Tourism 101

November 22, 2011

When I was a senior in high school my favorite class was World Geography. It was a freshman level class but I’d failed it in 9th grade for never doing my homework which meant I had to take it again to graduate. The few years difference made all the world. Literally. I’m not sure if it was because I was older than everyone else and didn’t have close friends to distract me, or it was because I was so close to graduating and could hear the world wolf-whistling through the window that I excelled in the course. From memorizing state and country capitols to drawing political maps, I excelled and became a fan of the world at large. Besides wanting to sing, I added the possibility of being a tourist into the specifics of the dream.

There’s many things about my childhood that prepared me well in becoming who I am today:

Being Born. From the start I made an entrance to a small crowd of onlookers, thus preparing me for a life in the spotlight.

When I was around 3 or 4 I gazed out the window one night, looking up from my bed through the blinds where I could see a portion of the sky. With childlike curiosity I commanded the sky to blink and it did. Blink I said. And without missing a beat the sky flashed a bright light as if a small star had exploded and faded out quickly. It scared the shit out of me. Did I have that much power or was something out there so powerful that it heard me. Whatever it was I started sleeping under my parents’ bed after that. This was my introduction to the supernatural and I’ve been cosmic ever since.

Then, thanks to my parents’ divorce, I’ve been living out of a suitcase since I was 5. To survive life on the road, one must master the art of packing.

My dad and step dad both drove a van. Tour life would not be possible without at least 2 van rides a day.

My sister and her friends used to pick on me a lot. At least, I thought they did. So did this guy down the street. And his cousins. Yet because all these people lived on my block, I still HAD to play with them. Regardless, it made me pine for the road at an early age as I’d practiced running away a few times but never got past the edge of my neighborhood. I learned at a young age to love and accept judgment and criticism; a necessity for any artist.

Around 7 I was introduced to the School of Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC.) At that time the school existed only in church basements around our city, but 20 some years later it stands on it’s own with hundreds of students, programs and classes for the performing mind; teaching kids everything about life on and off stage, from singing, dancing, and acting to writing and lighting. I’m playing a concert on their behalf at the end of the December to celebrate their 30 years in action.

At 15 I started keeping a journal. It must’ve been a teacher who asked me to do it. Or a really loud voice in my head. Through writing I tapped into that voice and made a new friend. And since then, that voice & I have been making up all kinds of shit which is another requirement in the field of art.

Throughout high school our chorus department would take us on amazing trips. From New Orleans to New York we got to get out and experience how music could literally take us places. I saved all the hotel keys from those years. I’m not sure why. I guess I always felt I had places I could go back and visit. Like secret homes or hideaways. Since then I’ve saved every hotel key. Every single one. And again, I’m not sure why. I have thousands now. Someday I’ll build my own hotel out of recycled plastic hotel keys.

I’m sure I could think of many more things about my past that have contributed to my present, but a new day is dawning here in New York and I’m anxious to get out there. Today I’m planning to visit some museums and catch a Broadway show. Tourism 101.

I’ll leave you with this; one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen on the road. Ever. Enjoy.

Air Chair




Opera House

November 20, 2011

There was a moment about 3 quarters of the way thru last night’s performance at the Sydney Opera House where I knew the show was going great and that it would be great all the way to the end. I liken it to the final mile of a marathon. I’d already covered most of the ground and still had lots of energy in my reserves. I knew I wouldn’t be struggling with high notes or transitions, nor would my mind be busy recalling lyrics of songs that hadn’t been performed in a while. The back half of the set was my baby. All I had to do was hold it. Having made a few mistakes, on piano especially, I quickly learned what it felt like to play wrong notes on the infamous Opera House stage. It didn’t hurt as bad as I thought it would. In fact, playing thru the mistakes made it more comfortable. I felt superb. I’d made all the mistakes I could possibly make and still I was accepted by the sold out audience seated 360, on all sides. Better yet, I was still accepted by me. My preparedness had paid off. It was the second of two shows; the last of 4 sets. A career high well done. Every bit of chi I’d been saving up was overflowing from Hermes cup. I needn’t over-think, question, wonder or worry anymore. 10,000 hours had brought me to this place. More than a decade of hustle. And when I scanned my electronic security badge to exit the stage door, I felt as though I’d walked thru a symbolic portal into the next chapter of my life. A ribbon had fallen. A race was over. The Opera House, and every hall from here on out, would now be my Home.

This entry, written over brekkie, in my boardies, wearing my sunnies, is written in gratitude to the Aussies. Thank you for the invite. Thank you for the songs. Thank you for the listen. And thanks for singing along. Many many thanks to all those who drove from Melbourne. Paul and Emma. Those who flew from the north, south and west. You are the best. Blessings to you Suze and Chugg and everyone at Chugg. And to my awesome Warner Family. You are Loved.

What would love do?

