I Am I Be: ‘Living On The Bridge’ Interview

This interview originally published at Living On The Bridge back in 2013. It may be the most I’ve ever spoken on the record and definitely the most open I’ve been in an interview setting, which was thanks to the interviewer, Kelton Buchanan, creating a comfortable conversation. The original site is no longer up and I needed some of the text for reference. So I figured why not publish it again, so here we are.

Truly growing up with the internet, John Gotty, has played an important role in the rise and spread of some of your favorite new musicians. Going by the internet nom de plume, John Gotty, was born and raised in Tennessee and began his career as a high school English teacher in 1999. After six years of teaching English he started “The Smoking Section” (smokingsection.net) out of boredom. The website began to take off, creating many sleepless nights and tiresome days. Eventually, John had to make a decision: stay with the security of teaching or take a chance with what he truly loved.

He chose the latter and hasn’t looked back since.

Collaborating with brands such as Nike and McDonald's, while also hosting events has ensured that John’s role as a teacher extends well beyond the classroom and into hip-hop culture.

Managing a bevy of truly talented writers is much like managing a classroom, and Gotty is definitely worthy of “Teacher of the Year” in that department. With content focused on music, clothing, sports, and everything in between, The Smoking Section is one of the top sites of its kind. And at the heart of all the success, Gotty remains steadfast in his and the site’s authenticity and creativity in a time where others set out to copy trends. What started as an e-mail chain to friends nearly eight years ago has grown into a cultural landmark in the ever expanding Hip-Hop internet culture and Gotty has enjoyed every minute of it.

After speaking with him on topics ranging from how social media affects current students to the state of hip-hop, I have no doubt that his focused and steady approach with continue to yield great rewards.

How’d your upbringing influence shape who you are today?

It was everything.

That’s who you are, you know. I grew up in a small town outside of Nashville, maybe an hour outside. I came to Nashville when I was going to Tennessee State University in 94’ and have been here ever since. Coming from a small town the options were limited and I didn’t want to go back.

I was ready to keep growing and keep living.

As far as my personal upbringing, a lot of my personal values came from my parents. They instilled certain values in me and that’s where it started at.

What inspired you to initially become a teacher after college?

It all boils down to my family. One of the things my paternal grandfather did, besides running a nightclub and bootlegging liquor, was being very instrumental in the Civil Rights movement in his area. So I watched him make sacrifices and give to the community. That also carried over to my dad, who is a fire inspector by occupation, and when we were growing up he was always coaching basketball. Ever since I was eightyears old, he’s been coaching basketball damn near every day. A lot of that is giving. I saw him constantly interact with people and give to people and that was really a huge influence. I knew I wanted to give back and I knew I had a certain knack for dealing with young people so it seemed like a natural fit as far as what my profession would be growing up.

What were some of your favorite aspects of teaching?

My motto regarding teaching was always that you’re going to walk in there every day and see something that’s either going to make you laugh or make you cry.

Thankfully, 9 out of 10 times, it’s going to be something that made you laugh. You know, because kids are kids. Once you get older and you start to look at them like “Damn, that was me growing up”. They’re so impressionable and the world is still wide open to them. Especially teenagers that have that invincible feeling. Kids just have a certain outlook that’s fun to be around. They’re young and full of energy and some of that carries over to you.

How’d your teaching experience influence your site, The Smoking Section?

When I first started doing TSS, kids were one of the ways that I kept track of what was new and hot in music. Just by sitting around and listening to their conversations. Just watching them, sitting back and letting them do them. You may have “internet rappers” and then you have artists that people are actually listening to. That’s the kind of perspective kids give you.

When Webbie and Boosie first popped up on the scene, I really liked Webbie. I thought he was cool. A group of kids from the hood at the school I was teaching at, and damn near the whole school, loved Boosie. They would damn near be ready to fight you if you said something negative about Boosie. When you see kids feeling that impassioned about something, it’s like “Damn, what am I missing?“

“What am I not hearing?” Kids provide a unique perspective that you can’t get anywhere else. I had a lot of fun with it as well.

