Uncut with Jay Cutler: CEO Christian Schauf Talks Music Career, Creating Uncharted Supply Co.

by Chris Haney

For the latest episode of Uncut with Jay Cutler, the podcast host welcomes one of the most interesting guests to ever join the show. CEO Christian Schauf may only be 41 years old, but it seems like he’s had so many amazing experiences that he’s already lived five lifetimes.

Schauf opens up about his fascinating life with Cutler, which started out on a farm when growing up in Wisconsin. He’d eventually go to the University of Wisconsin–Madison before playing in a band with Prince’s drummer. Yes, that Prince, the legendary “Purple Rain” and “Little Red Corvette” singer. And that’s just the beginning of Christian Schauf’s story.

He’s worked with Harley-Davidson and the military, gone on wild hunting adventures all around the world, helped create the hard apple cider, Crispin Cider, and directed the 2013 documentary Bikes Over Baghdad. During his travels across the globe, Schauf has experienced a lot and has the stories to prove it, including one about sleeping in Saudi dictator Saddam Hussein’s bedroom.

Schauf’s travels also led him to open Uncharted Supply Co., which provides “the most comprehensive 72-hour survival system on the market,” according to the company’s website. The CEO also talks about running a survival company during wartime as the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues in Eastern Europe. The guys cover all of this and much more in the newest episode of Uncut with Jay Cutler.

Christian Schauf Opens Up To Host Jay Cutler About His Music Career

Host Jay Cutler made sure to dive into Christian Schauf’s music background early on in their conversation. Schauf grew up in a musical family and began playing instruments in elementary school. He’d go on to play music with his brother and friends and that continued on through his college days. Schauf decided he’d stick with music as long as he kept progressing with it and he did for a decade.

After college he moved to Minneapolis and formed the band Catchpenny with drummer Michael Bland. The drummer famously played in Prince’s band during The New Power Generation era and produced for Catchpenny as well. Their band shared a practice space with Minneapolis alternative rockers Soul Asylum. Schauf also wrote songs with Phil Solem of The Rembrandts. In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, it will. They wrote the theme song “I’ll Be There For You” for the TV show Friends. As Schauf tells Jay Cutler, his band “somehow got shoved into this community of musical aliens in Minneapolis. And it was a wild rip for about 10 years.”

One of Schauf’s best anecdotes from his music career involved Bland and their band on a road trip. While driving, Bland got a call from none other than famed guitarist and singer John Mayer. He wanted the drummer to play for him.

“I’m driving and listening to this conversation,” Christian Schauf says to Jay Cutler. “And Mike’s like, ‘No thanks, man. No, I appreciate it.’ I’m like, ‘Who was that?’ He goes, ‘That was John Mayer.’ And I’m like, ‘Dude, we are driving a crappy van to North Dakota. Why aren’t you taking that gig?’ He just said, ‘I don’t want to play “Your Body Is a Wonderland” every night.’ [Michael Bland] was just a buddy, and it was amazing to be around that much genius and just absorb it.”

Playing Concerts for U.S. Troops and Sleeping In Saddam Hussein’s Bedroom

As the years went by, Catchpenny was still playing big and small shows alike, but Schauf admitted he was getting tired of the music grind. While playing the South by Southwest Festival though, someone approached the band about playing shows for U.S. troops who were stationed overseas. Schauf and the band loved the idea and agreed to travel overseas to play gigs for the military. As he shared with host Jay Cutler, one trip abroad to play for the troops turned into 39 trips by the time they were done.

Christian and his brother, Zachary, ended up managing a lot of the entertainment for troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. They became so involved that they’d live at Camp Victory about once a month in Baghdad. That’s where Schauf’s wild story about staying in Saddam Hussein’s bedroom on his 30th birthday comes in.

“There was the room that was Saddam’s room when he was there. And usually that was reserved for whoever high-ranking official came through that night,” Schauf said on the podcast. “I guess there was no high-ranking official, it was just us, and they heard it was my birthday. They said, ‘Hey, why don’t you take [Saddam’s room] for the night.’ So just one of those crazy experiences you kind of look around and go, ‘How the heck did I get here? This is wild.’ But pretty fun.”

What Led Christian Schauf to Start Uncharted Supply Co.

Both host Jay Cutler and his guest Christian Schauf have been avid hunters through the years. Schauf has countless outdoor experiences, but one particular trip made him shift his career focus. While traveling to Colorado for a ski trip, he got stuck in traffic for hours because of snow. While he was lucky that he was never in danger, it got him thinking about worst-case scenarios.

Schauf knew it would be hard to compete with hunting and outdoor gear companies who are already well established. However, he thought there was an opportunity to build a company that provided products to help people navigate real emergency situations. That’s how Uncharted Supply Co. was born.

“There was nothing cool out there. There was nothing high quality,” Schauf said about survival products. “Everything you’d find was in a military surplus store and was dusty and in the back corner and not great. So it put me down a path, and I’m still on that path today.”

That’s why Schauf created a 72-hour survival kit. The CEO says whether it’s a 9/11 situation or a bad car wreck, 95% of the time help will arrive within 72 hours. If you can survive that period of time, you have a high chance of surviving whatever predicament you find yourself in. Schauf worked with special forces members, doctors, and other experts on survival to create his company’s first kit. Today, Uncharted Supply offers customers the world’s finest survival systems.

Make sure to watch the full interview with Uncharted Supply CEO Christian Schauf above. You can also tune into Uncut with Jay Cutler on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.