Many musicians slap their name on a perfume and call it a day if they want to venture into a new business, but when you’re a punk rock drummer, you go into the cannabis business and immerse yourself in it. At least, that’s what Vinnie Fiorello, drummer of iconic punk rock band Less Than Jake, did with his new CBD brand, Sailor Diggen’s Finest.
For over 25 years, Vinnie Fiorello toured with Less Than Jake, spending about an hour and a half “beating the drums up” every show. After a while, it started taking a toll on his body, and he was developing wrist and shoulder problems. He was looking for solutions, but nothing was quite cutting it. Minimal relief was found with common remedies until a tour stop in Denver, Colorado, when a friend recommended heading to the dispensary to check out some of the creams and salves they sold there.
“After talking to someone behind the counter, I settled on one cream and started to make it a daily ritual,” he says. “I started to see results in a compound way, probably after a few weeks of putting on the cream. That started me on the path of self medicating in the best way possible and using CBD.” It also inspired him to learn more about cannabis in general, and to eventually start Sailor Diggen’s Finest.
A Business-Minded Drummer
Fiorello is no stranger to entrepreneurship. Aside from being Less Than Jake’s drummer, he’s the co-founder of record label Fueled by Ramen – home of Paramore, Panic! At The Disco, All Time Low, and your other favorite pop punk bands. He also works on Paper + Plastick, a record label that also sells designer toys. These projects have involved music and design, areas in which he has plenty of experience, but this is his first venture alone in the cannabis business. Luckily, he knew just the right person to call to help him out.
A couple of years ago, Joe Gooding of Mongo Ranch in Oregon approached Less Than Jake to collaborate on a strain, which ended up being a sativa heavy hybrid with orange undertones in honor of Florida, the band’s home state.
Fiorello says, “[Joe Gooding] became a good friend and someone who I could ask questions to. As someone who grows and works in cannabis, it was a great resource to be able to pick his brain.” It wasn’t until last year that Fiorello decided he really wanted to pursue this new business and share CBD products that can help others the way that it’s helped him, both physically and mentally.
“I went to Joe and said, ‘I would love to start a brand that’s really forward thinking on CBD and I would love your help,’ and he agreed,” he shares. “It’s not only a good friendship, but it’s a good partnership. He’s someone who has a ton more experience when it comes to cannabis and CBD than I do.”
Fiorello has enjoyed being in a different position than usual with this project. “In some business ventures I like being able to spearhead it and be the first one in and go back and educate my partners,” he says. “In this case, it’s been good to get educated by other people – having people that are way more knowledgeable than myself being able to explain, ‘This is why we should do this, this is what makes the most sense.’”
Since then, he’s been growing the business slowly and steadily, always making sure the products he’s presenting to the customer are the best of the best – goods he can confidently stand by. He is adamant about continuing to learn about cannabis, as well as being very involved in the business.
“The thing that I can’t stand is [when people say] ‘Hey, I’m just gonna slap my name on it and move forward with it.’ There’s no backstory or anything. I get why people do it. But for me and Sailor Diggen’s, it’s a brand I wanted to start small and find makers and growers who are like minded with products that I could white-label.”
The most unique current product offering is the CBD infused hot sauce. After some trial and error with a friend-of-a-friend, an Orlando-based cannabis chef, to perfect the recipe, Fiorello was very pleased with it, and got to a point where he could definitively say, “Yeah, this is fucking awesome. This is my favorite hot sauce ever.” He adds, “Of course I have to say it’s the best hot sauce, but I truly believe it, and it’s a beautiful thing to be able to say that.”
What’s Next For Sailor Diggen’s Finest?
As for what’s down the pipeline, Sailor Diggen’s Finest will be releasing Bubba Kush flower on its own (in addition to the Premium Bubba Kush pre-rolls they already sell) and gummies, once flavor is perfected, which will hopefully be early 2020.
“Everyone has gummies, so we’ve been trying to put our own spin on it with a flavor profile,” he admits. “We’re going back and forth with some friends in Oregon. We’re not there yet with the taste, but we’re getting there.”
As for the name, Sailor Diggen’s Finest, there’s actually a lot of meaning behind it, since Fiorello happens to be a history buff. “A friend of mine in California equated the legalization of recreational marijuana to a gold rush. People are deciding if they want to start their own business. It might be a little too late in some cases.”
He continues, “There’s a folklore story of someone named Sailor Diggen that came out to California for the gold rush, but was late. So instead of that, he traveled up north along the mountain range to Oregon and found gold. So for me, I felt like it was a pretty cool metaphor for the friends I have in Oregon and for Joe who is my partner in this, feeling that we might be a little late to the party…but you leave and start your own party, and that becomes the best party possible.”
We’re just glad to be invited to it.