Sunday, December 13, 2009

5 Questions with Michael Runion

As far as I know, Michael Runion was born and raised in the suburbs of Ventura County—although he has made L.A. his home for the past 10 years, and it’s fair to say Los Angeles is his true home. There is a certain quality to his songs where I hear these worlds colliding. Un-jaded in the smog, the self-proclaimed King of LA.

An opening slot followed his last release “Our Time Will Come,” on the Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley band summer tour of ’09. The title track off the aforementioned record has a very soft, minimal, country swing feel to it with Runion’s lilting whisper-of-a-voice cooing, “Well, the moon’s playing dead to trick the ocean, and the hills they sleep on their side.” Dylan-esque blues almost … à la “It takes a train …”

Pumping up his new Tour Ep with the garage rock cruncher “Maxine,” Michael is up to his usual: making unique and wonderful music and bringing it to beautiful people.

1. When you're making music with a group do tend to be a leading voice or let things shape themselves?

Depends on the group. I have a band that I've assembled that accompanies me on my solo material, and I tend to be the main voice when we work together. I have a pretty strong idea of what I want to achieve, which I think comes of as intimidating, from time to time. I have another band, JJAMZ, which functions as a proper unit. Democratic and all that. It shapes itself.

2. You've travelled quite a there a place out there, other then LA, where you wouldn't mind hanging your hat and why?

I love Germany. Berlin is pretty amazing, and the couple times I've played there the response has been pretty great. Scandinavia is fun. Japan is pretty fucking rad. There's nowhere I would rather shop. Japan turns you into a consumer, for sure. I don't think there's anywhere else I'd live in the United States besides Los Angeles. New York wears me out, and every time I'm there it's like a vacuum is attached to my wallet. Great to place to visit, but LA is my home.

3. Do you want your music to be a viceral or more atmospheric experience?

Hmm, I'm not very excited about those choices. Somewhere in between. Visceral, I suppose, trumps atmospheric. I want my songs, which are simple and straightforward, to be understood right away. I want you to get a feeling of what I'm trying to accomplish by the end of the first verse. I'm not trying to be mysterious or elusive as an artist.

4. Do you tend to fly solo or are you part of a creative community?

I would consider myself part of a community. The majority of my friends are talented musicians, and we keep things close and collaborative. I like my space, don't get me wrong, but I need groups and gatherings or I'll go crazy. It's gotten to the point where I don't really go to shows of bands I'm not friends with, because I go to so many shows already to support people I know and admire. It's very inspiring to constantly be surrounded by people that are busy pursuing what they want to do.

5. How would you paraphrase the body of your solo work?

My body of work is a lot like my real body. Slim and tender, but trying to get toned.

Friday, December 11, 2009

5 Questions with Simone Rubi

I used to book acts at Buffalo Records based in Ventura, CA. Simone was friends with the owner of the shop, John Healy. One summer night she brought in her keyboard and played some songs from an album she was working on at the time, called "Explode from the Center". I didn't see her again until a few months later in Stockholm. She showed me around the city and helped me get a show at a vegetarian restaurant named Hermans.

Simone Rubi is powerful. Catch her if you can. Look at your watch, whatever time it is, chances are Simone is up to something interesting. As half of the dance-pop duo, Rubies, you can hear Simone sing, and sing well. As an artist working on everything from album covers to art installations, you can see Simone create. Always creating, always collaborating. She is a true inspiration and a wonderful friend, just ask any of her friends.

1. What is the hardest part of having a band?

I think the hardest part is making sure everyone in the band is happy and fulfilled. Whether it's on tour, performing, dealing with royalties, or being sensitive to what works musically for everyone as individuals. Everyone is different when it comes to staying inspired and motivated to make the whole thing work.

There are so many facets to being in a band- it's very much like family or a relationship. Being conscious of what everyone needs. Kind of feels like a family business. Mixing business with pleasure. The other hard part for me is to handle most of the business side of things and also write songs. It's two very different mind-sets and some days it becomes very overwhelming to handle all aspects of a band, especially when you put a lot of expectations on yourself and set your goals high.

