Hello everyone and welcome to the first installment of “Welcome to the Insta-hood!” 2019. Today we are featuring a super great and extremely funny podcast called “Caskets and cocktails.
- What kind of podcast is Caskets and Cocktails?
“Caskets and Cocktails, Memoirs of a Cemetery Dude is a podcast that takes you for a hilarious dive into the world of Death Care where cemetery industry veteran Mr. Danny and his daughter Katie will answer all those crazy questions you’ve been dying to ask.”
2. How did you come up with the idea of wanting to do a podcast that covers this kind of subject?
“Mr. Danny Faulkner is a handsome 65 year old with salt and pepper hair, more salty these days than pepper, and over the years has been given the nickname “Dapper Dan, the Cemetery Man”. His raspy deep southern voice seems as if it were made for sipping Jack Daniels and telling tales on a front porch in a rocking chair.”
“It’s always fascinating to me how people react when they discover I’ve spent my life working in the death care industry, to me it’s a job and a job I enjoy, however people have the strangest questions. Like for example, whenever we inter someone into a mausoleum, it never fails, someone always ends up asking if they can roll out the drawer and see the body. I just shake my head and have to wonder about all the misconceptions that are out there about our industry”. Mr. Danny has 35 plus years experience in the Cemetery and Funeral Home business and just when he thinks he’s seen it all something surprising happens again. “I’ve seen a hot air balloon crash in my cemetery, I’ve seen large family’s breakout into a fist fight graveside and have even had a police sting set up to capture biker gang members, so when I say I’ve got stories, you better believe I have stories”.
After a lifetime of hearing stories, his daughter, Katie Leverett approached him with an idea. “I absolutely love my Daddy’s stories and never really found them to be odd until I became an adult. I get so many weird questions from people when I tell them that I grew up with my Daddy working in Death Care. It’s as if I tell people he was a circus act or something, it’s actually pretty funny to see their reactions. I’m a huge fan of Podcasts and I just kept thinking oh this is interesting, but really my Dad’s stories are even better. It is really rare to hear someone his age on a Podcast, which is sort of sad considering all the life experience and knowledge folks his age can share”. Katie approached Mr. Danny with the idea of partnering on a new venture of creating their very own Podcast, to which he responded “Podcasts, never heard of them”.
After some back and forth discussions, Katie was able to convince Mr. Danny that his personality, story telling capabilities and vast knowledge of the industry would be a hit! They recently launched “Caskets & Cocktails, Memoirs of a Cemetery Dude” which is rapidly growing to be a true hit! Their show is a unique combination of good old fashioned southern story telling, listener question and answers with a splash of cocktails mixed in. “I sort of forgot how exciting it is to try something new, at my age it’s a little scary to think about trying new things and now I’m hooked”, states Mr. Danny, “and maybe, just maybe there are other Boomers out there who might be interested in reinventing themselves too. It’s been a wild ride and has shown me there’s a second act left in me after all”.
3. What made you want to start a job in the death industry?
“I sort of fell into the industry by happenstance. A friend of mine was a stockbroker and represented a guy who had just recently purchased a chain of cemeteries and he needed a sales guy to help run them. I was selling industrial paint and had absolutely zero experience in death care nor had I ever even really thought about it as a career path. What can I say, I’m a sucker for trying new things and the opportunity sounded interesting so I jumped right in. Come to find out, I really like the industry and love my job. Every day is really different, we work with all kinds of different people and there’s a real satisfaction when you are able to help someone especially when many times they are at a low point in their life. Let’s just say that after 35 years of being in the industry I no longer think I fell into this by accident, it’s definitely what I am supposed to be doing!”
4. What state or place has the weirdest or memorable experience(s) for you?
“So if you have listened to the show, there’s no denying by my accent that I was born and raised in the South, but my career has really had me work all over the country from Florida to Washington State. When I say I’ve seen it all, I really mean that, I’ve had police sting operations to bust drug dealers dealing from gravesites, I’ve seen seemingly normal looking families break out into a graveside brawl and even had to intervene when the deceased’s secret girlfriend shows up at the funeral surprising the wife. Seriously, you’ve got to subscribe to and you will hear it all, but one of the coolest experiences of my career was when I got to help run some cemeteries in New York. The culture is totally different than what I had been used to and I got to really experience a lot more culturally diverse burial practices. The populations in the South primarily consists of Caucasian, African American and Hispanic each of which have their own funeral practices but in New York I saw a high population of Chinese, Jewish, Middle Eastern, Hindu and lots of other diverse groups. It was fascinating to learn about their funeral and burial practices and be able to see them play out multiple times per day. For example at Chinese Funerals they burn money as a way to respect their dead or some Islamic funerals the men and boys all carry the casket themselves to the grave. I am really blessed that my career has had me work all over the country and I’ve really developed a healthy respect and reverence for all cultural burial practices.”
5. Do you have any upcoming events or news regarding your podcast or any social media that you would like to share?
“Caskets and Cocktails is growing week over week and we’d love for you to subscribe and join in on the fun. We just recently launched a new website, https://www.casketsandcocktails.com/ and have some pretty exciting plans for 2019 including new swag and planning some live shows. Be sure to follow us on social media to stay up to date with the latest happenings!”
Thank you so much Caskets and Cocktails for this interview! I totally recommend this podcast because it is so funny and different than a lot of other podcasts that is out there.
Until next time!