Why’d you ultimately stop teaching? Was it to start TSS?

I had actually been doing TSS for several years at the point, maybe 4 years, and we were growing quick. I was able to do the double duty for a certain period of time but at a certain point we were growing so fast and opportunities were coming in that it got to the fork in the road where you have to make a decision — I can keep doing both but it’s going to put a lot of wear and tear on me and there’s this idea that you have a window that you can be successful in with anything. I knew I could always teach but I didn’t know how long this window would be open so I knew I had to take these opportunities now otherwise I’d be looking back later in life regretting it.

So I just took a leap of faith of sorts.

What was your students’ reaction to the blog? Did you become the cool teacher with music blog? How was it to have your students see you in a classroom setting and get online and see you as “John Gotty”?

Nah, I never brought the site into the mix. This was the early part of the internet, the MySpace days where people didn’t view social media like they do now. You could get in trouble for what you said online, you can today but it was stricter then. I knew if I wanted to do what I did and say what I wanted to say freely online then I had to keep it out of the classroom.

Kids never knew.

There was one point in time where I ran a sneaker site that sold shoes. This was way before the shoe culture blew up into what it is now and we were one of the first sites selling rare shoes. I could bring that into the school building because the kids already knew every Friday that I was going to come in wearing a pair of shoes they had never seen before. And I was able to say go to this site and check out the shoes. So that was a little bit different because you’re not espousing your personal views there, you’re just selling a product. So kids actually knew me more for shoes than music.

Having experience as an English teacher, as well as contributing a lot on social media, how do you think social media affects students today? Does it make them more creative or less fundamentally sound?

It’s completely fucking up grammar (laughs). Everybody knows that. It’s a different age though. I think now they are probably more in touch with who they are, even though it may not be who they end up being in life. They’re able to express themselves better because they’re so used to sharing themselves online and the internet is better from that angle.

But as far as being able to write, create strong sentences, understand subject-verb agreement, you know, really intricate shit about the language — it’s cut short and it’s totally different now. I don’t know about you, but it’s like now, if I have to pick up a pen and write, after I write about five to ten words my hand hurts and it’s like I’m really having to focus to be able to write. No joke. I had to write a sympathy card for someone last night and I really had to sit down and focus for those five minutes to really get the words written legibly on this card. Writing just doesn’t exist.

Overall, I think it’s a disadvantage. For example, I’ve got a seven-year-old son and we were at the doctor’s office yesterday and I asked him “Do you want to check out a magazine?” and he gave me the most scrunched up face ever, like “What the fuck are you talking about? — I don’t want to read a magazine”. They are so used to consuming stuff online or in digital formats, reading a book or magazine or writing, it’s all foreign to them. It’s not second nature to them.

These kids will never have tangible shit. They’ll never know how to pick up a newspaper. They’ll never know buying a cd or buying a LP. They’ll never know picking up tangible goods. They’ll never know picking up an encyclopedia. They rely on the internet and Wikipedia. If it’s on the internet, it’s true. You know that right (laughs). That’s what these kids grow up with. It’s kind of a give and take with the internet.

What are some of the parallels that you’ve noticed between hip-hop and English literature? Whether it’s seeing artists as characters with a role to play or an archetype?

All of those things. The motifs.

I taught 9th and 10th grade English literature and we focused a lot on Shakespeare. And you had to teach this idea of motifs. To get them into Shakespeare and understand Romeo & Juliet, you had to show them that the story of love is something that’s always going to be present in art. And one of the movies that I always used to throw out to them was Save the Last Dance with Julia Stiles. It’s like they’re star crossed lovers, never supposed to be, and that’s the same thing with Romeo and Juliet.

The same thing in music. You’ve got these constant motifs that have been drawn from wherever that are still in music to this day. From the beginning of music until now. The easiest way for me to teach Julius Caesar to kids was to ask them if they had ever had a friend stab them in the back. Well Caesar had a friend who stabbed him in the back, literally. Art is always going to be built on certain motifs because we as humans with always go through certain stages of life. Art will always reflect that. Sometimes we forget that rap and music are art forms but at the end of the day it’s still art.