2. When you perform live, do you create the vibe or does the audience create the vibe?

Both. Some shows start very mellow and the audience seem very distant or cold- and that really pushes me to convince people through our music that what we are offering is a fun and honest place to be. Especially when we play places like Japan or Russia- where culturally it couldn't be more different- those shows are very challenging and often the most rewarding because we've not only accomplished performing our songs, which is very comfortable for us, but we've accomplished understanding each other and the audience in a whole new way.

The audience can sometimes encapsulate a very tiny version of an entire culture. The way they respond, or dance, or facial expressions and how they clap and cheer. Most often though, we like to bring a certain vibe to a place that is inviting people to dance and join us on stage. We want to bring everyone into our house (stage) and have a dance party in the bedroom.

3. What is your take on the current "music business"?

This is a hard one. There is no rule book. There is no real 'school of rock' for people that spend their lives devoted to make money playing music and writing songs. There is no guarantee ever. No consistent pay check. You work super hard to get a promise in the form of a contract- that keeps you going- and sometimes pays the bills if you get a song licensed for tv or film- but I don't think there is any real promise in the music business. I think it's completely up to the band or songwriter to believe in what they are doing and also have a smart marketing approach if you want it to be your career. I also think everyone is so completely used to downloading music for free- which is great to promote your music- but I also think at this stage, we can all figure out ways to still support musicians by still buying their music. Even if it's $1 a song. It's worth it.

A lot of the music business is based on response and enthusiasm that the band creates firstly with their songs and then the label or band has help with a publicist and some radio publicity. I think no matter what, it's really important to trust and like the people at the label that you work with. There is always a risk that they just want to be excited to work with you if you have some sort of buzz- but can also be very quick to forget about you and work with the next band that comes along. At the core, you have to be really happy with the music you're making and hopefully that will come across.

I've noticed a whole new strategy for making 'it'. I have friends that have been signed and received huge advances and then there was a ton of pressure on them and then they ended up disappointed and the songwriter became jaded and lost the plot. A better way is to do a slow build that isn't based on doing a bunch of press- gain your fans naturally but help them become familiar with your music. The fans that find you and the ones that will stay with you through your musical career. Not the ones that bands force their music on- or the fans that labels get you by marketing you as a trendy band.

4. What is your favorite album cover of all time?

I don't have a fave. I like so many.
I really like the cover for Studio's album 'Yearbook 2'
Also "History of Melody Nelson" by Serge Gainsbourg.
Also "Bare Trees" by Fleetwood Mac.
Hmmm...and dare I say, the Rubies album cover?
It's true. I really love it.

5. Is there a place in Europe that you don't care if you never see again?

Sometimes the really touristy spots of Europe can kill all romantic notions of old world historical Europe. Rome has changed a lot. The area near the Colosseum is just filled with cheezy tourists. You are shoulder to shoulder with obnoxious people. I love the piazza Navona area though and Trestevere there. I didn't love Faro in Portugal. It's hard though because I can find beauty almost anywhere. Even the dirtiest of streets and the most desolate of houses. I am curious and interested in the every place.

for more on Simone:

Monday, April 27, 2009

5 Questions with Chris Vena

I first met Chris Vena ten years ago while at the San Francisco Art Institute. We were both enrolled in a studio painting class with the cooler than should be humanly possible Dewey Crumpler. However, it wasn't during class that we had our first conversation. Rather, it was a chance run in at the studios on a Friday night.

It was the first Friday night of the first week of class, the biggest meet and greet party weekend of the semester. Not being anywhere near cooler than should be humanly possible, Chris and I had both individually decided that the best place to spend that night would be the painting studios at school, not the bar or parties. Back in those days, the studios were left open to the students 24/7, why wouldn't you go there after class?!?!?


At this point, I can't remember who was there first. Let's just say it was Chris. So, I set up my easel and canvas next to his and we started talking and painting. We had a lot in common. We both transferred from community college, played bass, had both came to SF to escape the art voids of our former So Cal beach towns, etc, etc.

