011: JEFF FRANCA (Thievery Corporation, Congo Sanchez)/ BECAUSE Of The LOTUS

February 14, 2019
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Episode 011 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* welcomes JEFF FRANCA, drummer of Thievery Corporation and founder of Congo Sanchez and Natural Selectah, to the show for an informative and emotional powwow. Jeff is a rising star in the Denver music scene, and traces his musical and personal roots back to the District of Columbia. We took a solid ninety minutes to chop it up about a number of salient topics that ran the gamut and it was a thoroughly enjoyable conversation that I think will resonate with the Upful LIFE listeners.

 

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We begin by discussing the Washington D.C. music scene and the successful, trendsetting new venue there The Anthem, spiralling out into a few directions from there. His earliest memories of Pink Floyd hitting his ears, and the music that first reached him deep inside. Topics covered include his roots as a thorough study of iconic jazz drummers from the late 50’s through the early 70’s, such as Billy Higgins, Tony Williams, Philly Joe Jones, Jimmy Cobham, and Max Roach. He touches on themes and concepts native to each of their styles, and how those cats changed, and basically shaped, the game for decades to come. We also touch on his time at the University of Indiana as a double major, whether or not he wanted to try out for The Disco Biscuits, and his thoughts on jazz jamming verses jamband jamming.

Jeff then takes a deep dive on a topic that will resonate with anybody who listens in, the relationship he had with his late brother Nicholas, who died in 2011, after a lengthy illness. Jeff details how his music career intersected with the last months of his brother’s life, the cosmic Virgo/Sagittarius connections within it all, how his brother empowered him to forge onward as a musician and an artist. He recalls in emotional detail spending days at Sloan Kettering in NYC with Nicholas and then chasing John Zorn, Adam Deitch, hanging at The Stone, and the experiencing the downtown scene after dark. It was during this time that the seeds were being sewn for Jeff to begin playing with Thievery Corporation.

 

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Jeff's late brother Nicholas Franca

Jeff brings us all the way back to Eighteenth Street Lounge music in D.C. and how stints producing records with Funk Ark and touring with See-I laid the foundation for his role as Thievery Corporation’s touring drummer. Franca explains the roots of Thievery in D.C. culture, and around the world, and how that heritage has taken shape over two decades. Jeff continues by meticulously breaking down his role playing live drums in an electronic music outfit, and it’s fascinating to hear him unspool it all, the nuts and bolts of how Rob Garza, Eric Hilton and company have evolved their live sets into a true live band performance, without sacrificing any of the thump.

We get a thorough introduction to Congo Sanchez, Jeff’s fantastic side-project that mixes it up in mysterious styles of world electro and future dancehall. He recalls some humorous road stories and a comical debut at Electric Forest 2012, before opening up a bit about the cultural and thematic concepts inherent in the Congo Sanchez trio. 

All that plus his presence on Eddie Roberts’ Color Red label in Denver, and why the music scene there is different then anywhere else in the States today. Having a partner as a tour manager, why the grind of touring is an authentic and essential element to making honest art. And a tribute to true East Coast OG, the late great Ryan Dewitt.

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Thievery Corporation on the road in 2015

 

We follow that up with another interview from the Emerald Cup cannabis event in Northern California, in early December. This time we chat it up with Moe Angelo and Pat Anglin of the immersive art installation Because of the Lotus, which is a festival favorite and a beloved part of the fabric of Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, which coincidentally just announced another fantastic event Suwannee Rising, April 4-6.

 

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The *Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week* is a classic golden-era hip-hop jam from twenty-three years ago: Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers: Crooklyn Dodgers 95 featuring Chubb Rock, Masta Ace, and Jeru the Damaja, with DJ Premier production. Among my all-time favorite hip-hop jams. This is history. Word to fat asses and cases of Heineken!

 

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The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!
Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE
Contact the host at B.Getz@upfulLIFE.com

010: JEFFREY DUPUIS (Addiction Counselor / Concert Photographer)

January 29, 2019
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Episode 010 of *The Upful Life Podcast* welcomes a very special guest in Jeffrey Dupuis, longtime music/concert photographer, and professional Addiction Counselor. A spirited convo with an old friend, inspirational human, & someone who is a treasure to several communities.

