On this episode of the Riton Podcast, host Brady Speth joins country music star Ryan Weaver. Listen to this man’s incredible stories of his family and his country music.
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Brady Speth 0:08
Welcome everybody to the Riton podcast. Today’s guest we’re doing this online so we’re not getting him in studio here yet. We’ll get him out to Tucson here soon but want to introduce today’s guest is a former Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot and current country music star Ryan Weaver. Welcome to the Riton podcast, buddy.
Ryan Weaver 0:26
What’s up, man? I appreciate you guys bringing me on.
Brady Speth 0:28
Glad to have you. I was kind of laughing thinking about this podcast because I think this might be the first time you’ve actually sat and talked but our circle of friends I feel like I’ve known you for a while if that’s that’s weird.
Ryan Weaver 0:41
The way it seems that way we travel and in the same circles sometimes with other the other people you know, but then if it’s not SHOT Show or something like that. I don’t even get to meet folks except for on podcast like this. But I have a performance in Prescott. I don’t know how close that is to you guys in Tucson.
Brady Speth 0:59
A few hours away when’s that one at?
Ryan Weaver 1:02
May 1 is the performance. And so hopefully, I don’t know how close you guys to Prescott
Brady Speth 1:10
about three, three hours or so drive?
Ryan Weaver 1:12
luck. Yeah. Yeah, it’s a motorcycle rally for the wounded blue and a few other nonprofit organizations. I’ll do probably seven, seven songs set real short. But yeah, three hours is a hike for you guys to maybe but yeah, maybe one day I’ll get get out there with you and get to hang out in
Brady Speth 1:29
the Yeah, well look at look at the calendar, that’d be fun to come up and hang out. We actually just picked an officer or Sheriff deputy up there for a hunt. We’re taking him to Africa on a hunt here in May. And he won one of our one of our hunts so just Sheriff deputy up in that area. So I’m good friends with a bunch of those guys. So it’d be worth coming up and saying hi. So it can be a good time. So let’s come back to the country music side. Let’s Let’s go the other way. First, let’s talk a little bit about people that are not necessarily familiar with you kind of upbringing and military and kind of how you get to the point of doing concert and prescott.
Ryan Weaver 2:09
Yeah, it’s been it’s been quite a journey. I actually grew up in West Central, actually all over Florida, and I graduate from high school from Inverness, Citrus County, which is about 50 miles west of Orlando, and went in the army at 18, straight out of high school, was an intelligence analyst in the military, up to E6, and decided to transition I had two older brothers that were aviators, one of which was Aaron he was in flight school at the time. And my oldest brother Steve was already warrant officer and I think he was a W2 or W3 at the time but ended up going to transition to be one officer going to flight school, and 2000 or 2000 ish in 1999-2000 timeframe. And transition to Blackhawk aviator, went to Germany and was deployed to Iraq in 2003. My brother Aaron was deployed there with the 82nd airborne. I was deployed with 1st Armored Division. He was just southwest of Fallujah, and I was at Baghdad International Airport in combat, and but he was a cancer survivor was non deployable. He was actually in the event that Black Hawk Down was made after the ambush in Mogadishu and Somalia, he was one of the Rangers on the ground. And he but he was a cancer survivor was non deployable, got a waiver to be deployed, but he had to get bimonthly blood screenings for his cancer. And he had to with those bimonthly blood screenings, he was taking medivac hops, you know, back and forth between Baghdad hospital and whatnot. And he was on on in route to one of those cancer screenings. And it was shot down and killed everybody on board and I came home from Iraq to his funeral. And that we became a one time Gold Star family at that point. And that’s really where the country music thing started. I still had a few years left in the military, and before I was done, and was stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and as a TAC officer and an academic instructor for the leadership development portion of their of one Officer Candidate School and one officer Career College. That’s where we’re at all sparked right there in Fort Rucker, Alabama,
Brady Speth 4:23
Alabama. Well, first, I’ll jump in. I don’t I always never know what to say on things like this, because I’m a military vet and law enforcement that thank you for your family and your brother. And honestly, it sounds like a badass Dude, I would have loved to have met him for just the simple fact that if he goes through all that just to go to play with his boys and be over there and get those waivers and then, you know, going through what he did, and then for the Blackhawk down side of it, and then you know, just wanting to be a part of serving his country and stuff. So we’re forever indebted for that. So I appreciate it.
Ryan Weaver 4:55
He was he was an all American superhero. You know, he was in a Ranger Regiment 3075th Bravo Company, there were 75th and he was in the best Ranger competition two years in a row was Jeff Zucker is his Ranger buddy and they got fourth. So he was a badass, he was much more of a badass than I am. I was with the infantry in the 25th Infantry Division, and I had to do CQ duty. And I’m sitting there at night and we had a little field desk with the phones sitting on top of it and I’m pacing back and forth trying to stay awake because there’s nothing to do other than checking arms room every hour for whatever reason to make sure that nobody stole weapons out of there but
Brady Speth 5:34
nothing to walk away.
Ryan Weaver 5:35
I just walked right I fell asleep standing up I guess and walked right over the top of that field desk smashed the phone and was I knew right then and there that I was never going to go to Ranger School because I love to eat and sleep and you don’t get to do either one of those in Ranger School.
