Pile of Scrap Ep. 36: Talking Music with Uncle Kracker
Unlike your typical Pile of Scrap episode, John Sacco decides to shake things up a bit by putting recycling on hold for a moment and discussing a topic everyone can resonate with: music. While enjoying a couple of steaks and sitting down with singer/songwriter Matthew Shafer, better known as Country music star Uncle Kracker, these guys waste no time in talking about how different music artists and music genres have played such a critical role in Matthew’s career all while including legendary stories involving Hank Jr. and ACDC.
Uncle Kracker (Matthew Shafer) and John Sacco
John Sacco: Hey, everyone. This is an exciting new episode of Pile of Scrap, which has absolutely nothing to do with recycling. But, I get to sit down with singer/songwriter and musician Uncle Kracker, and we get to eat a steak and discuss music and how he came up through the music industry, and what his influences were. I hope you enjoy this. This is not your typical Pile of Scrap podcast, but it is a unique podcast, to say the least. I hope you enjoy it.
Intro: The following is an original audio series from Sierra International Machinery. Pile of Scrap with your host, John Sacco.
John Sacco: So, back to your influence. You're telling me… Your dad…
Matthew Shafer: Well.
John: Which is really cool. Your dad play music?
Matthew: No. No, my dad was a mechanic. I'm certain when I was young, he was chopping cars in the garage at 3:00 AM, but this was, uh… You… Mind… Well, my dad lied about his age when he was 15, went into the army and by the time he was 18, he kept putting in to go to Vietnam and something happened where they finally figured out he was almost 18 and he'd been there almost three years. Did he… Still wasn't 18 yet. So, they discharged him. I think they gave him an honorable discharge too for it.
John: But, he didn't do anything wrong.
Matthew: Just lying, but… Just lying. But, he, uh, but he wrenched it in the army. So, he worked on… Well, I don't know if he was working at tanks or whatever, but I know that's where he pretty much honed his stuff, where he learned a lot of stuff. But, so he came out, he was working on cars and things like that. But, uh, I don't know. I guess all the old doo-wop stuff, all the Motown stuff was basically his – it was his era, his, uh, that was his thing. And, I couldn't tell you many of the names. There was so many of them doo-wop bands, but you know, those just kind of evolved into, you know, your temptations.
John: “Hi, honey bunch…” Who is that? That’s, uh… I'm just – I'm drawing a blank. I wanted to say the Supremes, the Temptations. Temptations.
Matthew: Was that the temptations?
John: Might've been.
Matthew: Might’ve been. That's why I say there was so many bands – good ones, had great songs. And, so many of them had one and gone too. And, my dad could tell you every one of them – the name, you know, the names of the bands.
John: He could sing.
Matthew: Oh, yeah.
John: That was – that's the thing where my son and I – we've debated the rapping or something. They’re not singing. They're rhyming. They're doing rhymes, and I guess, okay, if that's what you're into. I go, but me? I like the song.
Darren Doane: I think the four tops.
John: Four tops. Four seats.
Matthew: See, I was right. You're right. Everybody's got a different angle on the rap stuff, but for, you know, when you look at it… I guess, I don’t know what would it be genre-wise, you know, the – where kids were when rap first came out and it was just a – it was new, something different, you know? It wasn't about singing. It was – it was about the rhyme. It was about the – it was what it was the story they were telling. Um, I don't know. I mean, you can go back and you can dig up, like, I don't know… Old… No. Uh… Is it Peter Wolf? Uh, you know, you can look back, you know, old and stuff where he was pretty much rapping at a certain point over certain things. And, even Steven Tyler. Same thing. You know, a lot of scat-type stuff.
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Matthew: You know, it was rhythm and it was, uh… It was exciting when rap came on. I remember being 10 years old and watching – just remember watching, uh… I remember a public access channel, you know, like, midnight… It was Friday or Saturday, it had to be, but it had to be after midnight before you caught any of this new rap stuff. And, I'm talking back to like 1984 where it wasn't even… Still, it was new to me in 1984. But, you know, you had your older bands, you know, other than like Run DMC, Fat Boys… Things like that. You could go back a few years before them and find, like, uh, you know, rappers like Wolf Ticket… Things like that. And, I don't know, it was, uh, it was a different thing. It was about, I don't know, it was a –
John: How did they influence? You know, as a kid, when you hear that versus the – Okay, the Motown, okay? The way you're the – you know, the Four Tops, The Supremes and The Temptations, okay? There are more musical and harmonizing in singing versus the beat and the…
Matthew: Uh, well, I guess it was the beat and I guess it was the – I think the most influence anything rap had any, uh, the most influence anything rap had on me was, you know, me, actually, you know, putting it together that I could do that too, you know? Like, I didn't – it's not that it took any, like, uh – I mean, it definitely took, uh, you know, some English, for sure, but, um, the fact that it was attainable. It, you know, and, and honestly, you always want to, you know, let kids know that anything's attainable, but this just seems so attainable for myself. Like, you know, so I started doing the rap thing and had my first record deal when I was 15, but it was doing rap stuff. And, uh, and I just remember…
John: See, I would’ve never… Did you say… Okay, Bobby's Kid Rock, right?
