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ABRIDGED BIO, VOLUME 5: So you want to know how a boy from North Carolina found his way to West Virginia, eh? Well pull up a chair... it's story time...
I finished up a pretty awesome 4.5 years at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (In my home town of Greensboro, as the name may suggest) with a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies a few years back. While "attending classes" I managed to find quite a few things to occupy my free time on and around campus, but I slowly watched that free time become- well- nonexistent. I joined a Fraternity, worked at a deli, and spent my first million (which by the way I didn't have) almost exclusively at Corner Bar, The Blind Tiger (also a bar) and/or the Crown (a.k.a. ‘the beer store’). I played drums in a band, and made it a point in the time I wasn't playing to go see live music at least once a week somewhere in the Carolinas. Not to mention there were my obvious obligations to more important things like the family, friends, girlfriends, and the social circuit... so you could say I was pretty strapped. So to make it all fit, I just quit sleeping. Oddly enough, it actually worked for about 3 years.
Then I graduated. [insert four month sleeping binge here.]
When I woke up, all of my stuff was in coastal Georgia. I was mildly confused.
Okay, so maybe my stuff didn't move itself. In fact, I know a couple of guys who will attest to that fact. What really happened was more of a last-minute "moving party / road trip" of sorts; involving almost five years’ worth of accumulated nick-knacks that had piled up in my one-bedroom apartment, a few of my fraternity brothers, a U-Haul, and several cases of red bull. After perhaps the most hilarious road trip in the history of humanity, I ended up in Brunswick.
With a new chapter in my life dawning, I knew the real work was just beginning. It took surprisingly very little time to get settled at the beach, so after assessing all of the typical move-in things we all go through, it was on to much more important tasks. Like boating.
One day while watching the breeze, kicked back on the dock with a coldbeer, I had a flashback, remembering that first million that I had spent in college. "Some of those people may actually want money instead of the IOU's that I had given them," I said to myself. "Perhaps green post-it-notes are not really a suitable form of currency... Maybe I should get a job...."
Then I laughed. Hard.
After wiping the tears from my eyes and re-adjusting my sunglasses, I came to a conclusion: either a) the truth was becoming inevitable or b) it was the infamous Catholic guilt creeping in. Either way, "I really should become a productive member of society" I told myself. Plus, you know, I did have this degree and it just seemed like the 'right' thing to do...
So now you're asking "Kaiser, what was it like looking for a job right out of college?”
Trust me. It sucks.
Always being up for a good challenge, I embarked on the greatest journey of my life to that point. (Okay once again not really, but it makes for a good story.) I packed up my safari gear, which I was told was essential to hunting the elusive job, and set out to travel the east coast of the ‘ol US-of-A in search of the “perfect” career. Much to my chagrin- and you're not going to believe this- I found out that there aren't too many companies out there looking for professional beach bums. Apparently the demand just isn't there, which is truly unfortunate because that's one area I have a ton of experience in. So after taking another week of "self-reflection" to get over my disappointment, I decided to look for something so I could actually use that degree I had.
...So it was on to spending my second million on postage stamps and envelopes and sending out resumes... not to mention gas to drive the eastern sea board from top to bottom interviewing. (and just in case you weren't a math major, no, if I didn't have the first million I didn't have the second either. Chalk one up to the amazing green post-it-notes!) Anyway, after having interviewed with a few dozen companies from Pittsburgh to Tampa, I finally found one that I thought was a suitable fit for my career goals, career path and(yaddda, yadda...)
Where, you ask?
Turns out, it was the best move I’ve ever made. I fell in love with radio. I worked for the stations in Georgia for a few years, and decided that this was something I could legitimately turn into a career. After a trip to Jacksonville, FL (the home of the nearest Sam’s club) to stock up on some more green post-it notes, I even decided to go to graduate school to learn more about the industry. Though it was tough to leave the beach, I moved to Athens, Ohio to attend classes (though much more legitimately, this time) at Ohio University.