Brady Speth 5:50
Ryan Weaver 5:53
Intelligence and they went they both my brothers went in the Ranger Regiment were in the Ranger Regiment, and they got out of out, went to two years of school then went back and went to became warrants after they got out for two years of college. I went straight from recruiting duty that sucked to, to flight school. So it was pretty cool. Nice transition.
Brady Speth 6:14
That’s a good transition. Actually, the I was gonna say for those of you that haven’t run familiar with the Best Ranger Competition, take a look. watch some videos on that, because that’s, it’s insane. So that gives you just a small little glimpse into what it’s like to be an Army Ranger. So much respect to those guys and the friends of mine that have been through that.
Ryan Weaver 6:32
I would I don’t want to go to Ranger School much less after being the best Ranger competition there was just complete animals.
Brady Speth 6:39
Yeah, to be up for days at a time and marching and rucking and just Yeah, I’ve I’ve watched that one a bunch of different times. And those guys are machine so yeah. So let’s jump into that the kind of the country music side of it. So you come back to Alabama. Is that something that is music something that’s always been kind of a part of it? And is that something you just kind of picked up as you know, a you’re going through some shit? And this is a coping type thing? Or what was it the kind of got you into music?
Ryan Weaver 7:07
It’s actually kind of interesting, because I don’t have your typical, you know, I was three years old, listen to Johnny Cash and all that kind of stuff. You know, the Country Music stories that you hear out there is completely different than that. I grew up in a small town USA and we were not, we were I mean, I would say that we were I don’t want to say a poor family because we had a lot of love and everything that we needed. But we definitely had a lot in our house a lot of folks in our house because my were step siblings and half siblings and all that. But you know, I never I did some I played the violin over you know, when I was growing up a little bit, played that and got bored with that. And I never really did a whole lot in the music side of things until I got to flight school. Because I was broke off my ass in flight school. I was actually in the middle of a divorce and flight school, but I was broke. And I needed to find something cheap to do on the weekends when I when I you know, to get away from flight, you know, the studying and flight line and all that kind of stuff and entertain myself. And it was karaoke. I started doing karaoke just for fun. And I entered into a karaoke competition. And won. Well, I think I got one of the top three or whatever it was, but I ended up winning money with it. I’m like, well, hell, if I can make money singing karaoke. I was like, whoa. So I really got into the karaoke scene, and Dothan in Alabama and around in that area, Southern southeastern Alabama. And it was just something late in my life that I found out that I was decent enough that for people to enjoy what I was doing. I can’t say that I’m the best vocalist in the world. And I don’t ever say that I am but the entertainment aspect of it. And engaging with the crowd seemed to be something I had a knack for and got re stationed in Germany. And I did karaoke for fun, didn’t do any competitions and stuff over there. But when I was deployed to Iraq, I started writing there was one of the guys that was with us brought his guitar and I started writing with him and I’ve always written poems and poetry and stories and different things like that, but I never had written music but kind of learned a little bit about how to do it and chord structure song structures and different things like that. And then when Aaron died, you know, I followed in my brother’s footsteps, my oldest brother was an aviator. Aaron was an aviator my oldest brother, Steve was an aviator, Aaron was an aviator. They flew Kiowa warriors, I flew Blackhawks essentially followed in their footsteps and everything I did and then when Aaron died, you know, it’s kind of like, Well, what do I do? I mean, it’s not it’s not what do I do now? It’s this was I did did this really, because my older brothers did it and I want to get the hell out of my house at the time. And it was a great way for me to be able to do that. And it’s cool to be able to say that I did it Don’t get me wrong. It’s a badass job. To to To fly, but I wasn’t super passionate about it like they were it was idea. So I realized that I was kind of letting life pass me by and needed to find something that I was passionate about. And I was, you know, I really love getting on stage and singing. I really love performing. I loved engaging with the crowd and making people forget about their lives three minutes and 15 seconds at a time with, you know, with each song so I decided when I came back after Aaron’s funeral to start chasing this dream and country music in his honor, and I did a Fort Rucker military auto competition that was in 2006 started traveling back and forth to Nashville. And then they had a fort ruckers 50th anniversary celebration in the winter, I actually got runner up in that singing competition. But when the winner went to Nationals, Fort Rucker had their 50th anniversary. And since I was a runner up, I got to open up for Darryl Worley and Tracy Lawrence for their, their show there. And I connected with the Army Band that that had some noncommissioned officers that were playing off post in a rock band. And they needed to country music artists to front their band. So I just said, Hey, if you’re if you’ll let me market because I already had a plan for marketing my name and marketing a brand and just try and getting the branding in there. It’s evolved over the years, but I had a plan for it and and I said, Hey, we’re not stuck on our name, we just want to make some extra cash as noncommissioned officers playing, doing what we love to do, which is playing music. So that was on a Saturday in my first show with him was that Thursday after that, and I did all the bar scene club scene with them. And I started moving to setting goals for every six months to move to a bigger