:                Dude, it’s-
DJ Chonz:            Come on.
WIGNZ:                You know, normally I’d say my memory is shit, and I don’t … I need to just [inaudible 00:00:44] my memory, but I was like for you, and how far back we go, I was like, “It should mean something special to you that I could actually remember everything that you’ve done.” Although, I did have a few questions. I was like, “What was your title? Oh, that’s right. That’s what your title was.”
DJ Chonz:            No titles, you’re going to freestyle today, and I like it, man.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, man.
DJ Chonz:            Do it.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, yeah. Our history goes way back. I have respect for you in so many areas, Chonz. There’s been the straight hustle as radio DJs, learning the system. I came in as an intern when you and Tony had already gained your hustle, understood the game, and to be able to sit across from you and say, “Hey man, I learned from you,” even though we’re on two different planets, I went to bed when you were just starting your night, you know what I mean?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, yep.
WIGNZ:                You were going with the afternoon show on … I guess we could say the station’s name, you know?
DJ Chonz:            Absolutely, [crosstalk 00:01:34]. It’s part of the history back there.
WIGNZ:                It is. So when we were on KS107.5 I was an intern in the mornings and then a producer, and then I would drive the gigs as the van driver, and work with you then. Every time, Chonz, I’d come up to you and I’d be like, “Hey man,” I was like, “I got this new gig, bro. I got this new piece of technology you should use.” You go, “I already got it, bro.”
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I mean I was definitely a techie guy, but now, you know, you progress and now I’m asking you questions. Hey, it’s a mutual respect right now. We’re learning from each other.
WIGNZ:                We are. I think that we wasted half of our interview mojo just catching up for the last hour, because you were given the tour here. Radio Bums, DJ School, congratulations on that.
DJ Chonz:            I appreciate that.
WIGNZ:                We’ll go into that here in a little bit, but I think you and I were just catching up for so long I was like, “We should have just been recording that conversation … well, parts of that conversation.”
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, it’s good. Sometimes you can’t put everything out there like that, but we wanted to get caught up on what’s going on. I’m happy that we got to catch up a little bit prior to the podcast. I’m sorry, listeners, that you don’t get to hear everything all uncut, but hey, there’s certain things that you have to be PC about.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, 100%. That’s one thing we talked about is never burning a bridge. We could talk about that bridge, maybe that bridge when we crossed it, gave us some frustrations, but you know, I think that’s the one thing that you and I, why our relationship, is as solid as it is, is because hey man, we focus on what matters, and you have to have those networking relationships, dude.
WIGNZ:                We’ve talked about … we’ve been networking since networking started, dude-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, for real man. I was king of networking. I’ve been down to travel to network, to fly somewhere to network, on my own dime. I will go to DJ Conferences just to network, I would fly myself out to Los Angeles to intern and basically pay to intern for record companies, or our marketing companies, and just do whatever it takes to network.
WIGNZ:                Hustle.
DJ Chonz:            And that’s half the battle. For example, in the position that we are, that we’re hustling right now, you have to network, and that’s what you do, is work your network.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, and I think that networking has so many different meanings. I think today the thing that we got a leg on the younger generation is they think networking is I liked your post. I shared your post. I gave you five stars on Yelp. It’s like, no. It’s building that relationship to where … I got a 360 camera, so if you want to hire me, and you need 360 video, I’m available for hire.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, he is.
WIGNZ:                But … Part of the hustle. But, I threw up online, I say, “Hey, I’m selling some Go Pros,” not a … Dude, I just wanted the Go Pros gone. I’m not trying to make money on it, and you hit me up, and you said, “Oh, I need some of those,” and then I said, “Well, I need an interview.” This works out.
DJ Chonz:            It was perfect, man. I was actually online that day. I was going to buy some Go Pros and I got tagged in the post, and I’m pretty … I was excited, and it worked out. You said you wanted to do … if I wanted to be on the podcast earlier, like I think it was that week, earlier-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, that same week, a few days before that.
DJ Chonz:            The same week, and it was just perfect. I was like, “Hey, I could get you drive down here and deliver them, too.”
WIGNZ:                Yep. It was set up and that’s what we did. It’s cool man. I got to see the whole set up here, the DJ School Radio Bums, DJ School. Nothing but respect, man. When you come in here, if you want to learn how to mix, I mean you need to go into a little more in depth, but there’s Mixing School, there’s ability to learn how to edit-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, yeah.
WIGNZ:                [crosstalk 00:05:07] everything.
DJ Chonz:            It is everything. DJ Stacks and myself, we started the Radio Bums DJ School portion of the Radio Bums. Me and my friend, Hakeem, started Radio Bums in 1996. He founded, I’m the co-founder, originally, of Radio Bums. But we started the DJ School section I think about January. So what we do here is we teach the art of DJing, so the very fundamentals, we pride ourself in that. We could get most of our students mixing and playing it within six weeks. So, our youngest student right now is nine years old, and he knows how to blend, and he knows how to mix, and it’s pretty incredible to see kids get into it like that.
WIGNZ:                And you don’t know whose career you’re starting. For all you know, that could be the next big thing out there, and you’re like, “Hey, I was in,” and hopefully he’s networked with you so that when he makes it big-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, hopefully I’m still networking with them if they make it big, though-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            They’ll come back and give back to … You know, when you graduate from high school, and you’re out of high school for like five or 10 years, and then you go back, and you see your teachers-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And you’re like, “Hey, what’s going on?” And hopefully-
WIGNZ:                Thank you, and you value that teacher because you’re like, “Hey, I couldn’t have done this without you,”-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                And just so you know-
DJ Chonz:            So hopefully you know, especially in my career now, because I like to see the youth prosper. I’m not saying that I’m finished. I’m over 20+ years in the business, but hey, I got the shine. I’ve done a lot of cool things, you know what I mean? I watched films with Eminem, seeing 8 Mile together, you know? I opened up for Drake and Wayne at Red Rock, went on tour with Wu Tang, Maseo from De La Soul is one of my best friends. I had a great career, and it’s still going, but now I want to help the other youth at least experience it a little bit, you know what I mean?
WIGNZ:                Yeah. I think that’s great because I think that for you and I … When did you get started? What year did you get started?
DJ Chonz:            I started in 1993.
WIGNZ:                Oh, okay, so you’ve got a few years on me, bro. I think I was third grade or something.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I was about 15 then, so you do the math.
WIGNZ:                Don’t do the math, you don’t need to be doing that math.
DJ Chonz:            You just do the math.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            It’s all right, I’m not ashamed. Before I used to be like you get ashamed because you’re getting older and stuff like that, but I’m not ashamed of that anymore because the youths right now, a lot of them, especially … they like to … there’s this age discrimination going on-
WIGNZ:                Ageism.
DJ Chonz:            Ageism, yeah.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            That’s what it’s called, ageism. So they think that you’re irrelevant because you’re older. It’s like, “Nah man, I’m just seasoned, and I respect what you do, young one, and I want you to succeed, but you don’t have to knock on me because I’m still in the game doing what you’re doing.”
WIGNZ:                It’s like what you just said about the teacher. You want to go back to that teacher because when you’re in school, you’re not paying attention-
DJ Chonz:            Right.
WIGNZ:                But you kind of paid attention, and then you get back years later, and you’re all, “Well, hell. I wouldn’t have been able to do this without-“I still [inaudible 00:08:03] those teachers, and one of them passed away, but I remember he, Dorian De Long, he let me for a class project make a video. Everyone else had to write a paper or something, and I came up to him and I said, “Hey, what I,” because I was in this video editing class, I said, “Hey, what if I made a video about this paper that you want?” Dude, I got an A on it, but that set me on the course of hustling videos. I’m like, “What if I do that video for you, morning showcase, once I’ve [inaudible 00:08:29]. I’ll do that video for you-“
DJ Chonz:            He inspired you.