The deal was sealed when I reached into my backpack and pulled out a 22oz Anchor Porter. Chris pretty much immediately ran to the store down the hill and came back with more beer. I think we walked the stairs between the school and market 2 or 3 times that night. The conversation drifted from favorite painters into music, from philosophy & religion to history, around The City and back into art.

Synchronistically, Chris took his abstract canvas and turned it into a rough gestural still life of a pack of Camels. I had started a portrait of a guy drinking a 40oz King Cobra.

1. What's the bottom line, good & bad, to being an artist in Seattle?

Seattle has been great compared to the previous places I've lived and worked. I've been able to make, show and sell more work in the last four years than the all years I lived in San Diego and San Francisco. I've never seen so many nonprofits and government agencies devoted to the arts. On one website I counted 20, just in the city of Seattle. Compare that to 30 in the whole state of California. That says something about the tax paying people who live in this city.

Despite that being said, the particular type of painting I do is not very well represented around town. Many artist co-ops tend to feature installation, video and conceptual art and a lot of the private galleries tend to deal exclusively in lowbrow/Juxtapoz types of work. My work doesn't fit very well into either category. The galleries and venues that I work with, they don't always get a lot of press, although they do show some great work. There are a lot of talented artists in town that no one knows about. It's a shame.

The Seattle art scene, and sometimes the music scene, it's a little self-conscious. The critics, in particular, seem overly concerned with representing Seattle as having the same aesthetic you see coming out of Los Angeles and New York. They're trying to prove that we're not a bunch of backwater, grungy hicks that got lucky in the 90's who don't really have anything serious to offer the rest of the world. The art that's written about, it's an imitation of what's coming out of the two "culture meccas" listed above. It isn't good because it's not original.

The irony is that when you spend all your time obsessing about and imitating what's going on in the big cities, that's exactly what you end up looking like; a bunch of hicks. It's funny, but it's kind of like an art cargo cult. They think if you imitate the trappings of high art, then the notoriety will come. Unfortunately, this dooms anything truly unique to this region to go unnoticed. This seems like a problem in a lot of local art scenes though.

Although I was never a huge punk fan when I was young, there were a few bands I liked and I knew a lot of kids in the scene. What I appreciated and respected the most about punk was the ethos of supporting your local scene. Grunge was nurtured and cultivated by that punk ethos and Seattle shouldn't be ashamed of that. If the people of Seattle were fiercely loyal to and supportive of their local art scene, I think we would see a lot more interesting original work coming from unexpected.

2. The previous answer references Grunge & musical integrity. How would you relate what you do as a visual artist to music? What influence does it have on your work?

Music is important to me. I grew up in a family and a town that was not very interested in art, so I never thought about artists when I was young. I didn't have anyone around who knew about or made art but I did have friends who made music so that is what I got into. I play bass in a band to this day. Because of my experience with music, musicians usually come to mind before visual artists when I think of artistic movements and philosophies.

There are certain musicians whose prolific output, integrity and vision I hold in high regard: Miles Davis, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Neil Young, David Grubs, and Rob Crow just to name a few. James Brown was important to me early on and still is to this day. I still have tremendous respect for him. I can't think of a visual artist who had the kind of impact on our culture that he did.

He grew up in deep poverty in the segregated south and yet became one of the most powerful and influential artists of the twentieth century. It's humbling to think about what he accomplished. He had incredible energy, he was an innovator and he continually reinvented himself. His work was based on modification and reinvention of certain traditional forms, which is something that I am interested in with my own work.

His music was technically sophisticated, required precision from his musicians, but was also accessible to the audience. It was more than just accessible actually. It grabs you on a deep level and it's hard not to move when you hear it, not to mention his live performance. On stage he was an amazing entertainer but managed to control the band like a conductor throughout the show with subtle cues that the audience sometimes wouldn't even notice.

He was also an important political figure and a tough businessman. I could go on and on about him but I hope you can see what I'm getting at. These are things that I want from myself.