size club started off at the bars and restaurants, small bars and restaurants. And then I moved to the medium, medium sized clubs, and then the guys couldn’t travel as much because the Army Band was really they had a lot of work to do. And they were active, obviously doing installation, stuff, military, you know, music and all that kind of stuff. So I did a 10 High School tour with them with their rock and singing ensemble, which was really cool because I got to go TDY and do that. And then I end up working with another band down there and they were already booked in the larger clubs and started in the festival scene by 2007. So almost had a year I was already into the festival scene and open for Blake Shelton and Craig Morgan, Jason Michael Carroll and Montgomery Gentry and Trace Adkins. You know, it was a it was a pretty killer year in 2007 and 2008. And once I retired out of the military, I was fortunate and I will say this, I was fortunate because I was an instructor. And because of the soul survivor act, I was non deployable after Aaron died. And the I know I have an older brother, but Aaron was my only full blood sibling. And he was killed in action, obviously. But he was my only full blood sibling. And we got I could go into a long drawn out story about how we were both adopted by our stepdad who is my dad don’t call my stepdad because he raised us essentially from those 10 months old when we were adopted. But he was s our dad, but anyway, so I was non deployable, and I was fortunate that I had Mark Jones who was a Colonel he was the commander of the Warrant Officer Career College of the Commandant excuse me in the Warrant Officer Career College. And he was when I did the military auto competition, he he came to every one of the the events when he was not with our with the Warrant Officer Career College, he went to every one of the events and became a fan of my music. And then when he became the commandant, or Warrant Officer Career College, he brought me in as soon as he did, he said, Ryan, I want to know what you’re doing with your music and like what what you’ve got going on. So Well, sir, I’m doing the club scene and festival scene. And you know, I’ve already started advancing my music, you know, to larger venues and bigger, bigger shows. And he said, Well, I’m gonna tell you right now, as long as you continue doing your job, if you do your job the way you’re supposed which have gotten nothing but positive, you know, words from folks that have worked with you and have been your bosses. As long as you continue to do that. You have my 100% support, if you need to go get something done if you need to do a concert if you need to travel if you need to whatever. Yeah, I’m going to tell every one of your bosses to let you do what you got to do because what you’re doing is much bigger than this Warrant Officer Career College here. And it was amazing to have his support. By the time that I got out of the military. When I retired in 2012 and moved to Nashville. We had I had already started actively traveling back and forth to Nashville and writing on a regular basis and just networking so it was cool. 2012 moved to Nashville jumped in headfirst went from being a Chief Warrant Officer three to a personal trainer and a barback and going to college full time with my post 911 Montgomery GI Bill.
Brady Speth 14:58
You gotta love it. Yeah,
Ryan Weaver 14:59
yeah, too. Two part time jobs in that. And that in itself turns into a whole different transition story. Because then you go from the military solid paycheck, everything is there to jumping into Nashville. I mean, headfirst without I mean the only thing I had a pretty good safety net with my retirement check. But getting into jobs, I mean, Hell, I was 39 years old and barback and for 20 something year old bartenders and whatnot. And yeah, man, I mean, wild horses, like three, three flights of stairs, and you’re carrying cases of beer. And I’m like, man, oh, man, but it was I was doing what I wanted to do. You know, I felt free. I felt I didn’t have time for music. That was the only problem. Because I was just trying to pay my damn bills. And then event, you know, try and get into the music scene and figure it out. Nashville is its own animal.
Brady Speth 15:50
Ryan Weaver 15:50
And I met my wife. And after I retired my second wife, but the best and the only one for the rest of my life. But she, her dad, does corporate meeting planning. And he said, you know, Kara, needed help. My wife needed some help in the office, and they needed help on their events and whatnot. And he said, What do you need to pay your bills, and I said, I need this much money and want to pay my bills. And he said, Well, I will give you if you need to work three hours, or you need to work 80 hours, I’ll give you that much on salary every month. And that afforded me the opportunity to he said I want you to get back into the reason why you came here. It’s very, it’s it was very much like Mark Jones, you know, he did the same thing. And I was honored it that he brought me into his family and my wife has been 100% supportive and had my back on, on everything that I’ve done since then. And it’s just once I signed with a PBR 2016, that the 2017 to 18 my life just completely changed on the music side of things. It just went ballistic. So yeah, yeah, man.
Brady Speth 16:59
I kind of let’s come back to the PBR thing. And I’m so curious, I want to hear a little bit more of that, for the professional bull riding for those of you that aren’t familiar, I think aren’t we kind of started. And I kind of started recognizing you, when you started doing, I think you did some stuff with Tig and with Tanto and some of the 13 hour guys, and then I think that’s kind of where our, our paths kind of crossed when I first noticed what you were doing for the military community, what you were doing, as far as some of the music you’re putting out and the support you were doing. Talk obviously that’s near and dear to you, with serving and with your brothers and talk a little bit about what that’s kind of meant to you as far as being able to, you know, play at some of these bases do some of these events and how that’s helped your career out a little bit?