WIGNZ:                And you get me a job. So, you never know-
DJ Chonz:            He put you on a path. He put you on a path.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, so that’s what you’re doing right now and that’s just awesome.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, that’s what we’re doing here. Yeah, we had a 15 year old. He got a residency at Roller City West, and he DJ’d there for a while. Then-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, dude.
DJ Chonz:            He also opened up for that Bhad Bhabie just recently with a rapper, King Tae. Another 16 year old rap artist, so he’s a 15 year old DJing and the rap artist is a 16 year old-
WIGNZ:                Wow.
DJ Chonz:            And they’re in front of 300 people, and he’s been DJing for about eight months. So these are the kind of things that were coming to fruition through the Radio DJ School.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. And I think you and I, for years, like you say, you started early and then you were on case with [Sim 5 00:09:10], I think … what year did you start KS?
DJ Chonz:            I started in 2001.
WIGNZ:                Okay, so you were there about five or six years before I started there. We had an amazing team, and I think now that everyone’s gone their separate directions, and everyone is doing their own thing now, some of us, maybe not necessarily through our own decisions, but whatever-
DJ Chonz:            That’s the nature of the beast.
WIGNZ:                That’s the nature of the beast, but in that business it’s more likely to happen to everyone who goes on their own, or they lose their job. We stuck together for over 10 years. We were number one for 12+ years-
DJ Chonz:            We had a great team, you know. It’s-
WIGNZ:                All day long.
DJ Chonz:            I mean, it started from the program directors, to the music directors, to the on-air talent. Everyone was good at what they did.
WIGNZ:                Mm-hmm (affirmative).
DJ Chonz:            And that’s what led us to have great numbers and-
WIGNZ:                No ego.
DJ Chonz:            And be together, and no ego, and everyone just went there and did what they did good, and that’s how we were successful for so long. Also, we worked for a pretty awesome company that wasn’t really in the sense into a traditional radio company-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So they really didn’t understand the business of radio-
WIGNZ:                We were a small percent of what they did.
DJ Chonz:            They’re like, “What the hell? What’s that company doing over there? Are we making any money?”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            But I think that’s why we stood around for a long time, also.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, but we did great things, man and it took us to the next level. I think every path that we were on then has gotten us to the path that we’re at now. So, it’s exciting to see you do what you’re doing and just to see what’s next. I think that … What is next for you? Are you just focused on this school, and then you just keep mixing and doing that grind on the side?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, you know so I do the school, and then I still of course DJ. Yeah, just whatever’s next, you know? If there’s an opportunity for me to get back into radio, I’ll do that. It’s just … I really don’t try to force things. It’s crazy because when they laid me off this last time from the morning show, people … I didn’t announce it or anything like, “Hey,” I just went about my business just like the first time they laid me off. I just go about my business. It’s like … You know who worries more about what I’m going to do is my parents, and my mom is like, “Hey, are you going to get a job?” I’m like-
WIGNZ:                “You haven’t had a job yet. You should probably get one of those,” yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Like, “Are you going to get a job?” I’m like, “I have a job.”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            “I work for … I’m an entrepreneur, mom.”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            I’ve been working for myself, so people out there listening, you just gotta take notes, is that you have to build your own brand if you’re a part of a radio station or any kind of corporation. You just want to build your own brand for when it’s time for you and that company to sever paths that you’ll have your own brand that you can still build and have equity for that brand so you can still live off of that brand that you built. I always have to reassure my mom like, “Look, I don’t have a traditional nine to five where I get a steady paycheck at the radio station, but I have all of these other things and hustles-“
WIGNZ:                That you’ve built.
DJ Chonz:            That I built-
WIGNZ:                And knew what you were building.
DJ Chonz:            That I have income coming in, so, no mom, I do have a job. So-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            You know, but “Go work for the city.” I say, “Well, if the city wants to give me a fat check to stop me doing all my passions, I’ll do that.” But for right now … plus, for my family I would do that, I have no problem just going off in the sunset and, “Hey, this was a good run,” if an opportunity came like that, and I enjoy doing it. But right now, it’s perfectly fine-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            I make a living, I pay the bills, my family, my kids eat. They’re clothed, they get to go on trips. We’re happy.
WIGNZ:                My boy Phil, and the founder of Yolo Rum says it’s called, “Making yourself unemployable,” and not in a bad sense, but just the fact that you’ve hustled so long, you know what you can achieve and can’t achieve. And, you’re achieving it for yourself, so to put yourself in a position to where you’re making someone else money, or you’re making a business money, and your day … you’ve spent 160 hours a month making them money, and you’ve done it for years.
WIGNZ:                Before that, you were making yourself money, now you’re putting yourself in this position to be like, “What am I … I’m busting my butt to make you more money?” That’s not fair. So, there’s nothing but respect. I think that’s the one thing you and I have always had in common, it’s always been the hustle. Like I said earlier, I learned that from you and Tony. Here’s a funny, Tony V., we were at a concert, and this was right when I first started, and this is like my first concert, I’m there with you guys.
WIGNZ:                Tony goes … everyone is coming in that park, I think it was the Fillmore. Everyone is coming in the park at the Fillmore, and then he’s like, “Yo, I’m going to put a cone in here and stop every car and then see who’s going to pay me to park.” So he put a cone in the entrance, and he stopped them and he’d come up in his KS gear, and he’d be like, “$5.00,” and he made money. He would give it back to them after they parked. He’s like, “Oh, no. I was just playing with you.” But that’s the hustler’s mentality-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                So it’s joking, but it’s the hustler’s mentality is there’s always a way to make that money.
DJ Chonz:            There’s always a way to make that money. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. What we’re actually trying to teach here at the school is a trade. DJing, to me, is a trade like being an electrician, a barber, or whatever. Those are the kinds of things that are always in demand, and being a DJ has kind of been recession-proof, you know? Even when we go through recessions, people still need music for certain-
WIGNZ:                People still need a release to get out from that recession, yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, even it’s $100.00, $150.00, depending on your skill level, or who you are, or name recognition-wise, but being a DJ, you allow yourself to have at least some supplemental income even if you’re not doing it full-time professionally.
WIGNZ:                Is there a website? How do they get in contact with you?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah,
WIGNZ:                Okay.
DJ Chonz:            Radiobums, with an S.
WIGNZ:                Learn how to hustle, because that’s all you can do. I mean, you’ll probably learn how to mix there obviously, but you can actually learn how to hustle and learn how it is to do your business [inaudible 00:15:09] because I like I said, that’s all DJing is.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                It’s like you’re making those connections with that bar, that local concert, what have you, that local DJ on the scene that might blow up, that might remember you. You just never know. I think we talked about that never burning those bridges. You and I … and I didn’t know this, and I know you said you went to Skyview after that, but you went to Thornton High School at one point, is that right?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I went to Thornton High School for two years.
WIGNZ:                Okay. So then you went to Skyview right after that.
DJ Chonz:            I went to Skyview first, so I went to Mapleton Public District actually my whole life, so I went to Western Hills Elementary, John [Dooey 00:15:45] Junior High, then went to Skyview for two years. So, all same district-
WIGNZ:                Okay.
DJ Chonz:            And then my last two years, because I was getting in trouble and getting into the gang banging kind of thing, I left to Thornton High School to finish off my wrestling career, my collegiate wrestling career. I graduated from Thornton High School.
WIGNZ:                I did as well. So, I’d like to think … and I guess I never realized that you went to Thornton, too, but part of me is like maybe we’re the most successful people to graduate Thornton. I’m not trying to like … I’m just saying at least in the local-
DJ Chonz:            I think Cathy went there, didn’t she go to Thornton?
WIGNZ:                No, she went [Whore 00:16:20] High. She went to Horizon.
DJ Chonz:            Oh, she went to Horizon.
WIGNZ:                She went to Horizon, so I think that you and I are probably the most … Again, I’m not saying that to blow our own horn, I’m just saying that because I think that-
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, you don’t know-
WIGNZ:                There’s something to that.
DJ Chonz:            You didn’t know that I was there because you didn’t see my picture on the wall.
