John Schneider is a true man of many talents. Although he is perhaps best known for his role as Bo on The Dukes of Hazzard, John is also an acclaimed actor, musician, film maker, studio owner and philanthropist.
His incredible national impact all began in an unlikely place: sneaking onto a movie set as a teenager. In this episode of Trevor Talks, you’ll hear that story, the story of how Johnny Cash helped preserve John Schneider’s faith, and so much more. Throughout the conversation, Trevor and John talk about what it truly looks like to join your life with what God is doing in this world. Chances are that you’ll walk away from this episode inspired to find your own purpose— even if it looks as unconventional as a New York kid sneaking onto an Atlanta movie set.
John’s latest project is the movie Poker Run, available the day after Thanksgiving. You can get Poker Run on John’s website.
Follow John Schneider:
Facebook: John Schneider
YouTube: John Schneider
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Trevor Tyson 0:01
Thank you for tuning in to Trevor talks podcast where we talk to real people about real topics and real stories. Today's guest is one that I grew up watching on TV with my family. And I know for a fact a ton of you did as well from the Dukes of Hazzard to Smallville to October Baby. And most recently, his new film stand on it. He's had a career that has impacted millions over the last few decades. From the top of the Billboard charts all the way down to Trevor talks here is John Schneider.
John Schneider 0:32
Tragically unfair to you. I would say from the from the top of the Billboard charts to finally with Trevor Tarr career, we finally got a goal reached after all this time.
Trevor Tyson 0:47
I know you've been working on to get here for a while. So I'm thankful that you took time out of your day to make it happen. Dude, it's like I was telling you before we started recording, it was like, this is one of those interviews that you never really map out like you see it, you're like, I grew up watching the sky, like all the way down from the Dukes of Hazzard to Smallville and even like, my first interview we ever put out was with our friend sherry. Rigby what you did October Baby with Oh, and it's like, oh, look at this. We're finally here. We made it and a pandemic or whatever we're in now. And we're here doing a podcast interview. So praise God for that.
John Schneider 1:26
I think it's great.
Trevor Tyson 1:28
So, I am like, super curious to hear because obviously, I've made it known like I love the Dukes of Hazzard growing up. And so many people are still in love with it this day, including myself. I remember having the little replica car all the way down from like the little Hot Wheels one to remote control. Like it was a big thing. And even on family vacation
John Schneider 1:49
like the mack daddy, you had the man the mack daddy,
Trevor Tyson 1:52
my mom bought it for me at Walmart. So shout out the window for spinning 60 or $70 on that. And we even went to cooters garage and Gatlinburg and that was always a huge thing, like getting the ride the go karts, but never in a million years, I think I'd sit here and talk to Bo Duke about it. So this is cool.
John Schneider 2:11
Wow. Well ask away. What do you want to know? I want
Trevor Tyson 2:15
to know your story. Like not even so before Bo Duke before you're smoking the bandit roll. Where did all of this start for you? Like, obviously God's been working in you in the music scene or acting through your studios. But where did all this start for you?
John Schneider 2:33
Well, I'm a storyteller. I'm a storyteller who used to go to the double feature on Saturday in Mount Kisco, New York. I'm from New York, I am in fact, a recovering Yankee. And it's a travesty. What's happening to my beautiful state. Right now many states in the in the Union are, they'll come back. But they'll come back with work, they'll come back with people doing something about the current state of affairs. But I was, I was one of those kids that went to the double feature every Saturday at least. And knew not thought not wanted. And there's a big difference. I knew that I was going to be up there. That that's what my design was. And I have a theory that when you're about seven or eight years old, you know what your design is. But enemies and people who love you, because they don't want you to be disappointed, will try to talk you out of your lofty goal. That's the worst thing you can do to anyone is try to try to talk them out of their goal. I call it friendly fire. So I knew from a very early age, and I would say eight is the first time I did any community theater. So eight years before do pardon me eight years before smoking the bandit. There was eight years of theater and magic and playing the guitar and doing hair and makeup for community theater and acting in cute community theater and singing and so all that to say that from the point. You know, people love to say the Dukes of Hazzard was the first thing I did people love to say that smoking the bandit was the first thing I did. I didn't really do anything and smoking the bandit except lie my way onto the set successfully. And wind up in the movie again, because I knew I belonged there.