John: Okay. So, he did that too?
John: I didn't know that. You know, it's, um, you know… It's funny, each generation and my daughter, now… Okay, my daughter and my son, okay? They're three and a half years apart. Not even that. Three years, three months. My daughter and her friends: Country, Classic Rock. I mean, I can't tell you… At the parties we have at our house, that they don't play American Pie and everybody's singing, “Bye, Bye…” You know, everybody's doing it. The parents, the kids, everybody's… And, and, uh, Elton John: Tiny Dancer’s another one that they go crazy. And, then of course, my daughter always tells me, “Dad, play, um, the Allman Brothers’, um, ‘Soul Shine.’” She loves that song. ‘Soul Shine.’ I mean, it just… Mean guitar in it, but it – but, my son… He got into Dylan just a little bit, but he's all – he's all rap, all Hip-Hop, if you will. I don't know why they call it, but he goes, “Oh, Lil Wayne just downloaded his whole album,” or, “Masterpiece.” I don’t know. I don’t know all these people. Oh, I died of an overdose. So, did Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin, I guess. Yeah.
Matthew: It's always still there. You know, the rap things always there. But, like anything else, you know, you grab onto something different and you're always trying to beat the last thing you did. And, when I first started writing song songs versus rap songs – and I say that so loosely. But, you know, because, you know, song song versus a rap song, but, you know…
John: I get it.
Matthew: But, you know, just different, uh, you know, melodies and, uh, you know, melody, harmony… Uh, I think, it, uh – every day, when you write one – and I don't write one every day, I promise – but, when you write one, you always – The next time you sit down to write one, you're always trying to beat the last one you wrote. And, it just became a thing and, I never went backwards. And, I don't mean that like rap was backwards, but it's always there. So, just so… As the rap thing – That's what we were doing; the rap thing. You know, 25 years ago, we were sampling Old Rock records, Old Soul records… We were samp–taking samples from these records and making loops and making our own rap songs, but using music from, you know, the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s…
Matthew: Uh, so just being, uh, you know, just fooling around with the turntables and all old records, you know, we were listening to things that we've never listened to before just looking for different samples to grab and, you know, ‘cause we're all looking for snippets anyway. So, just being able to – Now, you're listening to full songs like, “Man, that was a good song,” and almost… It was like education in itself. Uh, so, so as we're digging through that, I just ended up – just ended up, uh, I don't know, um… It’s weird to think of how it went from there to here, but I think that's… I honestly think that that's where it – where it stems from. Just… I don't know, there was so – just being a DJ, you figure it out. Once you – once you're a DJ, you're not playing music for yourself, you’re playing music…
John: You want the crowd to get up and dance.
Matthew: Exactly. So, you – so now, you're playing songs that you wouldn't have necessarily heard, but you're playing, you know, a lot of things… Certainly, once in a while, you want to play something cutting edge and stick something up your own. You want to try to play something to see what people's reaction. But, the main thing was you're hearing songs that other people – what… In your head, you're like… “What do they love about this song so much?” And, just sampling and taking different… Listen, the things you wouldn't have never listened to otherwise. Uh, it just puts you in a different headspace. It just opens up your mind a whole bunch more that there's so many different types of music, kinds of music… Uh, and I think that's what helped me as a songwriter: just being open minded to all kinds of things, you know? And, and then being able to, uh, and especially doing the rap stuff, cause now we're mixing, you know, country stuff with the rap stuff and, you know, just kinda making it blend, but trying to make it blend… How could you make it sound not too far away from the other…
John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like I said, there’s Old Dirt Road by Old Dean that my daughter would play over and over and over and it kind of gets... I think it was…
Matthew: Dirt Road Anthem, maybe?
John: Yeah. Dirt Road Anthem. There's a little bit of rap in that, right?
