Danny first went scuba diving while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. The more he did it, the more excited he became. He started thinking maybe one day he wanted to do this as a career. And ultimately, that is what he did! After all, what’s not exciting about warm clear water, islands, and endless visibility? Not only does Danny teach scuba diving he owns another business…..
How long have you worked or lived in Knoxville?
I grew up in Knoxville. Then I moved away several times. I’ve moved to Massachusetts, California, Texas, And usually every time I moved, I’ve went from Knoxville to Massachusetts, back to Knoxville, to California, back to Knoxville, to Texas and back. So there’s something about it that keeps me coming back.
What is your favorite restaurant and what do you love there?
My favorite restaurant, we call it the Taco Truck. It’s further up Broadway. It’s actual name is La Herradura Taqueria. And the reason we still refer to it as the Taco Truck is it started out in a truck. They rented a building. But for the first year they operated out of the truck and slowly moved into the building. It’s probably the best authentic Mexican food Knoxville has to offer. After living in Southern California, that is a huge plus.
What do you love there?
Everything. I’ve tried 98% of the menu. There is nothing that I wouldn’t eat again.
Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Knoxville? Who would you like to see nominated as a Face of Knoxville?
The most interesting person….that’s such a trick question, especially since we see so many pass through here and ten times as many through the tattoo shop. Though there I’ve been pretty fortunate. I’ve worked with a lot of UT athletes. I became good friends with Derek Barnett. He’s a current Philadelphia Eagles player. He was our number one draft pick. We stay in contact quite a bit. I know a lot of the current players on their roster. I would say a lot of the UT people are probably amongst the most interesting I’ve met. Through the scuba side, one of the most interesting people I’ve met is Dr. Shannon McAteer. He was actually the helicopter pilot who flew the bin Laden mission when all of that was going on. So getting to listen to some of his videos was beyond interesting.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
Probably somewhere in Europe like the UK or something. I’ve traveled all over Central America and the Caribbean a lot. I was going to those places sometimes two and three times a year. But I’ve not flown across the the big pond yet. So I’d like to go over to the UK and spend a couple of weeks there and see what it is like.
What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
Through the years there’ve been so many great movies. Now we’re reliving a lot of the movies from our past, you know like say the Lion King, The new version is phenomenal. One of the first movies I can remember would be the Jurassic Park movies. I still have some dinosaur stuff from when I was probably seven or eight. Even when they rebooted the Jurassic Park I was still a big fan.
What advice would you give a crowd of people?
I get extremely quiet and shy in front of crowds. So it would probably be quite hard for me to give advice. I’ve gotten better with it. But the best piece of advice probably would be to project your voice. I mean honestly. Training to become a scuba instructor actually helped me get over my fear of public speaking. If I’m in my business talking to my eight employees, it’s one thing. You put me in front of fifteen people I’ve never seen it’s clammy sweaty hands. At the end of it, people are clapping and I’m not even sure what I said. Hahaha!
What is something on your bucket list?
Probably to go sky diving, something that’s always intrigued me. You know I would be terrified. I don’t like flying on planes very much so it would definitely be a bucket list thing,
What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
I’ve got a wide array of music that varies from hip hop to country. As far as current I would like to see Kane Brown. I’m quite a big Kane Brown fan. I was a fan before he signed his deal. He was a young kid from Chattanooga. He’s a young artist. He has a powerful voice. Another one would be Avicii. One more I wouldn’t mind is Journey.
What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Knoxville?
The Butcher Shop which used to be at the World’s Fair Park. I can remember going there when I was extremely young. You could actually pick your cut of meat or your steak out of the freezer itself. They actually had grills in the center of the table. You could cook it yourself or they would come out and cook it for you. So once we started actually hosting our convention at World’s Fair Park, I was excited. We could do our dinner there at the end of the show. Then come to find out, they had since closed.
Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Knoxville would you have lunch?
That’s a tough one. I would say, his name would be John Chatterton. He’s an icon in the scuba industry. I would kind of pick his brain about some of his deep explorations and stuff that he’s done. And where would you have lunch? Probably my Mexican place.
What is your favorite thing or something unique about Knoxville?
For me, it’s home. I’ve left a lot and I’ve always come back. Knoxville is a big little city. It is growing. I like that’s it’s a big little city. It still has that small town feel. My mail lady here is the same as at my other business. When I see her she will be like hey, I have mail for the other place. Do you want me to just give them both to you now or take them both there? It’s nice to know it’s kind of got that small town Mayberry feel when your mail people are remembering your business from place to place.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
Doing the exact same thing, hopefully just working a little less. I intend on still tattooing, still doing scuba. Hopefully at that point more from the business side of it and not having to put in sixty hours a week.
(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
I can’t really think of too much that people who are close to me wouldn’t know. I’m pretty open about it. But… being absolutely terrified of snakes! Extremely to the point when I’m driving and I see one in the road. It startles me and I’ll lift my feet. If I know it’s there…..If I see it in an aquarium…. if it’s in a tank…. My niece has pet snakes. If she were to pull them out, I’m gone. Maybe that it’s an absolutely irrational fear… something people don’t realize. Usually you’re scared of snakes or spiders. But to what extent? It’s a little more than not liking them.
Who would you like to see nominated for this project, The Faces of Knoxville?
Particularly at my tattoo shop…there’s some extremely hard-working employees. They do well. With opening this business, a lot of them have been with me for seven + years. Since I’m not there as much as I was, they go above and beyond. I’ve stepped down from there to be here more. I could give you two names in case one doesn’t want to do it.
Jarvis would be my first. If not, Weslam.
If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
If you had a fulltime staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
Probably a chef.
What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?
Sweet tea, smoky mountain, and biscuits and gravy.
Danny ~ Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Blessings ~ Bridget