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Director / CrewI’m Jon Taffer the Host and Executive Producer of Bar Rescue on the new Paramount Network, an entrepreneur, business consultant and New York Times Best Selling Author of my new book Don’t Bullsh*t Yourself! AMA!

Apr 5th 2018 by TafferMedia • 34 Questions • 6541 Points

Hello! My name is Brandon Hardesty and I'm the singer/songwriter of Maryland based ska/punk/reggae band Bumpin Uglies. We've been touring the United States since 2008 working on building up a fan base one fan at a time. We've done and seen a lot of crazy stuff over the last ten years and I would love to talk with you about it. We're currently on the road somewhere between Houston and Louisville so I'm gonna try to respond to questions as quickly as possible. AMA!

edit gonna be passing around my laptop to the other boys in the band, so if you have any questions for the band or crew ask away!

edit 2 sorry, got wrapped up in the show yesteday. gonna go back through and answer everyone elses questions now.

Proof

Q:

Jon, I love your show. I’ve always wondered how you get so many people to a bar for the stress test. My thought is they don’t have to pay, the show picks up the tab. Am I close?

A:

Favourite superhero as a child?


Q:

If elected, what will be your first priority for legislation?

A:

UGLIES NATION!!!!!

Brandon - Who was/is your inspiration for your music? I hear a lot of SKA/Punk influence in your earlier material and was wondering what bands/groups you would attribute that too?


Q:

everyone pays just like normal. We go to neighboring businesses to invite them. I also post it on twitter and FB before stress tests.....watch my pages!

A:

It is a toss up between batman and superman. Too hard to choose just one. Depends what comic book I was into at the time.


Q:

Ah, yes! Was waiting for this question. Our team has been working and have decided to put bi-partisan bills that we KNOW can be done immediately at the top of our list rather than things that we know can be done after some organizing and coalition building work.

My first priority, and I hope District 55 will hold me accountable to this, will always be our working class families. Whenever the opportunity presents itself for me to pass, vote or fund legislation and policies that will directly benefit our families I will do that above any other priority.

Three specific pieces of bi-partisan legislation:

  1. The introduction of an amendment that guarantees the survival of the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for a minimum of 20 years with a requirement of it being assessed for extension every 5 years. Alabama currently provides ZERO state-funding for children's healthcare. All of our funding comes from the federal government. That's just not good enough. The health and lives of our children should not be up to who is in the White House.

  2. Introduce home rule. Municipalities in Alabama are required to go to the State Capitol for approval on local-level bills, amendments and funding. The Birmingham City Council, for example, voted to increase minimum wage from the federal minimum $7.25 to $10.10/hr but was stopped by the Alabama House Legislator which retroactively banned local governments from setting minimum wage.

  3. Creation of a state lottery to help fund public schools/expand pre-k, the CHIP program, and pre-trial diversion programs aimed at ending the school-to-prison pipeline.

Dream Priorities:

  1. Campaign finance reform. Alabama has one of the most corrupt political systems in the country. I would work to make us the national model for governing without corporate or special interest dollars.
  2. Creation of a state minimum wage that adjusts with income.
  3. Ending of "special school districts" that leave poor and marginalized students out to dry.
A:

i'm gonna answer this, but its gonna require a lot of writing so i'm gonna come back to it later!


Q:

Hi Jon, can you please partner with an alarm company? I need you to yell at me to get out of bed in the morning.

A:

They're not mistakes, they're happy accidents


Q:

Do you support Ranked Choice Voting to avoid spoilers and encourage more positive campaigning?

A:

Hi brandon! if you had to pick one of your own songs, which one is your favorite and why?

Greetings from Chile!


Q:

we are about to post some phone tones.......they may work.

A:

true!


Q:

Yes! I would take it further and suggest non-partisan ballots as well as supporting public* funding of the electoral process through a tax for political donations by corporate entities and lobbying groups that then go into a public fund for campaigning (if Wal-Mart gives you $10,000, half of that money then goes to the general pool to support all candidates).

I used to wonder why only lawyers and businessmen became politicians but now I've realized it's because they're the only ones who have the money to! Just basic things like printing, advertising, and marketing are more expensive than most people would realize, I am literally spending all of my personal savings (which, as a teacher, ya'll know isn't much) on this race. A public fund that guarantees all political candidates with at least some support would guarantee that we not only have more positive campaigning but a more demographically reflective legislature.

On a side-note... please consider helping us even the fight against our opponent by donating at www.crowdpac.com/c/quangdofordistrict55

A:

whoa! would love to make it to south america one day. right now my favorite song is called optimism in F#. its the last song on the record we're about to release. i struggle with depression and tend to see the worst parts of situations and i wrote that song as a reminder to myself that i don't want to think or live like that. i don't listen to my own music or anything, but there's something therapeutic about being able to look back at a thought that you wrote out and thinking 'ok, i thought like that. i can think like that. lets think like THAT, and not like THIS.' not sure if that makes sense, but essentially it helps pull me out of funks when i'm feeling depressed.


Q:

Do you ever blink?

A:

I'd be interested to see your take on it, especially given that it would constrain some of your contrast.


Q:

Which constitution are you referring to? Because our state constitution is an absolute fucking disaster.

