Taken from Hockessin Community News (July 26, 2017)
Michael Franti sells out Freeman Stage, talks making cartoons
Michael Franti explained the kids films he's working on, and his approval of the latest Star Wars movies.
by Andre Lamar; email@example.com; @302DoAndre
Michael Franti & Spearhead will play to a sold-out crowd at The Freeman Stage at Bayside in Selbyville Saturday. CHELSEA KLETTE PHOTO
Michael Franti & Spearheadâs Selbyville concert on Saturday is a reminder the early bird still gets the worm.
Their show has been sold out since early June.
Led by the socially-conscious and singer-songwriter Franti, the San Francisco band is touring with their sunny new single âSummertime Is In Our Hands,â off their latest record, âSoulrocker.â
The album added electronic music to the bandâs varied sound, which had already included a hybrid of hip-hop rock, folk and reggae.
The video for their new single was shot in Bali and filmed by Franti, who stands 6-foot-6 and played basketball at the University of San Francisco. The song was motivated by the lead singerâs son, who was diagnosed with a rare disease.
Franti created a mini-documentary about the âSummertime Is In Our Handsâ video and âDo It For The Loveâ - the wish-granting nonprofit co-founded with his wife, Sara.
DIFTL brings people living with life-threatening illnesses, children with severe challenges and wounded veterans to live concerts.
Franti, who played the very first Firefly Music Festival in 2012, dished on becoming a DIFTL family, new animated short films heâs working on, and he how he landed a Star Wars role.
Is there a moving story thatâs fresh in your mind from someone you met through Do It For The Love?
Itâs literally every day on tour that I meet people who come up and say, âMy sister had stage-four breast cancer and now sheâs passed on. Hereâs a photo of her.â Iâm constantly moved by those kinds of stories. But one thing I never expected is that weâd become a Do It For The Love family ourselves. Shortly after we started it, my son, whoâs now 18, he developed a rare form of kidney disease. Thatâs a chronic disease and he wonât get better. His kidneys are failing. Heâs going to need a new one. My wifeâs mom developed breast cancer right after we found that out. So we have a real personal reason to want to help families.
What can you tell us about the animated films youâre making?
Iâve written a number of childrenâs books and they all have messages about social consciousness or the environment. I always thought it would be cool if there were films that were big budgeted, kids animated features that if it had a short film at the beginning that was super funny and cool to watch - but also had a message about recycling or some sort of social issue - that would be really cool. So thatâs what weâre kind of developing. I grew up watching âSchoolhouse Rock!â cartoons on ABC, âConjunction Junctionâ and all that. We donât want to do that exactly, but thatâs kind of the same wheelhouse.
During the â80s you were in a made-for-TV movie: âEwoks: The Battle for Endor.â Howâd that come about?
Iâm 6-foot-6 and when I was playing basketball at college, some folks from Lucasfilms came to the school and was like, âWe need tall people to work with, to chase ewoks through the forest.â I needed a summer job, so that was it. It kind of dovetailed into a whole bunch of things, because the money that I earned, being an extra on that film, I was able to buy my first bass and my first little drum machine; thatâs how I really launched into making music, too.
What do you think about the latest Star Wars films?
I think itâs awesome theyâve continued the storytelling that George Lucas set out to do. Iâm a bit of a purist. It was the fourth film, but I guess it was the [first prequel] and I remember seeing the effects in it and I was like, âthe effects are so cheesy. Itâs Star Wars. Theyâre f*****g it up [laughs].â But now itâs all come around to the point where the films are, in my opinion, the story is as strong as it was in the beginning. And the effects are as powerful and believable as the early ones.
As a Golden State Warriors fan, do you think anyone can stop them from winning another championship this upcoming season?
I really feel like the Warriors are the 3.0. They're like the Apple of sports right now. Maybe there's going to be a new Samsung or something that takes them out. But right now it's like Drake, Jimmy Iiovine and Tim [Cook] are all on the same team and there's no f*****g with them.