In what ways is running a website similar to managing a high school classroom?

I have about 12 writers so I would say that you definitely get into managing different personalities. That’s speaking from my perspective because my position has changed over the years. At first, I was just writing and blogging about my experiences with music and as we grew I had to move into an editor role that I had to learn on the fly. I think the biggest parallel is managing different personalities, knowing that certain leadership styles that work for some may not work for others.

Music seems to have a preservative effect, in which songs and albums can transform us back into a time in our lives more effectively than pictures or video. What are some songs or albums that take you back in time?

Aww man I could name a million. You pick a time and I could tell you a song.

The first one that’s coming to my mind is built off a conversation I had with my brother in law and we were talking about Tupac’s “Me Against the World” album. It was just one of those albums that everybody gravitated to. It felt like Pac’s struggle in his life, was your struggle in your life. Especially if you were a young male that was kind of into the street life, not all the way in but just dibbling and dabbling. You’re coming of age as a man and you’re grappling with how to be a man. You’re trying to figure out how to do it properly and it felt like “Me Against the World” just spoke to you.

What songs remind you most of your childhood?

I could definitely remember hearing “La Di Da Di” as a kid. I heard that around Christmas time, around when Doug E. Fresh came out. My granddad owned a club and they would bring new vinyl and we were all gathered around as young kids and he’s playing “La Di Da Di” for us, everyone is packed in a room doing the wop, doing shit like that. Dancing to it. I can think all the way back to second grade. I traded Dana Dane’s second tape for maybe Whodini’s second tape, the red joint with “Friends,” with the janitor. Me and the school janitor used to always swap tapes. This was way before explicit content stickers were on covers so I would take my allowance and go buy tapes on Fridays, and if I didn’t like it I would come in and trade with the janitor. Sometimes he got the best of me and sometimes I got the best of him. But that was a really early experience for rap right there.

You have to remember, I’m 37, you got music from actual people, hand to hand. More so than you got it from the radio or through media because rap wasn’t on the radio. There wasn’t a million blogs telling you that this song was hot. You relied on other people.

When you decided to start your site, The Smoking Section, what were some of the initial fears you had?

This is going to sound like complete and utter shit but I didn’t have any fears. I had already been on the internet. I tell people now there’s no way I could live without the internet at this point because I’ve been online so long. I know and have grown up with so many people across the world through forums and AIM chats. I know guys that have been through everything from personal tragedies to the birth of their kids and I’ve known them since 1999 or 2000.

We started the shoe thing around 2000 and we ran with that until it got too saturated and there really wasn’t any money to be made. But there was a period where I was online, selling stuff 24/7, 365 days a year so I knew how to conduct myself online. I was comfortable with my language and persona online which is pretty much who I am as a person so I didn’t have any fears.

So what gave you the push to start the site?

Actually what made me start the site was that I got sober, number 1. I’m me. I’m an addict. I’m a recovering alcoholic. Once I got sober I was bored because I couldn’t do shoes anymore, so that wasn’t occupying my time. I couldn’t get drunk anymore so that wasn’t occupying my time. So at that point I was doing a whole lot of self-examination and I tried to figure out what the constants were for me. And one was music.

That was about the time that blogs were slowly starting to pop up so there was no fear. You didn’t know that it was going to grow into what it is today. I just started out sending an e-mail to 15 or 20 of my friends, back in the Napster and LimeWire days. Each day I would send out some songs and throw some words to it and one of the guys in the group said you should start a blog, and I was like “What the fuck is a blog?” And we kept talking about it for a few weeks, and I was like “If it’s easier for me to put it there instead of e-mailing it to everyone, I’ll just put it here.” There’s no fear in that because you’re just doing what comes naturally to you.

What were some of the sacrifices you had to make early on to get TSS to where it is today?

Time. Time and energy.