A:

Is that the song y’all sang last in Pensacola when there were a few minutes left in the set?


Q:

with my eyes yes. Personally, never.

A:

Disneyland and Space Mountain!


Q:

Yes. I will work my butt off to fight for the rights of working and middle class families in America. I couldn't care less about what corporate or private lobbying groups want.

Can you be more specific about the Constitution?

A:

ya


Q:

Hey Jon big fan! Is your bud Big Cat as fat in person as he claims to be?

A:

How often do people tell you you look like Hugh Jackman?


Q:

When it comes to funding education, would you be in support of equalizing funding across school systems or targeting underfunded schools and increasing funding for them specifically?

A:

Love you guys! Beyond stoked for your Long Island gig.

Question for all members - What is one "big name" band that you would love to tour with? Do you all have a set one, or do you each of you have your own "dream band" to share a stage with?


Q:

he has a fat head. is body is not too bad, but its his fat head that annoys everyone around him gets him

A:

All the time


Q:

What a really, really fantastic question.

I'm going to be honest with you - I don't think either of those options are enough to fix the issues with education in Alabama.

Birmingham City Schools receives just as much funding (when you look at spending per student) as the schools in the suburbs, but the dollar doesn't go nearly as far when the only meal some of our students get are when they are at school, it doesn't go nearly as far when students are having to work 30-40 hour a week jobs after school to help pay the rent, it doesn't go nearly as far when the young man or woman can't study at night because they're too busy being worried about the gunshots outside their house, and it definitely doesn't go as far when teachers are having to spend 60% of instruction time addressing behavioral problems rather than focused on helping students reach their learning goals.

If we want to be honest about fixing education, we have to be honest about addressing poverty. We cannot have an equitable education system until all parents and families have the same economic opportunities outside the classroom as we expect students to have educational opportunities inside the classroom.

So how do we fix this without just throwing more money at the problem?

  1. Create a state minimum wage that adjusts annually with cost of living.
  2. Guarantee that anyone who works 35 hours a week (even if it's 18 hours a week at one job and 17 hours at another) will have health insurance.
  3. Implement a state fund (Alabama is one of 3 states that does not have this) for public transportation to make access to high quality, good paying jobs in our city and state not so dependent on whether or not you have a car.
  4. Decriminalizing marijuana and retro-actively clear the records for anyone previously charged with minor possession offenses.

ALL of those things and so much ore are required to truly fix our education system and create an environment where parents have the financial resources to support their students in the classroom.

We shouldn't make the classroom any "easier" by lowering standards but we should make it easier for our parents to be engaged in the classroom by reforming what's happening outside of it to empower them to be available inside of it.

To answer your question specifically:

I think we need to raise the standards and make it much more difficult for cities trying to create their own "special districts" that essentially cut out black, poor and marginalized students and remove tax revenue from poor and working class families.

A county school recently tried to separate from the county system and create their own "city" school system but the DOJ came down and denied their request (even though our state and county said yes) because they would have disenfranchised black families and it was quite simply, racist. It was a school that was 60% black and the new district would have made it less than 10% black. All tax revenue in the new school district would have gone to the new "upper class" school which means the taxes (sales and real estate) would be taken from the old school and placed with the new one. The fact that this would have come into fruition without the DOJ stepping in is ABSOLUTELY disgusting.

A:

we definitely all have different ones. i'll ask.

brandon - slightly stoopid

tj - iggy pop

chad - papadosi

wolfie - the slackers / miley cyrus

carl - goldfinger

justin - the dude from youtube who turns every song into allstar


Q:

Hi Jon you probably get suggested this all the time, but has there ever been talks with FX of you "rescuing" Paddy's Pub on Always Sunny? The world needs this crossover to happen

A:

Any hints relating to future Disney Kinkade releases?


Q:

A good, complex answer. Thank you.

A:

When’d you get into reggae?


Q:

I hear fans suggest it all the time and I'd love to do it. Did you see Shameless?

A:

Mulan


Q:

You're welcome. Don't worry, I didn't judge you for asking.

Please feel free to follow us on facebook or reach out to us at [email protected] if you have any more questions, comments or concerns. It's going to take everyone in District 55, Alabama and America for us to truly reform our government from one focused on the concerns of corporations and interest groups to one that fights for our working and middle class families.

We need and appreciate any help or guidance you could provide.

A:

honestly i got into reggae after i got into ska/punk. i don't really consider sublime reggae, they're a melting pot of a lot of sounds, one of which is reggae. i'm not sure exactly when i got into it but it was sometime in my early twenties. i was immediately really drawn to dub like scientist and king tubby. i loved the psychedelic aspects of it. been really into chronixx lately too. his latest album is insane.


Q:

What is the biggest bar you had the privilege with working on? Whether on or off the show?

A:

Who is your favorite Disney character to paint?


Q:

To increase turnout by easing participation, would you support vote by mail1 ?

A:

Yo! What's the craziest thing you've ever had happen to you while on stage? Much Love from South Dakota!

Ugliesnation!

Q:

properly Pulsations which was about 57,000 sg ft.

A:

My favorite Disney character to paint has got to be Mickey Mouse. He is definitely my favorite but I love to paint him with Minnie Mouse.


