CONVERSATIONS THAT CASUALLY GET TO THE HEART OF IT ALL
Listen along as legendary Texan and fly fishing guide JT Van Zandt drifts through the important things in life with iconic guests. Much like the nature of a guide and client passing time on a drift boat, conversations here meander through life, the wild, personal philosophies, hardships and triumphs, and of course some fishing too.
Originally from Northern Alabama, Jason Isbell is an acclaimed writer and musician now living in Nashville – a place for which he and JT share a common connection. His current success as a solo artist is hard-earned, and comes after some time spent as the guitarist for Drive-By Truckers. In this conversation, JT and Jason discuss the current state of the music industry in the midst of a global pandemic, the ghosts and mythology of Nashville, misconceptions of The South, talk about Jason’s equally talented wife - Amanda Shires.
Billy Durney is no stranger to adversity. Built during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Billy’s beloved Hometown Bar-B-Que restaurant is not only everyone’s favorite BBQ spot in the Northeast – it’s also a symbol of hope and perseverance. Now with Covid-19 threatening not only Hometown Bar-B-Que, but the restaurant industry as a whole, Billy discusses with JT the current state of the industry and how people can navigate getting back on their feet.
JT catches up with the legendary Conrad Anker, discussing the global impact of the Coronavirus, the role of empathy, and what it means to be human.
There are several world-famous guitar players hailing from Austin, TX, but perhaps none more consistent and versatile than Charlie Sexton. From his solo success in the 80s, to his affiliation with everyone from Joe Ely, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan - Charlie discusses his rich history full of colorful characters and musical highs and lows.
A few old fishing pals get together on this episode of Drifting. JT is joined by Carter Andrews in Vero Beach, FL and Cpt. Moe Newman in Venice, Louisiana, with her husband Eric. Tune in for their discussion of the issues impacting their respective environments and the importance of education and preservation for the next generation.
JT and Grahame connect for a good conversation discussing their shared passion for Texas conservation, looking back on some of Grahame’s proudest career moments before he retires, and the importance of getting kids outside.
JT heads down to Hawaii to meet Shane and Mark –two local, big wave surfers –to talk...hunting. While most people, JT included, picture Hawaii as beaches and waves, it’s the axis deer and opportunities on public lands that dominate this conversation. After a day in pursuit of those axis deer, the guys talk about life on Lanai and bow hunting.
Big wave surfer, Shane Dorian came up in the simpler days of surfing. One of a group of kids on the North Shore just after the fun of surfing big waves, right when board design and surfing itself was evolving. JT and Shane catch up with a new perspective as parents and on being part of a generation unencumbered by agents, brands, coaches, and fame –just out there for the pure love of catching waves.
According to him, Dave accomplished the single greatest achievement of his life on a surfboard at just eight years old. He won his first surfing competition at 18 because it would earn him a party. Dave’s broken his back and nearly lost his life surfing, on separate occasions. He’s now a lifeguard by trade, but despite his ocean proficiency doesn’t consider himself a waterman. Dave’s one piece of surf advice? Check in with the lifeguards.
It was Flip’s show, Walker’s Cay Chronicles, that first turned JT on to fly fishing. Now, JT gets some quality time with a personal hero, talking with Flip about keeping traditional hunting and fly fishing alive, basic shallow-water etiquette, and the first time he saw someone catch a bonefish with a fly rod back in ’56 or ’57.
“Professional snowboarder” and “third-generation cattle rancher” aren’t two lives lived by one person — unless you’re Mark Carter. In this episode, he thinks back to the days of playing outdoors till the darkness brought him in, getting roped into snowboarding, and how being kind and workin’ hard have gotten him farther than anything.
Professional surfer Chris Malloy, the oldest of the Malloy brothers, spent 10 fulfilling years living as a nomad, spinning the globe every two months to decide where to live. In this episode, Chris sets back the clock with JT to relive the days of seeking solace in the ocean, using humor to overcome adversity, and hanging with his old friend Jack Johnson, who, at the time, was just writing songs “for fun”.
By his own estimate, professional fisherman and photographer David Mangum spends every hour of his waking life thinking about tarpon fishing — and for good reason. In thisepisode, David dives deep into the tale of his 3-hour fight to catch his first tarpon, the cult following of this elusive beast, and what it was like to have a 200 + lb. fish on the other end of the line.
All he wanted to do was ride bulls, and be a cowboy, and work on the ranch. But music wouldn’t leave him alone. Ryan talks about the complicated relationship of the best and the worst times in his life coinciding, and how his journey through darkness led him to the liberating realization that he could survive simply by playing music for people who wanted to hear his songs.