Ryan Weaver 17:41
Well, when I when I started getting back into the music, really getting into it in 2014, I released in 2012, I released Crank It my first music video and that was the very first song that I ever wrote in Nashville. That was a fun one, you know, shallow hell concept. You know, it was it was great all my my friends and family that I had become part of the my wife’s friend friends group up here and her family, they were all in the video. You know, it was a great, it was a cool concept. It felt good to see that go from a writer’s room, when I’m sitting there with two guys sitting in a writers room, all the way to a full production video and releasing it out and having funding to be able to do that and fans help no record deal no record label song out there and whatnot. But you know, the that opened up a whole lot of avenues for me to start doing more regional shows and and brought on you know, some loyal band members that I worked with. And the hardest thing for an artist is keeping band and keeping band members because you’re in the club, seeing the bar scene and you know, everybody knows 500 covers, but then when you want to start doing original material, you start adding that to the mix, it changes the dynamic of things, and you got to start moving up and the quality of guys that you’re working with so that you’re competing with these national level acts without the funding that they’ve got so, but you know, 2016 I already had written a song had already written burn the song that’s out there with the 13 hours guys, I’d already written it but it was supposed to be more from a military standpoint. And then I did a Charlie Daniels volunteer jam I paid to play here at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and I played between let me digress here for a second I got involved with the Charlie Daniels group in 2014. And David Corlew, Charlie Dino’s manager invited me to play the Ryman Auditorium stage with Charlie. So that was first stage I ever walked out onto and cried just because all the stuff that I had gone through since 2006. And just for soundcheck standing there in the Ryman Auditorium and Mother Church of country music It’s an honor incredible feeling when you have the opportunity to do something like that and you don’t take a second of it for granted So, soaked it all up, but, and then 2015 played that the Bridgestone Arena event with him and john Teigen, TIG and Mark Geist oz. we’re promoting 13 hours at the time it hadn’t come out yet. And then so that was, yeah, Bridgestone Arena then and then later in the year 2015. I ended up being introduced by Charlie Daniels onto the Grand Ole Opry stage on September 11, in 2015, and debuted on the Grand Ole Opry stage and got to sing what you think of me, which is a song we haven’t released yet, but I wrote it on my the anniversary of Aaron’s the 10th anniversary of Aaron’s death. But I have to tell you guys something back in 2013 because I’m skipping this too, and I don’t want to skip it. But my brother in law, Randy Billings was piloting a Black Hawk in Afghanistan, they were doing a recon mission on a cell phone tower and, and, and Al Qaeda, whoever had set an IDE up next to that cell phone tower, and it blown the tail tailboom off the helicopter, and a passenger in the back was was ejected and survived. But the rest of everybody on board was were killed in action. So we became a two time Gold Star family in 2013. That just motivated me to even want to be even more successful. And that’s when Crank It came out in 2014. And then Burn came out in 2016. But when they were promoting that video, or excuse me promoting the movie, you know, I was talking more with Mark Geist at the time and you know, I said I got a song and the lyrics, we had to change up a little bit, we’re gonna try and get it in 13 hours is one of the songs and 13 hours and by the time that we got it recorded and finished, and all that was done, it took us too long and they were already past the editing phase for music. So anyhow, the you know, got instead of getting it into the into the movie, I decided I was going to do a music video for the song and john Teigen really jumped on board and you know, had my back for that music video. He helped me get it funded. He got Chris Paronto on board and Mark Geist at that time was really super busy. And we we didn’t we didn’t he wasn’t involved in the video at that point, and but Chris Paronto and John Teigen both jumped on board, john contacted Paramount and got the got the authorization to use the trailer clips for the film, in the music video, and as an independent artist, I mean, you have a major motion picture company that’s allowing you to use trailer clips and music videos. Monster thing? Yeah. So once again, it was all fan funded. We, you know, we did the whole music video with with fan funding and supporting no record label, no, just you know, song on the radio, no, nothing. And that expanded my shows even more at that point. That’s probably when you really started hearing about me because I was had those guys and I was at SHOT Show, and we’re promoting it and we’re doing all this stuff. And and, you know, for me that that I would say that was the big stepping stone in my music career at that point. Because the shows that I was doing, I was all of a sudden, able to ask for enough money to actually pay my bills, and, you know, with music, and it also got me a show out in Colorado. I did a show in Colorado Springs. And I think it was it was at Colorado Springs or Littleton. There’s Littleton Littleton, Colorado anyway, right there right next to each other, but did a show opening for docking warrant in Great White. And that was 2016. So 3, 80s rock bands opened up for my show. I mean, if you guys watch Burn out there, those of you that haven’t seen it, check it out. Ryan Weaver Burn but watch the music video for that you can see it’s rock man. I mean, it’s it’s as much rock as it is country. And I would say that three quarters of my set fits right in with the 80s rock guys. And you know, we’re actually transition and we’ll talk a little bit about that here in a bit but transition into a more modern rock sound. And because I grew up listening to, 80s rock and that kind of stuff show. But yeah, did that show in the PVC do the PBR was in the front row, and they were a prime sponsor for it as a veterans nonprofit event. And I got to tell you this, I gotta tell you what this was. So first and foremost, I don’t know what kind of cuss words I’m allowed to say on this podcast. Is it wide open or do you like to keep yourself out?
Brady Speth 24:34
wide? All right, so
Ryan Weaver 24:35
Dokken? Dokken is a dick. I mean, he is an asshole straight up. And his manager. And I’ll say it, I’ll say it to any I don’t care because he treated us like crap. I was it was a veterans nonprofit event. He was the headliner. They sucked anyway. Warrant was just so much better than they were in they I don’t know why they were the opening act. They should have been the headliner. But actually I was the opening act. But there were two, two bands behind me before Dokken and what was one of them anyway, I get out there. So they fly my whole band out for this military nonprofit event, veteran nonprofit events, a motorcycle ride. I mean, they’ve got, I think, several 100 motorcycles in this ride, great stage, great venue, all that stuff. And I get out there and I’m on stage and Mark Giest had driven I think two and a half hours to come there because I was gonna bring him up on stage and sing with me when we did Burn. And this was kind of the big debut of me playing it live with the band. And I get three songs into the set and I’m sitting up on the front front of the stage. And I’m singing and Dokken manager comes on stage to my bass player, or my acoustic player at the time, which, if you watch Burn, he’s he’s actually the guy wrote the song with Craig Wilson. He’s my acoustic player still, but he comes up to him and says, You guys are done Get the fuck off stage, Dokken will not start late because of the local acts that they had played before me ran a little long. And I didn’t know he even came on stage. So yeah, Craig went over to Trey my bass player who is one up there. I mean, they these two guys are up to my best friend’s now. But he went over to him and he said that Dokken manager just came once you were done, Get the fuck off stage. And I was like, and then we got done with the song. And I was up front performing doing all this stuff. And then Trey comes up to me, and he said, Ryan, Dokken, and just say, we got to get on stage because we’re Dokken won’t start late. And I said, Oh, no, I said no way. Because I had a 45 minutes set to do and Mark had driven two hours in Burn was gonna you know, that’s that’s my my highlight moment song, you know? So I turned around my wife is actually videoing and like, she’s video with her phone.