Q:

YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES.

A:

man its hard to pinpoint, but one time we played a festival next to a corn field and somehow or another wolfie ended up with an ear of corn. he proceded to play a gnarly slapbass solo using the ear of corn and the crowd lost their shit. it was incredible


Q:

Hey Jon,

Love the show! Girlfriend and I watch it often! Have you ever thought about going deeper into the “rescue” with the bar? Stuff like defining their social networking strategy and how they portray themselves through their creative, advertising, etc?

A:

oh...so you are into the kink business ;)


Q:

Have you reached out to Rep Grace Meng's ASPIRE PAC or other Asian American candidate organizations?

A:

not really a question, more of a request. can y’all please avoid playing at house of blues in the future? thanks!


Q:

I've tried it but there is always better things to show...

A:

That is a great question... give me a moment to think about it.


Q:

I have not! I have reached out to some AAPI organizations but not specifically ASPIRE PAC. I would LOVE to hear more about the organization. Do you happen to have a good contact? Feel free to PM me or reach out to us directly at [email protected]

A:

haha we'll do our best! sorry you had a bad time at the venue. we'll be back this summer and the show is definitely not at HOB


Q:

Why does/did Bar Rescue seem to nearly always help the most undeserving ungrateful bars?

A:

How would you describe your style of painting? How long does a piece typically take you to finish?


Q:

What kind of wrap-around services are necessary to prevent summer learning loss and otherwise ensure low-income students are able to reach their full educational potential?

A:

Acoustic or Electric Guitar?


Q:

we try to find interesting stories.

A:

The style is modern expressionism but I like to refer to it as "Colorism". It takes me probably a month or two month to finish a piece (from concept to final painting). I tend to work on two or more paintings at the same time so I can keep my mind fresh, take a break, and stay engaged!


Q:

Wrap-around services:

I think wrap-around services should be done in conjunction with addressing poverty in Alabama. The more time, resources and opportunities that parents have to be engaged with their child's learning the better. Continued parental engagement, not any service or summer learning program, in the educational process is the key for educational success.

We must make it easier for our parents to teach, spend time and learn with their kids. Wrap-around services are a band-aid to a bigger problem that we have with multi-generational poverty in our state.

You could have no summer programs, but if all parents in Alabama were able to have the time and money to spend with their kids instead of having to work 2 sometimes 3 jobs just to pay the water bill, I guarantee you that education outcomes from our state would be significantly improved.

If parents weren't having to work 60-80 hours a week to just put food on the table they could actually spend the money they would have summer learning or tutoring on trips to the museum, public lectures, or a multitude of other ways that can grow the parent bond with the child.

From a pragmatic perspective:

Alabama has the best pre-k program in the country.

The problem? Only a small percentage of families in our state actually have access to it due to lack of state commitment to fully fund our pre-k program to reach 100% of families who need them.

A:

i'm way more comfortable on acoustic


Q:

Hey Jon!

If you could never rescue another bar/restaurant/night club, but still had an itch to rescue something, what type of business would you rescue?

A:

Hi Blend! I’m going to SVCC this weekend! Do you have anything like “group shots” of the Justice League or the Avengers? And where does your inspiration come from (dreams, comics, movies)?


Q:

Are you for or against defending rights?

A:

Carl or Justin?


Q:

A resort. Thats what I ran when I was in operations.

A:

You can check out my "The Justice League" at Thomaskinkade.com. My inspiration comes from comics, movies, and life in general.


Q:

For BUT I think it's important for us to understand that our rights have never been "absolute." They have been continually adjusted throughout our great history through legislation and our court system.

I'm a big believer in our political and policymaking system.

A:

Carl is light, Justin is dark. Carl is Luke, Justin is Vader. Different twin for a different job


Q:

Jon you asking the people at O Face what an O Face was the funniest moment in Bar Rescue history. What is your funniest moment from the show?

A:

Of your work do you have a favorite piece? If so where is it now?


Q:

Are you for or against my second amendment rights?

A:

Where is your favorite place to perform and why (or why not) is it The Saint in Asbury Park?

I don’t really have any other questions but wanted to say thank you, your music has gotten me through some hard times.


Q:

thats one of them for sure. Also, when I told frank at the tiki bar to stop thinking about boobs and maybe he could run his bar.

A:

I have a few favorite ones, it is too hard to choose just one. But if I had pick right now it would be "King of the Jungle" or "Flamenco Dancer" you can check them out at BlendCota.com. They are currently in my studio but they will both be going to Artexpo New York in (booth 202) April 19-21.


Q:

I'm not sure why you are getting downvoted, I think you are asking a very solid question that is important to MANY Americans and Alabamians.

I am a gun owner myself and understand, beyond the guns themselves, the cultural and historical connection that America has with the second amendment.

With that being said, no amendment is absolute in it's definition. All of our rights have evolved over time including but not limited to freedom of speech, assembly and protest. I tend to lean with what Justice Scalia said on this topic during the Heller case. We certainly have the right to bear arms but that doesn't mean that there can't be limits or regulations on it.

I think there are many common things that Americans on all sides of the political spectrum agree on (universal background checks and mental health screening for examples) and regardless of how I personally feel about an issue, I think it's important for elected officials to advocate for the concerns and needs of their constituents.

