Taken from RollingStone.com (August 20, 2003)
Spearhead Take "Music" Out
Franti and Co. line up September tour, DVD
by ANDREW DANSBY
Michael Franti and Spearhead will continue their rigorous touring schedule with a fifteen-date outing to launch September 5th in San Diego. The band continues to plug its latest album, Everyone Deserves Music, which was released earlier this summer.
"We never really come off the road," Franti says. "Even when we were making the record, we'd break for three weeks and then head back out. We just have our little independent label, so we have to get out there. We travel the world constantly."
Everyone is the fourth release in twice as many years from Franti, who formerly headed the Beatnigs and the Disposable Heroes of Hip-Hoprisy. The album continues in a similar vein established by 2001's Stay Human, with songs that touch on Franti's social activism, delivered in a sound that marries classic soul, reggae and hip-hop.
"I grew up in a household where the soundtrack was Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder and a lot of soul artists who were very socially conscious," he says. "In the late Seventies those artists got pushed off the airwaves, so I found that conscious voice through reggae music, and through that I heard about the Clash. On this record we tried to blend all those styles together. But we didn't want to write a reggae song, a punk song, a hip-hop song, but instead to try and make it one thing. The Clash really inspired me in that regard."
While about half of the songs (including "Bomb the World") touch on Franti's activism, he also strove to keep the tone of the album positive, as the title implies. "I've written a lot of heavy, angry music," he says, "a lot of songs that say fuck the system. But we still need to move on with our lives. Those of us who are committed to social justice, the most difficult part of it is burnout. That's why I wrote songs on this album that say, 'Hey let's find ways to keep going on. Let's keep our sense of humor. Let's dance.'"
Among the tour dates where Franti and Spearhead -- bassist Carl Young, guitarist Dave Shul, drummer Manas Itiene and beatboxer RadioActive -- will have fans dancing is a headlining gig at their fifth annual 911 Power to the Peaceful Festival, a free concert and rally set for September 6th in San Francisco.
Also on the docket in the distant future is a retail release for Songs From the Front Porch, an acoustic album the group has been selling through its Web site. Earlier this year, Spearhead also filmed an acoustic performance for a future DVD. "We've done really well with Front Porch," Franti says. "It's nice and quiet, just acoustic guitar and beatboxing, a little bit of percussion and a little bit of bass."
Michael Franti and Spearhead tour dates:
9/05: San Diego, San Diego Street Scene
9/06: San Francisco, Golden Gate Park
9/18: Hollywood, Avalon
9/19: Santa Ana, CA, Galaxy
9/20: Austin, Austin City Limits Festival
9/21: Laytonville, CA, Earthdance
9/22: Bend, OR, Midtown
9/23: Seattle, Showbox
9/24: Portland, OR, Crystal Ballroom
9/25: Eugene, OR, McDonald Theatre
9/26: Ashland, OR, Wellsprings Hot Springs
9/30: Boise, ID, Big Easy Concert House
10/1: Sun Valley, ID, Nexstage Theater
10/2: Bozeman, MT, Emerson Theater
10/3: Park City, UT, Harry O's
(August 20, 2003)