Trevor Tyson 4:36
How did you wind up on smoking the bandit?
John Schneider 4:39
Well, I was 16 years old and I heard on the radio that they were Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham. Were in town at this point I lived in Atlanta, my mother moved to she worked for IBM to move to Atlanta. And Trevor I looked at every every I still do I look at every piece of information that kind of comes in and out of out of left field as or right field or centerfield any anything that just kind of hits me and sticks. I've always looked at as a little message from God, saying, Hey, pay attention to this. So when I heard on the radio that they were filming a movie called smoking the bandit at the fairgrounds, Lakewood fairgrounds in downtown, just outside of downtown Atlanta. My very first thought was, John, you need to go down there and be in that movie. So I did. Now my second thought was John, you're supposed to be going to school. You can't skip school to go down there and try it. You know, the little guy came up on my shoulder and said, This is stupid. Don't don't, you can't go do that. They're gonna kick you out. Besides, you shouldn't be in school anyway. Well, thankfully, this guy one and said shut up. We're going down. And we're going to be in that movie because we are supposed to be. Yeah, so went down parked, was with a buddy parked in the dirt, climbed a fence, found some guy, this is the genius of it. And I still don't know how I knew to do this. But I found a guy with a radio you could see him from behind. walkie talkie, tapped him on the shoulder and said, Hey, man, I'm sorry, I'm late for traffic on it. Five is a bear wears hair and makeup. Yeah, right over there. So I went in, I got into hair and makeup. Got a breakfast sandwich. And when when you shoot a movie, there's an inner circle called the circus. And then there's a everybody else's out there. Well, the thing was, I wasn't out there I was in there with with the with everybody. I spent the day chatting with Jackie Gleason. Who was living at the time up near where I'm from in New York. So there was all kinds of connections or I would say validations that it was a message from God that I did listen to. And I did act on immediately. So my my lesson here for people is that I'm not lucky. And I'm I am. I am aware and have been from a very early age, that my design is very specific to do a very specific thing. In my world, it's it's storytelling, whether it's through a song or through a movie, or through a script or through an interview. It's storytelling. And I have done it since I was eight years old. And I'm not going to stop. It keeps me excited. It keeps me exuberant. It keeps me on track. Because I know that God is up to something that I am part of. Not the other way around. Yeah, say that again. God is up to something that I am part of, not the other way around. And that's a vast difference. invite God into my circumstance. I asked him what my next move is in his
Trevor Tyson 8:45
Wow. What a mentality to have to. It's like you snuck onto the set. I've done several things like that in my venture. Not as like obviously, it's harder to sneak on movie sets. Now unfortunately, when I was 15, my mom drove me where they were shooting the Florida Georgia Line music video in Monroe, Georgia. And I snuck into that I snuck into Backstage at a skillet concert. That's kind of where I figured out the same way you did like, Oh, this is actually something that I can do. And I grew up in a tiny town called social circle, Georgia, which is right next to Covington.
John Schneider 9:23
I know it well. That's where the Boers nest is.