A:

thank you, that means a lot. that's all you can hope for as a songwriter. I really do love Asbury Park, the energy is always insane. Would have to be Asbury Park or Ohio in general. i love it when the crowd is raging.


Q:

My favorite was "I have a question. Yum yum doesn't know how to make any of the drinks!"

A:

If you could have any of your art displayed on any place in the world, which piece would you choose and where?


Q:

You've beat around the bush quite a lot. What are your thoughts on firearms? Tell it straight.

A:

What do you guys do in the van when touring for fun or to just pass the time?


Q:

one of my favs

A:

It would have to be in New York at Times Square on New Years Eve and it would be a toss up between "King of the Jungle" and "Dark Knight".


Q:

I am a firm believer in our constitution and the rights it grants to us.

I believe that the current conversation of "all or nothing" when it comes to addressing gun violence are misguided and a false dichotomy.

I support bi-partisan solutions to address gun violence.

91% of Americans agree on UBCs 84% on requiring Mental Health Checks 72% on raising the age to buy to 21 69% on more SROs in schools 60% on bannjnf assault weapons.

I wholly support the second amendment but also support these bi-partisan solutions to address gun violence in our country. I do not believe that defending the second amendment necessarily means that we don't have serious conversations about evolvinf it to fit our current need.

Since we are on the topic of gun violence, I don't believe there is one simple solution to fix all the problems we have with gun deaths in America. Gun violence in our Union is multilayered and complex and I think our solutions need to reflect that. What happened in Parkland is much different than what happened to Trayvon Martin and that is much different than what's happening in West Birmingham.

A:

listen to talk radio and stare at our phones


Q:

Good morning Jon,

Will you consider giving the pirate bar a 3rd chance?

A:

Mr. Cota, my daughter is interested in a graphic arts career. Do you have any tips I can pass on to her to make a career of it?


Q:

"Assault weapons" are not a thing. That's a dangerous thing to push. Lost my vote.

A:

I used to love this band called Sweet Wet Earthly Desires ever heard of them?


Q:

Sorry, no

A:

Have her practice her craft as often as possible to perfect her skill set. An immersive school for the arts might benefit her. Good luck!


Q:

I'm sorry to hear that. Regardless of whether or not you vote for me, know that I am committed to fighting for you and your community.

Assault weapons are certainly a thing... The Federal Assault Weapons ban that sunset in 2004 is real and the fact that there is no current federal ban on assault weapons is real.

I think you're assuming that I am trying to conflate semi-automatic rifles like an AR-15 with something like a machine gun. I know that an AR-15 is not an assault rifle with stock equipment, but when given the right modifications (bump stocks + extended magazine) i think the argument could be made that it is more or less one. I own an AR-15 myself, have shot a military-grade M4A1 and have also shot my AR-15 with a bump stock. The bump stock clearly turns the AR-15 into an assault rifle by all definitions.

The data on whether or not the assault weapon ban from 1994-2004 actually worked is unclear. Assault Weapons have been not been used in any recent mass shootings (except in Las Vegas when the shooter used a bump stock) so it wouldn't stop a large majority of gun deaths (most are suicides and domestic disputes).

Let's be clear: An assault weapons ban won't stop a kid getting shot down the street by gangbangers, an assault weapons ban won't stop a young man from getting shot by the police, but what it will do is make shooters like the one in Las Vegas hurt a whole lot less people.

Again, I don't think there is one single solution that will solve all of our problems. Mental health checks won't stop a kid from joining a gang but it will help stop what happened in Newtwon, UBCs won't stop someone from committing suicide but it will stop what happened at Pulse Night Club.

If 60% of my constituents want something to help make their lives safer, and I don't feel like the data is clear one way or the other, I'm going to always side with my constituents. My job is to represent my constituents not the other way around.

Tldr: sorry I lost your vote. I don't believe an assault weapons will solve all of our gun problems and that it should be done in conjunction with other methods and should be adjusted specifically to each community.b


Q:

Why are the new bar signs always designed really, really poorly?

A:

What is your favorite dinosaur?


Q:

If you support only banning something like an AR with a bump stock, then that's fien with me. Bump stocks are already incredibly dangerous to hold and it is a loophole on full auto weapons.

A:

My question is for Mr Wolfie. How sir have you managed to be such a safe driver over the years?And how often do you let Brandon drive?


Q:

signs are our biggest challenge because of city codes. We only have 2 days to submit art, sign design within code inspection. sometimes we have to hand a temp sign for the opening. other times, they are limited by the landlord. Signs are one of the toughest elements

A:

t-rex!


Q:

I certainly support an assault weapons ban that also includes a provision for bump stocks but I do not think that is the solution to gun violence. I think there needs to be a holistic and multi-layered conversation to really address it appropriately. We've been trying small Band-Aids for too long.

Thank you for engaging in the conversation!

A:

Wolfie: Practice. Keep it between the lines. As little as possible.


Q:

What should we expect with the future of "Marijuana bars" ? Will we ever get a place where we can watch games, get good food, beer, and smoke at your table?

A:

Do you speak Albanian? I always get interested when I meet figures who are Albanian because they're so rare! (I am Albanian too, but Macedonian Albanian.)


