Episode 545- Bill Mandara Jr

Bill is a CEO & Musician

Bill Mandara Jr., CEO of Mancini Duffy, talks about his passion for playing music, how it helps him with his career as a CEO, how Mancini Duffy encourages its employees to discuss their hobbies, and much more!

Episode Highlights
• Getting into performing music
• How performing music has helped his career
• Why it is important for an organization to set the tone from the top
• How Mancini Duffy encourages an open work environment

 

 

 

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Bill’s Photos

Bill recording music during Covid

Bill’s son Joey recording vocals in 2020

Bill singing around 1996

Outdoor gig in 1993

First cover band bar show in 1991

Bill’s Links

Transcript

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    Welcome to Episode 545 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. And each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby, or a passion, or an interest outside of work. And to put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work. And if you like what the show’s about, be sure to check out the award-winning book on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. The book goes more in depth in the research behind why these outside of work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. And I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and writing such nice reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.

    And if you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audiobooks. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every weekend. This week is no different with my guest, Bill Mandara, Jr. He’s the CEO at Mancini Duffy in New York City. And now, he’s with me here today. Bill, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Bill: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

    John: This is gonna be a blast. But before I get started on music, which I love also, let’s get to know Bill on a new level here with 17 rapid fire questions. Well, maybe an easy one. I don’t know. You’re in New York. City cheeseburger or pizza?

    Bill: Pizza.

    John: Yeah. Hands down, easy. Like that was a slam dunk. How about favorite color?

    Bill: Red.

    John: Red. Okay. All right. How about a least favorite color?

    Bill: Brown.

    John: Brown, yeah. That is by far the least favorite of all of them. How about a favorite movie of all time?

    Bill: Goodfellas.

    John: Nice.

    Bill: Either that or Pulp Fiction, depending on the day you ask me.

    John: Right. Okay. Okay. All right. How about when it comes to puzzles? Sudoku, crossword, or a jigsaw puzzle?

    Bill: I don’t really do any of them honestly. Sorry.

    John: Fair. No. No. Don’t apologize at all. You’re being honest. That totally works. I don’t have time for that stuff. How about talk or text?

    Bill: Definitely text.

    John: Definitely text. Here we go.

    Bill: Too much talking.

    John: Right. Especially after this podcast. You’re like I’m done for the day. Like that’s it. How about a favorite actor or an actress?

    Bill: Probably De Niro.

    John: There you go. How about oceans or mountains?

    Bill: Oceans. East Coast.

    John: Yeah, East Coast. There you go. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Bill: Definitely Star Wars, but not those horrible prequels.

    John: Oh, I know, right? All I did was the original three, and I heard such bad things about the others. I was like I don’t wanna taint it. So I have yet to see anything besides the original. How about your computer, PC or Mac?

    Bill: Definitely Mac.

    John: Oh, okay. Yeah.

    Bill: I don’t even understand PCs. Why anybody would use one.

    John: Maybe it’s that part of it. Okay. All right. There you go. How about do you prefer more hot or cold?

    Bill: Cold.

    John: Cold. Yeah.

    Bill: You can always put clothes on.

    John: Exactly. Especially when you’re waiting for the subway in the city. It’s terrible. Ice cream. I’m a huge ice cream fan. Favorite ice cream flavor?

    Bill: Mint chocolate chip.

    John: Old school. Nice. I like it.

    Bill: Green one though. Not that natural white stuff.

    John: Right.

    Bill: I want the food coloring.

    John: Yeah. It doesn’t taste the same. If it’s not green, it’s not minty. I’m with you on that one. How about a favorite sports team?

    Bill: New York Jets.

    John: Ah, okay. Dave Diaz.

    Bill: Sadly, Jets.

    John: Yeah. There you go. Hey, but you’re a diehard. How about a favorite number?

    Bill: 9.

    John: 9. Is there a reason?

    Bill: I don’t know. I mean, I was born in September. I don’t know. I just like 9. I like the way it looks.

    John: No, that’s great. Very cool. All right. We got three more. When it comes to books, audio version, e-Book, or a real book?

    Bill: e-Book.

    John: e-Book. Okay.

    Bill: You can read them when you’re in the bathroom.

    John: Right. There you go. And how about cats or dogs?

    Bill: Definitely dogs.

    John: Definitely. Yeah. Me too.

    Bill: Yeah. Not a cat guy.

    John: Yeah. Yeah. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own?

    Bill: My swimming pool.

