Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Oct 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

In the Now

music DonovanDonavon Frankenreiter reminds listeners to live in the present

Start Livin’, Donavon Frankenreiter’s newly released fifth album, consists of exactly the sort of music that fans have come to expect from the singer/guitarist/songwriter-cum-pro surfer: laidback acoustic surf-folk much akin to that of Frankenreiter’s friend and mentor, Jack Johnson. But Frankenreiter tried some new recording tactics this time out.
For one, rather than bringing in a full band, he enlisted the talents of just one other musician: his longtime bassist, Matt Grundy. The two musicians used all kinds of instruments never before heard on a Frankenreiter album—along with banjo, lap steel guitar and ukulele, they made creative use of percussion: In lieu of a drum kit, Frankenreiter and Grundy used pots and pans, Zippo lighters, singing bowls, bells and good old-fashioned hand claps.

Frankenreiter says these were the most fun recording sessions he’s ever done. “Nothing was planned; there was no preproduction,” he notes. “Matt didn’t even hear some of the songs [before the sessions].” This spontaneous approach allowed them to tear through the sessions in just seven days. “We would do two songs a day—sometimes three. It wasn’t like we were rushing anything; we’d just get a song finished, and there was still time in the studio.” He adds that they stayed fully in the here and now while recording the album. “We started a song, finished it, moved on to the next one and the next one.”


This methodology exemplifies the message of the album’s title cut, which Frankenreiter describes as a call to begin “living in the moment, enjoying what you have around you right now, not worrying about the past or what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week.” This is a principle that the musician puts into practice both inside and outside the recording studio. “If I didn’t do that, I think I’d go a little crazy,” he offers. “I’m out on the road eight months out of the year, so I can’t really think about, ‘Oh, when am I gonna be home again?’ or whatever. I never look ahead and go, ‘Oh, my gosh—I’ve got 30 shows in a row coming up, and I’m on gig No. 2.’ I just embrace where I’m at that day and that night, having fun at every show. I like to be surprised when I wake up: ‘Where are we now? OK, here we go.’”

Further encouraging listeners to embrace the present moment are Start Livin’s reminders of life’s impermanent nature, as heard on “Same Lullaby.” Frankenreiter explains that the song was born during a day off from touring, during which he passed some time in a bar in Western Australia, watching the tsunamis and earthquakes in Japan on live TV. “I thought about all the other things that happened: all the wars, people fighting. It’s crazy that things can be taken away so easily.”
Arguably the album’s most touching track is “A.I.,” written for Frankenreiter’s longtime friend, fellow pro surfer Andrew Irons, who died of cardiac arrest in November 2010. The singer says he saw Irons just a couple of weeks before his death. “I just remember standing in the gas station parking lot with him,” he recalls. “I gave him a big hug, and I said I’d see him when he got back from Puerto Rico. He was so close to [the time when his wife would deliver] his baby, and he was so happy and healthy.” The singer expresses his feelings poignantly in “A.I.”: “Wish I had one more chance to give you a hug and shake your hand … Every morning I see you there reflecting off the sea.”

Such unforeseen circumstances serve as reminders to make sure we live life to its fullest. By all appearances, Frankenreiter is doing just that, remaining fully present as he rides the waves, be they aquatic or sonic. “In surfing or in music, I’ve never, ever felt like, ‘Wow! I’ve got it!’” he says. “It’s always changing. You can just learn about it forever.”

Donavon Frankenreiter plays at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7 at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $23/adv, $25/door. For more information, call 479-1854.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Jawing

Monterey Bay scientists are working to crack the mysteries of—and dispel the myths about—great whites. But in the highly contentious world of shark experts, there’s a fin line between love and hate

 

Altars of Remembrance, Forgiveness & Rapprochement

We’re in Scorpio now—things mysterious, ageless, hidden, sometimes scary. Friday is Halloween; Saturday, All Saints Day; Sunday, All Soul’s Day. Sunday morning at 2 a.m. (after midnight), Daylight Savings Time ends. Clocks are turned back. Tuesday is the General Election. Our vote is our voice. Each vote matters. Applying freedom of choice—Libra’s teachings. It’s time to build Halloween, All Saints and All Souls altars—with marigolds, pumpkins, sugar skeletons, copal (incense), pomegranates, persimmons, candy corn and cookies, orange and black. It’s so Saturn (now in Scorpio). Saturn is the dweller on the threshold (like St. Peter at the gates of heaven). Saturn can look like a Halloween creature—a gargoyle—a fantastic dragon-like creature protecting sacred sites. The dweller (Saturn) stands at the door or threshold of sacred mysteries, wisdom temples, inner sanctums of churches, offering protection, scaring evil away. The last day of October and first two days of November, when veils between worlds thin and spirits roam about, are times of remembrance, forgiveness, reconciliation and rapprochement. These actions liberate us. At death, when reviewing our lives and the consequences of our actions if we have forgiven, then we are free, less encumbered with grief and sadness. We place forgiveness on our altars. Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s good to dress up as what we’re afraid of. Or whom we would mentor. Then we become one with them. Note to readers: by Thanksgiving I will need a place to live (with purpose). Please contact me if you know of a place where I can rest for awhile. Teach and build community. [email protected] I will be leaving my mother’s home for the last time.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Not Cool

Even Bill Murray’s hipster cred can’t elevate ‘St. Vincent’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Back Nine Grill & Bar

The secrets of remodeling and juicy steak

 

What is Santa Cruz’s biggest eyesore?

David Finn, Santa Cruz, Graduate Student

 

Alberti Vineyards

Looking for some blood-red wine for your Halloween party? Then I have a recommendation for a new brew.

 

Turning Point

New revolving restaurant on the wharf, plus Cafe Ivéta and the last great Jack cheese