Q:

What are the greatest challenges to having IDEA and ADA compliant schools and how can Alabama overcome those challenges?

A:

With rising popularity, is it hard to fight off the massive amounts of pussy being thrown in your direction? Especially with a band name like Bumpin Uglies - I mean you guys fuck amirite?


Q:

it will come. Vegas is close.

A:

I do speak Albanian.


Q:

I am in full support of strict enforcement of IDEA and ADA rules and regulations. This is what equal opportunity is all about.

I think the main challenge that we face in regards to being IDEA and ADA compliant is funding.

Major sections of IDEA and ADA, while important, are unfunded mandates.

You're expecting teachers, administrators and school communities with already tight budgets to do more (we should always be pushing and challenging our education system to be and do better) but not give them the funds, staffing or facilities they need to meet those goals appropriately?

And THEN you're going to give them a bad score on a state-wide "school report card" that impacts how much funding they get in the future, which then results in the loss of further teachers and resources... which then makes it even harder for them to meet those standards next year? How does that make sense?

Alabama has got to stop waiting for the federal government to bail us out and take ownership over the problems that we have.

The Democrats in Congress have tried for a long time to fully fund IDEA but we can't wait for the federal government to save us anymore. It's time for us to take ownership over the problems we have and work on no-nonsense, bi-partisan solutions that will help our working and middle class families.

An easy solution would be to create a state lottery that will help fund IDEA and ADA compliance for our public schools as well as our post-secondary education institutions.

A:

3 of us are married or in serious relationships so TJ is the unquestioned president of slam town. It’s right next to Space Mountain, if you’re curious.


Q:

Honestly, that's unsurprising in an industry where most places close within a year.

Add in owners who don't have the right habits or skills, and 42% seems like a great success rate.

A:

Thoughts on Justice League movie?


Q:

What does Quang Do?

A:

Hey Brandon! I'm gutted I will miss the show in my home town tonight :(. Hope you guys have a good time! Would love to see the band at Mercury Ballroom here in the ville sometime.

My question is how do you start the songwriting process? Do you lay down music then words or vice versa, does the band come together as a group, drums first etc?


Q:

I'm proud of it.

A:

Amazing


Q:

I am currently a teacher but previously served as Advocacy and Policy Director for a local non-profit and was a social justice educator and student affairs professional at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) before that.

A:

i usually write everything myself on an acoustic guitar and then we get together and turn it into a band song


Q:

Hey Jon! Thanks for doing the AMA!

I’m always amazed how much money goes into renovations of the bars on the show. I was curious whether you saw any percentage of the revenue from the bars after your work. Do you become a business partner who profits from the bars at all? Or is the budget of the show so large that you offer all the service for free and receive nothing in return?

A:

What are your thoughts on digital comics vs. print comics?


Q:

How much should I weigh a candidate's race or ethnicity when deciding how to vote in an election?

A:

Hey Brandon- Currently listening to White Boy Reggae, by far my favorite song of yours. What is your favorite song that you have written?

Also, I feel bad because I don't know the names of everyone in the band, what are they? And how long has your bassist (He goes by Wolfie I think I read somewhere) been growing out his hair and beard?!? That shit is majestic AF!

Love you guys so much!!


Q:

Nope. Everything is gifted to the bar. I own nothing and there is no lingering business at all.

A:

I love print comics but digital are convenient. Either way a lot of work goes into the artwork; a computer is a tool just like a brush is.


Q:

As much as you'd like. All Americans weigh things differently and if having a visually diverse and ideologically progressive government is important to you than I would be grateful for your support.

If it's not, I hope I can get your support for my passion and committment to fighting for poor and working class families of District 55 and Alabama.

A:

Hell yea! Right now my favorite song is Optimism in F#. Wolfies been dreading his hair for like 4 years now. They require their own green room at this point.


Q:

Jon, did you foresee the incredibly high level of interest in craft beer coming? Seems like there is a microbrewery on every corner right up there with Starbucks. And has this been good for all businesses/industries or has it hurt some?

A:

Are you saying you are a sexy fine artist? Or are you saying you're fine as in you're okay? Or do you even go so far as to say you are a fine artist as in a very good one?


Q:

Who's more stoked about the album, the band, or Uglies Nation?

A:

we did because we knew the moneys were being invested. About 50% of craft bar are less than perfect......many will disappear the next few years.


Q:

That is up to interpretation... but I like the way I look and my art. Judge for yourself at blendcota.com

A:

i think Uglies Nation, the hype has been real!


Q:

"I don't embrace excuses , I embrace solutions" had taken me far with my job. Very meaningful as well. Would you ever have thought , something you have said would help people like myself , change the way the act and be a better person ?

A:

Calgary is a bigger Con than Silicon Valley Comic Con.


Q:

Hey Brandon, big fan and fellow song writer here. I'm just curious about your writing process. I know you out a lot of thought in your song writing and it shows.

What I'm wondering is if you sit down and force yourself to write or do you wait for it organically? Do you start with a catchy concept or hook first?

A:

I'm incredibly honored by it. it is very flattering to me sand makes me try harder. thx!


Q:

Good to know, I will have to put it on the list.