John: So, that's what you're saying: taking that and merging it into the traditional…
Matthew: Yeah. But, if I'd had done that 20 years ago, they would have.
John: Yeah. But, you know, that was… Again, you've heard me talk about Joe Droukas because Joe and I – because he came from the industry… He was like you a lot. Didn't – wasn't famous like you, but was so close and wrote a lot of great tunes. I mean, his albums –there's some songs and they're just beautiful. And um, he, uh, we would talk and we, we, we, we dissect the Beatles on songs like ‘I've Got A Feeling,’ Okay? ‘I've Got A Feeling’ was a Paul McCartney song, and then John Lennon wrote “Everybody had a hard year. Everybody had a good time.” What they did – they just merged songs. ‘A Day in the Life.’ Was considered one of the greatest Beatles songs – you know, for Beatles fans – when you listen to the piano. Okay. A Day in the Life was, you know, uh, “I heard the news today. Oh boy...” Okay. And, then there's Paul McCartney… “Woke up, got out of bed, dragged the comb across…” That was a different song because they merged the two. So, a lot of that groundwork, like you said… Was it because somebody was telling me “You can't do that?” Or, was it you stopping yourself saying, “You can't do that?” I'm curious about that.
Matthew: Well, a lot of it was somebody telling us we couldn't do it. “You can't do that.” But it felt so good. It sounded so, you know, it felt – it felt perfect.
John: See, and that's fascinating because think about… Okay, the song, ‘Hey Jude:’ seven minutes, 30 seconds long. You can't put out a seven-minute, 30-second song. Nobody's – Nine weeks… Number one on the charts, okay? Point is, is you couldn’t – you weren't – they’re were – because I guess it's when you're that big, you can dictate and, in your case, you're maneuvering yourself to get that big to do what you want, but you've got to please the people, but now the… right? Am I right or am I wrong on that?
John: Out of curiosity. I’m just curious.
Matthew: No, there's a whole lot of pleasing the people, but you have to please yourself also.
John: Well, yeah. You can’t be miserable.
Matthew: No, I mean… No, because you still have to stand behind it and you still have to go out and sell it and promote it. And it's hard to… Trust me. I've tried… It's hard to stand behind something that you just don't really feel or believe in. And, you know, I can only imagine. I've just never done anything that worked – that it wasn't – I've never done anything that works that wasn't my absolute favorite...
Matthew: Or, something that I absolutely loved. Or, um, I have tried to, you know, I've tried to… I don't make it a habit. I mean, I guess I've never really given anybody... I mean, not give you chicken shit and ask you to make a chicken salad for me.
John: Right, right. You gotta have pride in what you're doing. That's the Kosta. That's Lazarus. I mean, he, he, um, he, he wrote… And for my 50th birthday party, Joe came out and he brought Kosta and Kosta played a little set and they're just set in stone. They were beautiful music and Kosta would tell Joe… This is – okay, I'm 58. So, that's eight years ago. I used to say, “Hey, man, takes one to hit Nashville. That's a million dollars.” And so, um, you know… My question, you know, knowing like you write a lot for people, you know? Who's – who does their own stuff a hundred percent? With a band that plays their stuff, they have their own – they're – nobody's just addition to music, anybody out there anymore that original? Is Taylor Swift that original or is people feeding her song, now? Just out of curiosity.
Matthew: Well, I don't know. I mean, I guess… You can manipulate all kinds of things on paper, I guess. But, I don't know. I think Taylor Swift writes… I think she writes – I think she writes some of that stuff. I don't really know.
John: Well, I've heard she… Again, you know, I don't – See, I'm trying to figure out – See, to me, it's, it's, it's really… because I'm an Old Classic Rock guy, if you will, but I'm also Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, you know, listened to… You know, every morning on Sunday for three years, I'd come downstairs and play Sunday Morning Coming Down because my friend died because I remembered a friend who was my age died, uh, two summers ago, not last summer and died of cancer. And, we had a party for him at his wife's school. And when we played music, cause he loved his music and uh, so, for the first time, I got up and I said, “All right, I'm going to play a solo. I'm going to do this.” I don't –I don't sing very well. And uh, but I did. I said, “Michelle,” I said to his wife. This is the song I played for Dominic when he came home from the hospital when he first got diagnosed with cancer and, uh, ‘Sunday Morning Coming Down.’ So, I played it and I had played it. But you know, it's funny. I don't play it anymore. And, it was something about when I played that for him the very first time ‘cause he liked some offy-John-Pine, he liked some of the different… It wasn't just the mainstream music. He – Dominic liked all of a sudden. So, I played that for him and he looked at me, I'll never forget. He was, he had just gotten home from his first treatment. He goes, “That's awesome you did that.” I go, “Yeah,” I go, “You know…” It's just the song, for some reason, it always reminds me of my mother, but it reminded me of Dominic. And, after he passed away and after I played it for a bunch of people and I got out there and I remember putting the guitar down and it's kind of emotional and Steve Meeks who, um, uh, he's in the band, Smoking Armadillos… I don't know if he ever heard of them. They’re from Bakersfield.