I say it on Twitter a lot because I get frustrated when I’m doing work or I’m watching people and how they’re conducting themselves. Everybody wants to be somebody now. And they think because of the internet, they should be able to become somebody within a couple days or a couple months.

It takes time and it takes a lot of fucking work. A lot of work.

In the beginning I was teaching and doing the site. There were days where school started at 7 in the morning and I would have to wake up around 5 just so I could get 30–45 minutes of getting my coffee, round up materials that may have released that night, and try to scrap together an outline that I could finish when I got to school. Then I’m working during the day. I get out at 2 or 3 in the afternoon and I’m generally occupied with online stuff back then because I was single, anywhere from 10 to 1. Then I’m waking up at 5 in the morning right back at it. When you’re college age you can do a lot of that but when you get older, doing those long hours, with no sleep really wears you down after a point.

What’s 1 aspect of running a website that you wouldn’t trade for anything?

I’ve been blessed with autonomy where I don’t really have to answer with anybody on what we do. I work with the Uproxx network, which happens to be the 2 original founders of Rawkus Records. Once they got out of the music business they were transitioning into the internet. As they were getting started, we happened to interview them.

After we interviewed them, long story short, they kept track of us. We were still doing our thing and they were kind of developing their identity online and that’s when they started looking at building a creative network. And we were the first site they asked to come on. And throughout the whole thing they’ve never asked me to compromise who I was. They basically just let me do what the fuck I want to do. So we’re a part of the network but we have total autonomy. I don’t have to write or do anything that I don’t believe in. They worry about the business side of things and all I have to worry about is creating content every day.

Other people may have somebody over them telling them to do this or do that. The only thing I do and the only think I ask our writers to do is like whatever you’re writing about. Do what you like to do because you’ll do it with pride and conviction and make sure it’s quality work. You can’t trade that experience.

What’s 1 aspect of running a website that you could do without?

I’m accepting and grateful for where we are. And what we’re able to do so I can’t really complain about any of it. Some days it does get overbearing where it gets kind of redundant. You’re like “This music sucks”, nothing exciting is happening. Right now for example, I think I have 35,000 e-mails in my inbox. That many e-mails. Some days it can get hard. But most days, for me, we’re lucky enough that we don’t rely on just music so there are times when music is stale and you know what, we just won’t cover music. We’ll talk about sports or shoes, we may talk about TV. We’re not just limited to talking about music.

What’s shocked you most about where TSS is now?

Like I said, as far as what we’re doing, I’m grateful. You always have these goals and three or four years ago we established some goals that we wanted to accomplish, on a personal and team level. And we’ve already hit those goals as of March or April. When you’re accomplishing your goals you can’t really complain. You want to do it for love but you know that if you want to grow you have to set benchmarks that you want to hit. Right now we’re on point with them. When you step back and look at the big picture, I’m like “We’ve done a lot”. If I die today I can say that this creation has left a mark that people will remember and that’s cool with me.

What has shocked you most about the current music landscape?

I think it’s the fact that skills aren’t the number 1 thing that determine who is successful. Skills don’t determine who’s the best or receiving the most press. Maybe it’s 10–20% skills and actually being able to make good music while the rest is a mix of having a wild personality, who you’re affiliated with, and how much money you were able to pay.

A lot of it is that.

And it gets frustrating because you see really talented guys that aren’t getting recognition because they’re not affiliated with a label or they’re not an extremely outgoing personality that people can laugh at and have fun with. It’s like the music comes last to determine who’s successful, which kinda sucks. It’s the same thing with media as well. It’s not about quality as much. It’s who can do the most outrageous things. It’s just not about quality.

(L)Rapper Freddie Gibbs and John Gotty

How do you work to make TSS stand out from the many music-based sites out there?

With all the music that comes out now, one of the challenges, and what we try to do, is create a context. Because out of 200 songs that are coming out on a given day, as someone looking on the internet, I want to know why I should listen to person A’s music. So for us, one of our goals is to create a context someone can read into it and decide for themselves if that’s something they think they would be into. For a lot of shit, it’s not about creating that context. It’s “Yo, let’s get the music out there”; we’re not going to filter it. We’ve got 200 songs, we’re gonna post 199 and we’re going to start the next day off with the one we’ve got left over. And it’s this endless cycle of bullshit that gets old super quick.