Trevor Tyson 9:26
Yeah, the boys nest is out there. Covington like my dad used to take me The Covington like this where they used to build the Dukes of Hazzard. And I don't know if that that's exactly where it was done. But that's what I grew up believing. And so let's see and everything like firsthand there. And God can just use you like no matter if you're from a tiny town, like where they film these tiny town films for the big Hollywood theater. You know, I grew up having that in my head but I was like, you know, God, like if you want to do something, you're gonna have to do it. But one thing I had to realize is I I'm not just gonna get like interviews like this sitting on my butt. It took a lot of work to get here. And even now, you still have to work like you have your John Schneider studios, you're doing movies. Right? You started off sneaking into a movie set. And now you own your own studio. Like, that's a huge thing and what a leap it is. But it's very important for people to know, and for you to share more than anybody, like, it all started somewhere. And we all have that point in time where we're at that somewhere where like you started. There's a starting point. And we have to make that decision. Am I willing to be embarrassed? quote unquote, embarrassed? Am I willing to fail? And do I have the passion determination to get up and keep going when I fall? They answer for me and obviously you were both Yes. But when did you realize like, okay, there's no other plan B. I have to do this. And you had that mindset of it's gonna happen. I just got to get out here and find the way
John Schneider 11:03
Oh, wait. It's been always Yeah, and I know that sounds weird, but it's been always so when I when I read this the sides for Dukes of Hazzard I was 18 years old. I was working in a in a singing in a show called The Manhattan Yellow Pages at the Omni International Hotel in Atlanta. I had done on stage in Atlanta Underground Atlanta, the academy done every bit of theater you could possibly do in Atlanta. Plus, did theater in high school plus went to summer school two years in a row so I could graduate. I'm not very V student at best. But I graduated a year early because I went to summer school two years in a row to get my senior year out of the way. Because that's how I felt. I felt I am preparing myself for the opportunity. I expect the opportunity. Every minute. I expect here's another thing, put this in your hat, expect great things. So I expected great things knew that high school was in the way but knew I didn't want to be a high school dropout. So I did what I had to do. went to summer school two years in a row and got out early. If you were to look at my my high school yearbook, my senior yearbook was actually my 11. My junior year yearbook. I would say 95% of the things in there. The notes from my friends in school were See you in the movies one day I'll see you on television next year. See you on Broadway. Can't wait to see all of that. Oh, can't wait to hear you on the radio. So I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. What I was designed to do. And when you are doing that, it doesn't matter how hard the work is you should expect the work to be hard Christians who say God I pray and I I tithe and I do all this stuff. And it just God doesn't seem to hear me because it's just so hard. Well shut up. My God. It's supposed to be hard. These us didn't have it easy either. Powell, okay. So it's supposed to be tough. Because when you are tapped into your design, your godly design to do what God is doing. You are naturally going to face tremendous opposition. If you are not facing tremendous opposition, I question the very path you are on. And so should you.
Trevor Tyson 14:06
That is that's some knowledge right there straight from the man himself. It's it's like you look at and call a lot of things. Yeah. Oh, I saw the interview with the doctors where things could have got spicy, but they cut it, which was I mean, you know, I was like, This guy's nuts. Like,
John Schneider 14:26
it's part of my own. My own with her. I wasn't, I wasn't. You know, that's the thing about if you are who you are, you know, that's easy to say. But if you are who you are. I have people now because they watch my youtube channel or they watch Facebook and they go, Oh my gosh, it's so great that you have the courage to say the things you say, well, it's just I don't have the intelligence not to. I can't I can't not say that's the New Yorker in me. I can't not say what is on my mind. And the great thing about telling the truth, your truth is that you'll never forget it lies or half truths, as some liberals will call them who apparently believe there are acceptable levels of voter fraud. I'm trying to think if there's an acceptable level, you know, did you cork your bat a little bit? Or a lot and how many people were on base really, when you hit a homerun with your court bat? Right. That's kind of the discussions that we're having about Arizona right now. Yeah, but um, I think you have to, you have to say what is on your mind what is on your heart, because if it is true, that you are designed by God to do a very specific part of what he is doing. Then he also gave you a life's experience that has formulated an opinion that must be valid for someone and important for someone somewhere to hear. So what's the Scripture kind of loosely about that is Don't Don't put your don't put your candle under the bed. Don't put your light Don't hide your light. Yeah. Put it out there for everyone to see and be ready to face. Tremendous embarrassment or shame for it. Yeah, that's okay.
Trevor Tyson 16:30
And the funny thing about canceled culture is and not even like on a political level, like, it doesn't matter what side you're on. You have one side this, like, we all need to be inclusive. We need to do this. But if you're on that side, it's unacceptable. And then the other side. There are things coming from all around us. I
John Schneider 16:51
agree with you.