A:

the ideas have to happen organically. you can't force a hook. once i have a good hook i can usually sit down and make myself write something. the best songs are the ones that just pour out of me though


Q:

Do you love absolutely destroying people?

A:

Calgary is a bigger Con than Silicon Valley Comic Con.


Q:

What’s up Brandon, fellow musician here. I’ve always been curious as to what your writing process is for songs? Do the lyrics come first or the music?

A:

hell no. I LOVE the hug in the end.


Q:

My art has been on display at Wonder Con and New York Comic Con but I have not been to the Con in Calgary but it is on my list.

A:

it varies from song to song. my phone is filled with lyrics in the 'notes' section and riff ideas in the 'voice memos' section. eventually they meld together to form a song


Q:

Jon, would you collaborate with Gordon Ramsay?

A:

Awesome!!! Thank you! I was just at Wondercon and saw your art there. They said you’d be at SVCC so I waited to get something hoping you’d sign it in Silicon Valley. My favorite painting is your new Superman. It’s sick! Is that Catwoman behind you available yet? I want to get that one too!


Q:

Have the police ever stopped a show?

A:

Sure. I love Gordon....I'd also love to work with Robert Irvine.


Q:

The Catwomen is sicker than Superman! I can't wait for SVCC late this week... but Catwomen is still being approved by DC and will be out shortly.

A:

every house party, ever


Q:

Hi Jon! The craft beer industry has had a ton of growth over the past 20-ish years and some are suggesting its market is getting too saturated and might decline soon. What type of alcohol do you think is likely to experience heavy growth in the near future?

A:

Very cool! I’ll get Superman at SVCC and Catwoman later then. Do you have a website? Can’t wait to meet you, man! Your work is amazing.


Q:

Hey Brandon! Big fan from the ATL :) will you guys be coming to Georgia any time soon?

A:

Right now there is considerable millennial shifts from beer to wine and spirits


Q:

I do, you can check out my work at blendcota.com

I can't wait to meet you at SVCC!

A:

we'll be in ATL this summer!


Q:

Huge fan Jon. Your most recent PMT interview was great.

1: if you had to go to one non-US city for a few days and visit bars, where would it be?

2: can you please do an episode of Hot Ones? 🔥

A:

You´re superbly talented, no doubt, but how did you end up fathering two girls, a husband and a couple of hunters at your age?!


Q:

Hey man! Any chance you can perform at the restaurant I work at in Davidsonville when you come back home?? My boss would be so pumped. He even has a dessert he’s waiting to do named after you guys!

A:

Auckland NZ or Munich Germany


Q:

hard work

A:

ha! what restaurant? i do a lot of acoustic stuff when i'm not on tour so i'd be down to do something like that there


Q:

Whats the best piece of advice you would give someone wanting to open their first bar?

A:

I saw you said you started painting around elementary, but I was curious, When you started taking art more seriously how many hours per week would you say you put into learning and drawing?


Q:

First song you ever wrote?

A:

Have extra money. Many great bars would have made it but they ran out of money


Q:

I went to an art focuses high school and practiced my craft 8 hours a day, six days a week.

A:

a really shitty love song that i played in my high school talent show. i don't remember it, i just remmeber that it was bad


Q:

Hey Jon, great interview on PMT your hot take on people that need instant gratification on Instagram was spot on!

My only question for you is has there ever been a bar you went to in an attempt to "rescue" and in hindsight implemented something that just didn't work at all?

A:

You’ve come a long way from playing at Looneys! What is your idea of a successful musician and would you consider yourself one?


Q:

sure. When I design a bar in ten minutes that I'ver never seen before and people I don't yet know there can be some disconnects.......but not often.

A:

Success is such a tricky thing to measure. I think there is artistic success and economic success. For me, artistic success is getting across whatever I’m trying to say in a way that makes people feel something. It varies from song to song. Some songs are success, some songs are failures. Economic success for me is being able to support myself off my art. It’s a work in progress, but’s it currently working so it’s currently successful.


Q:

Good morning Jon, big fan, love the show! Recently bought your book too! (shoutout Pardon My Take).

Anyway, I've always wondered, at the beginning of episodes when we get an inside look of just how dysfunctional the bar is - there are obviously cameras in there, yet when you storm in to lay down the law the owner(s) seem caught off guard maybe 9 out of 10 times.

So I was curious how this dynamic works, do they know for a fact you’re going to show up? Are they given a time frame? Or are they just told, we're going to put some cameras in and we may or may not decide to rescue your bar. Thanks for the hours of entertainment and inspiration!

A:

2pac or lil xan?


Q:

good morning! Thanks for getting my book. Yes, doing pardon my take is a blast. Dan i2 a good buddy. When I get to a bar the cameras are there for a day or two already. Typically they think Im coming tomorrow, was supposed to come the day before or i come a few hours early. We need to catch them.

A:

is lil xan a real thing?


Q:

What is the biggest mistake and what is the most common mistake for bar owners?

A:

If you were a potato how would you be cooked and why?


Q:

not managing their money!!

A:

scattered, smothered, and peppered


Q:

Hey John! Do you ever find yourself having a hard time enjoying eating out because you can always identify the problems in a restaurant or are you able to to turn that part of your brain off?