WIGNZ:                For the Wrestling Hall of Fame or what?
DJ Chonz:            I was supposed to be up there, bro. They kind of jived me out of that.
WIGNZ:                Oh, why?
DJ Chonz:            I don’t know, maybe I missed pictures that day.
WIGNZ:                Oh, that’s terrible, dude.
DJ Chonz:            I don’t know what happened, so I go back there and I show them my kids like, “I’m supposed to be right there in that year,” look on the wall, “Hey, that’s me right there.”
WIGNZ:                We just need to take a picture and go in there and just throw you up on there, man.
DJ Chonz:            You seen my daughter-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, your daughter [crosstalk 00:17:02].
DJ Chonz:            The cool thing about being an entrepreneur, guys out there, is that when your kids don’t have school, they get to hang with you and chill out and talk on the podcast-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And they get a girl up in the Radio DJ School, huh?
Yazmine:              Yeah.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. Are you going to be a DJ when you grow up?
Yazmine:              [inaudible 00:17:19]
WIGNZ:                She’s shaking her head yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Well they can … shaking your head, you gotta talk, too, to the microphone.
WIGNZ:                Talk into the mic.
Yazmine:              Okay.
DJ Chonz:            Okay, all right. Are you going to sit here with the conversation, or are you going to let me finish the conversation?
Yazmine:              I’m going to see you.
DJ Chonz:            Okay, well that was great. Thanks for talking and [inaudible 00:17:38]. That’s my daughter, Yazmine, ladies and gentlemen. She is five years old, and she is awesome.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, well dude, you and Tony V … fatherhood is key, because I think that you’ve got to respect the hustle, but respect the fact that you guys are part of your kids’ life. Tony V’s son went off and killed in Basketball Division One player, and I think he’s playing in Europe now, or he was talking about that, and then you, Yazmine, man, she’s all grown up now, and I remember when you just had her. It’s crazy to watch that next level of entrepreneurship to parenthood, you know?
DJ Chonz:            What’d you say?
Yazmine:              I love you, dad.
WIGNZ:                Oh.
DJ Chonz:            I love you, too. Yeah, I mean I love being a dad. I love every part of it. She grew up in the studio with me, so when we first had her, I just had to pre-record … [inaudible 00:18:24] mixes on the radio-
Yazmine:              Yes.
DJ Chonz:            And so she was in her little playground kind of thing, in her carrying case, and my dog was there. We’d all be in the studio, and I’d be recording for like an hour. So she kind of grew up in the studio. You know when … You’re about to have a baby, right?
WIGNZ:                Yeah, July.
DJ Chonz:            So, I’m going to give you some little advice, all right? People are like, “Be quiet. The baby’s sleeping. Be quiet.” Don’t get in that routine, bro, of this. Make sure you have music playing, it’s not full blast or anything like that, but when she comes home, don’t be afraid to have the music at like half volume.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            They don’t get … you have to be so quiet.
WIGNZ:                I wonder do you want her, or him in my case, “Hey, didn’t you want him to be in to that music vibe, man, nod their head?” My boy, he’s doing his own thing, but he just mixed an open for RJD2, right?
DJ Chonz:            Yeah.
WIGNZ:                He said, and I went to college with him and I remember him saying, “My mom would just put me on the washer and dryer and I would nod my head to the beat of the dryer.” So, music has such an impact on the development of kids and just everything that they’re doing, you know?
DJ Chonz:            I’m just saying this in a sense … I know you’re an early bird, I don’t know if your wife’s an early bird, but if you want your child to sleep in and things like that, just play music pretty loud. I played it pretty loud, and it don’t phase them.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So you don’t have to worry about, “Oh, be quiet. The baby’s sleeping.” You don’t have to worry about that. Trust me, take my advice-
WIGNZ:                All right.
DJ Chonz:            Play the music, be loud, talk loud-
WIGNZ:                I’m going to play this podcast, blare it up, you know?
DJ Chonz:            And you know … actually, there’s some cool lullabies, hip hop lullabies-
WIGNZ:                I’ve seen that. I’ve downloaded them.
DJ Chonz:            They’re cool. They’re dope. You’ve got to get them.
WIGNZ:                We’ve got Belly Budz. There’s Belly Budz that … this shows our age as we’re all talking about kids and babies, but there’s Belly Budz that you can actually put headphones on to the baby onto the belly of the girl, and they can hear the music playing.
DJ Chonz:            Do it, man.
WIGNZ:                But I got those lullabies.
DJ Chonz:            I’ve got them, bro. I play them.
WIGNZ:                All right, so let’s get back into what you’ve accomplished, because not only are you a phenomenal DJ and you’ve opened for the best of the talents out there, but you have a scholarship that was named after you, right?
DJ Chonz:            Yes.
WIGNZ:                How did that come to be? What is that exactly?
DJ Chonz:            I went back to school about four or five years ago. I have one more class to get my graduate certificate at public relations. I took it last year, and what happened is there was so much going on, I thought I was going to finish my last class, but it didn’t happen because I was just doing too much with the morning show going on, and doing the DJ School.
DJ Chonz:            I ended up taking an incomplete, but about four years ago, I went back to school and I met these people that were at CU star in a summer music industry program for high school students to come in and see if they liked what college was going to be about, and they wanted me to be a part of it.
DJ Chonz:            It so happened that I was on campus at the same time, and they wanted me to actually just give speeches and presentations and pay me for that. But I decided, I was like, “Yeah, that sounds cool and I could get a quick couple hundred bucks to teach,” and I was like, “I’m not into it. I want to be more involved.” I said, “How about we work together as a partnership?”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So that’s what happened is we worked together in a partnership, and I said, “I want to give a scholarship out in my name,” so that’s what happened.
WIGNZ:                God, [inaudible 00:21:39] again, you’re just thinking of the community and everyone that’s out there and trying to make a difference for them.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, it’s like keep your money. Actually, give that money to a student to attend your program.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, and what was the scholarship called?
DJ Chonz:            It’s called The DJ Chonz Scholarship. For the last five years I’ve been giving scholarships to CU Denver, but recently about two months ago, I just started a non-profit because I was in the giving mode, and people started donating to the DJ Chonz thing, but I didn’t have a non-profit, so when you want to donate to a non-profit, and you don’t have a 501C3, there’s really not … I really can’t give you a good tax write off or anything like that. Sometimes companies will match it if you have a 501C3, so recently I started a whole non-profit. It’s the DJ Chonz Foundation.
WIGNZ:                Wow.
DJ Chonz:            It’s non-profit. We’re going to launch it in October, but we’re doing all of the behind the scenes work route right now, but we have all the financial paperwork, we’re officially a 501C3 DJ Chonz Foundation. Now we’re going to start working with different organizations, not such as just CU Denver, we’re going to work with SOS Outreach, which is they help youth that come from the inner city go up to experience the mountains, snowboard-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And kind of these things, and some of the funds are going to go there. Also, have you heard of Youth on Record?
WIGNZ:                No.
DJ Chonz:            Youth on Record is pretty cool. They let people come and learn music, bands, they actually are going to have a podcast teaching kind of thing going on there-
WIGNZ:                That’s awesome.
DJ Chonz:            So, it’s a pretty good organization. I’m teaming up with that organization and, of course, the Radio Bums DJ School. So, the DJ Chonz Foundation will be giving scholarships to these three different organizations … actually before, that you can go and contribute to kids just doing positive things.
WIGNZ:                Good for you, Chonz. I think it goes back to what you worried about what your mom and dad said where they, even the listeners and our fans … because you and I, we each have a decent following, a pretty good following even to this day. I know you do the same. Even though we might not be on air, our goal is still entertain and interact with that audience. I think that them looking at us and being like, “Oh no, they’re not on radio. What happened to them?” I think you’re a testament to what we do where it’s like, “Nah, on to the next chapter. That didn’t work, so let’s do this next part of what we can do with what we’ve learned.”