Matthew: I heard of them.
John: Dude’s – Steve’s the most badass guitar player I've ever played with. Dude can just wail. And um, he goes, “Who just did that? Johnny Cash? Who did that?” I said, “That was me.” And he goes… He looks at me ‘cause I played with him a lot. He goes, “You did that?” I go, “Yeah.” He goes, “Dude, that's probably the best I ever heard you.” And, I've played with them. I've done a whole bunch of stuff, right? Steve… We went to, you know… The Armadillos have got back there a few things, but we – his father worked for us and we… You know, look, we're doing… Okay. We are the guys who do music for fun ‘cause we love it, but you do it for a job.
John: You see, I got to believe I'm having more fun than you.
Matthew: I mean, it sounds like some nights are better than others, for sure. But yeah, I mean, but it does take a lot of the – it takes a lot of the – it takes a lot of weight when it becomes a job. You know, it's – I didn't really realize it until my second album that it was the job part. You know, it was – it was like having to do something versus doing something because you love it are obviously two different things.
John: And, you're having her – ‘cause I get to cherry pick what we want to play as long as I can play it, you know, three/four-cord tunes, you know, and or whatever, what have you. But, uh, I get to choose what I want to play. You? You have to create it.
Matthew: Yeah. Other than that…
John: Now, like the guys who you write songs for now. I mean, you gave, okay. So, I did not know you did, uh, um, summertime. Uh, what’s that? Um…
Matthew: Oh, you… ‘All Summer Long.’
John: ‘All Summer Long.’ Okay. So, you wrote that.
Matthew: Yeah. I wrote that with Kid Rock.
John: Okay. So you, you wrote – I thought you – you and – you, okay. So… I mean…
Matthew: These are, like – these are – these are like… I don’t know. ‘All Summer Long’ is like his two best friends sitting there…
Matthew: Writing something fun, something that they…
John: Okay. So, that’s what it was. It's not like you wrote it, somebody took it and just became monster and, you're like, “Man, that's my song.”
Matthew: Right. No, no, exactly.
John: That's why I've been curious about – okay, you do the tune and, you know, you, you you've had your albums... And then, now somebody takes what you did. And, you're like, “Man, my studio version was better than that, and, they took it and…”
Matthew: You know… I…
John: But, that's where you gotta be at peace with yourself, right? Or you’ll go nuts.
Matthew: Absolutely. You'd go crazy. If you look at, like – especially back then. And, uh, I don't know what year is those were talking about.
Matthew: So, if 70’s. When you look back then, like, I don't know… When you look at, like, Steve Miller – jet airliner.
Matthew: But, then you look at like the guy that wrote it and did it at first was Paul – Paul Pena… Pena?
Matthew: Jet airliner. I don't know, man. You have, you, have you heard the Paul Pena version?
John: No, I have not.
Matthew: You're going to want to download that thing and that'll be it. That's what you'll play at these parties you're talking about. Like, these are great… Sure. Steve Miller had a huge hit with it and I bet you… Paul Pena probably made a ton of dough off it, but still does. I'm sure as the state makes plenty, but these things happen all the time. They still do. They still happen, you know? Like, it's just not as you don't hear about as much anymore, because I think there's more things to protect songwriters nowadays with, you know, that type of – these types of situations. But, back then, it was people borrowed and just took, I mean, there's only 12 of us, you know?
Matthew: You know, so… And, everybody pretty much sticks to the – there's only a few that sound great. CBG sounds perfect, you know? These are, uh…
John: It does. It does. DCG, man. I mean, you know how many great songs are DCG? I mean, my favorite is ‘Can't You See?’ I heard, um… There was something I read that was one time that somebody – some writer was interviewing, uh, Hank Williams Jr…. Says, “What song do you wish he would have wrote?” He goes, “’Can't You See?’” And, for me, that's, you know, that's – every time I pick up the guitar at home, I got a Taylor for my daughter. I have a Martin D28 for me. So, I always pick up the guitar. And, that's the first thing I always do… We'll do… We'll just do that. Just, uh, I don't know. It's just what it is. It's me.
