It was no secret that West Virginia-native, Johnny Staats would be musically-gifted. His father plays guitar, mother plays piano and his uncles all fit as a fiddle.
At the age of seven, Johnny first expressed an interest in the drums, but pickin’ was in the family’s blood. His sister was on the banjo, and his father encouraged another string instrument for Johnny to try – the mandolin. He had an act for it.
By the year 2000, Johnny’s talent took him to Music City. He was known as “Cat Daddy” in Nashville and was signed to Giant Records, quickly on the track to fame and fortune. However, the sacrafices he would have to make at home was too great of a risk.
“They wanted me to go on tour, do the music scene, but I hit the cross-roads to where I had to make a decision to what I was going to do with my life. I knew I had a family, I didn’t want to see them growing up in pictures, so I stayed home with my family and kept my great job at UPS,” said Staats.
Johnny had started working at UPS right out of high school loading trucks and was later promoted to driver.
“This job suites me. It’s who I am and a lot of people ask me, ‘Johnny, why don’t you just quit. You got 31 years in, go play music!’ Well I don’t want music to turn into a job,” he said.
Instead, Johnny strives to have the best of both worlds. He’s pickin’ on the weekends and holding down the day job to pay the bills. In fact, he even does a little pickin’ with customers he delivers to.
Who was once the “Cat Daddy,” now known as the “Mandolin UPS Man.” His claim to fame.
He said, in this job you get the chance to meet a lot of great people and find out who plays music, and if you’re lucky, they might just want to pick a tune with you.
Johnny understands that life is full of tradeoffs, but no one should have to make decisions that compromises their happiness.
“At the end of the day, you got to do what makes you happy, and you know, working a day job made me happy, still makes me happy. There’s no regrets.”
“When I retire and get a little too old to play music, I can look back and say, ‘yea, I’ve lived about two life times and I’ve gotten to do everything I’ve wanted to do. I’ts been a good ride.”
Follow Haley Kosik’s stories impacting our region on Twitter or Facebook, or send her a news tip at firstname.lastname@example.org.