Perhaps it wasn’t the smartest decision to go to a top-ranked party school for my Masters’ degree, but I managed to rock that degree’s world by day, and Court Street by night. Plus, after living in the foothills of the Appalachians, I fell in love with this area, and knew that this was a place I wanted to spend a lot more time. That’s where Charleston and WQBE came in to the mix. That, and of course, the need to find a real income to work on the new stack of green post-it-notes that I had racked up in Athens.
But honestly, what else can you do for a living where you get to work with fun & crazy people, play music all day, go to concerts, and get paid to have much fun as we do? Of course, I'm still waiting to be offered a job where my title would be "emperor of earth." I hear the pay is decent, but I’m not holding my breath…
So that about explains my life, in the extended-abridged version anyway. Still want more, you say? Tough. Buy the book. I still have a bunch of outstanding Green Post-It-Notes!
Your Name: I really hope that, if you’ve made it this far down the page, you know the answer to this question already. If not, scroll back up to the top and we’ll start again.
Your Nickname: Most of my friends just call me “Kaiser.” A select few from college call me “J-Rock,” it was a Fraternity nickname. Long story…
Hometown: Greensboro, North Cackalacky
The Year You got into Radio: 2006
The Year You Started at WQBE: 2009
First Concert: Jimmy Buffett at Walnut Creek in Raleigh on the Fruitcakes tour in ’93. I was 10 or 11. I still don’t know what my parents were thinking, but man was that an eye-opening experience. Since then, I’ve made it to 33 other Buffett shows, including concerts in Atlanta, Cleveland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, D.C, and the Greenbrier Classic show in 2014. Hi, My name is Kaiser, and I have a Buffett problem…
Favorite Concert: Beyond Buffett? Honestly… that’s a toss-up between two bucket list shows: Southside Johnny at the House of Blues in Cleveland, and Michael Stanley & the Resonators at the Hard Rock Casino in Northfield... and the Zac Brown Band in Huntington, WV.
What’s on my Ipod?: Well, that bad boy has 160GB of space on it, so it’s a pretty big list. Just to name a few in no particular order: Guster, Sister Hazel, Cravin' Melon, Michael Stanley Band, Patrick Rock Band, The Police, John Mellencamp, Angie Aparo, O.A.R, John Mayer, Kenny Chesney, BOSTON, The Uninvited, George Harrison, Breathless, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, Weekend Excursion, Carbon Leaf Cross Canadian Ragweed, Marc Broussard, Matchbox Twenty, Maroon 5, Steve Miller Band, Far Too Jones, Rush, Incubus, Paolo Nutini, The Cat Empire, Athenaeum, Eels, .38 Special, Huey Lewis & The News, Dire Straits, Stone Temple Pilots, Tom Petty, 311, Cast Iron Filter, Elton John, & U2.
Favorite Song: Dude, that’s like asking someone to pick their favorite rain drop in a monsoon. Next question.
Your Most Influential Album: That’s easy… .38 Special’s “Tour de Force.” I was 6 months old when that record came out in January 1984, and it was the only thing my parents could find that would get me to calm down. Not children’s albums, not Sesame Street, but .38 Special. They could put the record on, and within seconds, I’d be quiet and just listen. I’m sure, in retrospect, my folks knew that was the first sign of trouble for their son. It’s really no surprise that I’ve turned out the way I have… and to this day, I can sit behind a drum kit and play the album note-for-note, from cover to cover. True story.
Craziest Celebrity Run-In: Eddie Money, who was playing in a hotel room in Nashville in 2007. It’s an interesting story… Ask me about it some time.
Coolest Celebrity you’ve ever met: Blake Shelton. Hands down. He’s a cool cat.
My Favorite Place to Vacation is: I’m not too picky, as long as I can find a beach nearby. I also have this dream of a west-coast road trip… it’s on the bucket list.
If I Could Hang out With Anyone it would be: Just about any of my musical heroes.