DJ Chonz:            Well there’s one thing, with radio, yes, you’re on someone’s car or whatever every day, right? You’re doing something with that. But the thing about the social media game is that you’re always on.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            You know what I mean? So, before when they say, “This is your last show, Wiggins. You’re done. You don’t get to say goodbye even though you’ve got a big goodbye going away party,” remember?
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            None of us is like, “I never got to say goodbye on the radio ever.”
WIGNZ:                Well, I was thinking about … You know what’s so funny is I was thinking about if people that even know, or I was even cool with … I remember one guy came up to me and he was like an audio production guy. He was nice, though, but he came up and he said, “Hey, if there’s anything that I can do for you, let me know.” I was like, “Do for me? I don’t even know your name, bro.” I was like, “I respect that,” but I was like at the same time, “While I don’t know your name, you don’t know what I do.” I was like, “There’s a reason why I’m leaving here.” That was the one thing that I am grateful for. I kind of left on my own merits
DJ Chonz:            That’s great.
WIGNZ:                To where I was like-
DJ Chonz:            Awesome.
WIGNZ:                “You know what? Here’s an opportunity. I’m going to take it.” Did it become what I envisioned? No, but you know I think there’s a difference between not meeting your goal and failing, and meeting your goal and just not accomplishing what you thought it was going to be.
DJ Chonz:            Well, you know what’s great? Is that you got a party, you got balloons. You got all these cool things. You gotta say goodbye. Who’s leaving? You’ve got every character of Larry’s voice go on the air and say goodbye to Wignz.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            You know what I got? I got the HR lady walking me out-
WIGNZ:                Twice.
DJ Chonz:            Twice. So the second time that I went back to work at the company … so you see my backpack right here. It’s a black backpack. Everyone’s like, “Oh, welcome back,” blah, blah, blah. I was like, “Yeah, cool.” “This is your new big office,” and I was like, “Yeah, cool.” “If you want to hang stuff up, you can do whatever you want.” I was like, I said, “You see this backpack right here?”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            “This is all I’m bringing with me-“
WIGNZ:                Ever.
DJ Chonz:            So when it’s time-
WIGNZ:                I’m ready.
DJ Chonz:            For me to get walked out the door again-
WIGNZ:                Just throw it on.
DJ Chonz:            All you gotta do is just get this little backpack, and we’re just going to be just fine.
WIGNZ:                Yep. Now awkwardness of taking down the posters.
DJ Chonz:            No posters, no family pictures. No going back for anything. So the second time I got laid off, I was … we were walking down the hall, and the HR lady is like … she was all sad that I was getting let go again.
WIGNZ:                Again. She’s all, “Dang. We keep going through this.”
DJ Chonz:            She was like, “Is there anything that I can do for you?” I said, “Yeah, go find me a job.”
WIGNZ:                She’s like, “I’ll get right on that. Let me see what I can do.”
DJ Chonz:            “Oh, I don’t know what you do.” [crosstalk 00:26:42] job.
WIGNZ:                To be honest with you, I was like you can not fire me. That would be good.
DJ Chonz:            Anything I can do? Yeah. Don’t fire me.
WIGNZ:                Oh, man. You know it’s funny, dude, because we’re sitting here, we’re doing this podcast, you and I have been friends and known each other for over a decade and talked about doing things for over a decade, and it took over a decade before we actually sat down and we’re like shooting the shit.
DJ Chonz:            It took me to get some Go Pros.
WIGNZ:                There needed to be some kind of exchange of goods.
DJ Chonz:            Some kind of transaction.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, some kind of hustling before it could actually work. But dude, I’m excited because we started talking and all the things we’re doing here … I think we’re on the same path, just different sides of the road. I mean, you’ve talked about being able to possibly teach here at Radio Bums DJ School, and maybe show people how to do a podcast-
DJ Chonz:            That’d be great.
WIGNZ:                As long as-
DJ Chonz:            They’re asking about it.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, as long as it doesn’t put me out of work. I don’t want HR walking me to the door being like, “You can’t do podcasts anymore.”
DJ Chonz:            We don’t have that big of a department. No HR. You’re going to get 1099s, so don’t worry about it.
WIGNZ:                Actually, you’re going to pay us to teach you. That’s how that works.
DJ Chonz:            You’re going to do your own taxes, there’s no health benefits.
WIGNZ:                You pay for your own gas.
DJ Chonz:            Pay for your own gas. What we do is 50/50.
WIGNZ:                You know, we have a Keurig though. You can make yourself one cup of coffee, though-
DJ Chonz:            [crosstalk 00:28:05] we got a coffee machine, we got a hot dog machine.
WIGNZ:                The Red Bull. You had me at the Red Bull fridge.
DJ Chonz:            Free Red Bull. Shot out to Red Bull. They hook it up for us.
WIGNZ:                See? That’s what I was going to ask you. I was like I know you’re not paying for those. Red Bulls are too damn expensive for you to be having a fully stocked fridge.
DJ Chonz:            I’ve got plenty underneath the … I don’t really partake in the Red Bull thing. They know that, but like you, people like be wired up. So I’ve got plenty for you.
WIGNZ:                You’ve got the networking with Red Bull now. See, that’s all I need. Let’s do a Red Bull podcast.
DJ Chonz:            I do got relationships with Red Bull, so maybe that might be down the line.
WIGNZ:                You never know. You never know. Well, I mean one of my things was Yolo Rum’s always been kind of what I’ve been focused on, so that’s why … The hardest part, I think, and you tell me … jump in and tell me what you think about leaving radio or … not necessarily leaving, but not doing it every day, is you have fun with this. This, to me, sitting with you and laughing is … and don’t get me wrong, I like doing it with the celebrities, and with [inaudible 00:29:01], or I talked about who … that stuff’s cool.
WIGNZ:                You’ve experienced that. But to shoot the shit and just laugh and have a regular conversation with your boy, that, and talking to people and having them entertained by what we’re saying, I miss that. It’s not necessarily that I miss the job … I guess that is the job, so maybe I do miss the job, but that’s the element I miss, is just being able to have fun. There’s just that element.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, I guess I miss that a little bit, too. The interviews are kind of whatever. I’m more of a … this is where age gets involved, I’m more of an old school head. So I get more geeked up over old artists, or artists that I grew up listening to-
WIGNZ:                Straight up.
DJ Chonz:            Watching on television-
WIGNZ:                There’re no nerves when a new artist comes in and you’re just shooting the shit with a new-
DJ Chonz:            I’m just like, “Hey, just give me the show prep.”
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            When’s this guy’s single come out?
WIGNZ:                What was the last thing he did? Well, give me a social media network.
DJ Chonz:            Is this the first time you’ve been in Denver?
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Oh, so what are you going to do? What do you think about the ladies in Denver?
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            All the common questions.
WIGNZ:                What do you think about legalized marijuana? You like?
DJ Chonz:            What you gonna partake in tonight? You know? So it’s all the simple questions like that, but when it comes to … For example, when I interviewed Ice Cube, and I was cool, because it was the time when he was going to put out the NWA movie, and he was producing it. There was a big controversy about why Eazy E’s son was not playing Eazy E.
WIGNZ:                I remember that.
DJ Chonz:            And no one-
WIGNZ:                Because Cube’s son was playing Cube and all that.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, so no one was asking that question. Somehow I just threw that question and I was like, “What’s up with Little Eazy? What, homie can’t act?” So I did it in a slang version kind of question, like street version-
WIGNZ:                Relatable.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah. That I slid in there like nonchalantly, that it wasn’t offending him-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            And he answered the question. It was like, wow. Then next time you know, Power 105.1 in New York City, they chopped up my interview and they’re playing my interview on the air. Everyone … it was so-
WIGNZ:                Are you hiring?
DJ Chonz:            I was like, damn. Cool things like that, I miss. But you know, what … Like, we have these outlets now that everyone … If you want to go on your SnapChat, Instagram Live or whatever, this is our own reality and TV show and we make it whatever we want to make it.