    John: Swimming pool, okay.

    Bill: My favorite thing I own.

    John: There you go. That’s solid. I love it. That’s awesome. And especially with a guy that has a lot of cool stuff. Swimming pool, top of the list. That’s great. So, yeah. So let’s talk music, man. How’d you get started? What did you play?

    Bill: So I got started in the fifth grade. I went to small little Catholic school here in New Jersey, and there were two priests. They said— I don’t remember their names— Father whatever could teach you the guitar and Father whatever could teach you the drums. So I opted for guitar. And I was like “Okay, cool. When do I get to learn how to play?” You know, like whatever was my favorite at the time.

    John: Yeah. Songs I hear on the radio. Absolutely.

    Bill: I wanna hear something cool, right? Detroit Rock City. And then a guy got an acoustic guitar and then they showed you how to strum for 3 days. I’m like “Well, that’s not for me. Let me try the drums.” So I sat with the other priest and two guys,and they gave you a little pad. I’m like “Well, this kind of sucks too.”

    John: Right? ‘Cause it mutes the sound. Right?

    Bill: And then after about a week of that and my mother taking me to the store to buy a snare drum, I would just sit in a room and bang that. And my father somehow, as my father would tend to do, just came home one day with a drum set. I’m like “Where’d you get that? He goes “Ah, somebody owed me some money.” My dad was a contractor. So it was always like somebody didn’t pay him for something, so he got stuff. So he just literally came home with this drum set. And I would just sit there in my room over and over again with headphones on, listening to anything I could, went along with it for years. And that continued literally through middle school. And you know, I tried at my mother’s behest joining the band when I went to high school. And they gave you this giant Q-tip to put on your head. And I’m like “Look, I’m 140 pounds and, yeah, this doesn’t help me in my situation.”

    John: Right? Right.

    Bill: This isn’t why I started playing the drums.

    John: Right?

    Bill: So basically, I would just go to my parents’ basement every day and play along with like Van Halen II and Rush Moving Pictures till I got the note. And then around then, you know, I met some friends in high school, formed some bands. We played the same like three Judas Priest songs over and over again. Horribly.

    John: Right.

    Bill: You know, we thought we were the best.

    John: Sure. In your high school, I’m sure you were.

    Bill: No, we were bad. We were bad. We were really bad. And then, you know, I think in high school, there was actually like a battle of the bands and we played Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden. And then instead of singing along with Run to the Hills, the crowd was chanting get off the stage.

    John: That’s awesome.

    Bill: Somewhere, a friend of mine has a video of that, which I hope never resurfaces.

    John: That’s fantastic.

    Bill: Yeah. I mean, music has always been kind of what I wanted to do, what I enjoy. And you know, I mean, just fast forward to when I was old— Yeah, I played in bands in college with some other guys. You know, much better we played. Played around New Jersey, Jersey Shore, North Jersey area in the ’90s. All the stuff you would expect to be playing in the ’90s. I had a lot of fun. Played in some original bands. I had a bass player that was perpetually late to practice, and my singer at the time also played drums. So any time you’d get up to go to the bathroom, you’d sit down at the drum kit and you couldn’t get back. So I just picked up the bass and started learning how to play that. And then, eventually, I don’t even know when at some point, just kind of picked up guitar too and just kinda went from there.

    John: That’s fantastic, man. I love it. But I mean, to write your own music and— I mean, that’s super, super hard, you know. It’s hard enough to play the instruments, but then to write your own music, that’s the next level.

    Bill: It actually kind of came out in an odd fashion. We had this guy in the office who left. He would leave very bizarre voicemails to people. And I thought it was a joke. And I said,
    “What if I take this voicemail and just put it to music?” He had this kind of weird voice.

    John: That’s great.

    Bill: And I just started playing. And then there were several voicemails. And you know, I would just kind of make these goofy things, and sit there and noodle around the guitar, and annoy my wife. And kinda during COVID, I guess, I was listening to my son practice for— He did a lot of musicals in high school. And I was like “Wow, he could actually sing pretty well. Let me see about this.” So during COVID, we redid my house, and I’m in this room I’m in now. I, kind of hit or miss, bought a lot of equipment, bought the wrong stuff, returned it, bought other stuff, and kind of built my own little recording area here.

    John: Okay.

    Bill: And learned how to use Logic Pro and do some basic recording. And in the process realized I actually could write some songs. And I was always like “Well, I can’t write lyrics. That’s why I just do these goofy voicemail things.”