As far as music goes, I general don’t read anybody else’s website. As far as reading music online, rap music, I don’t read anybody else’s shit because I’m generally disappointed in it. It’s nothing to read.

Describe the moment where you realized that TSS was taken off and becoming bigger than you initially realized

I can answer this one real quick. It wasn’t the money. It wasn’t the checks. It wasn’t the growth. It wasn’t the recognition. It was one thing: Nike, period.

I love shoes. Growing up when Nike was really strong and putting out amazing advertising with crazy shoes, I’m a Nike guy, I love them. I tell people I bleed orange for tworeasons — Syracuse Basketball and Nike. I had slowly been developing a relationship with Nike and around 2010 they came knocking. And it was at a strange point in my life.

Nike had a two-part event planned out for an extended, all expenses paid stay in New York, whole nine yards. The first part was in June or July and the 2nd part came when I had just switched to a new school, during that first week of teacher in-service training. I’m at this new school trying to get to know the principal and they’re trying to get to know me. The site is taking off, which is something I really didn’t verbalize to them but I knew it was taking off. And Nike is saying “Yo, part twois coming up”. So I’m like do I stick with what I know, which is teaching? Or do I take a big opportunity where I know there’s a limited window? Do I teach or go on this trip with Nike?

I’m like “This is Nike, they chose you, a kid from bumfuck, TN, who grew up idolizing them. They found you and want you to be a part of what they’re doing.” Everything else builds up to that moment, you’re happy with all those accomplishments — you hit those marks and you just keep moving. But when that came, it was like there’s no turning back. It was like you’re there. I wanted this point in my life and I’m there. I told myself to stop being scared and take the leap. You’re there for a reason, whether it be God-given, hard work, whatever the fuck it is, you’re there.

So I was like “Fuck teaching” (laughs).

Is it weird when people come up to you at a show or out and call you “John Gotty” instead of your real name?

I’m like 2 Chainz. My name is Gotty now (laughs). My best friend actually gave me the nickname when we were younger. We were in the streets and we were living and doing everything that you do in the streets and I earned that nickname. It wasn’t something that I just picked up, that wasn’t it. Wasn’t any Rick Ross shit. My first name is John and my nickname is Ty so that’s why you see the Gotty with the “ty”. It’s actually pulled from my name and mixed with the nickname my best friend gave me. When I transferred everything online for forums, I used the nickname that was comfortable to me. So now I’m used to it.

One day I walked into the eyeglass section in Target because my glasses were bugging the shit outta me and I needed to get them adjusted. And now pretty much everywhere, I go I make sure I have a certain hat - kind of like Nardwuar, you always expect him to have on glasses and the plaid hat, etc., I always wear a camo hat. So I was in the Target, and the guy behind me was standing there, I didn’t recognize him, wasn’t really paying attention or anything. But I turned around to look at the wall or something and this dude just starts going apeshit. He’s like “Ahhh, shit”. I’m like “What the fuck is wrong with this dude? Is he having a seizure?” He was like “Yo, you’re Gotty”. It’s just me, him, and the lady who worked there. Me and the lady are just standing there in awe because this dude is just losing it. That threw me off.

People know me but I’m definitely not famous.

There’s no ego, no conceit there- I’m humble as fuck. That’s one thing people don’t know. They say that anybody that tells you that they’re humble probably isn’t humble. I’m generally pretty humble and quiet. I don’t brag, I don’t want to be seen. I’d rather work and let my work speak for who I am. When shit like that happens it throws you off.

If you had the opportunity to put together a concert lineup of three acts, past or present, who would it be?

That’s a lot of guys man. I’ll try and think of some of the most electric shows I’ve seen. I would probably throw, just because it’s the first one that pops into my mind, Kendrick Lamar. Just to keep it new. Really dope. I think The Roots do an amazing show, probably one of the best I’ve ever seen. And just to satisfy myself, I would say a combination of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. You can probably say Miles is lead and ‘Trane is supporting him. But just out of a random pick, those would be the names that I’d toss out there.