WIGNZ:                Exactly. No, and I think that’s why I enjoy this podcast because I mean I love Larry and Cathy. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am or what I am, and that show helped me develop Wignz as a … Dude, it’s funny because if someone … if I’m at a bar or restaurant and someone says Wignz … I was somewhere with my wife a year ago or so, and someone came up to the table and said, “Jared,” it was the waitress. They were all, “Jared,” I was all, “Oh shit. You know me by my real name.” I was like who is this person before I turn around. I was like, “Is this going to be bad?” It’s a girl’s voice, is this going to be bad? I was like, “Huh? Oh. All right, you’re pregnant. Someone else’s baby. We never dated or anything-“
DJ Chonz:            You [crosstalk 00:32:00] in trouble.
WIGNZ:                Wignz, and I got recognized somewhere and went to go pick up a package literally at Walgreens a week ago, and she looks at my ID and she goes … she’s kind of hesitant, and looking at my ID as if I was buying some liquor or something, you know? I was just picking up a package. She’s like looking at it, and she goes and gets the package and comes back, and then I go, “Oh, thank you.” She’s all, “All are Wignz?” There’s something that’s cool to that, you know what I mean? Because … and it’s not like an ego-stroking thing, it’s just cool to be like, “Hey man, I’m just some kid from Thornton that has a name, and you don’t know me, but you know my voice.” I was like … that was cool to have that kind of recognition.
DJ Chonz:            It is. I actually get really humbled by it. Sometimes I get embarrassed. I don’t know, it’s just my personality. So now more often I introduce myself as Mario-
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            Because I try to stay low key.
WIGNZ:                Keep it personal.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, keep it personal. I just … because when I say Chonz, it’s a whole story that has to come around with it. Like, “Oh, you’re on the radio,” and even when I’m not on the radio, people still think I’m on the radio. “Man, I listen to you every day in the morning.” I’m like-
WIGNZ:                Liar.
DJ Chonz:            Yeah, so sometimes I’m like, do I tell them or do I not tell them.
WIGNZ:                Yeah.
DJ Chonz:            So, sometimes if I have time I’ll say, “No, I’m not on the radio.” “Oh, what’s happening?” And then I’ll tell them. Sometimes I’m basically like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” just to keep the conversation going.
WIGNZ:                Oh no, it’s always a conversation that goes to that. Like when I see somebody, “Oh, you Wignz? What happened to Larry and Cathy and where are they at?” It’s like, “You’re talking to me man. I don’t need to go into what they’re doing. They’re doing their own thing.” And I don’t mean that in a bad way, it’s just like we’re still family, we’re still friends. It’s the same thing like I could hit you up a year after we’ve talked and say, “Hey, man. You wanna do a podcast? Oh hey, I’ve got some Go Pros for you,” it’s the same thing with them. If they need something, they call. But at some point you have to branch out on your own and not live under that umbrella if it’s the morning show, if it’s KS107.5 and say, “Hey, I’m my own person. I can do my own thing.”
DJ Chonz:            It is. I mean I was a sidekick for many years. I mean, I was a sidekick to Lucas, I was a sidekick to Joanna Gonzalez, I was a sidekick to Gina Le Fuentes, a sidekick to Slim, a sidekick to Tony. So, I was a co-host.
WIGNZ:                You know my world, man.
DJ Chonz:            I was a co-host to all these different people before I got my own shot to be my own individual radio personality on the radio. I totally get what you’re saying, bro.
WIGNZ:                And you don’t knock it because you’re just excited to be able to have that recognition.
DJ Chonz:            It’s just whenever you get that opportunity, you make the best of it.
WIGNZ:                You have to.
DJ Chonz:            So right now, we’re going to make the best of it.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, we’re going to make this podcast the best listened to yet. You know what I mean?
DJ Chonz:            I hope so, man. Sponsor it. Put a hundred on it.
WIGNZ:                Hey man, I’ll throw your logo on there, you give me a teaching job, we’ll be good [crosstalk 00:34:48]-
DJ Chonz:            Your teaching job’s based on commission.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, oh shit.
DJ Chonz:            If we don’t [crosstalk 00:34:52] those classes, you don’t get paid. It’s not salary, dog.
WIGNZ:                Oh, man.
DJ Chonz:            No 401K here.
WIGNZ:                None of that shit, dude.
DJ Chonz:            No.
WIGNZ:                None of that. Dude, I’m like “401K, what is that? I thought it was just a retirement plan.” I was like, “Well, I didn’t plan on retiring. [inaudible 00:35:11], oh shit.” All those things. Then when you have a kid, I’m like, “Oh, shit. [inaudible 00:35:16] retirement plan. I need a 401K-“
DJ Chonz:            Oh yeah.
WIGNZ:                All those things kind of [crosstalk 00:35:18].
DJ Chonz:            It gets real, real quick.
WIGNZ:                It gets real, real quick. Dude, Chonz, I love this, man. I know that you’re going to start your own podcast here soon.
DJ Chonz:            Real soon.
WIGNZ:                I’ll teach you in your class-
DJ Chonz:            Teach me.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, in a class how to do that. But I appreciate it, man.
DJ Chonz:            Thank you.
WIGNZ:                It’s cool to … this literally is like my fourth or fifth episode of the Yolo Rum podcast, and I’m excited because I’ve done this for a minute, but I never got to talk to you. We never got to hang. We always bullshitted around, “Hey, I got this idea. I got that idea.” Or, “Hey, let’s work together.” But I feel that both of us are crossing paths now and hopefully we’ll figure out what happens. But, nothing but respect to you, dude.
DJ Chonz:            Mad love, bro. I look forward to hearing this episode, and more episodes of your podcast.
WIGNZ:                Yeah, yeah. Sponsored by Radio Bums DJ School. One more time, the website. All that information. Where can they find you?
DJ Chonz:            Website is, that’s Radio Bums with an S, and DJs with an S. So, We’re on all social media @radiobumsdjschools, Facebook and Instagram. We’re not using Twitter, I don’t know why. 720-309-4895. 720-309-4895 to get in contact with us. Come learn some DJ skills, or some audio production-
WIGNZ:                Or a podcast.
DJ Chonz:            Or a podcast from Wignz coming real soon, once he gives me the curriculum.
WIGNZ:                Oh, shit. I’ve got to build a curriculum? [inaudible 00:36:43]
DJ Chonz:            Go do a curriculum and we’ll make it happen for you. But I appreciate it, bro. Thanks for having me on.

The views and opinions expressed in “Yolo Rum Podcast” are those of Producer WIGNZ and/or the guests, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Yolo Rum LLC.

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Yolo Rum Podcast Interview w/ CEO and Tour Manager of SOJA


Yolo Rum Podcast Interview about Yolo Rum History and Crowdfund with: Phil Guerin and Eric Swanson

Phil and Eric talk with WIGNZ about Yolo Rum’s history, and discuss how the crowdfund campaign is giving individuals a chance to invest in the award winning Yolo Rum. Eric also talks about his music projects with Slightly Stoopid, and what it’s like to be the tour manager for SOJA.

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Speaker 1:           This is the Yolo Rum podcast with WIGNZ.
WIGNZ:                Yolo Rum podcast, episode three. We’ve had Ballyhoo in here, Howie, and then we’ve had Caspa, but it’s a Yolo Rum podcast, so we have to kick it off right. We have the founder and CEO with us, Phil. Say hello, Phil.
Phil:                       Hello everybody.
WIGNZ:                So, we’re going to get into it, but we also have on the phone with us chief business development officer for Yolo Rum, Eric Swanson. What’s up Eric?
Eric:                        Hey, hey. How’s it going?
Phil:                       In the house!
WIGNZ:                Eric in the House. E3PO. He goes by multiple names. I think this is a good episode. Eric is out in Florida. Is that where you’re at right now, Eric, you’re in Florida? I know you travel a lot.
Phil:                       I am. I’m currently in Sain Petersburg, Florida.