3. The subject matter of you paintings (human, animal, bottle of wine, etc) all receives the same level of attention in your paintings. Is this intentional, and is there anything underlying that you want your audience to take from this?

Not really. The paint handling is intentional but there is nothing in particular that I want them to take away. They can take whatever they get. I don't want viewers to think about my intentions very much. I'd rather they focus on the moment, on their direct experience of the painting. I would hope that they would project something of themselves into it regardless of who I am, what socio-political subgroup I come from or what I think about any particular issue.

A thoughtful person can take that information from any piece of art without it being spoon fed to them with an artist statement or a little museum plaque. I think most artists feel the same way. Actually, it's the gallery system; the critics and the institutions we have that make the viewers act otherwise. The artists I'm most fond of, visual or otherwise, work from general ideas down to specific. There is a direction but no target. They allow themselves to be surprised and that's what I try to do.

4. Is there a person or philosophy that forever changed your perspective on art...particularly painting?

There isn't a single person or philosophy but there were a few people that were important to me. For instance seeing Van Gogh's work in person for the first time was a revelation. I used to think his work was terrible and I didn't see the appeal at all. That was because I had only seen reproductions of his work in books, in movies and on the internet.

The color and the texture do not translate to those media. I saw a painting of a pot of irises that he had done hanging in the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam and I literally got choked up. I don't know how to explain it.

There are other people too. I like Nietzsche's ideas about art. In particular the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy that he talks about in The Birth of Tragedy is interesting and still relevant I think. You can see similar conflicting ideas in the arguments between the academy and the impressionists, modernism and post modernism, Shakespearean and method acting and even Gong Bi and Xie Yi in Chinese painting.

One style refers to something that it is not through mimesis and the other is an artifact to which it refers. I don't think these two ideas are mutually exclusive though and I try to shoot for some place on the spectrum in between.

5. What's one non-art world experience that has most affected you as an artist?

Traveling really takes you out of yourself. Europe for example was an amazing experience for me. You take a wrong turn down a side street and you practically trip over a roman bath, a Greek amphitheater or a gothic church. A connection to history is palpable and it will change you if you let it. Nature is another big influence on me and my appreciation of it increases each time I arrive in a new environment.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

5 Questions with Mike Gleeson of Lovebird

What to say about Mike Gleeson? From what I understand he seems to know what he likes. He once played drums for the hardcore outfit Glass & Ashes, which released 2 albums on the Gainsville, Flordia label No Idea Records, and consequently toured all over North America and Europe. In a recent conversation he admitted to believing that the moon landing was a hoax. Bigfoot and him are tight. His new band, Lovebird, is somewhat of a departure from past projects, for starters he isn't playing drums, but guitar. Their female fronted sound is already drawing comparisons to Mazzy Star and the like. He has been a safety pin in the Ventura music since before the days of Lazerstar. Wait and see what he does next.

1. What would you do if you found a bag of $500 on the street?

Well, I have to think about this realistically: There would probably be drug-money in the bag, right? And the chances of me picking up a bag on the street and actually looking inside are very slim... unless of course the bag sparked my interest for some reason. If I were to find such a bag on the street, chances are that I would find it on Main Street in Downtown Ventura, on my way to or from work. I would probably hold on to it for a couple days and not tell anyone that I found it. If I heard some poor sap crying about his or her lost bag of cash, then I would return it to them (and keep in mind, poor saps come into my work on a daily basis).

If that didn't happen, then I would probably tell the most honest person that I know and listen to what kind of advice they have for me... and after they "talk me into keeping it", I would spend it on the recording of my music. Remember, we're talking about drug-money here, so "morality" really isn't an issue. The old me would have just kept the money right off the bat and blown it on a huge bag of marijauna or something stupid. Actually, the current me might consider that too.

2. What was it like to tour Europe?

Awesome. There's an amazing network of kids and promoters out there that really make touring in Europe a lot easier and more fun than touring in the states. Also, it seems as if kids out there really do their homework and seek out new bands. I know kids out here do the same, but I've never played a new town in the U.S. where over 100 kids would come out to see my band without actually knowing anything about us. Braunschweig Germany was just that, and easily the greatest show Glass & Ashes played on our first tour of Europe.