PART 2

I’ve seen you have multiple twitter rants about bigger artists not acknowledging their early help from blogs. How important are these relationships to the career of an artist?

There are different levels to it.

I try hard not to deal with artists directly. Like period. Because they might not be this way as a person but when they’re in artist mode, it’s a very ego driven thing where it has to be about them. If you say anything that doesn’t please them or agree with them, they have a really hard time accepting it. So if you have a personal relationship with them that makes it even harder.

Like I can’t say that this artist put out a bad song, and I know him, because then he feels a certain kind of way about it. But as long as I can keep these guys over here, solely as creators and artists, and I’m being a critical fan it’s easier to talk about it.

I think one of the things that really frustrates me is when you see artists that forget who helped them and that’s not saying that any media outlet created an artist because an artist got there through their own hard work and sacrifices. Nobody makes an artist, an artist makes themselves. But it kind of gets funny when you see them doing interviews, premieres, or releases with these bigger outlets when they could have come back and helped out some of the smaller outlets, who really helped build them up.

When I watch an artist that I know we really did a strong early push for them when nobody cared about them and then they get up here and they don’t come back and say “Yo, premiere this song, thank you”. It can be just a random track. I’m gonna service the larger outlets, but I’m gonna make sure we throw you a bone as well. Especially with the internet.

These guys think that they are bigger than they are. Especially some of the new guys where they think they’re all going to have these Drake or Kendrick Lamar moments where they’ll go from being nobody to sky rocketing and getting $25K a show. And you watch them peak. Because I deal with them on shows sometimes and you can see an artist when they’re charging $1k to $3k to $9k, and they’re getting up to these astronomical numbers and at a certain point nobody is going to book them at that astronomical number because they’re not hot anymore. So they’re coming back down, charging $9k, $3k, back down to $1k and you really do see the same people on the way up on the way back down and that holds true for some of these artists because they forgot their foundation to a degree.

In your experience, what skills have you noticed in the more successful artists as opposed to those that don’t make it? Outside of talent.

Sticking to their guns. Sticking to who they are creatively and musically. Just sticking to the music that speaks truest for them and not trying to make radio records.

I say this constantly on Twitter, you’ve probably seen this, but no artist can say now that the label forced me to make a certain type of album. Especially the younger guys, none of them can say that, when Kendrick Lamar came out with his album because his album is true to his sound. There’s nothing forced on there and it’s a progression of all of his work. Really consistent. Top Dawg really protected him and made it where he could do that album. That’s why when you hear J. Cole talk about he let Nas down and you hear Lupe and Wiz saying Atlantic “made” me make this song, they basically had this song and three or four people had the option to take it and I took it. Atlantic made this song, not me.

You can’t use that cop out anymore because Kanye, granted it is Kanye, made this off the fucking wall album. Kendrick made this album. Jay made an album with no marketing, just did whatever the fuck he wanted to do. You’ve got all these people creating and marketing music on their terms that you can’t use that cop out anymore that somebody forced you to do anything. You allowed them to do that. You kind of played yourself in my opinion.

What advice would you give to up and coming artist, whether it’s perfect the live show, focus on who you are as opposed to following trends?

Definitely what you said. Make sure you have a very sharp and on point live show. Because that’s where a lot of artist are making their money at this point. I hate to see, especially when you’re going to these different festivals and you’re seeing these guys more than once over a couple years. If I see you at 1 festival and then a year later, you’re still up there rapping on a cd; I can’t fuck with you anymore, your live show sucks. I can’t tell anyone to spend money on this guy. You may be getting a great artist but it may it’s not a true performer and for that you could have stayed at home because this dude is rapping over a cd. So that’s 1 of my big things.