WIGNZ:                And Eric kills it out there for Yolo Rum. I mean, he kills it just in general for us for years, so we’ll get into that whole story about how Phil and Eric met and what started this relationship that helped us get Yolo Rum in Florida. Phil, let’s do a little intro, man. Let’s talk about Yolo Rum, how you founded this amazing company, this amazing brand, and then let’s talk about how you started that relationship with Eric and got that going. How did Yolo Rum officially start, Phil?
Phil:                       You know, traveling to Central America and drinking a lot of Rum and wondering why people don’t drink more rum in the United States, I started out on a personal mission to introduce everybody to delicious, Central American rum. Yolo Rum achieves that. It’s from Panama, and it’s made from the best rum maker in the world, Don Poncho Fernandez, and we’ve won 21 international awards to date.
WIGNZ:                Yes sir, and we’re sipping on some Yolo rum right now.
Phil:                       Yeah. Cheers. Yolo.
WIGNZ:                We’ve got Phil’s signature drink, the Pom. A little bit of Yolo Silver in there and some Perrier, and we made some videos, so I can actually make drinks now, Eric I know Eric’s good at the cocktails. I suck at those. If it’s not a coke and rum, I don’t know how to make it.
Eric:                        No, the videos are crushing, and Yolo Rum itself is crushing. It never ceases to amaze me the things that we overcome and the things that we accomplish as a team. With Phil’s excellent leadership and the people he has around him, I hate to use a baseball euphemism, but it’s sort of like he has built a World Series team, and it’s just waiting for the right month to kick it all off and grab the trophy. It’s crazy how far the videos have come, how far the company has come as a whole, I guess, is what I’m getting around to.
WIGNZ:                I agree, and Eric, I know you’re going to hate this because you’re a Cubs fan, but I was thinking of that movie with Brad Pitt where he helps the Oakland A’s build it all of statistics.
Eric:                        Money Ball.
WIGNZ:                Money Ball, yeah, and so you are the Brad Pitt of the rum industry, bro, you’re the Money Ball, Phil.
Eric:                        Yeah, Phil is the Brad Pitt of the rum industry.
Phil:                       I look a lot like him too. That’s probably what you guys are saying. Frequently, I am told that, so I am not surprised to hear this now. That’s why I had no reaction. It’s like yeah, of course.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. You’re used to it by now.
Phil:                       I’m used to it. I definitely resemble Brad Pitt.
WIGNZ:                Without a doubt. Without a doubt. After a few rum drinks, I’m just looking at you thinking that I’m in fucking Fight Club right now, bro.
Phil:                       Now you’re scaring me.
WIGNZ:                I want to get into, Eric, overall, as a musician and a tour manager now, but let’s talk a little bit about how you and Phil connected. That’ll kind of touch upon that, but I think that story’s crazy. How did you and Phil … I mean, you’re from two different worlds. You’re in Florida. We’re out here in Colorado. The rum was kind of based in Denver, and because of you, it’s in Florida, but how did that initial relationship get started between you two?
Eric:                        I always wonder how people have such interesting stories when they tell them, and I’m like wow, that’s amazing that that happened to you, and how Phil and I came about actually is a really interesting story. I think it was all by natural cause, but I was working with Slightly Stupid and Silverback, have for years. Previous to this life that I’m living now, I was a graphic designer for many years, and I wrapped boats, and cars, and planes, and babies with vinyl graphics. Occasionally, I get the call for some special stuff, and I believe I got an email from Cyprus Hill, Slightly Stupid, Seedless and Silverback.
Eric:                        They all said hey, would you be interested in wrapping a van, and they sent me a picture of a cartoon, and this is something Dane Homequest drew up for one of the Red Rock shows, Slightly Stupid, Cyprus Hill, and 420 at Red Rock, and what they wanted to do is take the cartoon off the poster and drive it onto the stage for access television, and those guys are great about that stuff too. Who makes a cartoon of reality? Well, it’s guys like Phil and I.
Eric:                        So, Phil, in his mixed up world, if I’m remembering correctly, working with Seedless pretty heavy at that time, and having the networking, again, the great team around him that was able to pull this off, Josh was able to put together this van. So, he got an old, what was it Phil?
Phil:                       68 Chevy. Yeah, it was a 68 Chevy van.
WIGNZ:                How did you find that?
Phil:                       It was a farm find, actually. There were a couple, but it was a fresh farm find, and we had to put a new motor in it. We had actually, when we got this project, we had six days to complete it when they told us we were going to do it. We actually found it-
WIGNZ:                It’s like a reality show.
Phil:                       -bought it. We should’ve really documented it after we did it, but it was a marathon. By the end of it, we were all like dying from pneumonia because we had all been working like-
WIGNZ:                Yeah because you’re saying the show is probably going down on 4/20. It’s 4/20. So, you’re looking at April 14th, they come at you-
Phil:                       Exactly.
WIGNZ:                -and say hey, we want this to happen.
Phil:                       So, we totally had to rebuild this van on the interior and exterior, did an extremely good job-
Eric:                        Absolutely amazing, and this is no small feat, and I think we need to kind of focus on what a large feat that this was, and when I showed up, or when I got the call … sorry. My dog is barking.
WIGNZ:                I’m sorry. Eric’s dog looks like one of those dogs that should be in a commercial. He should be on the biscuit box for dogs.
Phil:                       Can we see a picture of the dog?
WIGNZ:                We should show you, Brad Pitt, holding the dog, bro.
Phil:                       Oh yeah, whatever.
Eric:                        So, I get the call about this van, and I’m like okay, well I have the same among of time to prepare the large format graphics, which at that time, it was not quite as advanced and we had to leave it drying for a couple of days, and it shut down a printing shop here in Tampa for two days to print all the material for this van. So, I ball it up or roll it up, put it in a suitcase, and get on a plane, and I get off the plane, and they’re just like yeah, go down to this garage, and here sits this van, primered up, beautiful shag green, lime green interior plush carpeting and disco ball hanging from the inside. I was like holy crap. Not only did they find a van to match the poster, they got the exact van and built it out to specs.
WIGNZ:                That is a reality show, yeah.
Eric:                        We spent three days, to speed that part of the story up, Phil, every day from gosh, I don’t even know when we started, 6 am to 3 am, for three days we spent in this garage, a mechanic shop.
WIGNZ:                And not even knowing each other, right, because at this point-
Eric:                        No.
WIGNZ:                -you guys were just the middle men for the higher ups.
Eric:                        And we’re sitting there talking at some point, and we’re almost through with the van at this point, thank God, and he’s like yeah, so this rum, and he brings it up, and I’m like huh, it sounds awesome. Long and short of it, talked about me living in Florida and whatever. So, anyway, the week after, Phil gave me pneumonia, which he argues to this day that he did not.
Phil:                       I think that we all got it from several places.
Eric:                        I had two ear infections and pneumonia when I came home. I’m not kidding. It was brutal.
Phil:                       I couldn’t even go to that show. That was horrible. I was so sick, I couldn’t even go to the 4/20 show-
WIGNZ:                After all that work, you couldn’t even see the van drive out.
Phil:                       I was supposed to be backstage with the van.
Eric:                        If I remember correctly, Phil’s doctor put him on a breathing machine or something.
Phil:                       Yeah, I was doing nebulizer treatments. God, that was crazy. We just worked so hard. We just worked as hard as we could.
WIGNZ:                I’m sorry for Eric and for you, Phil, and I think all of us at Yolo Rum, that’s just the work ethic of all of us, and so I think that’s probably what … I mean, obviously, kindled that bond and relationship between you two because you had appreciation that you guys were really working yourself to death.
Eric:                        Absolutely. Absolutely.
Phil:                       And Eric did a great job wrapping the van. It was amazing. Came in, attack of the project.
Eric:                        There’s no shortcoming with Phil, and when it comes down to it, his probably only shortcoming is that he wants to do it all, but anything he sets his mind out to do, he does. I learned from seeing his employees from his other businesses, all of them smiling and happy, and he really has a healthy environment around ti.