Trevor Tyson 16:52
Yeah, and I'm at this place now, like even I'm so done with like, it's it's amazing the amount of stress and disheartening information that goes into our minds just off of social media itself, like news articles, outlets spitting out misinformation, it's not even to get like way too political. It's like, what is true and what is not, because at this point, you have one person telling you was 100% fat, and the other telling you is a 100%. Crap. And it's like, who are we supposed to believe? So at this point, like, the thing that I've learned how to do is like a, I'm going to trust the Holy Spirit. Like, if these lead me somewhere, I'm going to trust it, no matter what culture says about it, that's just the end of the game for me. And the other thing is, like, common sense, like, it, unfortunately, doesn't come very easy for most. But if you have a slight tad bit of common sense, you can see that there are things mapping out on both ends of the spectrum that don't make sense. And for us, like as believers, Christians, or even people that aren't Christians, like, we have to realize, like, freedom is a gift that we have here in the United States for the most part. And if we keep allowing some of these freedoms to go away, sooner or later, where is it going to end? It's not, it's just going to be more power more.
John Schneider 18:25
It's like, give them an inch, they take a mile and all that. And I spoke about that, almost two years ago now, when the government or the CDC or somebody was taking away our right of peace of peaceful assembly, because we do an event here and all of a sudden that was going away, and then churches, and shame on them. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, Christians, and I'm sorry, pastors who are listening. But when you close down your church, because the state said, so the message that you sent out to your congregation, every believer and every non believer out there is that your governor is stronger than your God. So I don't care if you had to put a tent out in your parking lot. I don't care if you had to go to jail. I've been to jail for something I believed in do it. But don't it's that was an embarrassment. I thought that was an embarrassment. So anyway, if you go back and think about this, all this nonsense that's happening right now is actually a good sign. I think it means that we are more of a threat than perhaps we were perceived before which is put the enemy on an accelerated path to do as much damage in a shorter period of time as they can. Which to me is is it shows a desperation and when you start ask acting Desperate you're doomed to fail. So I take all this all this nonsense we're watching now. I do believe in asking, oh god, okay, God, I just heard this and I heard that I'm gonna get quiet here show me something, I'm gonna go for a walk. Great idea. I'm gonna go for a walk helped me sort through this whether it's through a bird or a rock or the river going by or a cab, I don't know, but to help me figure this out.
Trevor Tyson 20:28
Yeah. And with like talking about freedom, talking about America, like the freedom is a gift. And along with freedom, like it co us with our faith a lot as well. And one thing that I found very intriguing about your story was your faith story, because it's, it's very unique. And so to kind of summarize like, your whole story and your beliefs and everything, would you mind sharing your faith story on how you came to know Jesus? And the very unlikely home you ended up in for that journey?
John Schneider 21:05
Well, I you know, I first and foremost, it was a little church called the Church of the valley. Little brown shirt, I'm sorry, little brown church, then it became churches Valley. It's where Ronald Reagan got married the second time. And I saw my my, my aha moment was not the one you're talking about. My aha moment was watching a little old fellow. At the end of prayer, the pastor would pastor Larry would invite people to kneel and they would, they would pray and this little old fella was having trouble getting up. His name was Vern. And he reached up little, little old white guy. And this huge like six foot six black man with gold. This was like in Mr. T's time gold chains, reached down and picked him up, and then they hugged each other, you know, Jolly Green Giant, Jolly black giant, and little Vern and I saw a love and respect and appreciation and something in that hug. That made me go. That's unconditional love. That's what that's what I've heard people talk about. Because before that, I hadn't seen it. I hear you know, a lot of people talk a lot of a lot of things, but they don't show it. So from from that point on, my perspective changed a little bit and it started to go on the one because as soon as the Hollywood Christian folk found out that I'd had the moment everybody gathered around me and they were they were blessed. And they were they were trying to be nicer than Jesus. You know, they were I'm a pretty rough guy. I don't I don't believe in hiding your scars. Okay, but I had I had maybe one or two too many Christians with their their sweaters tied around their neck ready to go you know who who don't drink but they do drink and I still believe that God loves me too much for me to drink cheap whiskey. Some Christians crazy, but that's okay. Then I did a movie called stagecoach. And I wound up being more than casual just best friends with Johnny Cash. And Johnny Cash is a riddled with self inflicted scars. A lifetime that was remarkable and wonderful and awful at the same time, was loved by a by a woman June loved him more than she loved her next breath. And he believed in Jesus and he didn't mind telling you he believed in Jesus so in Johnny Cash I saw the kind of Christian I wanted I knew I could be one that didn't pretend he was having a better day than then