And I turned around, I said, I need to tell y’all something. Fuck Dokken and fuck them wanting to be the headliners of this thing, this is a fucking scam when I started dropping, and I don’t drop bombs on stage. I even had I mean, it’s a biker, veteran, nonprofit event. I so I mean, it’s pretty safe to say whatever you want. I mean, it’s pretty right on the money. It’s an 80s rock shows, you’re gonna get the F bombs dropped. You know, I’m saying my wife. She said, I just went, Oh, my goodness, what just happened? She dropped her. She dropped her phone down. She stopped recording. She’s like, What just happened? Because she had never seen me do that I’d never gone off. Well, I told him, I said, you know, I’m the only nonprofit or I’m the only veteran in this bill and I came out here to raise money for my brothers and sisters in arms. And Dokken doesn’t he’s got his head up his ass he doesn’t have it where it needs to be, which is about helping you guys and helping you my brothers and sisters in arms, not him starting on time. If he ends up being a little bit late, what the fuck ever. Thing is the CEO of the PBR was sitting right in the front row. And I got done with the show. And when I got I we finished it. I mean, I finished the show. And when I was down off to the side of the stage, and everybody you know was coming up and wanting to get an autograph and different stuff after that in the CEO, the PBR which I didn’t know who he was at the time came up to me and hand me his card. He said, I work with the PBR. I’ve got some plans, you know, coming up, and we would love to get you involved in what we’re doing. And I always heard about the PBR’s events, I’d always heard about how freakin awesome they are and what kind of production they put into these things. And I was like, heck, yeah, man, I want to, I’d love to do this. In in, but then I paid attention to him. He just gave me his card. And he kind of walked he kind of backed off and then everybody else was swamping, and, you know, swamped up to me, and I’m signing autographs and talking to folks and went up. And I know, this may seem like a long thing. But it’s, I mean, this is how it all happened. And it was just and I remember like it was yesterday, I went up and signed a you know, was had some merchandise and and he came up and bought a T shirt and a CD and signed it for him took a picture with them. And, you know, we did all that stuff. And I went back to the bus and I looked at card. I’m like, holy shit, it’s the CEO, the PVR. And so I went out to him. I was like, hey, sir, you know, I apologize. I didn’t know who you were. I’m sorry. I didn’t spend more time talking to you said no, Ryan, I want to tell you something. I sat back and I watched how you deal with people. And he said, You treat every single person who’s standing in front of you like they’re the most important person, you’re not looking over their shoulder for somebody more important, even if they’re being irritating, whatever. You handle yourself very well. I loved your show. I love your story. We’ve got a plan for you. So Steven Tyler was the headliner for 2016 World Finals in Vegas. And through 2017, we recorded a four song EP called Celebrate America you can get all four of the songs. I co wrote all three of the four songs. It was produced by Wynn Varble who wrote Have You forgotten Just Got Back from the War Waiting on a Woman I’m he’s a hit songwriter, co wrote one of the songs with him called Get Up or Get Out. I think you guys will appreciate that one’s about standing up for the national anthem. But he produced it in you know, it was it It turned out to be a cool album. Well, my first show with the PVR was to a sold out arena and last sold out T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. And and, you know, just the most incredible moment for me there. I mean, one of the most incredible obviously the Ryman and Grand Ole Opry but we entered my first show in 2000. That was 2017. 2018 my first show was Madison Square Garden with him. And I did 24 arenas with them. We did 18 and as he was 24, I did 24 shows total and did three three in Australia. So this is killer. I got to do a at&t Stadium and down there. I did play in Glendale, Arizona. I don’t I don’t know what the name of
Brady Speth 30:44
Cardinal Stadium. The Football Stadium up there.
Ryan Weaver 30:47
It was inside an arena. No, it was inside an arena.
Brady Speth 30:50
Okay. It’s probably probably the coyotes are one of those. Yeah, one of the teams. That’s right there.
Ryan Weaver 30:54
Yeah. is where I guess they’re hockey. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was. Yeah, I loved it. But um, so yeah, we did all those shows. They sent me to Australia for three shows. And we actually had four shows scheduled in Australia for 2020. Of course, COVID kill all that. But no, I mean, that’s how it all happened, man. It’s how it went down.
Brady Speth 31:11
Yeah, that’s great. That’s why I wanted to come back to that because I’m the kind of getting involved with those guys. All sudden, things are on a whole new level. So.