Last Summer I had the opportunity to go out to London for a couple weeks to play the night clubs with Michael Runion and The Royal Family. It was a completely different kind of trip, more of a musical vacation, very relaxing. I was actually able to take in the sites for once. That's really the only problem with touring in general; there's a good chance that you won't be in any of the cities long enough to really take them in.

3. What is your most memorable show that you have played?

This is a tough one because so many great shows come to mind... but I'd have to say that playing The Roseland in Portland with Michael Runion will go down as one of my most memorable shows ever. It was the second sold-out show on Rilo Kiley's final west coast tour. The Royal Family played great, people that had never heard the music before were clapping and dancing, girls were shouting at Michael, telling him to take his shirt off (which was soooo surreal) and friends that I hadn't seen in years came out to the show. The Royal Family and Whispertown 2000 combined forces for one song in an attempt to bring the house down before Rilo Kiley took the stage. We did this at every show for the rest of the tour. It was rad.

4. What is a guilty pleasure band/musician of yours? One you can't help but like, no matter how "uncool".

I'm not sure what constitutes as a "guilty pleasure band" anymore. A long time ago I would have been embarrassed by admitting my admiration for Depeche Mode, in fear of being chastised by the punk rock community. But now I don't give a shit. I'll take "Never Let Me Down Again" over any Black Flag song any day of the week. You might call it blasphemy... or even kinda gay... maybe even "gayphemy". Whatever, you don't gotta be a dick about it.

I also really like Neil Diamond... but he's not even considered a "guilty pleasure" anymore. In fact, it's actually kind of "cool" to like Neil Diamond again. What the fuck happened??

5. What is up with Lovebird? How'd you get started, what are your plans?

Lovebird got together last Summer as a recording project between myself and the brutally talented Nicole Eva Emery. The two of us have actually played together off and on for about 7 years, but last year we decided to get off our asses and actually make something happen. We asked Brian Granillo to play drums with us... because he fuckin' rips and he's one stellar dude. We were also recently blessed by the addition of Ashley Heatherly. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find a girl that can both sing and play keyboards (and bass!)... and Ashley totally rules it. My buddy Joe Baugh will be playing guitar with us for our first show at Nicholby's on April 8th. Joe and I were in our first band together back in 8th grade, so you can imagine how excited I am to finally play with him again after 15 years.

Lovebird plans to go back into the studio next month with our buddy Armand to finish up an LP for Blackbird Records. We should expect a release early this Summer. After that, who knows. We've been getting a little bit of press in the UK, so we're going to shoot for a European tour as soon as we can, which still may take a while. In the meantime, we just want to write music, play shows with our friends and have a good time... before the world blows up.

Friday, March 27, 2009

5 Questions with David Kramer

On an average day, the established art world barely speaks to anything that even remotely represents life outside it's four sterile white walls. Where are the self-questioning moments? Where are the drunken regrets, the unfulfilled dreams? Where is the real life, the truth?

David Kramer's work is about real life, the good and the bad. So far, things haven't turned out how you expected or dreamed they would be, and they most likely won't...but they could. To quote the text from one of his paintings in which a silhouetted, nostalgic 1970's couple frolic across a romantic beach at sunset, "One of these days I am finally going to get to ride off into the sunset...And not have to wake up the next morning feeling hungover and like I am already late for work."

1. Was there been a defining moment in your life that led you to pursue art as a career? Was it a choice or was it inevitably unavoidable?

Well, that was a long time ago...When I was in school, I took lots of art classes but sort of kept on changing my major all planning on eventually going to law school. My dad was a lawyer; it seemed like what I would do too.

I was taking accounting and calculus and studying business and economics, doing terribly in school. I remember working my ass off and still getting shitty grades. One day I had this confrontation with my accounting professor and told her that my grade did not reflect how hard I was working. She told me that there were always a certain number of A's, B's and C's etc every semester and that the grades were divided up on a curve and I got a D and that was that.