WIGNZ:                Agreed.
Phil:                       Thanks guys.
Eric:                        He’s just an amazing leader, and it’s been amazing to be a part of.
Phil:                       Aw shucks.
WIGNZ:                You’re the leader of Fight Club.
Eric:                        He says we need rum in Florida, and I’m like yeah, there’s a lot of rum down here, and it’s like yeah, well what’s up with that? He’s like you might be the guy. I’m like I don’t think I’m the guy, and he’s like I might be the guy.
WIGNZ:                Phil does have that. Phil can spot the talent, I think, even in the individual without the individual knowing that they have that talent.
Phil:                       Well, you guys are all part of this team. We have like an Oceans 11 here at Yolo Rum.
WIGNZ:                Yep.
Phil:                       And you guys are definitely part of that. Everybody plays their role, but we bring it strong. We have a crazy team, and you guys are definitely a huge part of that, and it’s by no coincidence or by luck that you guys are here. You have earned your position in the company, and we’ve done this. We’ve grinded this out over the last five years together, and we’ve achieved amazing things. We’re just at the very beginning, but now, things are really starting to come together.
Phil:                       I commend you guys for sticking to it and having the discipline to be able to say hey, we’re going to work on this project, and it’s not going to be done today, and it’s not going to be done tomorrow, but in several years from now, we’re going to have this amazing company, and we’ve built it from nothing. You guys have earned every ounce of respect that I have for you, and I appreciate everything that you guys do every single day, and we are a crazy animal, and I say that a lot of times, but all of our skills together are unparalleled as far as I’m concerned.
WIGNZ:                Now, so Yolo Rum has been around for five years. You guys starting that relationship, you were almost, I’d like to say since the beginning, right Eric? You’ve been part of Yolo since-
Eric:                        Yeah, I think he was probably a year in at that point. He had some in the country for sure, but we were self-distributing in Colorado and had a few accounts, and I think Phil was really trying to wrap his mind around what he was going to do with it. I brought home, or however the legal term is, I wound up with a couple bottles in Florida, and I took them to a couple of places, and people were like yeah, we like it. I don’t know if in the beginning, they got behind the brand as much as they got behind the people. Phil and the team visited Florida many times, and it’s just an infectious group of people. There’s no two ways about it. If we were selling frisbees, when we leave the room, you’re going to-
WIGNZ:                Love that frisbee.
Eric:                        Yeah.
WIGNZ:                Seriously, I mean, I kind of want to fast forward to where Phil saw the potential for a podcast, and we started Larry Uncensored in the Yolo Rum studio, but even that relationship, Eric, you allowed us to go back stage at Red Rocks for a Slightly Stupid show, and we set up, and it had never really been done before, but we set up and recorded a podcast backstage at the Slightly Stupid show. We got to talk to John Philips, who was the manager for Sublime back in the day, and then was part of Silverback that you talked about earlier, and so that in and of itself was okay, I need to, for me personally, I need to meet the expectations of what these guys are delivering.
WIGNZ:                Phil delivers a great product with the rum. He executes business on point. I was like Eric is a part of an amazing tour with an amazing band, and I have to execute on here. So, I think it’s very nice to almost come full circle in this moment and be able to say hey, our Yolo Rum podcast episode three going off. We’re not only just talking about the rum, but we get to talk about the history and kind of document this story because this story is so unique, and I just think, like you said, it’s Oceans 11, Phil.
Phil:                       Absolutely.
Eric:                        There’s a skillset, Wig, in capturing. You meet a lot of interesting people in the world, and you just have to remember it. There’s real value to podcasts and how far the technology has come because you do really bring out some details and some stories, and Phil, people will pay money one day to hear Phil speak. He’s that type of businessman. He’s that savvy, and he’s that motivational that he should have his own business. He started from a clay mushroom and a 200 dollar loan, I think, and to think of all the things he’s done, and to think that you can capture it on any level for other people to hear is amazing.
WIGNZ:                No, I agree. It’s exciting to see all of us come together and know what’s coming next. For everyone out there, a lot of you are probably listening to this because there’s that opportunity to invest in Yolo Rum. We have a chance for you to own a piece of Yolo Rum. So, a lot of you are listening to this podcast, and you know the history now, but there is that opportunity, and it depends on when you’re listening to this podcast, but it’s coming out to where you can actually literally get a piece of this company., and Phil, do you want to talk a little bit about what that opportunity is and what people can expect with it?
Phil:                       We’re actually going to be doing what’s called an equity crowdfunding, and that will be on Wefunder’s platform, which I’m excited to announce, and that’s the first time that I’ve said that publicly. It makes me feel funny inside, but it’s exciting. We’re authorizing 10 percent of the shares of the company to be sold for a fundraise. We’re not just looking for people to invest money in our company. We’re really looking for people to help us with sales leads, get out and ask for the product, buy the product, tell their friends about it, but we really want people to be actively involved and kind of like a brand ambassador.
Phil:                       That’s why this way that we’re going is so important to us, and it’s democracy funding, and we’re going to grow this company up by using people, and the same skills that we have, we’re going to ask other people to kind of step up and help us do it too. It’ll be live and active hopefully in the beginning of June 2018, depending on when you’re listening to this.
WIGNZ:                Exactly. You missed your chance if it’s after that.
Eric:                        Exactly. Once in a lifetime.
Phil:                       We’re using it as a big springboard to kind of get our brand out there and to build on our brand, and we have some pretty big plans for our brand. We were really pre-equity or pre-revenue is really what I want to say, before this point, but now we have distribution nailed down, national distribution nailed down, and we have some really exciting things happening. So, it’s a good time to invest in us. It’s a good time to invest in our company.
WIGNZ:                Can we talk about the trademark at all?
Phil:                       You know, the trademark was an exciting journey. We’ve had a lot of big companies try to kind of keep the little guy down, and we were able to prevail in a kind of tort over our trademark, but after five and a half years, we will be solidifying our trademark, which is a really exciting thing for us. We’ve had to actually clear a bunch of people that tried to lay stake and claim to it, but really didn’t have legitimate rights, and we were the first. Our website was up, and we had our certification, our labels, our approvals from the government, and we own Yolo Rum, and that’s our trademark. Everybody that knows, knows.
WIGNZ:                Yeah. It’s next level, and it’s just an exciting time because I think we’ve been working hard for this moment since the van wrapping with Eric to get to this precipice, if you will, and I think it’s just super exciting, and I think that being able to do this podcast at the same time that we’re doing that and talking to the audience because I think the more that our relationships grow with everyone out there, the more we can have cool guests like Ballyhoo, which was because of Eric, and talk to these guests. Eric, because of you, man, we’ve had the opportunity to talk to Miles from Slightly Stupid. We’ve talked to John Philips. We’ve talked to the bass player for Soja. You yourself, you’re very modest, and I’ve been waiting, and I’ve been saying oh, I need to have you on this podcast. We’ve got to have you on this podcast. Talk about your experience. As a musician, you’re now the tour manager for Soja. Is that right?
Eric:                        That’s correct.
WIGNZ:                So, how did you get into the music scene? How did you evolve, and where was your starting point? I know that’s probably a long, loaded question, but how did you get from a musician, and you grew E3PO, which I remember and love that name, to the point of where you’re the tour manager for Soja?
Eric:                        I think in short, you just have to keep at anything. As a kid playing music, I wanted to do that as a profession, and over time, life beats that out of you. Things we love, life beats it out of you. You wind up going to the mill or to the factory and working, and I’d leave the music business, and I’d try that for a while, and I’d go back to the music business. I just realized if you put me in a cubicle, I’ll die, and so I found fluid work through graphic design and things that allowed me to tour as a musician, and then after 15 years of that, you realize that the format’s changed, the market, the climate changes.