Ryan Weaver 31:19
But the cool, the cool thing was, they brought me on and I didn’t have to change who I was, I did change my cowboy hat, I’ll tell you that I did change my cowboy hat. I changed it to a more traditional cowboy hat at the time, because I had a road rock, you know, like a rocker cowboy hat. What changed that but, you know, I was able they they let me co write the songs. They let me you know, put my show out there. They I mean, it was it was incredible. And if you guys who are listening or watching whatever, check out Never Forgotten attribute video, it’s PBR World Finals tribute video. My family’s in there, we honor last fallen law enforcement, first responders, military and Border Patrol. My family was the military representation in the video, but I co wrote that one was, you know, just honored to get to do that in every single arena that that they had for the Monster Energy tour and for their Velocity Tour, which is their lower tour, that that song played in every single arena. And I would sing the national anthem. For you know, for Trump Jr. in Madison Square Garden. That was kind of cool. But you know, just got to do a whole lot of stuff, no record deal. I mean, I would say that’s got quazi record deal for that EP, but it’s not like, you know, record label that’s pushing the songs out to radio and all that stuff. They essentially own that music for their marketing platform. And I was that guy who lit up arenas form I
Brady Speth 32:43
love it. Go back for a few because I want to dig into that a little bit. your country, your country genre, but then you kind of dove into the the whole 80s rock band and you know how we grew up and then the music we listen to growing up? Where what kind of music do you you know, do you like where do you get your inspiration from? Who would you say kind of I mean, you know, you talked about Charlie Daniels and talked about some of these other guys. Where do you kind of look at when you know for model yourself after inspiration?
Ryan Weaver 33:12
Well, when it comes to the performance side of it. I would say the Garth Brooks is Garth Brooks performances were really what I want that that over the top energy connection, genuine connection with the crowd. If anybody out there has ever seen Sawyer Brown live their lead singer just I mean, he jumped around. I mean, he was I saw him way back and I don’t know it was ’93 or something like that. jumped around on stage like a ping pong ball. And that’s kind of my performance to high energy. Yeah, and I would say as far as the writing is concerned, I don’t like writing about you know, pickup trucks dirt road and fireflies underneath the moonlight. You know, drinking a Coors Light on your tailgate with your girlfriend and or cut off jeans and flip it
Brady Speth 33:58
on, hold on, just write this down.
Ryan Weaver 34:01
on a river on a river. Yeah, on a riverbank listening to am it’s just there’s Friday night football, you know, high school, you know, you name it a dog, your dog. I don’t usually write about that kind of stuff. I write up you know, I don’t know what the best way we hit the newest song that we’ve got. They were I got a song called Let’s Talk About Heroes, which is is I would say a patriotic song. But that’s not really what my show is about. It’s got some of those patriotic themes in it. But you know, I grew up listening to Steve Miller Band and Journey and heavy metal, the group heavy metal my brother did all you know, listen to all of those things, The Eagles and then I started listening to pop and you know, the boy bands in middle school in early High School, and then near the end of high school. You know, the Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and Metallica and Guns and Roses kind of started you know, so I would say you have an eclectic taste in music, because I love listening and all that stuff. But my influence in the country influence that I’ve got, I can’t say it southern rock because it really isn’t. I think you could probably put it in that southern rock genre, but it’s more of an 80s rock infused with country music. So the Metallica sound to me when I’ve got my two guitars that are just chunking away at it and you know, you feel in your freaking nuts rattle on stage, and it’s because the bass is just slamming and you know, that’s so much I mean, I that’s Love it. Love it, we got a song called Swamp Thing that we do that’s a Jeffrey Steele. He’s a huge hit songwriter in town. And he helped me out when I first came into town. But um, we got a song called Swamp Thing that is just ridiculous and Burns the same way. We’ve got several other songs that are played that originals we haven’t released, but they have that hard, hard feel to them. But the new stuff that we’re I’m starting to write, I started working with the rock producer here in Nashville, and his his name’s Andrew, but his I can’t remember his last name. And I need to kick myself in the teeth. But he he’s got he’s worked with a lot of the modern rock guys that are out. So we kind of to get more modern and not sound quote unquote, as they like to say, and Nashville, this sounds good. We kind of we started moving more towards that modern rock with, you know, slight country variations in there. So it can be cross genre I really wanted. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to cross genre. And, you know, started moving to the ball cap, as opposed to cowboy hat and, you know, in some of my performances and whatnot, and just know, you got to evolve as an artist and I were just like you I’m sure I wear a ball cap all the time. So it’s not I don’t have to, um, don’t have to be any different. I’ve always worn a cowboy hat for performances, but I mean, it’s still me. You know, and it’s, I mean, I’m bald headed. So I like to wear hats. Cuz II’ll fry my dome. Oh, you’re
Brady Speth 37:07
I don’t know what you are talking about. I got the same situation going on. So yes. I love it. Now that I like that. And I think that’s a cool idea with the sound and everything. So that’s that’s definitely something I can get behind the because I kind of grew up It sounds like they listen to the exact same bands and exact same type of music. And I grew up in small town, Montana. And it’s funny how it kind of mirrors a lot of the same no matter where you grew up in in small town America. So the definitely get by Yeah. What do you have kind of going?
Ryan Weaver 37:39
Yeah, shoot you this newest song, send it over. Yeah, get a preview of it. Perfect.