    John: Sure.

    Bill: And a friend of mine was just like— We were playing golf one day. And he was like “All right, look, you can write lyrics. You know, I’ve seen how you write.” And gave me a couple tips. And then, again, during COVID, sitting around with nothing to do, I just started writing lyrics. And then my son came in, started singing ’em. And you know, again, through the process of trying, failing, trying, failing again, eventually, you know, figured out how to write some songs, record them, get ’em mastered, throw ’em out there. And you know, I have one album that we released about almost 2 years ago. And I have another one that’s almost done now, about another 12 songs. I have like five more songs behind that too that are like all kind of half done.

    John: That’s great though. But I mean, just like a fun, creative outlet. And also too, the thing to take away from this is, I mean, you’re downplaying the musicianship of it all. But you know, like you don’t have to be good. You don’t have to be a touring band that everyone’s heard of. You enjoy it, you know. So like that’s all that matters, is you enjoy it.

    Bill: Absolutely. I mean, look, you know what I mean. I was into a lot of music that’s far more intricate than I can necessarily write on the guitar. But yeah, I mean, listen, it’s a great outlet and it’s actually interesting to me how many people in my profession in architecture and the real estate industry in general, but particular architecture are also musicians. There’s several people in my office that are as well. A few years ago, we actually got enough of us together. We played like our Christmas party for a couple of years in a row.

    John: That’s awesome!

    Bill: Yeah. And then one of the guitar players went to go work for Elon Musk.

    John: Right. Never heard of him. But that’s a fun way to just like let people see you come alive.

    Bill: Oh, yeah. Oh, it’s a cool way to get to know each other too because you kind of see each other all day, and everybody’s stressed out and yelling. You’re getting yelled at by clients, whatever. And then one night, we go to discovery play. You go to a practice studio, have some beers or whatever, and be like “Wait, a second, everybody’s actually pretty cool.”

    John: Right?

    Bill: And like “Hey, I can actually play.” You’re like “Wait a second. Maybe, you know, this guy is pretty good.”

    John: Yeah, we could do some stuff here. That’s awesome, man. Like do you have any favorite memories from back in the day from when you were performing besides the talent show that you got booed off the stage?

    Bill: That was definitely not a favorite memory. Well, I would definitely say my favorite memory of playing was the fact that I met my wife a million years ago.

    John: Okay.

    Bill: You know, we happened to be playing somewhere, and she knew my bass player. So it’s actually how I wound up meeting my wife. So that’s my favorite for sure.

    John: Which is the reason you learned the drums right there. It was nice to be in the marching band.

    Bill: Why does anybody start playing music when they’re a kid?

    John: Right. Totally. Exactly.

    Bill: ‘Cause there’s one reason. So, you know, to check that box, success. That was obviously cool. But in particular, we used to play this place in New Jersey. It was called The Clubhouse. And it was a really cool place. It was like 3 floors and they had like— if you were lucky enough to play the main floor one— There was a lot of people, and it was huge sound system, and it was great. We played there, again, mid-’90s. And one of the guys goes to my singer and goes “Last time you were here, you played Rage Against the Machine. There was a mosh pit and this, that, the other. You better not play it. You don’t play it, whatever.” And the guy was real jerk. I overheard. And me being me— He told a couple people. I made sure my guitar player didn’t know about it. And sure enough, the last song, I look at him like “Come on, let’s go. Let’s do it.” He was like “Yeah. Let’s just do it.” And I start the song. Oh, I thought this guy was gonna kill him.

    John: Bulls on Parade. Here it comes.

    Bill: I think it was actually Freedom.

    John: Oh, okay. Okay. All right.

    Bill: Yeah, it didn’t go over too well and it was really neat.

    John: It was the last song. What are you gonna do? All right. We’re done anyway.

    Bill: What? You’re not gonna pay us the like $84 you were gonna pay us anyway? It’s not something for money.

    John: Exactly.

    Bill: And again, that’s up there. And then more recently, I think, you know, not one particular moment, but just recording with my son was really cool.

    John: Yeah, that’s powerful.

    Bill: It’s a really cool thing. You know, you can do it together. It’s a fun thing to have and it’s kind of a really neat bond to have with your son.

    John: No, I love it man. I love it. And so, do you feel like any of your music side gives you a skillset that you bring to work?

    Bill: I think so. High school band aside, you know, when you’ve gone out and you’ve played to like your mom, and your girlfriend, and like four other people out there in a place that holds like 150 people, you get a little bit of humility.