I decided that I needed to be in a career where things were more subjective.

Of course looking back, I should have realized that art really isn't all that subjective after all. And if I couldn't talk my way out of getting a D back then in school, I certainly was going to have an uphill battle as an artist. But I don't regret my decision.

2. Being a born and raised New Yorker, what are the best and worst changes that you have seen come about in the city during your lifetime? How has being a native affected your perspective on the local art world?

Sometimes I feel very provincial having lived here my whole life.

New York was a totally great place back in the nineties. Real estate wasn't that expensive. The art galleries and art world was so much smaller and people took huge risks and expected rewards that didn't involve money.

The last bunch of years have been exciting but kind of one sided revolving around money and the monied. I am anxious to see how the next few years go.

I have been working in Brooklyn since the late 1980's. I always got a kick out of the Brooklyn art scene as I grew up as a child of Brooklyn raised parents who tried like hell to leave Brooklyn in the rear view mirror. Brooklyn always has been something interesting to me because of my background. Brooklyn was the destination of failure. When I got an MFA I went to Pratt and my folks were like, "We've worked our asses off just to get the fuck out of that place!"

3. Your exhibitions combine multi-media installations, theatrical lighting, and drawings and painting on paper and canvas, which heavily use both hand written as well as type written text. Do your initial concepts have their start in one more so than the others? Also, do you find a favorite amongst them all as of lately?

I tend to start out by writing and telling stories. Everything else falls into place.

4. Being an artist who heavily uses text in their work, how has maintaining your personal blog, toothless-alcoholic, affected your use of words and expressing your personal thoughts? Also, what are your thoughts on the importance of an online persona as a creative person?

Recently I've been meaning to get back to blogging. I've been kind of burnt out or just plain too busy. The writing on the blog helps inform the writing in the studio (or visa versa) and I am going to get back to blogging very soon. I've been busy this month but things are slowing down.

5. Is there any advice that you could give young/emerging artists who still have not made a breakthrough, as far as getting into respected galleries, receiving proper recognition and having their work be more than just something they do late at night, in between working a full-time job and trying to maintain a personal life; what some would call a hobby?

If you really have the burn and desire to be an artist, keep going.

My advice about getting the work out there is to read that book: THE RULES about dating The art world seems to work something like that.

Monday, March 23, 2009

5 Questions with Britt Govea of (((folkYEAH!)))

Britt Govea is a real dude. He and (((folkYEAH!))) present shows like the ones you heard about happening in the good old days of rock n roll. California has since been taken over by bullshit in many regards, but next time you let that get you down, go see the Beachwood Sparks play at the Henry Miller Library. You soon remember the magic of this vast state and all it's treasures. Britt often comes to mind whenever I think of Big Sur and some of the best concerts I have ever attended.

1. How did you get started with (((folkYEAH!)))?

The first (((folkYEAH!))) event was a weekend of Superwolf (Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Matt Sweeney) shows in January. 2005. After that, I thought why not more live music in Big Sur and other awesome rural locations. Then the true love became curating unique billings in various locations form Henry Miller Library (one of the best spots on earth!) in Big Sur to larger events @ GAMH in SF and beyond.

2. What is the best show you've ever seen?

Wow, so many come to mind but perhaps Bonnie 'Prince' Billy @ Henry Miller Library in Oct. 2007 or Bob Dylan @ The Santa Cruz Civic in March 2000 or Merle Haggard @ Crystal Palace right after his bout with cancer.

All were unbeatable on many levels but who could deny Cluster @ Farmlab in LA, or Entrance Band in Big many, so many. It is best to just live in the musical moment and enjoy it while you are in it and then move on down the line.

3. If you were forced to choose between a house with a beautiful view and no land, or a house with land but absolutely no view, what would you choose?

I'll take the view because I am a dreamin' man so I need the inspiration.

4. What was the last music you overheard that made you ask, "who is that?

The Durutti Column who my very good friend Matt Baldwin turned me onto.