Brady Speth 37:43
Yeah, I’d love that. That’s what that was actually my next question. What kind of going into 2020 he kind of said ruined a little plans with some travel and concerts and stuff like that. But what he had not literally ruined everything. But what what’s on the horizon as far as new releases or travel plans or anything else.
Ryan Weaver 38:01
We’ve got, I’m starting to work with a group out in California and they got a they got a touring company / production company. Looking at doing California, Nevada, I think it’s California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas are the four states they focus on working with them on some tours, which I haven’t. Most of my stuff. It’s like fly dates and one offs, except for when I was touring with the PBR. Those were regular shows for you know, I was flying out on a Wednesday flying back on a Sunday flying back out on Wednesday. And so, you know, that was a pretty consistent situation. But those were fly dates, just the same, but probably get out to California do several weekends of, you know, tours, with the with getting in the theaters and festivals and whatnot that they’ve got going on there. So I’m excited about that, because it’s the first time in quite some time that you know, getting out there on a regular touring schedule. And, you know, I need to get I mean, as an artist not being on stages, it just kills me because it’s what I love to do more than anything. A lot of folks say, you know, there are a lot of artists out there that just they just want to make music and put music out and I want to do that too. But I want to be out there performing because that’s that’s love for me, man. It’s kind of like my home. It’s my home away from home getting up on stage and performing. But so we’ve got a song called Let’s Talk About Heroes that just got recorded. And we were funding that right now. I’ve got a raffle going on that has three John Teigen signature edition firearms. We’ve got a desert eagle 50 cal, tommy gun, and a ST9mm and got we’re using that raffle as the primary funding source. We’ve got to get to 500 tickets to be able to fund this music video for let’s talk about heroes and we’ll release both of them. At the same time. I want to have the music video done. We got a really powerful concept. Got a Medal of Honor recipient Don Jenkins is going to be in it. We got you just law enforcement, law enforcement folks and a small town, USA, Georgia town, we’re going to film it down at Georgia. Really cool concept for that one. But I’ve also got a different one. I’ve written two songs for this, this video that we were going to be filming in the first week of May had a song called Chasing Down Time, really liked it. And then last night, I sat down with Craig Wilson again. And we wrote another one that’s even, I mean, I feel we both feel strongly, much, much more strongly about the song that we wrote last night. So yeah, so it’s called No Second Chance. And we’re going to record that on April 6, I’ll get in the studio and record that on April 6. And then like I said, I’ll, I’ll be doing a music video and we’re gonna do I’m gonna tell you something, this music video we’ve we’ve already got going and and we’ll be filming it down in Texas with a great friend of mine just went through a huge cancer battle, dual throat cancer. We thought it was gonna be a celebration of life video, we’re gonna try and get it done before but he ended up I mean, coming out the backside of it like a champ. And he’s ready to rock and roll. He’s feeling good. But some of the stuff that we’re gonna put in this video, I’m hoping that no one has ever seen. I know one thing that’s going to be in the video that I don’t think I’ve seen anybody do and their music video that I know of, which is me flying a helicopter in my own music video. Yeah, I gotta have a have a helicopter with an airboat scene that’d be kind of cool. We’ve got all kinds of stuff that we’re gonna be doing for this. And I’m super stoked about it. Because that one’s already funded. It’s already ready to rock and roll, we’re going to be doing it come, you know, June timeframe, June, July timeframe. It’ll be the first time in my music career that I’ve ever released two music videos and two singles out in the same year because I’ve always used one video and essentially that’s been my, my go to because I’m funding and all this by myself. It’s not like I got millions, like a record label, as you know. So yeah, dude, it’ll be two killer videos, we’re gonna get to honor our law enforcement, first responders and military again with Let’s Talk About Heroes. You know, it’s part of who I am. I’m not going to get away from doing that. And you know, if we can, we’re actually fundraising with that raffle for canine line, which is a nonprofit organization that you guys supported this past weekend, you guys gave us that the glass, the red and the magnifier, the nomenclature, dude, I’m trying I’m so trying to learn, learn to know nomenclature to come around because anyway, I know you guys got me the tactix. Was it x3 for mine.
Brady Speth 42:37
Red dot and a magnifier for the giveaway too or for the raffle? So yeah,
Ryan Weaver 42:41
yeah, it was it was it? Well, I mean, the it was, it was amazing, dude, what? That rifle went for $4,000. And there’s a custom rifle by very tactical and you guys donated that. But canine line is also in this raffle.
Brady Speth 42:55
Ryan Weaver 42:56
You know, we’re given 25% of them because I don’t need the guns. And we needed to get this done. And I’m getting 75% for the video. I like to be clear about where the money’s going, but it’s going through them. So if anybody wants to get raffle tickets for that, you could check out my social media. I’m posting about it almost every other day because we were up over 300 tickets now. And we need 500 tickets to fund the music video. As soon as I get that means music video funded, where it’s already ready to go, the songs done and you know, it’s ready to rock and roll and everybody’s ready. They’re all chomping at the bit everybody that’s involved with this project to to support it. So those will be our you know, what we’re working on in and the shows I’ve got to show down in Orlando on July 30th. Support and Shadow Warrior riders Motorcycle Club. And Chris Poranto is 14th our foundation and going to be headlining at the Abbey and Blackbird Anthem will be opening up for that and gonna share the stage with them. So excited about that another veteran band. Yep. So I love getting to work with my brothers and sisters in arms like that, you know, it’s it’s cool. Just continue to serve after service.