A:

Tits or ass?!?!


Q:

yes when its bad. But I can contain myself.

A:

booty!


Q:

Jon, will you do some Canadian Bar Rescues?

A:

What's your favorite place to play in Lincoln, NE and why is it Bodegas Alley?


Q:

I'd love to.but only after the Las Vegas Golden Knights win the cup

A:

Haha that place got wild!


Q:

Hi Jon, love bar rescue, my mom is wondering if you would do a bar rescue for any bars in canada?

A:

Brandon! Did you catch the rick and morty episode that was streaming on the Adult Swim website yesterday?


Q:

coming next year we hope.

A:

haha the other guys did. i saw about 30 seconds and decided i'd had enough


Q:

How much of your anger is for the camera? Sometimes the situation is not that bad (compared to others), but you still "dial it up" full tilt. Huge fan by the way. All the best.

A:

Not a song writer, but a writer writer. Do you ever get nervous about sharing such personal stuff, and if so how do you over come it? Also you guys rock please come to Minnesota more! Also if you go on reddit a lot, r/vandwellers is right for you! Would love to see the kind of set up you have!


Q:

I don't play to the camera. My anger comes from having no time....I'm only there 2.5 days and there is a clock ticking in my head al the time. It IS pressure.

A:

i dont really get nervous anymore unless i'm putting someone elses business out there. i'm an open book, but i'd had to fuck up a relationship with a friend because i wrote about something that they don't want being out there


Q:

My wife and I went to a bar you rescued in New Orleans. The one with the chair in the front window. Can’t remember the name of it.

Why does the signature drink suck so bad?

Is it because after you left, they stopped making it correctly?

A:

Any advice on how to be a ska band in 2018? Asking for a friend who is not me and definitely does not play in a ska band in 2018.


Q:

Spirits. The drink should have been light and refreshing because of the coconut water....someone screwed up.

A:

try to make it work with as few members as possible. you gotta tour to get noticed, and the more mouths you have to feed on tour the harder its gonna be. we have horns all over our studio shit but we cant afford to tour with them so we don't. it's all about minimalism


Q:

What would you say is the single most important attribute to have as a successful bar owner/operator?

A:

How hygienic are you living in a van? How often do you shower?


Q:

love business,,,,,,not drinking.

A:

so living in a van is kind of a metaphore. we're on tour about 6 months of the year and we spend most of that time driving so it feels like we're living in the van at times. we crash at friends houses most of the times and we get hotels when we can't find somewhere to stay for free. try to shower daily.


Q:

How much has your budget increased from the first season until now?

A:

I'm a little late to this as I live in Guam now, but I saw you at Vinoy Park, St. Pete, Florida last year (?) Or the year before that at Reggae Rise Up.

The set changed my life and been a fan ever since we made eye contact and took a shot, yours was a flask, mine was a sunscreen bottle.

Anyways, did y'all enjoy your time at the festival and would you go back? ...or were you too drunk to remember most of it, like me!

Cheers from Guam!

Also everyone loves you out here if you ever wanted a vacation/overseas show


Q:

about 30%. We have our biggest challenge next week. kit will be our biggest budget too.......in the caribbean

A:

oh HELL YES, that was a great festival! florida is a hot bed for our scene and RRU does a great job with their production. would love to do that festival again in 2019!

would love to make it to guam one day too! fingers crossed....


Q:

What is your response to critics who say that your show only provides a bandaid solution and leaves bar worse off then they were?

A:

Is Rick and Morty season 4 ever coming out???


Q:

Big mouths who know nothing. what the hell do they know? They were not there and do not speak to the owners. The statistics are what they are. over 70% success.

A:

IT BETTTER


Q:

Hi Jon, big fan of the show. What inspired you to re-rescue Second Base Bar & Grill, and what methods do you find most effective when trying to get through to a bar owner who is that stubborn?

PS...enjoy the Golden Knights in the post season. Any plans to attend a playoff game? Cheers.

A:

I'll be in my seat for every playoff game!! Excited. stubborn is why I scream!!


Q:

When are you planning to remake the bar at Barstool HQ?

A:

When I finish production of season 6 of Bar Rescue.....probably over the summer.


Q:

who's the most famous person in your cell phone?

A:

cant tell.


Q:

Hey Jon, this is a question I ask on every AMA. Do you wash your apples?

A:

depends if I've used them lately.....


Q:

Hey Jon. As a business owner I am incredibly inspired by your work ethic and energy. I would love to know what was your first job? Who inspired your work ethic? Lastly, any tips for a first time entrepreneur?

A:

I owned a company with I was 8 called Ardvark Enterprises selling to counselors. I owned a few bartending schools. I was never scared and always willing to try. .


Q:

How far have you gone inside BIg Cats belly button?

A:

no where near it........his office is something to see.....a mountain of clothes.


Q:

When you barrel through the door and surprise the owner/manager at these bars, they already know something is up because of all the cameras (hidden and otherwise), yes? So is there any real covert ops that goes on to determine the depth of the problems at a bar? Just word of mouth? Actual secret customers? Just management testimony?

A:

yes. come early. Sometimes we pull lights and say Taffer is not coming he went to another bar. Then I should up,. We do everything we can to keep them surprised.