5. Who are your heroes?

Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, Leonard Cohen, Konrad "Conny" Plank, Bob, that's a lot of heroes. Perhaps they are not heroes but more people with whom I have had a prolonged respect/admiration for in the sometimes fickle world of music. I admire people that do what they feel and move forward as such without restraint. That said, Tom Waits, David Berman, Neil Young and Will Oldham should be saluted too.

Monday, March 16, 2009

5 Questions with Deepakalypse

Is Deepakalypse a musician whose love for music has leaded him to travel the planet? Or, is he a born traveler who’s found himself in music along the journey? For having known him for the better part of over 15 years, I’d have to say that he is both, a tangled combination of the two.

If you asked him these questions, you might get an answer like, “I don’t know…I’m a Gemini.” He’d then probably laugh a bit and change the topic over to where he’s headed to next. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, New Orleans, New York, Paris, Caracas, Wellington, back to Ventura…anywhere is fair game.

His songwriting style combines loose jazz-punk guitar melodies with philosophical lyrics that serve more as questions and metaphorical reflections rather than a preached truth. Sometimes accompanied by as little as a drum machine or as much as a 4-piece band, you will never hear him play the same song the same way twice. He just plugs in and plays. Whatever happens, happens.

His style sums up a mixture of personal narrative and poetic observations of the world that seem to pull people in, no matter what their perceived musical tastes are. He’s played kitchens, coffee shops, dive bars and wine bars where he’s had the hip-hop heads, rockers, hessians, hipsters, hippie moms, soccer moms, intellectuals and even a rogue republican or two feeling the greatness of the moment that they’ve found themselves in.

So, try to track him down. Run to where he’s playing next if you can keep up. Or, sit and wait if you have the patience. Either way, he’s probably booking a show in your city, town or village at this very moment. Just be on the lookout for an 80’s Mercedes Benz that smells like french fries.

1. For Deepakalypse, what’s more important, the music or the message?

The music is more important than the message. I like to have messages in my songs but music doesn't have to, really. I do want to make people think but I also want people to be able to forget about life's bullshit and have a good time and dance.

2. What is the one globetrotting experience that you wish you could share with everyone like they were there with you?

The globetrotting experience that I’d like to share with everyone would be my trip to France for sure. It was just a fun 3 weeks and I got to play a lot around town. My friends Francois and Nicolas took good care of me and it was just a great experience all together. Great clubs and people and the city is beautiful.

3. If life is a bus, are we driving or are we passengers? What stop do you want to be let off at, or will you ride till the end of the line?

We are definitely driving the bus! We all have choices even when we think we don't. I rule my destiny just like you rule yours, and she hers, and he his. I guess I’ll get off when I feel its time...

4. Not many people outside of your general vicinity would probably know this but; you’ve been involved in the alternative/renewable/sustainable fuel industry (primarily for automobiles) for quite some time now. Can you explain to the average person a little of the: who, what, when, where, how and why of this…and how it could relate to their life?

Right now when it comes to alternative fuel it usually requires a person who likes to tinker with stuff and work on things like cars and such. I’m one of those people so I got involved in veggie oil stuff a few years ago. I went in over my head but got out without any crazy lawsuits or injuries, luckily.

I still drive veggie but am more interested in using electricity and water to make something called HHO. It works really good with gas cars which, is what we have more of, way more of so it’s getting exciting cause we don’t need to get some oily fuel that’s all dirty. We can just use water as an additive to the gas we get to buy so conveniently at the corner.

5. Ok, so…in your songs, you've spit on a window and you've spit in the face of a general. Don't get me wrong, that's cool but...what's up with that? Also, what are you going to spit on next?

Well actually I didn’t really like that spitting on a window part so I tend to say "a brick through your window.” I know its lame to change lyrics after they've been recorded but who cares.

I’ve been spitting on the ground lately cause I bought a bag of sunflower seeds for the trip that I’m on and I like to pack them like tobacco in one cheek and then split them in my mouth and save the shells on the other side. I roll down the window and spit them out the window so I don’t spit on the window like I did in my past. So it does make sense!