Another piece of advice would be to adopt a walk, don’t run philosophy. Don’t be in a rush to be famous in a week or a month. You have to accept that you’re going to have to do work and grow to get there. Don’t rush it. Take the steps as they come. Make sure every step is measured and exact. You see some of these guys taking really shitty deals that really stalls their career, like off the top of my head you think about Pac Div or The Cool Kids. They did whatever deal with Mountain Dew’s label they did when they were blowing up around 2010, and they basically just stalled the fuck out. That’s not to harp on them or speak negatively on them but that’s just an example. Don’t go for the money grab because you feel like you need the money and I’m not saying they did. Go for the money grab when the money grab fits were you’re at and who you want to be. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t go for it.

The third thing, I know it’s entertainment and I know it’s not 100% authentic, but try to be as authentic as possible and be able to look yourself in the mirror each day. Not from a financial perspective. Be able to look yourself in the mirror and be like I’m doing something positive, I’m creating quality music, I’m entertaining people. Whatever I’m doing, I have to be able to look myself in the mirror and be like “I’m ok with that”.

Which trait do you admire most in others?

Confidence

Which trait do you hate most in others?

Arrogance

Which trait do you love most in yourself?

I don’t have one

Which trait do you hate most about yourself?

Uhh, there are a lot of things. I’m a 100% type person so there’s no gray area for me. It’s either 0 or 100. So if I’m not at 100 I could always be doing something better and I know I’m never going to reach 100 but it’s still my goal each and every day. There’s constantly some way that I think I’m falling short whether it’s as a man, a husband, a dad, a brother, son

Thoughts on success?

People have these misconceptions about how to achieve success. Or how people got successful. But you can’t skip the steps. And I think that’s a common misconception. Whether it’s reality TV or you see somebody doing crazy stuff on YouTube trying to get noticed, I’m not for any of the hijinks. You have to find out that people did have to work and sacrifice. There are times when you have to believe in yourself and know what you’re doing is right, even when nobody is supporting or backing you.

I’m all about doing something different. There’s so much cookie cutter stuff that goes on nowadays. I’m all for seeing people do something different and taking a risk.

What’s your favorite word?

Strong

What’s your least favorite word?

Probably “bruh”. “bruh”, “bra”, “bro” any form of that I’m like “I’m cool on that”

What sound or noise do you love?

Quiet.

My wife always kids me because I’m someone that could do without talking to anybody, like if you told me I could only use the internet to talk with people or listen to music; I could go days without additional sounds. I’m a Gemini so I’ve got two different personalities always keeping the show going in my head. I could stay trapped in my bubble forever.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Too much noise. It grabs my attention. I’m not ADD but I focus on stuff so I can’t really be bouncing around doing too many different things. If I’m doing something, I’m 100% in that.

What’s your favorite curse word and why?

Probably, “fuck” because it has so many variations. You can use it a million different ways. Verb, noun, adjective. Very versatile.

Which profession other than your own would you like to try?

Something dealing with consulting for a major corporation. Just saying this is how we should do it or brand strategy, saying this is a good way to get this product or this idea out. This is a good way to make people understand.

Which profession other than your own would you absolutely not like to try?

I don’t know, what’s yours?

Something with fast food. They tend to see the worst in people on a daily basis.

I guess that’s what I’ve always said when I was kid, I said I would never work fast food.

Who are your role models and why?

Would have to be my granddad and my dad My granddad is deceased so I’d have to go with my dad

When you die and reach the gates of Heaven, what would you want the God to say or do?

I would want him to realize I tried the best that I could with what I had. There are 10 commandments. I’m pretty sure I’ve broken all 10 of them (laughs) Like I know I have. I’ve tried to atone for them in certain ways. Some of them were just dumb mistakes. I know when I get there I want to be able to say that I did the best that I could. I know I made mistakes, I tried to correct them. I know I’ve not done everything the way I should have, but I’ve done the best that I could. And if they turn me away, I’d be ok with that. It sounds very facetious but that’s how I live every day. I have to know that if I die that day I did the best that I could.

It’s 0 or 100%.

Originally published at Living on the Bridge on August 27, 2013.

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