 

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As the host of this show, I am proud to unveil an episode with a focus on Addiction/Recovery, including some honest and transparent reflections on my own struggle. In recent months I've felt called to find a greater purpose in helping people fight their way out of this darkness, to find their way home. I intend for *The Upful LIFE Podcast* to be a vehicle for these transmissions, and this episode is a prime example.

Jeffrey Dupuis Interview Starts at 17 Mins

I was visiting NOLA a couple months ago, and trekked 'Uptown, bebe' to Jeffrey's lovely shotgun crib, for an early evening long-form interview. We start in the Bayou, where Jeffrey takes us thru his personal path to the photo pit, everything from capturing legends at the holy Tipitina's Uptown, to shooting The Phish from VT, with a few local detours and humorous lagniappe along the way. We go back two decades to his online music media work with a pioneering Tom Speed at Honest Tune, as well as our years working with a fledgling JamBase in the early daze. Since we're in the Crescent City, we chop it up about jam-culture at Jazzfest, and Jeffrey unveils a few tales from the rail. He poignantly cautions of the realities of working with music media and the festival business in 2019, and why its important to "keep your day job. "

 

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From there we pivot into the main reason I asked Jeffrey on to my show: his work in recovery, and how it is both relevant & important to our music culture- from the stage to the rage. Jeffrey reveals humbling personal reflections on his own journey in and out of addiction, and his amazing, rewarding life in recovery. We talk about sober jam collectives like Wharf Rats and the Phellowship, before he delves deep into his actual profession in New Orleans as a licensed addiction counselor. We share an honest and frightening conversation about the stark reality of Fentanyl.

Jeffrey , a man many years sober & abstinent of any kind of substance, then bravely leads the way into an informative discussion in his area of expertise, the oft-controversial, progressive-in-nature, solutions-based, and urgently-needed Medication Assisted Treatment for opiate abuse and addiction. Jeffrey keeps it 100 and I'm certain this convo will have value to a plethora of people on all sides of this ever pertinent issue. Thank you Jeffrey for opening your heart, mind and spirit. You, sir, are a Real One.

Jeffrey Dupuis : MARC (Medication Assisted Recovery Centers) in Metarie & Slidell. Click HERE

 

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Also on Episode 010, an appropriate ***Deep Bow*** in gratitude and appreciation to Dopey Podcast (4min mark) a show that serves as great inspiration to me, and a lifeline to thousands affected by this scourge of Addiction. A proverbial tip of the Kangol to Dave & Dopey Nation. 

 

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We lighten up a bit and finish this episode with another phone call to J.A., my brotha' from anotha'. He's our resident Glimmer Twins aficionado, & checks in on all things Stones at NOLA JazzFest. Not only my best bud since 5th Grade, but also a wealth of perspective on music culture, most specifically the Rolling Stones. J.A. will continue steadily sliding thru the pod every few weeks, because the streets demand it. My man is very popular guy!

 

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 *Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week* "Water" off Phrenology (2002), from The Roots 

 

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The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!
Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE
Contact the host at B.Getz@upfulLIFE.com

009: MAYTEANA MORALES (Pimps of Joytime, Walk Talk), MARIA HERRERA (Journalist/Activist/Consultant)

January 17, 2019
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Episode 009 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* is back with Brooklyn, NY-based Mayteana Morales, singer/percussionist with Pimps of Joytime, and leading an exciting new project Walk Talk. Ms. Morales has been wowing audiences with the Pimps for many years, and it’s been a joy to observe her blossoming as a singer, on the congas, and now as a songwriter in her new endeavor. Mayteana was out in NorCal pulling double duty, playing a pair of gigs with the Pimps of Joytime (Oakland and Lake Tahoe) as well as three shows with Walk Talk. As such, I was lucky and grateful to get Mayteana for a few minutes before band practice one afternoon.

PLEASE EXCUSE THE TRAFFIC NOISE ! Time crunch and had to get the convo in where we could.