Matthew: Feels good.
John: So, how about you? What song do you wish you would have wrote? Yeah, ‘cause you're – not that you want to be somebody else. Never what – you want to be you, but what song would have been, “God, that would’ve been great to write that song.”
Matthew: Man, I don't know. I woulda… Shoot. There's a million of them I wish I woulda wrote.
John: But that's what I – When I read that, I went, “What a cool question. What a cool answer.”
Matthew: Oh yeah.
John: Well, the fact that he could even have an answer.
Matthew: Man, I mean… I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish I'd wrote “Can't You See?” also.
John: Oh, man. Yeah. You know, they, you know… My dad…
Matthew: I wish I wrote ‘Shook Me All Night Long.’ I would like to…
John: From ACDC.
John: That's a bad ass…
Matthew: Wish I woulda wrote that.
John: I love that song.
Matthew: I do too.
John: That's on my playlist.
Matthew: I love ACDC. I love, uh, wow…
John: Tell you story about ACDC. This is a good one. Me and my buddy went to the Forum in LA when I was going to school at USC and ACDC’s down there. We had tickets – nosebleed to the Forum. And, so, uh, I go, “I'm getting down to the center. I'm getting down on the floor.” So, I'm looking around and I – so, I go up to – “Dude, man. I got a merch–I gotta get my brother. He's right down there. See that empty seat over there. That's my bro–I gotta go tell him to go. Okay, go, go, go, go, go.” I'm just sitting there at ninth row, center stage, watchin’ ACDC. Angus… Just… The whole time. Unbelievable.
Matthew: Oh, man. Nobody played it like him. You know, these were… I don't know. And, then obviously, you know, on the guitar, when you… These licks aren't math, you know? It's not, uh, you know, it's not exactly the Mahavishnu Orchestra, you know what I mean?
John: Right, right, right.
Matthew: Sit down with these songs, but they sound so great. They just feel awesome. You know, they're the – they seem like the simplest things on the planet, but nobody, nobody… Why hasn't anybody else played them that simple and that sweet, you know?
Matthew: I think the sweetest instrument, the most disciplined guy – or, like the… Musician-wise… It'd be like the old school bass players that were just sitting there playing the old country songs where I was like, “Do, do, do, do…”Like, you gotta sit there and play that for an hour and a half every night. You know, at that show – “Do, do, do do” – don't get fancy with it.
John: Just keep the beat with the drums.
Matthew: That's it. That's it. But those are the – those guys got a hard gig, you know? To be able to just to –
John: Yeah, my brother-in-law, my wife's sister's husband, will play the bass in our little stupid band. And, I look over at him and during the – when we're playing, he's just so concentrating. He’s so thinking about it so hard. I'm like, I'm more Mr. Smile. I have more fun, right? I like to say I have more fun doing it. That's why I say I have fun, and I look over at poor Chris and Chris is… We’re not playing with three or four-cord songs. I mean, The Last Dance with Mary Jane. What is it? A minor or D? What, G? D whatever –three cord… Whatever. Just last. And then he might read is that cord change – “Last day, Mary Jane. One more time…” But, you know, but he is – his face is so concentrated as the bass player. Oh, it's been so much fun. You know, for me to take it… That's where I take it to – for me, for fun. And, my brother who is an amazing guitar player as far as, uh, a rhythm guitar. He doesn't really ever play lead. He just can't have fun. Phil does not smile when he plays the guitar. I’m like, “Dude.” My son calls me pain face when I play leads. I’ll be bending and I got my face control. I'm like Joe Walsh. Okay. Joe is my favorite guitar player of all time. So, I've watched him over the years. So, I'm always like this when I'm bending something. But, my brother… He can't smile for nothing. Phil's just so serious about it. I'm like, “Dude, we're just playing.” “It’s gotta be right. It’s gotta be right. You're, you're, you're, you're going to the sea too soon.” “I'm sorry, Phil. Okay, give me a break.” Is your steak okay, man?
Matthew: Oh, my goodness. This thing was incredible. Incredible.
John: Alright, man.
Matthew: In fact, I would shoot – a couple months ago, I would have been asking you how come we didn’t grab a couple more? Well, I'm, I'm, I'm stuffed.
John: The thicker ones that were in that, um, that case… The ones – the first ones we looked at… Those were two-inchers. Those… They – there was the fresh cut ones, which we picked… That vacuum sealed one was the thicker one. I like a th–these were great though.