    John: Right.

    Bill: And then quite the opposite too, like, you know— So I mentioned before, I’m a cover band, my singer played the drum, so we would switch off. And not that I’m a great singer, but when you go out there in a place down the shore with 250 drunk people, you don’t even have a drum set to hide behind, it kinda makes you not be the shy kid that you are. So it helps with that too. And again, I think it’s just the overall creativity, which is why I think in architecture, in particular, there’s so many musicians too because it’s a good creative outlet.

    John: Yeah. No, I love it. I mean, you know, I was a CPA and my creative outlet was comedy. And it’s not necessarily super common, but it’s really great that it’s the other side of the brain, you know. So then the analytical side or whatever can just take a rest.

    Bill: Make people laugh when they found out they owe the government a bunch of money in tax.

    John: Right. Exactly. Plus, like when you’re auditing people and they— Like I walk in and people are like “Man, you’re my favorite auditor ever.” And I’m like “Is that a compliment? Like maybe I’m not good. Like I don’t know what’s happening right now, but I’ll take it. I’ll take it.” No, that’s great though, but I love how you’re sharing it and then getting a group together to play at holiday parties or things like that. Like is it something that you’ve talked about through your career?

    Bill: Oh, absolutely. I think that nobody can be around me for more than half an hour and not hear some sort of musical reference. In particular, probably from some rush lyric that I used to get through most of my literature classes in college.

    John: There you go.

    Bill: Yeah, no. I’m always dropping some sort of music reference. And again, I think it’s just one of those things everybody kind of knows ’cause I’m not shy about it. And I’m obviously a bit opinionated on music too.

    John: There you go. Did it ever cross your mind, especially when you were younger, like oh, people are gonna judge me or whatever or it’s just take it or leave it?

    Bill: Not at all. I mean, I would say that I kind of— For me, at least, being an architect was just kind of almost like what I was just gonna do since I was a kid ’cause my family was in the business and it was just that. And you know, in my 20s or so, it kind of got to the point where it was like in the back of my mind, I kind of thought maybe, just maybe, the music thing might work out and, you know, I’ll go to college, and I’ll do this architecture stuff to keep my parents off my back and keep them cool. And then eventually, I think in my mid-20s or so was when I realized I gotta kind of get serious about the architecture thing because—

    John: Right. I guess this is what I’m doing. All right.

    Bill: Well, one day, the Smashing Pumpkins are gonna need a drummer and call me.

    John: Yeah. Right.

    Bill: And it turns out they needed a drummer and they didn’t call me.

    John: Right. They did need a drummer. You’re right.

    Bill: Yeah. I was supposed to go to that show actually. I was at the Garden I think of like ’95.

    John: Oh, no.

    Bill: But yeah, it came to the point where I was like, all right, I guess I gotta be serious about this.

    John: You just Milli Vanilli fake it. It’s just like And I did take a little break for music here and there for about maybe about 4 or 5 years. Not on purpose. Just I had gotten married at that time. And you know, life starts to happen. I didn’t really play too much music. And then in the early 2000s, you know, my early 30s or so, I started playing again with some other people and then always played on my own. And then recently, you know, got back. I’ve played with several different people. I have a bunch of guys— One of my best friends since I was 16 years old invited me to play with this band in 2019.

    John: Nice.

    Bill: We played a really cool show. And these were like, you know, really top flight musicians. I was kinda like “Ooh, I better practice.”

    John: I better practice.

    Bill: I don’t usually practice that much.

    John: You just Milli Vanilli fake it. It’s just like I’ll air guitar it.

    Bill: Got to play with them and then, you know, this was gonna be great. And then, of course, COVID happens and that wasn’t the thing anymore. But I was actually recording some music with those guys too. So it’s been great being able to play with different people. Even some of the music I have coming out now, I’ve reached out to some friends I used to play with. And one of my buddies who used to be in my band, outstanding guitar player, he played down my three solos for me on songs. That’s a new thing for me now collaborating on songs I’ve written on, but it’s great.

    John: Right? You’re like the new Jay-Z, man. But when you weren’t playing music, do you feel like when you went back, it was different at work or like the corporate side of you?

    Bill: No. No.

    John: Or did it matter?

    Bill: No. It’s always just there.

    John: Well, yeah, it was definitely always under the surface.