Eric:                        I decided at some point in the internet era entering the scene that I knew if I wasn’t going to be on the cover of Rolling Stone, that I still had to be in the business, and that was my happy place. I think it’s important everyone find a happy place. I found ways, like Yolo Rum, to make it work together. I found other ways to make it work together so that instead of one pulling another, everything you do can kind of help one another.
Eric:                        Yolo Rum has been very supportive of that, and the music business has been very supportive of Yolo Rum, as to where brands pay six figures to be endorsed by them at concerts, and we didn’t pay anything. So, we were able to set up Yolo Rum stuff backstage at concerts and kind of make way for the podcast and et cetera, but the truth of the matter is, if you put it in a nutshell … demo tips in my bedroom, and I mailed them to a record company from the time I was 15 until God knows when, and finally, they just said you know what, we don’t want to sign you, but we’re going to give you a job.
WIGNZ:                Persistence. Persistence pays off, and not giving up on your dreams. I think that’s kind of what summarizes that.
Phil:                       And now, he’s like doing some pretty big recording stuff. What do you got going on?
WIGNZ:                Yeah, that’s right. You’ve got the new song “Alright” with Dela from Slightly Stupid, Kenny Bongos, Soja, Ted from Pacifier, and I mean, even the proceeds of that are going to charity. Yeah, tell us a little bit about that.
Eric:                        Yeah, we have a new track. It’s up on iTunes and all those places. It’s called “Alright” and I started this … I have a million bands, whatever, and I just got tired of all the band names, and Eric Swanson is not a cool name by any stretch of the imagination.
WIGNZ:                Oh, come on man.
Eric:                        Well, you know, everyone advised against calling it Eric Swanson. I was like you know what, it’s going to be alright, and I just was like it’s fine, but what I did was wanted to create … people don’t pay for music anymore. Streaming has kind of-
WIGNZ:                Killed that.
Eric:                        Yeah, kind of killed that, but I thought there was still a way to buy music for a cause, not just because. So, we came up with this project. It’s still in the process right now, but it’s called Lenders of Light, and it’s sort of like a super group. It’s an idea that we produce these singles, and put it out, and the Lenders of Light project means that all the proceeds will go to charity, and all of the proceeds, if you download “Alright” goes to the American Cancer Society, specifically Relay for Life. Everybody got behind it. It’s just a good cause, and when you see it shared across the platforms and everybody talking about it, it just feels good to do it.
WIGNZ:                It shows your love for music. I think it fills your passion. Your whole story shows that, but it’s not about the almighty dollar, which is what I think drives some of these kids … I don’t want to say kids. It makes me sound old, but these musicians that thing oh yeah, I want to be millions, I want to show that bling, and you’re just about the music and the art.
Eric:                        Yeah, I think … the thing is about anything in life, and Phil can attest to this, and I’m sure you can too, Wig, do what you love, but be flexible. Just because you love laying bricks doesn’t mean you’re always going to lay great bricks on a Friday. You sometimes have to lay red, small bricks on a Monday, you know? Sometimes, you have to make the bricks. You have to be flexible, and I think the real gravity of the situation hit me at I’m tour manager for Soja, two time Grammy nominee Reggae band, I’m a big fan as well as part of their team, I was sitting in my office a month ago, or couple weeks ago, seems like months ago now, and they were like hey, can you come out onstage?
Eric:                        I was like oh shit, what’s the problem? So, I get up and I walk out there, and I’m like what’s going on, guys, and the whole band is playing the song “Alright” and I’m like what the hell. They’re like get on the mic, man, and I was like oh this is awesome. So, we did the song, and we finished. I was like guys, best day ever. This was really cool, and they were like well, we’re doing it tonight, and I was like okay. So, sold out show in South Carolina, they brought me out onstage, and we did it, and they pumped the song. I was like holy cow.
Phil:                       Dang dude. Good job. Congratulations, man.
WIGNZ:                That’s amazing. Yeah, congrats.
Eric:                        Yeah, so the next day, you know, they’re just like it’s a great song, great cause, we want to support you, whatever, and I’m like cool, it was a lot of fun, best day ever. So, the next day, we’re in Atlanta at the Sweetwater 420 Festival, and we are in the shadows of this huge skyscraper with a 20 foot sign on it that says American Cancer Society, and we all walked off the tour bus and looked at each other, and they’re like we gotta do it again today. So, yeah, it was amazing. Jacob Hemphill, the singer of Soja, in-between songs, introduces the track patiently and compassionately, and we’re able to spread the love, man. So, it’s love begotten love with love.
WIGNZ:                That’s amazing, and that’s just the power of music in and of itself. Being able to help others, I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that. That feeling of … was that the largest crowd you were able to perform in front of? What was that like? Were you nervous, did the nerves go away because I know you’ve been performing for so long. How did you feel?
Eric:                        I don’t think nervous is the right word, but I think 20,000 people, well in that particular case, for whatever reason, Jacob decided to have them chant my name. He was like say this name, Eric Swanson, and they’re like Eric Swanson, and he’s like no, that wasn’t good enough. Say it again and articulate. Eric Swanson. So, the whole crowd says Eric Swanson. He’s like okay, well that’s our tour manager, and we’re going to bring him out, and I was like that was sort of momentous, I guess.
Eric:                        Yes, it was the biggest crowd, to answer your question. That was. It brought me to tears for more than one reason. We’re all affected by cancer, and I’m not trying to bring the vibe of this whole podcast down, but we all have those people in our lives, and the gravity of the situation hits you in different times. It brought tears to my eyes. So, was it the best day ever, yeah, probably. It was cool, but you should buy it yourself or stream it a bunch and hopefully we can all chip away at-
WIGNZ:                Yeah, all make a difference and make an impact. Well, Eric, it’s amazing what you’re doing. I’m hoping you’re going to be back in Colorado. Does it look like Soja is going to be headed this way?
Eric:                        Yeah. We’re going to be back, and in fact, maybe we can get one of the guys on a podcast. I’m going to be in Winter Park with the guys here coming up.
Phil:                       When is that? When are you guys going to do that?
Eric:                        The Winter Park show, we’re in Fort Collins on the 15th of June, and we’re in Winter Park on the 16th of June.
WIGNZ:                Well, Eric, you’re just everywhere. It’s exciting to have you just be part of this as you do what you do. The chief business development officer, the official title for Yolo Rum, and Phil, thank you. The CEO and founder of Yolo Rum.
Phil:                       What’s your title?
WIGNZ:                Oh, I am the chief digital officer.
Phil:                       There you go. Congratulations to both of you guys on that.
Eric:                        Yeah, that’s a huge deal.
Phil:                       It is a big deal.
Eric:                        And if anyone does listen to this podcast and trying to make sense of it, the reality of it is is the investing into this company is like investing into a family, and it’s probably never been done before, which is pretty much our MO, and it’s really exciting to be a part of something that feels this good. Just go with the flow. Check us out online, and we have enough social media and intellectual property out there to entice you.
WIGNZ:                You never know. It might get you to a Soja show. You might be able to go hang out with Eric, and Phil and me right there at a Soja show right there in Winter Park. You never know.
Eric:                        Yeah, if you listen all the way through this podcast, then you hear this moment.
WIGNZ:                Exactly. You deserve it. Yeah. Thank you, Eric. Thank you, Phil. Episode three of the Yolo Rum podcast. We need you to like and subscribe and download, and that’s going to help us spread this word, and if you’ve been listening, it’s probably because you’ve been interested in knowing the history of Yolo Rum and knowing the team that’s involved with it. We’re just three people in this team. The team is made up of, Phil was saying, Oceans 11 caliber team, and it’s just amazing. We’ve got Larry and Cathy today, but we also have everyone behind the scenes. Chris, Sam, and we’ve got Jim Pop. It’s just an amazing team, and we’re excited to have every one of you be part of this with us., and don’t forget, download, like, subscribe, and you never know. Next podcast, we might have Soja on here. We’ll figure that out, but you’re only going to know if you subscribe. Yolo Rum podcast, episode three. Thank you guys.
Phil:                       Yolo.
Eric:                        Yeah, Yolo.