Matthew: Oh, yeah. I think them other ones… We'd still be cooking them right now probably, huh? Take a little longer?
Darren: This seasoning.
Matthew: I mean, dare I say it, but, man, the other night I had – I had the grill going and there were these chicken breasts that were probably… and I'm not afraid to cook chicken, like, I do it, and I can't cook chicken.
John: I can't do it.
Matthew: No, me neither.
John: I cannot. I mess it up. I either undercook it or overcook it. There's – My wife: “Well, why don't we do a chicken?” No. I can't do it.
John: I can’t do it on a Traeger because you could turn the Traeger at full blast at 425, and smoke it, put it in there. And, then the whole chicken, as a whole, and you know, get smoked, it gets cooked, and then you take the thermometer… 165. Okay, I can take it out. But, chicken breasts… I'm trying to do barbecue chicken. You know, where it has the, the, the, uh, the, the leg and the thigh to it. Can’t do it.
Matthew: I keep hearing about these Traeger grills.
John: Not for steaks.
John: No, because you can't get the char. You cannot get that on a Traeger.
Darren: That's true, that’s true.
Matthew: What about the green egg?
John: 50% of my friends swear by it. 50% of my friends hate it. I like the old Weber. I just got a 22-inch Weber and I've been doing – I do a rack of lambs, I've been doing these New Yorks, these Wagyu New Yorks and, I mean, I'm just killing it.
Matthew: I like throwing a rack of lambs on there. Oh, man. Well, I don't know if it's because I can't hurt these.
John: You can hu–Oh, yes you can.
Matthew: If you overdo ‘em maybe, or…
John: Well, a New York… Again, the flavor of a New York is, is… Okay. The T, like I said, if you go to a real butcher who will cut it for you, tell them to get the first two pieces of the prime rib, because the cap… If you do two-inch steaks… Um, in the prime – the whole prime rib, the first two… So, if the first four inches… We'll give you the best cap. Okay?
Matthew: This cap thing you're talking about… I didn’t realize what the cap was. When you take a prime rib and do it in the oven, is there a cap on there?
John: Yeah, sure.
Matthew: Is that what that is?
John: Absolutely. Here.
Matthew: Like that Tomahawk thing we were looking at? Is that got anything to do with a prime rib?
John: Yeah. It is a prime rib, but just cut with the bone in it.
John: A Wagyu prime rib…
Matthew: Oh, my goodness.
John: See, there's your cap right here.
Matthew: The best part.
John: Oh. With this – What they do is a real butcher will cut you… And, it's really thin. Let’s see if I got another one…
Matthew: You do that on the grill or are you doing it –
John: No. This is what it looks like when it comes out.
Matthew:See, I need a pan that fits that thing.
John: And, the thing is, 425 for 30 minutes. You want it to encapsulate the meat by high heat. Drop it down to 300 for two hours, two and a half hours, depending on the size. Pull it out at, at 120 to 125, depending on how rare everybody likes it. You gotta let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Letting the steak sit, the meat sit – my brother-in-law's taught me this. This isn't me. My brother-in-law taught me and I just… What happens is, you pull it out and I'm going to be… You got to let it sit. So, the blood goes back into… ‘Cause it kinda screaming to get out and it comes back in. So, it's just got… I got another one in here that I'll show it to you.
Matthew: That thing's beautiful-looking. So, that Randazzo we went to… I didn't see any Wagyu in there, but they have a Randazzo that has a bigger, newer version, but it's 20 minutes the other direction. Otherwise, I'd have said…
John: Yeah. There – there it is now. See, the cap right there?
John: See that cap?
Matthew: So, you can talk to the guys and like get like a bigger cut?
John: Yeah. Here's a video. It’s just my brother-in-law. Isn’t that spectac–Look at the cap right there. See that?
Matthew: Yeah. How many–You think there's butchers that are like holding out on the caps? Like, when they put this in there… Like, you know what I mean? Like, take it, you know…
John: Okay. So, so…
Matthew: It's the best part.
John: Okay. Here, here is my plate. This is the cap. Look at the size of the cap.
Matthew: That's incredible.
John: This is what would be the center. That's your Chateau Brion. When you get a Chateau Brion, that's what that is. But, here's your cap. Look at that. Look at that bad boy.
