Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Nov 21st
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

 

Pop Life

The pop-up dining trend is freeing culinary imaginations and creating a guerilla version of event dining around Santa Cruz

 

Over Hills and Plains, Riding a White Horse, Bow and Arrows in Hand

Saturday, early morning, the sun enters and radiates the light of Sagittarius. Three hours later, the Sagittarius new moon (0.07 degrees) occurs. “Let food be sought,” is the personality-building keynote. “Food” means experiences; all kinds, levels and types. It also means real food. Sag’s secret is their love of food. Many, if not musicians, are chefs. Some are both. The energies shift from Scorpio’s deep and transformative waters to the “hills and plains of Sagittarius.” Sag is the rider on a white horse, eyes focused on the mountain peaks of Capricorn (Initiation) ahead. Like Scorpio, Sagittarius is also the “disciple.” Adventure, luck, optimism, joy and the beginnings of gratitude are the hallmarks of Sagittarius. Sag is also one of the signs of silence. The battle lines were drawn in Libra and we were asked to choose where we stood. The Nine Tests were given in Scorpio and we emerged “warriors triumphant.” Now in Sag, we are to be the One-Pointed Disciple, riding over the plains on a white horse, bow and arrows in hand, eyes focused on the Path of Return ahead. Sagittarians are one-pointed (symbol of the arrow). Sag asks, “What is my life’s purpose?” This is their quest, from valleys, plains, meadows and hills, eyes aimed always at the mountaintop. Sag emerges from Scorpio’s deep waters, conflict and tests into the open air. Sag’s quest is humanity’s quest. Sag’s quest, however, is always accompanied by music and good food.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 21

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pie Fidelity

A little Thanksgiving help, plus sip and shop locally at the Art, Wine and Gift Bazaar

 

What should be on everyone’s bucket list?

Hang gliding, because you're free as a bird. Jenni, Santa Cruz, Student/Administrative Assistant

 

Soquel Vineyards

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so it’s time to be thinking about the wine you’re going to serve with that special dinner, be it turkey, ham, a roast, or something vegetarian or vegan.

 

The Kitchen

Chef Santos Majano talks beer-friendly food at Discretion Brewery