“Howdy, folks, John Driskell Hopkins here.

I’ve been singing since I could talk, and like a lot of us who grew up in the South, my earliest musical experiences were in the church choir. I started piano lessons and later learned to play my Dad’s old Martin guitar knock-off that I found under the bed.

I went on to Florida State University … my band at FSU was called The Woodpeckers. We played every bar in Tallahassee, I think, and I was the lead singer. After college, I moved home to Atlanta and formed the band Brighter Shade with great guys that I still play with today.

I began to focus more on producing and writing in my studio where I recorded, produced and performed on many different records with many different artists over those years. One of them was named Zac Brown.

Early years with the band were sometimes brutal, sometimes hysterical, sometimes glorious, but always magical. Some weeks we made negative money and other weeks we made up for it. We rode in an airport shuttle death trap up into the Rockies and back down to Miami. Guys got divorced. Guys got married. Babies got born. Families got built. Dreams got realized. When Chicken Fried made it to the radio in 2008, the sky opened up.

Being in this band has taught me so much about myself; it made me realize a lot about who I am and who I want to be. It’s a band where anything is possible – there are no limits to what can be achieved. The music that we write and perform has a Southern identity, but is in many ways without genre. We never come to the table with a preconceived notion of what the music should or shouldn’t be. We debate. We disagree. We celebrate. We rejoice. In the end, we stand together and we often marvel at what has come to pass this far. It’s an incredible journey filled with incredible people, and it has only just begun.”

This is a super easy pizza recipe that my family uses and frequently modifies. Serves a family of eight or one hungry daddy.


  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • 4 oz chopped chicken
  • 2 oz chopped ham
  • 4 oz chopped pineapple
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella


Fire up the EGG and get her hot! About 500-600°F/260-316°C indirect.

I soaked my chicken breast in pineapple juice and BBQ sauce for an hour before I threw it on the EGG. Once it was done, I chopped off what I needed for the pie and ate the rest.

Next, I added the Pizza Stone, heat the stone before putting your pizza in the EGG. If you’re good at making your own pizza dough, then you’re ahead of me already. I got mine from the grocery store and rolled it out over a bed of finely ground corn meal so it doesn’t stick to the counter; I prefer cornmeal to flour.

Throw some corn meal on the hot stone in the EGG and place the dough on it, close the lid and cook the dough for about 2 minutes per side. This will make a crispier crust and will make it easier to handle with the ingredients on it.

Remove the dough from the EGG and spread on the BBQ sauce. Now you’re ready for the ham, chicken, pineapple and cheese. If you want more chicken, add more chicken. If you want more cheese, add more cheese. It’s pizza, for crying out loud! Put the pie back into the EGG and cook it covered for 12-15 minutes or until properly browned.

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