Jesus one who didn't gripe and complain that God must not be listening because this is hard. So I I didn't become a Christian because of Johnny Cash but I stayed one because of Johnny Cash. And one thing that I think kind of sums John up was that he never forgot what it was like not to know Jesus. Wow. And and I implore you, Christian Don't ever forget how ridiculous people sounded when they said Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Never forget, unless you grow unless you unless you aren't this person, you know, a lot of people grew up in a home that went to church. But a lot of people didn't. And a lot of people looked at folks like that as being pathetic. Yeah. Can't handle reality. So you got to lean, you got to lean on this Jesus thing. Okay, that was me. Don't forget that there are people like that out there. Okay, so, so I thank God for my relationship with John, John and June were wonderful people. I talked about my wife, Alicia. She knew John in june two, she didn't live with them. She worked with them in the movie called The Apostle.
John Schneider 25:57
But I tell people that that I found my June and, and she's in the other room. We're gonna be driving to Arizona here in a little in a little while. Yeah, but But yeah, so that's. That's, if you need to find somebody to help you. Remember that aha moment? Ask God to send that person to you. He will. Yeah, right. Don't don't get into a rut where you think God is not listening. Okay. But because God is always listening. But here's, here's an analogy I want to I want to give you for some reason I want to give you this analogy. We have. We're in the shed to home business. So we have people who build sheds, storage sheds, 16 are really nice, but their storage sheds, right, and you can convert them into an office or a home. So we hire people to build these sheds. They show up to work. They have every nail, they have every sheet of plywood, they have every two by four they have every they have everything that they need, in order to do the job that we hired them to do. They are not in want of anything to do that which we hired them to do. If they wanted to come here, and build their shed, they'd have to buy some stuff from me, I wouldn't give that to them. They'd have to buy some stuff from me. Or I might say, Dude, go go home and build your own shed, you're here to build my shed. So that analogy for me sums up if you are want for tools, if you are doing God's work, you will not be wanting for tools of any kind, you will not be wanting for wisdom of any kind, you will not be wanting for insight of any kind or motivation of any kind. He will provide all of that for you everything you need. In order to do here's the one that's hard for people God's work. Okay. And if if God's work and what you think you should be doing, are this rather than this, then you're doing the wrong thing. Wow. Okay. God did not design, Trevor or John, or Joe or Billy or Sally to be someone who can't wait to get off work on Friday. God designs people who can't wait to get started in the morning. Who can't sleep sometimes because they're so inspired. who get to the end of a work day and go I didn't get I didn't get I mean, every time I tried to check something off on my list, I put something else on my list and I can't wait for tomorrow. That's a sign that you're on the right track. That's a sign that God is up to something that you are part of. Not the other way around. Sheesh,
Trevor Tyson 29:39
I know for a fact you go to sleep with ideas in your head, you've got the homebuilding business like the shed the home. You've got the music career. You don't run a studio, you still act. You're in the Tyler Perry show right now. And you also have a CVD line. You've got it all like Oh my God. We got to go on a stuff going on and That's fascinating to me. That's a really fascinating this whole conversation like, there's a ton of things that we could have jumped into like, here's where you needed God in this moment and cancer scare and all this other stuff but God gave us exactly what he wanted us to take away. And he's blessing you where you are
John Schneider 30:17
now with Trevor gonna throw something quick. Yes, somebody out there just said wait a minute CBD What's this like a pothead guy? What what what's up with that? When Alicia went up just long story for another time. But when Alicia was diagnosed with stage four cancer, one of the things that that remember I said all of a sudden things come out of left field. And I think they're hints from God, when all of a sudden CBD oil came into our lives. So we tried it because you know, when somebody says you've got maybe two years to live, you'll try anything. So one of the things we tried was CBD oil. I believe that CBD oil helps to regulate your system so that everything else you can do will work better. Even medication. We're not big on medication, but medication works better, your dietary changes work better. And then this thought came into my mind. Because you can rub CBD oil on as well. It's a topical ointment. in biblical times, there's only two kinds of oil I believe. And if there's a biblical scholar out there that can tell me different I'd like to know different. But when they talk about anointing people's feet in and heads and hair, in oil. In biblical terms, I think it either had to be olive oil, or hemp oil. I think those are the only two kinds of oil we didn't have Missoula wasn't around and we didn't have corn oil. So I'm thinking, because we had tremendous success. Alicia has her totally clear PET scan, totally clear CAT scan. She's doing great. She's tougher than a Waffle House steak. One of those things that we did was CBD oil. So because of that we started our own our own line, we signed up with the people that we got the oil from, and of course because of Dukes, it's called C Bo D.
