Friday, December 23, 2005
A Special Report from our famous intrepid reporter ~ Tamar Alexia Fleishman
Interview with Country Music Showman and Entrepreneur Two Foot Fred
Freddie Gill, or as he known in country music circles, "Two Foot Fred", has created a whirlwind of a career for himself, despite having a form of dwarfism as diastrophic displaysia. I spoke to him by telephone and he assures me that "other than size," he's in perfect health. Freddie is a graduate of Ball State's prestigious entrepreneurship program, one of the top programs of its kind in the U.S.
Freddie was the consummate businessman, with restaurants, pubs, real estate and even a spice company called Phat Freddie's, when a series of e-mails changed his life. Anyone who knows my life story can understand why I just had to talk to another person who got into "the biz" with a bunch of e-mails. Several years ago, Freddie met country star John Rich at Nashville's annual fan gathering, Fanfair. They exchanged e-mail addresses and a couple years later, Rich let Freddie know that he was putting together a band, Big and Rich, and would love to feature him in their videos. He has since appeared on stage and in videos with Big and Rich, Cletus T. Judd, Cowboy Troy and Gretchen Wilson. He's even directed two videos himself! His web site, where you can see videos, catch concert dates and buy stuff is www.twofootfred.com.
You have a spice company; how'd you get into that?
"I owned a full service steak house, four or five years ago. I played with spices. I made some blends and went to a spice company. I asked if we could manufacture this on a large scale, and the answer was "yes". I have four blends and two pure spices."
Why do two pure spices?
"They pure garlic and pure onion, so people could add them to the blends to suit their taste, turn things up a little."
You took entrepreneurship classes at Ball State; what was your first career goal?
"I always wanted to own a restaurant. I did that for a while, but it was too time consuming, a restaurant consumes all of you. I have to be a little more free."
You started working with Big and Rich through a series of e-mails. But I would imagine that John Rich doesn't just give his e-mail to anyone.
"John Rich has this uncanny ability to see the potential in people. He did that with Gretchen Wilson and he did it with me."
How do you keep a handle on all your businesses?
"Through the Internet and e-mails. The Internet's awesome. At first it was hard, though. I answer all the e-mails I get through my web site. It's something I do consistently, I'm proud to do it. I wouldn't want anyone else to answer my mail, I wouldn't want anyone putting words in my mouth."
at 1:19 PM