Taken from WNEW (December 14, 2008)
Michael Franti Loves You (almost as much as he loves Warren Haynes)
by Matt Simpson
Optimism is never in short supply when it comes to Michael Franti. You might expect some degree of fatigue from a man who's spent the better part of this decade railing against the violence and injustices of the world, but he displays no hint of it. On stage and in private he radiates positivity - disarming people with a smile while staying laser focused on the issues of the day. I sat down with Franti recently to talk about the new Spearhead album All Rebel Rockers, and to get his take on the state of things as we enter into the Age of Obama.
Like you might expect, Franti is a big Obama fan and feels deeply that we've turned a corner in this country. As we began the interview I asked him what this election meant to him - here's what he had to say:
Electing the first African American president won't be an immediate remedy to this country's problems, says Franti, and Obama is going to need help:
Read on for the rest of our interview, including Franti's love for Warren Haynes ("...that stringy-haired white southern rocker"). And check out this photo gallery of Michael Franti & Spearhead at the Nokia Theater Times Square (11-21-08).
All Rebel Rockers is the most reggae-influenced of Spearhead's albums to date, but it retains the formula of advocating and educating while it entertains. Franti broke down two of the key tracks on the album - here's what he said:
...on Hey World
...on The Future
To be in the same room with Michael Franti is to feel the love, but nothing compared to the joy he exhibited when talking about Warren Haynes. The two have developed a relationship over the years, whether at festivals (Spearhead has played each of Warren's four Mountain Jam festivals) or in the studio (Franti appears on the Gov't Mule album Mighty High). Franti says it's an unlikely friendship considering their differences, "I'm this tall, dreadlocked black man from California. He's this stringy-haired white southern rocker who plays guitar." Here's more:
Spearhead will continue to spread the word in 2009, with more touring, new songs, and a trip to Africa including a gig hosting a festival in Tanzania. Franti says the band plans to record a documentary film while in Africa, similar to his I Know I'm Not Alone project which focused on the Middle East. And more immediately, the band is preparing for an appearance at Barack Obama's inauguration:
Michael Franti & Spearhead will appear at the Langerado Music Festival in Miami, FL this March. Click here for more tour dates. And check out this photo gallery of the band's show at the Nokia Theater Times Square (11-21-08).