Trevor Tyson 32:16
John Schneider 32:17
And it's an it's great. So it's not, it's not a sin to use CBD oil,
Trevor Tyson 32:24
talent. And that was such a misconception right off the bat. Like, I remember when CBD was still taboo. I tried it for like panic disorder, and like anxiety attacks, and 100% helped 100% I wouldn't when I jump back out on tour. That was the only way like, God, obviously but he used CBD to help calm me down before I jump on stage. So it I am a fan. I like you said like it's not a cent to use CBD oil. If you know like that's just a thing.
John Schneider 32:58
This is all been around a very long time. Very, very long time. So folks, if you've got inflammation, you got anxiety, have sleep issues, try it. Try it. If you are going through cancer therapy of any kind, try it. It's not going to hurt you. And it just might might save your life. Not saying it will. But it just might. It is not the weakest link in your health care. Yeah. It's one of the strong things in your health care. I promise you. Yeah. All right.
Trevor Tyson 33:40
The man himself, right. Hey,
John Schneider 33:42
let me send people if if you've enjoyed this, go to John Schneider studios.com We are totally independent. We had a hurricane destroy our store. So right now the online store is all we've got. So John Schneider studios.com is very important to me and to my smile Alicia. Or you can go to Cinna flicks d o d.com. I was going to type that in but I don't know that I can do that and not miss
Trevor Tyson 34:13
Oh, we will put it all in the description below. Like we have all that information too.
John Schneider 34:18
So if you want to go and watch some movies that we've made there, there that is, I warn you the language in stand on it is exactly the same as the language in Smokey and the Bandit. So if you are so pure that you're offended by bad language, then don't watch it. However, Christmas cars has no bad language. But some of the other ones do.
Trevor Tyson 34:46
They'll be culture shock by John
John Schneider 34:47
Schneider. Not your sweater tied around your neck, you know, and you hide your and you hide your whiskey when you're taking a picture. Don't go to don't go to snowflakes.
Trevor Tyson 34:58
I love that y'all can go to Pure Flix. How about that?
John Schneider 35:02
Pure Flix? That's right or go? I just did a movie with Reba McIntyre. It's going to be out this Christmas. Christmas in tune. Great, fun, great movie, our movie poker run comes out on what I call orange Friday, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving. We do that in honor of the General Lee. Yeah. And I think you folks are gonna love it. If you love Dukes, you love smoking the bandit. If you enjoyed this conversation, then check it out. I do not believe you'll be disappointed. You may be challenged. You may even get tickled every now and again.
Trevor Tyson 35:37
I love that so much John, this has been this has been more fun than you could ever plan to map out I hope it's I know it's been a fun for everyone else to listen and God's using you in a crazy way.
John Schneider 35:48
I'm social circle. How crazy is that?
Trevor Tyson 35:51
Social dadgum circle, right.
