Taken from pbpulse (May 13, 2010)
Franti finds ‘Sound of Sunshine’, wants to share it in live show
by Jonathan Tully
Michael Franti’s upcoming album with Spearhead is called Sound of Sunshine, after he spent the weeks recovering from surgery for a burst appendix looking for that very sound.
Franti, whose band opens a headlining tour Friday at the Fillmore Miami Beach, nearly died in July after his appendix ruptured during a tour. He said that as he was lying in a hospital bed getting better, his mood would hinge on getting up in the morning and looking out of the window.
“After I had this operation, every day I would wonder, ‘Is it sunny?’ ” Franti said in a telephone interview. “And when it was, I had this feeling of ‘Ahh, it’s gonna be a good day, a healing day.’ If it wasn’t, I thought, ‘I gotta find my sunshine,’ and I’d try to find ways to laugh with people and play with them. It really inspired me to write songs and extend this feeling of uplifting.”
Concertgoers can expect to hear a lot of this new work, which Franti called his favorite album his band has ever made.
“I just got done practicing yoga, just now, listening to it, and I thought, ‘This is a really, really great album,’ ” Franti said. “Part of me wants to just go out and play this whole album, just play all 11 songs on this record and let it be that.”
Part of the reason Franti is a fan of the music is the way the band recorded it — it’s basically been recorded on tour stops Spearhead made when they opened for John Mayer. It gave the proceedings a more immediate feel, though Franti admits it also made writing the credits difficult.
“We recorded the drums in locker rooms, since we were playing arenas,” he said. “So when we were doing the credits, and they asked which studio we used, we said, ‘Well, we recorded the drums in the Toronto Raptors’ showers, and we recorded the vocals for this song at the Holiday Inn in Wichita on Route 192.’ “
But the process also allowed the group to figure out what worked within each song.
“It was a really great experience,” Franti said. “Every night, in a set of 10 songs, five would be new songs. So every day we’d play these songs and see how the audience responded.”
Franti may be centered on finishing the album, but he’s also been focusing on the oil spill in the Gulf Of Mexico, as he has been heavily involved in environmental causes for many years. His band is already helping raise funds in countering the effects of the disaster as Spearhead and other acts at this weekend’s The Hangout Beach, Music & Arts Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala. are donating their profits to the cause.
“We said that if there’s any way we can contribute, let us know,” Franti said. “I’m online every day, reading every story about this. It’s just a growing catastrophe. When I heard that there were three leaks, I wondered, ‘How are they going to stop this and cap this off?’ So it’s just a huge tragedy, and my heart goes out to everyone involved.
“It’s also got to be a real smack in all of our faces, saying, ‘Hey! Wake up! We can’t continue to be dependent on oil this way.’“