Matthew: See, the cap makes it worth…
John: Dude, you got to have a butcher. My butcher and, and, and, and, and D came with me and we filmed it for Steak Week. Dude’s so passionate about steak. He's just beautiful. I mean, tying ‘em up. “John, man” and he goes, “Dude, you gotta let me know.” So, like, we've become good friends, but he has such a passion, and he goes, “Hey, I got this.” He goes, and he told me, he goes, “I want you to – I haven't done the cap yet. I haven't been in town. I've been out of town a lot. Um, I haven't done the cap,” but he was telling me, “You know, you cut it and you get that Wagyu cap.” He says it's unbelievable. You got to have a butcher who is willing to work with you and get the Snake River Farm Wagyu. Once you do that, you're like, “Ah, man.” It's almost careful because, once you do it…
Matthew: You don’t want to go the other way?
John: It’s very, very difficult. Very difficult. So, yeah.
Matthew: Other than, like, the steak stuff, you ever go into, like, I don't want to say exotic, but like bear?
John: Well, my brother – my brother… He lives in… Outside of Cody, Wyoming. He does elk. The most violently ill I ever been in my life was after eating elk that wasn't cooked properly. So, I won't touch it. But, my brother – and my brother and my nephew swear by elk. Uh, we've had, um, um, you know, when I was in Africa on a safari, we've had the oxtail, which was from the, the, you know, which is real, the real ant–a lot, uh, wildebeest. Check this out. It's Capetown, South Africa. I had a Filet Mignon from the wildebeest and the chef was from Italy. So, I was talking to him like, “Whoa… [speaks Italian]. Well, what about this meat?” He goes, “[speaks Italian],” which means, “The only thing you can eat of the wildebeest is this filet. Everything else is disgusting. So, I haven't – no. You know, I don't – I don't go and get any exotics because I wouldn't know where to get it. But, I don't know.
Matthew: One time I had bear with bear, but it was… And, I probably normally wouldn't even ate it, but it was at Hank Jr’s house. And, we were there at a – it was, like, a 4th of July. He was like, “Aw Kracker, there's nothing like cookin’ a shoulder of a bear.” And yeah, you know what I mean? And, when Hank Jr. talks, it's like, you know, it's fun, you know?
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Matthew: So, this is like bound – shoulder of a bear. This thing was… Ah, it tasted like the caps, you know? It was…
John: It was that good, huh?
Matthew: Oh, man, I've never had anything like it. Anything Hank did… Anything he cooked though was, like, perfect. I just remember… Oh, man. One morning, he picked me up at the hotel there by where he lives in Tennessee. And, it was probably seven in the morning. We had – we'd had – we kept it up late the night before, but he comes and picks me up and we go by his little – he's got a little cottage thing and he cooks crappy. It's like eight in the morning and it's all bread. It's up – and, we're eating it out of a napkin, like, with our fingers. And, I'm like, this is either, this is the coolest thing I've ever done; eating crappy with Hank Jr. or this guy knows how to cook. You know, he cooked the best thing I've ever eaten in my life. I've never eaten crappy. Uh, never – I don't even know what a crappy is.
John: What is it?
Matthew: It was a fish. It looks like a little sunfish or like a Blue Gill or something like that. I don't know something out of here. We might have ‘em here, I'm not sure. But, when I fish, I fish for walleye, but, uh, it's, it's a little tiny fish, you know, you gotta… I don't know. But, but, like, I guess my whole point was, have you ever done, like, how, how meat do you –
John: So, for me? Um, just give me ribs. How medi–how rare do I get? Um, just – I stick with baby back ribs, St. Louis ribs, beef ribs, um, lamb. Uh, I love lamb, okay?
Matthew: Me too.
John: Uh, any form of New York.
Matthew: Uh, you don't mess with the mint jelly, do you?
John: I do.
Matthew: You do?
John: I do.
Matthew: I don't hate it, but I – if I cook a lamb on that thing, there's no mint no where.
John: No, I don't put it on it. It's just… You can compliment it. But, if it’s my brother-in-law… When he cooks his lamb – the rack of lamb… I'm not as good at it as he is. And, I don't do mint jelly when he cooks it ‘cause it's just so amazing. But, uh, as far as other things… You know, chicken, I screw it up. Pork, you know, pork chops? Oh yeah, okay. But, you know, the ribs… But, what else are you going to do with pork? Pork shoulders? You know, that's, like, deep pit barbecue.
Matthew: Right, right.
John: You just put it in a hole and let it…
Matthew: Smolder with whatever all day.
John: But, you know, it's interesting question because now I'm going to start – I'm going to go ask them… Okay. Let's go in to do something different. What can you get?