John Schneider 35:55
Circle. Nest lamb. Yeah, it's forever. You take care. I speak to you again. One of these days and folks you take care of remember, God is up to something you're part of it. Figure out what that is and do it today.
Trevor Tyson 36:14
Make it happen and thank you to new release today for making this episode happen. John, thank you so much. Again, we're gonna put all the links to everything that he's talked about in the description below and we will talk to you guys next week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
It would be impressive enough for an actor to star in a single show that changed the course of television history with iconic characters and cross-generational appeal, but the fact that John Schneider’s done exactly that on a consistent basis for at least four decades makes him nothing short of legendary. Whether it’s currently playing Jim Cryer on Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots, previously immortalizing Jonathan Kent on Smallville and Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard, or showing off his own fancy footwork Dancing with the Stars, the man of many hats is synonymous with success and one of most ubiquitous faces in all of pop culture.
Add in a simultaneous career as a four-time chart-topping country artist with over 20 albums to his credit, including a whopping 72 tracks within the last year alone, alongside a burgeoning movie career with executive producer Alicia Allain under their own John Schneider Studios/Maven Entertainment banners, and he could quite realistically be counted amongst the most prolific and recognized entertainers of all time. And it turns out his heart is just as huge as the fame that follows thanks to his co-founding of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at the genesis of this extraordinary career that’s accompanied by his tireless work with ongoing fundraising efforts to this very day.
“The balance of careers really takes care of itself,” he insists of the delightfully crazy calendar he and Allain keep. “We spend time recording an album and then there’s time spent mixing the album, which gives me time to be off either touring with music or working on a movie. When the movie is finished filming, there are many aspects of postproduction that need to be done, and if I am not doing them myself, then naturally so I don’t get bored, I am out on the road. I guess the moral to the story is that Alicia and I are both hard, hard workers who don’t really, at this point anyway, seem to need any downtime!”
That’s certainly the case in Schneider’s recent musical outpouring after spending all of 2018 releasing one song a week as part of an ambitious project called The Odyssey, which was produced by longtime friend, personal champion, superstar session man and fellow Dukes collaborator Paul Leim, in addition to Greatest Hits…Still! (featuring acoustic re-recordings of several smash hits), plus the holiday EP Merry Christmas Baby. The unstoppable streak continued into 2019 with the release of the Southern Rock-inspired album Redneck Rebel, and a deeply personal inspirational album, Recycling Grace, which expands upon his remarkable crossover ability into a wide array of artistic territory.
“Coming from a musical theater background, I naturally gravitate toward many different aspects of entertainment. Personally it just seems like the right thing to do. I couldn’t imagine being locked into one area,” he explains of the desire to stay equally involved in music and acting. “The inspirational album is jam packed with a few standards, but also new songs whose intention is to make you think and feel something. The music itself is intentionally more raw, bluesy and edgy. I believe these inspirational songs especially should elicit some sort of physical reaction from the listener. These will do that for sure!”
In the meantime, longtime fans and newcomers alike can catch Schneider starring on Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots, not only a flagship series of OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), but also the #1 primetime cable series on Tuesday nights. “I hope The Haves and Have Nots will show people that there is a versatility to my storytelling through acting that is much brighter than they suspected,” Schneider observes of his widely embraced Jim Cryer character. “Of course it’s always fun to play the bad guy, but it also takes a little more for thought. One of the best things about it is it gives me an opportunity to really stretch, explore and take chances. I have loved every minute of it!”
Schneider has also been hard at work on the upcoming movie, Christmas Cars, which will release this holiday season. Schneider wrote, directed and stars in this semi-autobiographical film, which is sure to be a hit with Dukes fans of all ages.
Prior to that, Schneider spent a whopping ten years on The WB turned The CW’s Smallville, which sent him flying straight into the epicenter of Superman hysteria and prompted his constant demand to appear at themed conventions and special events with massive crowds from all over the globe. “Playing Jonathan on Smallville was a huge honor,” he confirms. “I believe that that character is quite possibly the best father figure on television. Ever. I’m also proud to be part of what I believe is the crown jewel of the entire Superman legend. I don’t believe there was a bad episode of that show. One amazing adventure after another!”