    Bill: Yeah. I don’t mean to sound cocky at all ’cause I’m certainly not like that. But I would say that playing the drums is just one of those things for me. It’s like riding a bike, you know. I could go years without doing it and just sit down and be fine. Will it take me a little bit to get your timing back? Sure. But overall, like it’s something that I can just kind of do.

    John: Yeah.

    Bill: It’s probably the only thing I’ve ever just done that felt natural.

    John: That’s amazing.

    Bill: I was never very athletic at all. My father would joke around that I tripped over chalk lines and—

    John: Oh, man.

    Bill: People would go see me to play the drums. They’re like “I don’t understand it. Like you’re so uncoordinated yet you can play the drums. Does that make sense?”

    John: Yeah. But the cymbals in the drums are everywhere in a drum kit. So it’s like I can’t miss.

    Bill: That is why I have so many cymbals in drums.

    John: Right? Right. Man, this guy’s amazing. It’s like I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s really cool, man. I love it. That’s super awesome. And I guess how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create space for people to be able to share their “and” versus how much is it on the individual to just get it going?

    Bill: I think it’s unbelievably important because if you go somewhere every day and you know you have to fit into a mold and just be that person— and I did that for quite a while. It’s kind of soul sucking, and it’s not somewhere you’re gonna feel comfortable. And honestly, it’s also important to get to know people. It’s good to know. If you want somebody to work somewhere and be there long term, it’s good to know who they are, who they are as a person. Plus, it’s interesting. Like what we do is very stressful. It can be a lot of fun. It can be exhausting sometimes. And it is good to know what other people do. And I think that was kind of one of the interesting things about COVID too was that everybody on these Zoom meetings got to see like “Hey, got a guitar back there. I didn’t know you played guitar.” Or “You got a pair of golf clubs back there. I didn’t know you played. We should get out.” Of all the crappy stuff, I think it was kind of interesting. So we did get to know like what some people’s “ands” are, which was pretty cool.

    John: Yeah. And it’s a nice reminder of “Oh, yeah, I work with humans that have other dimensions to who they are.”

    Bill: We’re not robots. We’re not little AI things running around.

    John: I just figured in your background you’d have a bunch of like Lego buildings. You’re like doing architecture at home too.

    Bill: Right. Exactly.

    John: And you’re like “No. Like, what, are you crazy?” It’s like maybe there’s the one person that does that, but no, no one does that. Like what are you talking about? And I think that’s great, man. That’s really cool. Is there something that Mancini Duffy does specific to get people to share their “ands” or encourage that?

    Bill: It really just kind of happens organically. So, you know, we are a pretty social firm. Every once a month, we have a town hall, and we order food and have drinks and everything. We have what we call a summer camp where everybody comes over for a barbecue with their family. We’ll alternate houses between mine and my partner, Christian. And through that actually, you start to find out these things about people. Like when we had the party at my house, I was talking to one of my coworkers. And I’m a big barbecue guy. I have a Big Green Egg. And her and her husband were like “Oh, my God, you have it.” And then we kind of wound up learning that like there are these awesome barbecuers. And so, I think a lot of it just kind of happens organically. I guess, to me, anything else other than like these things happening organically just kind of feels disingenuous and contrived, and that’s just not who I could ever— I mean, it works for a lot of people. Just it doesn’t work for me.

    John: But also, you set the tone at the top, which is great, where you’re like on Zoom or on the video calls. You got stuff in the background. You know, when you’re out, you’re talking about music. You’re talking about barbecue. You’re bringing not work lingo to these conversations when it’s not time for that. We’re with families, and we’re hanging out, and we’re getting to know each other type of thing.

    Bill: And realistically, everybody’s gonna do their best work when they’re happy and when they’re comfortable, when they’re themselves, you know.

    I mean, I think that for better or worse, I learned a long time ago that I’ve been a square peg in a round hole many, many times, and I’ve learned to just embrace it, and it can’t just be me.

    John: Right? No, it’s not. I’m with you, man. I’m a square peg in an octagon hole. It’s not even round. It’s like some weird thing.

    Bill: Right. And so, again, just, you know, I think allowing people to be themselves and express themselves. And what they do and learn about each other is just the way where everybody’s gonna eventually do their best work as well.

    John: Yeah, no, you’re right. I mean, when I do like leadership presentations and stuff, it’s “Are your people living their best life?” ‘Cause if they are, they’ll do their best work.

    Bill: That’s important. It’s important.

    John: Yeah. No, I love it. That’s awesome, man. That’s so great. So I guess before we wrap this up, do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that maybe they know all the Rush lyrics as well or no, but they have a hobby or an outside of work passion that they feel like, well, no one’s gonna care ’cause it has nothing to do with my job?