Q:

Hey Jon! If the sun is hot why is outer space so cold?

A:

oxygen and matter bro......


Q:

Thanks for stopping by Mr. Taffer!

If you could have lunch with a dead celebrity who would it be and why?

A:

Thomas Jefferson or Howard Hughes


Q:

What’s your opinion on the profitability of bars that are strictly live music venues? It seems they go under frequently in my city and I’m curious to know what can be done to change this.

A:

bands only play 10-20 hours a week......the rest of the time is a problem. They must make lots of money during those hours.


Q:

Hi Jon, love the show. I spoke with the owner of a bar you did, which I will leave unknown, and he mentioned a few things from the show were made up. I still love watching and think what you do is great, but what is your take? Is everything from the show 100% accurate, or do you have the Hollywood embellishment of some information?

A:

Funny, I'm sure what he said was "made up" was where he looked bad. Nothing is set up.


Q:

Hi Jon - In your first Barstool pizza review - you mentioned that the pizza was not rolled (though they did say it was hand tossed) and that's why it had the honeycomb crust. Then in your second review, you said it was clearly hand tossed and that's why it flopped. Can you clarify exactly what causes no flop vs flop?

A:

over tossed and stretched. good question.


Q:

Hi Jon,

Who pays for the bars to be redone? Something I've always been curious about.

A:

sponsors and network.


Q:

Hey John, longtime fan. When watching Bar Rescue, it seems almost every bar you rescue seems to be in a suburban setting, and one that seems at least partially focused on also providing a dining experience. Is there a reason you rarely feature bars in denser areas of cities downtowns, and ones that tend to focus more on the nightlife aspects? I would love to see a rescue of a bar in the East Village for example, or in Chicago’s Wrigleyville, or other comparable areas.

A:

shooting in downtown areas can be a logistical nightmare. We have 5 big trucks, an MCR, tech trailers and a crew of 57. we need office space, space for our carpenters, etc...


Q:

Jon, a big part of your show is not just changing the way the bar does business, but often changing the bar owner's outlook on life. Did you always know you wanted the show to be that way or did that happen organically when you started?

Also, what was your inspiration for the butt funnel?

A:

Good question! It evolved then I got better at it.


Q:

Hi John - Big fan of the show. I have always wondered why you rarely, if ever, renovate bathrooms on the show (or show it on TV anyway)? My wife and I will often pass on specific bars and restaurants because their bathrooms are nasty/broken/poorly maintained.

A:

We rarely do bathrooms. We just do not have the time. We will paint them...thats about it.


Q:

What bar that you rescued in Vegas are you most proud of, and I should visit?

A:

Bacom Bar is cool.


Q:

Jon, thanks for doing this. How different would the rescues be if there weren't any cameras, and it didn't air on TV? I suppose I'm asking if you adjust your management style BECAUSE it's on TV.

A:

its not the cameras, its the time. Normally a project is 2 months......i do it in 2.5 days. Thats the pressure.


Q:

Instead of rescues, have you ever thought of doing an episode covering the plans around starting up a bar operation from the ground up?

A:

we have discussed it.


Q:

How do you relieve stress?

A:

not my greatest talent. I'm always working on the show or my other businesses so I don't have time to destress.....:)


Q:

Hey Jon! I’m from Portland, Oregon. You had tried to fix a bar around here called “Tonic”. After you left, they claimed there were a lot of things behind the scenes that made them look worse than they really were. (Doors/windows open all night to allow bugs inside their bar, one example.) I know there’s a lot of editing in shows to maintain viewers but how much is bs compared to real life? Love the show!

A:

not true. People who say that after THEY embarrass themselves is funny to my. TV cannot make a good guy seem like an ass. TV cant make someone scream or act like a jerk. That comes from them.

The windows are open when we are PAINTING! they blame others because it feels better.


Q:

Good morning Jon! I have really enjoyed your show, if only for validating my complaints about bars/restaurants I’ve worked.

Do you still play drums?

A:

yes. I have a ROLAND V set


Q:

Rough guess: what percentage of bar staff do you catch stealing from the bar?

A:

under 10 percent.


Q:

How do you find the time to do all the work you have to do? Between running your business and filming, you must be very busy. How do you structure your day?

Love your barstool radio and pmt appearance and bought the book because of that

A:

every day can be a struggle sometimes. I'll fall behind then work at night to catch up.


Q:

Hi Jon, I loved your book "Raise the Bar" and look forward to reading your new book. My question for you is what advice do you have someone struggling to get a job?

A:

There are many jobs out there. Dress right, show confidence....and keep trying,.


Q:

Hi Jon! When you renovate do you or are your sponsors cover all of the costs and at the end of the day is your reciprocation a percent of sales? Or do you just do it for the love of the game? (and whatever the show pays you)

A:

all paid by sponsors and network,


Q:

What’s the grossest thing you ever found in one of the bars you were rescuing?

A:

a mushroom growing out of a wall the size of my head.....


Q:

Did you ever end up learning about tequila?

A:

was urban legend bro. Writer was an idiot.


Q:

Did you enjoy working with anyone more than Howard Hughes in Scottsdale?

A:

his place moved, then closed I'm told. Too bad. I wish him well.