Mark Healey is a big wave surfer and spear fisherman from Hawaii, born without traditional fear mechanisms.
Terry Allen created a compendium of work that’s expansive and can’t be categorized as anything but “Terry.” But his legendary status is still only recognized and revered by few. Terry shares about his melancholy nights with music, his artistic influences, and growing up in the days when you couldn’t find a bad song on the radio.
They say Roy is the idea man and Ryan is the outdoor consumer, but both brothers share a “never settle” attitude passed down from their entrepreneur dad and hardworking mom. It’s that relentless mindset that made them lose sleep over what the ultimate cooler might look like, and finally, grab the tiger by the tail and build one the world had never seen.
Where do you go after “national champion”? Kimi talks with JT about her shift away from her successful competitive spearfishing career towards where she is now – in a position to shine a light on being in harmony with the ecosystem as both a conservationist and a hunter.
Shep Gordon is a humble Hollywood agent, producer, and talent agent who describes his life as “knee-jerk reactions”. But as the creator of celebrity chef and manager of household names like Alice Cooper and Blondie, we’d say his judgment calls are one to trust. Tune in as Shep shares his intriguing life journey — from getting punched by Janis Joplin to Elvis’ unexpected inspiration to his incredibly honest take on love.
From Guyana to Jackson Hole, fishing and even finance, Oliver White’s unique story traverses the dilemma of “goin’ all around, or just stayin’ put” – a challenge familiar to fatherhood. Since the recording of this episode, Hurricane Dorian devastated parts of the Bahamas, none worse hit than the island of Abaco and the lodge there built and run by Oliver. The stories in this conversation pertain to Abaco, pre-storm.
Mike Spalding is one of two people on the planet to swim all nine channels of the Hawaiian islands, the only known human to be bitten by the cookiecutter shark, and a big advocate for human compassion. Drift along as he recounts a string of life stories with JT, uncovering advice from the Pope, the real enemy of the water, and the time his friend accidentally swallowed a jellyfish.
Jako Lucas – a renowned fly guide from South Africa – and JT, a long-time Texan, discuss the South African way, and what being a guide affords. In this episode there’s a lot of talk about fish, legacies, and what the flats are for.
Fame is a strange and relative thing. After years of being the underdog and playing songs to no one, Margo shares that there’s still the feeling that, at any moment, it could all disappear. According to JT, there’s not a chance.
According to her, she’s just there to make the boat go fast. And that she does – breaking records in Hawaiian open-ocean paddling, and qualifying for and competing in the Olympics. Lauren Spalding and JT discuss balance and being a top athlete who understands that having a beer after is what it’s all about.
Two long time fishing buddies do what they do best – talk about fishing. Go way back with Alvin and JT as they reminisce about punk rock, share their principles on being a jerk, and talk about the good ol’ days, when real confrontation meant the threat of getting punched in the face.
JT interviews Dan Malloy, the youngest of the Malloy brothers surfing family. Dan tells of how an injury on the waves led him to redefine his passion for the sport and how being in touch with both land and sea helped him find meaning in the throes of depression.
Wyman Meinzer, the official state photographer of Texas, reminisces with JT about making the switch from shooting with a rifle to shooting with a lens, the close encounter that changed the course of his career, and how critical it is, especially now, to pull up a chair and listen to a storied neighbor tell their tale.
Actor and filmmaker Ethan Hawke joins JT for an intimate conversation on art and living, on fathers, stepfathers, and becoming fathers. Ethan tells stories about directing his film Blaze, the Blaze Foley biopic.
Remi is a hunter and conservationist who’s spent “an assload of time in the woods.” With JT, he discusses surviving a Kodiak bear attack and the virtues of self-reliance, which are, incidentally, unrelated topics.
Eat. Sleep. Bull riding. Every day. Host JT digs into the wisdom that JB’s gleaned over the years as a seasoned (and tenderized) bull rider, on raising a tough-as-hell daughter, plus an injury report that should come with a listener warning.
Hilary isn’t apologetic about much – not for high-fives and raucousness on the water, or for remembering the fish her clients catch but not her own. She and JT drift from her early years as a kid at-large, to becoming a better angler, and her plans for the end of the world.
Jimmy is an outrageously accomplished climber and filmmaker who got where he is by trusting his instincts. JT and Jimmy cover the transition from Yosemite ski bum to pro photographer and filmmaker, and the risk calculus that comes with being a dad.
Dan is no stranger to an interview-style conversation. But this time it’s different. He and JT are both Texans, and meet again in the great state – their first time was on a bass fishing trip down the Colorado – to talk career motivation and staying optimistic despite living in concerning times.