    Bill: I would just say (A) I don’t wanna sound like Nike, but literally just try it. Just do it. Just throw it out there and be yourself. You know? I mean, if you’re into cooking, if you’re into gardening, whatever it is, just throw it out there and just be yourself, and you’re gonna be a much happier person.

    John: I love it, man. That’s so good. So good. Well, I feel like before we wrap this up, it’s only fair that I turn the table since I rudely fired away questions at you at the beginning. So we’ll make this the first episode of The Bill Mandara, Jr. podcast. Thanks for having me on. And I’ll let you pick the intro music, so I don’t wanna mess that up, but I’m all yours. Whatever you got, man.

    Bill: Well, my question ’cause you just moved your head though, I was gonna ask about that helmet, is that a Notre Dame helmet back there?

    John: It is a Notre Dame helmet. Yeah, absolutely.

    Bill: Did you go to Notre Dame?

    John: I went to Notre Dame. Huge Notre Dame football fan. College football in general. But yeah, Notre Dame’s definitely my team for sure.

    Bill: It is intriguing to me, anybody that does stand up, because I feel like you have to have nerves of steel, as outgoing as I tend to be, and sometimes you gotta breathe deep and do it. What was that like the first time you decided to go on a stage?

    John: Oh, man, first time on stage was at the Funny Bone in St. Louis in Westport Plaza. I lived there, worked at the PWC office, and we had had a training in Pasadena. And so, I went down to the improv in Hollywood a couple of weeks when I was there. And I was like “Well, I could be as not funny as a couple of these people.” And that was Hollywood, you know. I didn’t realize you could just move to Hollywood, but anyway. So I went to the open mic night just to watch and then I was like “I’ll go now. Like I’ll definitely not be the worst person that ever did comedy.” So, the next week, I swiped a legal pad from the work supply closet, and I just was writing down joke ideas. And I had a full legal page of joke ideas, so just concepts.

    And so, I went over to dinner at my parents’ house the night before, and I had already signed up. I was gonna go the next day. In their defense, I only read the joke concepts, so I didn’t do the joke. I just told them the joke ideas and I mean probably 40. And the only two responses I got were “We didn’t raise you that way” and my dad said “You can’t say that.” And I was like “Oh, this is not good at all. Like I thought all these were killer.” And so, I went over to my buddy’s house, and we figured out ones that were good, and then the next day went up. And it’s the funny bone and quite a few people from high school were there. Quite a few people from work. My parents were there. My mom was holding the video camera, so we didn’t realize to bring a tripod because it’s the first time.

    And so, my parents laughed harder than anyone else in the audience. And I’m like “24 hours ago, you were like not moving a face, like no muscle. And now, you’re like—” The video is literally me telling jokes and then my mom like shaking the camera from laughing so hard. And it’s on VHS. I got it digitized and yeah. But I mean, the first time you go up, like I had a little index card in my hand of like set list basically. And it actually went pretty well. Like especially for the first time, it went really well. Like I already signed up. Like the emcee’s gonna say my name.

    Bill: This happened in one way or another.

    John: Yeah. So like I should have been nervous when I signed up the week before, but I’m not nervous now ’cause you’re gonna say my name and I have to go or else I look really stupid. But having people that I knew there, that made it more difficult honestly ’cause I was like “Oh, man, it’d be better if it was no one I knew.” And then who cares?

    Bill: That was gonna be my next question. If you had a couple like throwaway gigs before you told people.

    John: No. That was the first one and it was like good friends of mine. So I knew they’d be supportive anyway, and I think they were sort of like “I don’t know what he is gonna do. Like let’s find out.” I mean, probably like you playing the drums where it’s like “Well, let’s see what happens with this train wreck.”

    Bill: Same thing with the mom with the VHS camera, you know.

    John: Right? Yeah. And you gotta get it on digital before the tape erodes.

    Bill: Yeah. Some of those tapes I hope melt, but—

    John: Right? That’s awesome, man. Well, no, I appreciate you being a part of What’s Your “And”?, Bill. Thank you so much.

    Bill: Thank you. It’s been fun.

    John: And everyone listening, if you wanna see some pictures of Bill in action, or maybe connect with him on social media, or get links to his music, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. Everything’s there. And while you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.

    And don’t forget to read the book. So thanks again for subscribing on Apple Podcast or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.


		

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