Matthew: I don't know if Hank did this, you know, special or what, but it was... It was like eating, uh, it was… I don't want to say it was better than the cabin.
John: I’ve had horse in Italy.
Matthew: Really? Horse?
John: Oh, yeah.
Matthew: Was it good?
John: Yeah. Yeah. You wouldn't know. I was eating it… [speaking Italian].
Matthew: Does that mean, “What the fuck you talking about?”
John: [Speaking Italian]. What do you mean? Fuck you talking about? See, the translation is funny. Italians. You know, you can translate it to the exact words, but that's not how it translates… Meaning, like, okay. Like I said, [speaking Italian] means, “the fuck you talking about?” That's what – that's how it really would translate. Okay? [Speaking Italian] translate is “What do you mean?” How’s it horse? But, it translates… It’s... You got – it's, it's the culture. When you're in – around the slangs and how it works...
Matthew: The dialect.
John: The dialec–Yeah. Yeah. So… [speaking Italian].
Matthew: When you go back, will you go to Rome?
John: No, I go to Verona. Verona, Milano.
Matthew: You just talked about Positano. Positano all the time.
John: Have you ever been?
Matthew: I've only seen pictures and me and my fiance been dying to go to Posi–Posit–
John: Okay. The beautiful thing about Positano is you can stay – there’s some great hotels in Positano, right? And, then you can take a day boat and go to Capri or you can rent a 40-horsepower boat, plenty fast and you can go up to… where's this little restaurant, this little bay is six-room hotel and best food you'll ever–best lunch you'll ever have in your life. Or, you can cruise all over a cruise around Capri a couple of times. A cruise back or cruise down to the town of Amalfi or… Positano... That coastline is the Amalfi coast, but Positano is a headquarters ‘cause you can – if you don't want to take – rent a boat, you can charter with somebody. You can charter… A guy will take you around or you can get on the ferry 20 minutes, you're on, uh, Capri and you can go all through Capri and, you know, take the evening… You know, but see Capri, to me, is something I like better from the water or after five o'clock when the tourists – because the day boats come in from Sorrento, from Napali, and from Positano, and them Amalfi. They come in, in the morning, everybody offloads and it's just packed. And, then at five o'clock, all those boats go back before the sun goes down. Right? So, they get back to the porch to there, respect to the cities. And, then all of a sudden it's just like Capri is this just… Calm, cool little cool place. Anacapri. There's the town of Capri and then on Anacapri. It's on the island Capri. But Anacapri is incredibly peaceful. It depends on what you want. You want to see a lot of action, all that kind of crap, people? Capri. On the Island – the town of. And then, where Anacapri, which is like as peaceful as you're going to get for a tour style.
Matthew: I’d probably just want to see, like, food. Maybe some water.
John: Brother, you're going to drink a lot of beautiful – And, if you're there in the summer, you'll drink the white wine falling Gina and, like… This little place we went… It was my niece's boyfriend's family's place and it's cold. It's white wine – It's cold. And, it doesn't matter what they're serving you. It just goes with it and, you're like – you're just drinking it like water. And, you're like four bottles into it, three people. And, you're like, “Hi.” You're like, okay. And, then you're like, “All right, bring a couple of cappuccinos in or espressos.” And then, uh, then they want to bring, “Oh, I'll have the limoncello.” You do three, four of those. And, then you go back and you pass out and you wake up and you go to dinner at 10/10:30 at night and do it all over again.
Matthew: What is it? The gra–grapp–
John: The grappa.
Matthew: Is that like Italian moonshine or something?
John: Yeah, it is, man. It's rough.
Matthew: We, uh…
John: I've done it. I do it. But, I – give me the limoncello. Okay, I prefer the limoncello. But, the grappa is… It's like… It's like a moonshine kind of, like, a high, high, high-end powered tequila. Like, a rogat high-powered tequila crossed with a really heavy-alcohol moonshine type thing. It's just brutal. I mean, it burns. It doesn't matter what – “Oh no. [Speaks Italian]. Which means, “Relax. This is calm.” Bullshit. And they let… Yeah. No.
Matthew: Even out here, when someone is handing you a leg up… “I don't know.” Depends on where the moonshine is from. If it's a Mississippi moonshine or Virginia moonshine – whatever. Every time somebody hands you that, you know that it's smooth. It's just a smooth one. You know, “This is good. That's, uh, this one’s easy.” You know? You're like, yeah, you already know it's not easy. It's like, you know, you – it's gonna kick your – it's going to kick your ass.
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