In case you took a Household Feud-type survey of who the punk scene thought-about their model of Paul Bunyan, Sizzling Water Music’s Chuck Ragan would seemingly be the primary reply. What number of different multi-decade punk rockers have a fly fishing enterprise, their very own sauce firm, and a partnership with Traeger Grills?
With Sizzling Water Music changing into extra of a gentle part-time gig since their 2008 reunion, Ragan has been given extra time to pursue his different passions — lots of which obtain the identical depth and dedication he brings to the songs which have gained followers over for 13 studio albums (4 solo and 9 Sizzling Water Music) and a large number of different releases. And that doesn’t even embrace when he launched the best acoustic punk rock touring celebration of all time, the now-defunct Revival Tour.
From tour guiding to condiments, SPIN spoke with Ragan about all of his ardour initiatives exterior of his music.
SPIN: What made you begin the fly fishing enterprise?
Chuck Ragan: Nicely, fishing has been an enormous a part of my life since I used to be a child, it’s a few of my earliest and fondest reminiscences. It was all the time one thing that my household took half in. It wasn’t a sport, it was simply one thing that we did. It was a part of our life. We have been meat fishermen, so it wasn’t how it’s to me these days, however it was one thing that my mother and father and grandparents used to reveal me to the outside at an early age. They linked me to the outside and confirmed me one thing that simply blew my thoughts. I’m realizing now, at a later age in life, that they have been simply doing what their mother and father handed on to them and what they felt captivated with. It lit a spark in me. Not solely did it give me a pleasure of the outside and a pleasure of fishing, however it additionally gave me a purpose to guard these waterways and to face up for the species that reside in them.
I needed to remodel my profession, so to talk, on the age of 40. In my 30s, my spouse and I have been speaking about having children and our future and what we have been doing — and, in all honesty, I used to be how my life was, how typically I used to be touring, and the way lengthy I used to be gone all year long. I noticed that after children got here into the image, I didn’t need to be an absent dad. I needed to discover some type of steadiness. I had associates in Northern California who have been fishing guides, and I’d recognized fishing guides since I used to be a child, so it was all the time one thing behind my thoughts. I had different guides who would name me after they wanted somebody to assist them out with journeys, and different individuals who needed to fish with me, so it simply grew to become obvious that this was one thing I may have been doing for the previous 20 years.
How did that transition go for you?
It took a second to type of flip it in my head to comprehend that if I simply made a couple of tweaks to my schedule and my program, I may truly make a residing doing it. It could be one thing that may maintain me house extra with my household — as soon as we had children — so I instantly had a spotlight and an outlook. And never solely that, I began working with this nonprofit group referred to as Forged Hope. Our aim is to take children and their mentors — be it their mother and father, an enormous brother or sister, a steerage counselor, a instructor, or whoever they’re linked with — out on three fly fishing journeys to assist expose them to the outside and provides them a purpose to care concerning the open air and waterways.
I began having to steadiness the music profession with the large outside work that I do, and it simply makes every part simpler. There’s nothing simple about it, as a result of it’s nonetheless nostril to the grindstone as an unbiased contractor, however it’s extra time open air and with my household. It’s not a lot totally different than being a framer or a deck builder, and I’ve seen that in some methods, it’s very a lot the identical as being an unbiased musician.
How related is life in a band in comparison with the lifetime of a fishing information?
They’re related and utterly totally different on the identical time. It looks like a cut up life-style. Once I’m at house, I’m waking up at 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. each morning. I don’t have to set an alarm, it simply occurs. More often than not, I’m in mattress when the boy goes to mattress, so wherever between 8:30 and 9:00 p.m., except I’ve to remain up later for some purpose to prepared the boat or whatnot. Then once I transition to the street, these schedules actually flip hastily. I’m instantly up till 2:00 a.m. and getting up at 9:00 a.m. It’s wild, however when it comes right down to what we’re doing — whether or not it’s enjoying in a band or guiding — you’re providing a service that you just’re captivated with and also you’ve realized. You’re simply laying it out on the desk for anyone and doing all your finest to make an excellent impression, so hopefully that shopper or that present goer comes again to hold with you once more. You’re attempting to work onerous, ship one thing nice and provides somebody an exquisite reminiscence.
Is there any recommendation you’d need to give to different aspiring fishing guides?
It’s similar to another unbiased enterprise, you’ll be able to’t count on a large return straight away. If it was concerning the cash, I might most likely be doing different issues. You must be keen to make a whole lot of sacrifices and put up with the hardships that include it. The very best recommendation I may give anyone — whether or not it’s music, making a sauce firm, fishing guides or any type of artists — is that you just get again what you set into it. You are able to do no matter you need for essentially the most half, however should you put your vitality, your coronary heart and your soul into it, there’s going to be a return. Now, is that the return that you just’re hoping for? All of it relies on what your targets are. There are many individuals who be part of a band and don’t notice that the bands which might be doing what they need to do have been grinding it out for 35-36 years and made a ridiculous quantity of sacrifices. Issues can typically occur in a single day, however that’s like shopping for a lottery ticket. You must be keen to work onerous, make sacrifices and provides it your all, after which constructive issues will come again.
Along with being a fishing information, how did you find yourself with the Dandy Sauce Firm?
The sauce firm initially began in 2014 underneath a special title with another companions. We grinded on it for some time and actually labored onerous attempting to construct that firm, however for no matter purpose, we had only a tremendous robust time with the enterprise facet of it. Individuals beloved the sauce — in actual fact, each time we made it, it will promote out instantly — however we simply couldn’t sustain. I used to be busy with music and guiding, and my companion with eating places and whatnot in Texas, and we simply had a extremely robust time getting it off the bottom.
There have been a couple of years the place it simply felt stagnant. We have been attempting to determine what we have been going to do with it, and simply as we have been about to throw within the towel, we met Mary Risavi from Clever Goat Organics. She truly got here out on a fishing journey and she or he introduced all these items. Then she began approaching common journeys, and I discussed the sauce firm. The extra I talked to her about how we have been on the point of throw within the towel, she had some totally different concepts. She provided to present it a shot, as a result of our largest issues have been packing and distribution, which she is aware of all about. Mary got here into the image and simply began killing it straight away. She had every kind of loopy concepts for distribution, and we instantly felt like she needs to be part of this. Fairly than simply give her a bit, we made her an equal companion to do it as a workforce.
We re-launched it lately, and we’re completely thrilled with every part we’re doing. We’ve got every kind of recent merchandise and new stuff within the works, and it’s simply meals that we’re captivated with and use ourselves. It’s stuff that not solely we take pleasure in, but additionally our households and communities. It hit me a very long time in the past that almost all of the folks that I do know and work with within the music enterprise both run bars, eating places, meals vans, catering companies, festivals or no matter else like that. All of us are captivated with foods and drinks, and it was simply one thing that I actually believed we may do one thing totally different with. Sauce is a saturated market, however we’ve one thing distinctive to convey to the desk, and I have already got a whole lot of associates who find it irresistible and are already ordering a ton of it. We’re simply doing our greatest to construct Dandy not not just for our children sooner or later. I’m simply captivated with music, meals and fishing.