Brady Speth 43:56
No, I think that’s one of the things that drew me and drew RIton as an organization. When I was like, Hey, we need to work with this guy. It’s it’s something that is near and dear to me, obviously, being both military and law enforcement vet. But that’s a huge part of who we are, is giving back and so I appreciate all you do to make sure people understand the causes and to continue to get back to and take care of our brothers and sisters that sometimes, unfortunately, get forgotten. So appreciate everything you do.
Ryan Weaver 44:22
Yeah, it’s crazy when you got what I think the statistic is that 95% of all funding that’s done for in support of our veterans is done by other veterans. I mean, it’s freakin crazy to think about that. So I mean, I, you know, being on the on the civilian side of it in in the entertainment industry, I’ve been able to be kind of a conduit to folks that aren’t that aren’t don’t necessarily know about our lives and don’t know, you know, what the sacrifices that our heroes have had to make. And, you know, it’s for I think that neither one of us can sit back and just let some of the, you know, some of the things that happened to our veteran community happened to it without trying to do anything that we can to make sure we’re supporting them as well. So, and a lot of folks out there, I’m sure that are watching this are veterans as well. And you know that there are a bunch of bullshit nonprofit organizations out there. And I like to, you know, if there’s anything I love to do is make sure that I can vet those organizations, enough to where if I say that I’m working with them, and you should be working with them, that they’re a great organization, and we can legitimately get, you know, amazing things done for our veteran community. And the hero goes to law enforcement, first responders as well.
Brady Speth 45:33
Yeah, that’s the big one, too, is making sure that the money that’s actually intended for them actually goes to help the people that actually need it, because that’s the unfortunate right, a lot of those charities, so we appreciate it, man. I wish you the best of luck, and especially with these upcoming concert stuff, we’ll see what we can do to get up to prescot. And, and hang out with you the first part of May. We got to he got to be subjected to our five questions here at the end of the podcast. So I asked the same questions, everybody, we’re putting together a nice little, nice little group of everybody’s answers. And it’s kind of funny to see how a lot of these answers the same from people from completely different walks of life. So I’m going to throw these at you. We’ll wrap it, fire them and then kind of wrap it up. So are you ready for this?
Ryan Weaver 46:14
Brady Speth 46:14
Perfect. All right. First one, if you had a superpower, what would it be?
Ryan Weaver 46:19
Brady Speth 46:22
From a pilot? I like that. That’s good. If you could I think I might know the answer to this one. But if you could have sit down and have a beer with anyone past present, future live dead? Who would it be?
Ryan Weaver 46:35
Brady Speth 46:35
Yep. Good. I knew I knew the answer to that one. And that’s that’s exactly what’s the answer. Yeah, it’s exactly the right answer. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ryan Weaver 46:46
Brady Speth 46:47
Whoa, that’s the first.
Ryan Weaver 46:49
Brady Speth 46:50
Hey, guys, I’m with you. Man. I could I could live off that not real healthy, but I could do it. Here’s a good one that I love. Because make people think what would the title of your biography be?
Ryan Weaver 47:04
The dash between the dates.
Brady Speth 47:08
Have you been asked that before? That’s a good answer.
Ryan Weaver 47:09
Brady Speth 47:10
I like that one.
Ryan Weaver 47:11
No, I just know that. I think about I’ve said this because I’ve looked at my brother’s you know, headstones and I and I’ve always said that. I don’t want people to remember me for that the dates that are on there, right beside about the dates that are on there. I want them to remember me by the dash that’s between them.
Brady Speth 47:31
I love that one. Do you? That’s good. That’s a great answer. Last one, if I hand you a million dollars cash right now and you have to spend it right now. What are you buying?
Ryan Weaver 47:41
Oh, is it got to be one thing?
Brady Speth 47:45
Ryan Weaver 47:45
because I would I would fun fun my music career. But first and foremost, I would pay after I can’t I mean, a million bucks all in one thing. I would pay off my parents house, my wife’s house. I mean, it is my wife’s house, our house, my my parents house. And and the rest of it would likely go to me, my wife and I traveling and music.
Brady Speth 48:07
Nice. I love it, dude. Well, I appreciate Ryan. Well, we’ll definitely have you back here in a little while. I want to hear some more about some of the traveling and once you get back on the road. So keep up the good work. And thank you for taking care of our veteran and first responder community and, and for being a good voice for us out there. So I appreciate it, man.
Ryan Weaver 48:24
Absolutely. You know, and I have to say this to everybody out there that RIton, man, you guys as soon as we started talking, as soon as we got online with each other. You know, I just can’t say enough about the kind of people that are part of your company. Can’t say I can’t say enough there. I can’t say enough positive things about you guys as a company. I’m extremely proud to be involved with you.
Brady Speth 48:49
Thank you, I appreciate it. And it means the right message is getting out there. So I love that feedback. So I appreciate it, man. So thank you. We’ll, we’ll talk to you soon. Good luck and we will we’ll be in touch. Appreciate it
Ryan Weaver 49:01
right on you guys. Check out Weaver country.com for everything in my in my house.
Brady Speth 49:05
Perfect. I love it. Thank you. We’ll talk to you soon.
Riton Optics 49:17
Thank you for listening to the Riton podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on Riton Optics visit us at ritonoptics.com that’s r-i-t-o-noptics.com