And then of course there’s his pioneering presence on CBS’ The Dukes of Hazzard for seven stratospheric years where Schneider was so immensely popular, he was the subject of an elaborate but ultimately resolved pickpocketing scheme where his stolen driver’s license was bootlegged and sold in staggering quantities at $50 a pop for decades until it was returned to its rightful owner (though the now comical tradition continues being available on Schneider’s website with a personally signed certificate of authenticity). There’s also the annual “Bo’s Extravaganza” at the 58-acre John Schneider Studios in Holden, Louisiana where nearly 10,000 fans from every corner of earth come on an annual basis to swap stories, score autographs, browse memorabilia, take in a classic car show featuring the program’s actual vehicles and catch concerts by the most enormous names in music, such as longtime Schneider admirer Kid Rock in 2019.
“The great thing about Dukes is there were no cell phones in those days so people’s heads were not buried in them,” he recalls of it impenetrable run from the late 1970s through the mid-‘80s. “We actually depended upon our relationships, friendships and family in order to get through whatever the weekly issue was. I do think that people who are fans of The Dukes of Hazzard are more likely to pay attention to one another rather than ignore one another in favor of those who may call or text at any second.”
Continues Schneider: “The number one thing I hear about people’s memory of The Dukes of Hazzard is that they remember spending time with love ones watching it. Of course they remember specific episodes, but more than that, they remember their lives every Friday night as they gathered together as a family and watch this great show. Because of that, I actually feel as if I’m a part of their family and not just someone who is in a box in their living room.”
That sense of personal connection and such a widespread appeal in general caused ABC’s Dancing with the Stars to come calling in 2018. For seven weeks, Schneider had an incredible run with pro partner Emma Slater, and despite being eliminated on the dance floor, was requested back for the season finale to perform his single “Walk A Mile In My Shoes.”
“There’s a very small club of people actually who have done Dancing with the Stars,” notices Schneider. “I took away friendships from that show as well as friendships with people I have met after who went through the experience. Just the other day, I met a fellow who had been on Dancing with the Stars a couple of years ago and we had an immediate bond because of our experience on that show. Finally, what I took away from Dancing with the Stars was that dancing is hard work!”
Though Schneider definitely deserves a day (or a decade) off given that unceasing work ethic, he fills in any free time with the completely selfless efforts of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which he co-founded in 1983 and has since raised more than $7 billion dollars (with over $409 million in 2018 alone) for medical research and community awareness of children’s health issues, which is distributed directly to a network of 170 children’ hospitals.
“All of us at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals are working toward the goal of being able to raise $1 billion a year,” he boldly proclaims. “I think we will reach that goal in the next five years. The biggest change I’ve seen in children’s healthcare over the past 36 years is that premature birth, especially extremely premature birth and very low weight babies, was far more of a death sentence in the old days. Now when a child is born weighing only a pound, they are expected to live and almost always do, whereas 36 years ago, that was definitely not the case. Medicine has also made great inroads in childhood diabetes and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is directly related to that research.
” The idea of setting specific goals still appeals to Schneider on the professional front as well, who rather than coasting on his ever-increasing list of countless of accomplishments, keeps on dreaming of the next field he’d like to cultivate. “We would like to have one of our films take off and sell over 100,000 units. Same thing with the music,” he says matter of factly. “Once we get into the area where we are fairly certain we can sell this number, we will be able to continue to make movies, music and other forms of entertainment without having to seek outside funding. Then we will truly be independent and have autonomy.”
John Schneider made his television debut in 1978 as Bo Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard, the show ran for six years on CBS and remains in syndication on CMT and TNT. In 2001, Schneider landed the role of Jonathon Kent – Superman’s father – on the CW’s Smallville. He currently plays the role of the powerful Judge Jim Cryer in the Tyler Perry smash hit, The Haves and the Have Nots. Schneider has also made an impact on the film community starring in film such as Dream House, Happy Endings and Run, where he played opposite Kirk Douglas.