November 16, 2011

A few years ago I had the pleasure of writing a song for an amazing documentary; a film about sex, drugs, and transformation. Inspired by courageous characters and their generous ways of being, I not only wrote one of my favorite songs, but I too was transformed by the experience. Through this powerful film, I discovered what happens when you let your heart lead you.

With the holidays fast approaching so too are those New Year’s Resolutions and I can think of no better gift for yourself and your family than May I Be Frank, which is now available on DVD. (to order just click on the title.)

I promise you will be entertained, re-awakened, broken down, and brought to tears by this triumphant, non-scripted documentary about letting go and loving yourself. See what others have to say and then see it for yourself.

The world as youtube see it

November 13, 2011

As I travel the globe, countries begin to feel geographically closer to one another. This has little to do with plate tectonics. What I’m beginning to see are more cases of people recognizing each other as if part of the same community. Like one big family. It’s as if humans were orphaned here on Earth and after years of asking questions finally have the means to share their findings and experiences.

While our iphone & ipad addictions may seem costly even insofar as it fragmenting the cultural paradigm, the transparency through these new tech formats is taking us to such great lengths that it’s bringing us around again.

Races and religions that perhaps never thought would mix now work together. People of completely different backgrounds and bone structure sit beside each other on airplanes. They holiday in the same tourist destinations. They surf the same waves, protest the same evils, drink the same water and if they choose, they share the same bed. A person’s accent or skin tone no longer offers a clue as to who may be standing in front of you. Stereotypes are fading as sure as our economies are collapsing. This I AM seeing.

And though we may still be far off from having the answers to solving the world’s crisis, tools such as the film embedded here bring us light years closer to understanding who, why, and what we are.

Life In A Day is a historic film capturing for future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010. In my opinion it offers so much more than that. Consider yourself part of that future generation and be captivated by this extraordinary, endearing, non-bias, heartbreaking and sometimes hilarious view of our planet as it is right now.

Executive produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

November 12, 2011

A short list (with links! – as well as the first to mention the new audio feature which will officially turn some of the blogs into podcasts! click on the ‘lil speaker icon at the lower right of select posts to listen.)

VitamineralGreen – Living on this immaculate green stuff daily, 4 years strong. If there’s one food product I believe in, a nutrient supply I can’t live without, It’s this.

E3 Live and Camu Camu. I swear in studio I was tripping half the time and if it wasn’t due to the long hours of intense creation in a controlled environment, it was likely due to the shots of E3 Live and the cap-fulls of Camu Camu. E3 Live is 100% Aphanizomenon flos-aquae blue-green algae (AFA for short) that is an all-organic wild-harvested aqua-botanical considered by renowned health authorities to be nature’s most beneficial superfoodalgae. Say that 5 x’s fast.

Kittens. Kittens on YouTube. Birthday Cards with Kittens on them. It doesn’t matter. Kittens win me over every time. They always have. In Indonesia there are monkey forests that are all too adorable for our own good. Still, I dream of someday finding a Kitty Cat Forest. I even wrote a horrible song about it.

CafeGratitudeLA. While making the record this summer, every meal came from my favorite Café on the planet. (And I’ve been to A LOT of cafe’s mind you.) Sometimes I go in there just to get hugs.

Toca Rivera. What a goofball. This reunion tour we’re on has been trying, transformative, explorative, healing, and revealing. I’m not sure what lay in store for us as a duo in the coming years, so I am simply grateful to be revisiting the good old days again in these new now moments. Each day is a gift.

This new community-oriented web-site. Thanks to The Uprising and to Philly B. for the genius design.

Sleeping. Dreaming. Waking up at 3 am to discover you still have 5 more hours of dreams in store.

Riding my bike. I haven’t had a bicycle on this tour, so I’ve been riding a stationary bike a few times a week to train for my biggest ride coming up on November 29th. On that glorious day I’m riding my bike from my house to our last official tour stop at Spreckles Theatre, which is a little over 60 miles. That isn’t a huge distance, but doing something like that on a show-day should provide some wicked energy (or lack thereof.) I once ran a half-marathon before playing a concert. It was one of the best days yet. Second to the day I played 3 concerts and then made sweet love until dawn. That was the best 24 hours ever.

Digressing is also a favorite of mine.

As are songs made famous by Julie Andrews.

I heart Berge

November 9, 2011

My good friends Rocco & Marianne have a band based in Berlin. I first met them when I back-packed around Europe and asked fans to help me organize some shows. Rocco was one of many Berliners to lend an ear, provide shelter, great conversation, and lasting friendship. Their band, Berge, is heart-centered good-time music that is of the highest integrity and artistic expression. It’s all LOVE. You don’t have to understand the language to be hooked by the melody or to fall in love with Marianne’s voice, eyes, charm, style, scent, etc. Watch their video and sing for yourself.

If you REALLY like them, click on the link below to learn how to join Berge, helping them record and release a full album. (Use the CC tab to bring up subtitles.)

I heart you too.