MAYTEANA INTERVIEW STARTS AT 15 MINS

Seated outside in an industrial-like area of Oakland, Mayteana takes us back to her humble beginnings studying music theater in school, and how she fell in love with singing, and one day just knew that would be her path. It was during these fertile years that she was introduced to a wide swath of music that would shape and influence her, everything from Nina Simone to Jeff Buckley. Slowly Mayteana found her way to the stage, and then spread her wings to fly. Before getting into her career arc, we take a lengthy detour into her recent trip to Cuba, where Mayteana regales us with tales of the cultural explorations she enjoyed, and makes plans for a return to sink even deeper into the Cuban traditions. 

Ms. Morales then gives us the lowdown on how she came to be a long-tenured member of Brooklyn electro-funk syndicate Pimps of Joytime, a collective headed up by the enigmatic Brian J. We discuss how the electronic element and onstage sampler, once a formidable component of the band’s DNA, is no longer a part of their onstage performance, as they’ve evolved into more organic instrumentation. 

 

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A brief chat about some PoJ lineup changes, making sure to love on longtime KDTU drummer John Staten, who did a tour of duty with the Pimps after leaving Denson’s brigade. Mayteana touches on her new project with PoJ bassist David Bailis, they call it Walk Talk, and it’s fantastic. She details how her creative muse is able to blossom freely into colorful expressions in this new musical paradigm. We finish up with some reflections on first Brooklyn, and then New York City. We geek out on how revolutionary Antibalas was when they hit the scene, and how they've influenced and evolved through their two decades. Some favorite NY spots of yesteryear, the cultural impact of the music scene, and how it’s mutated and coalesced, and been reborn again and again, over the past fifteen or so years. A fascinating powwow with an amazing artist and lovely human spirit, Ms. Mayteana Morales.

 

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From there, I couldn’t help but take a moment to address an unfortunate incident that transpired at a concert in Oakland last weekend, a short story, a diatribe and heartfelt appeal to look out for and respect each other, to treat all people with dignity on the dancefloor, and other golden-rule isms. I wasn’t sure I was gonna go there, but I guess I just had to.

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Then we segue back into some positive vibrations, and introduce one of the best people I know, Ms. Maria Herrera, a journalist, activist, community organizer, and cannabis business consultant. Maria is one of my most loyal, trusted and treasured friends in this life, an unwavering and unconditional connection unlike any other I’ve shared. She is also a brilliant woman on the front lines of the legal cannabis revolution taking place in Northern California.

MARIA HERRERA INTERVIEW STARTS AT 1Hr 22Mins

Maria checks in on the heels of the Emerald Cup in mid December, to share some fascinating experiences from a variety of perspectives: political, personal, community, business, and beyond. She's worked extensively with the Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, hosts her own women-in-cannabis radio show on KVMR Higher Frequency. Maria's got boots on the ground at City Council meetings and commiserates with mayors and farmers alike, and she headed up the opening team at Elevation 2477, the first cannabis dispensary in Nevada County, CA. Meanwhile, she continues to consult with numerous boutique cannabis brands and labels throughout NorCal.

If you are wondering what legal weed is like, and how it is all happening beyond retail shopping in a dispensary, then this conversation will be quite interesting to you. Maria may even inspire listeners to get involved in this movement and/or industry in their own backyards, or take action in their community as the legislature continues to evolve and the laws follow swiftly behind. I am honored and proud to know Maria professionally, and eternally grateful to call her a best friend. Look forward to future appearances on the podcast from Maria, on this topic and much more.

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*Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week* : D’Angelo "Unshaken" from Red Dead Redemption II OST

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!
Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE

008: RYAN RISING (Permaculture Action Network)

January 3, 2019
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Episode 008 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* welcomes Community Organizer/Permaculture Educator RYAN RISING of Permaculture Action Network to the show for a profoundly informative chat on a gang of salient topics. Ryan was kind enough to invite me over to his beautiful Berkeley backyard garden, where we linked up and sat down for a lengthy conversation.

For several years, Ryan has been a force of nature in the music community, leading the Permaculture Action Network in various collaborations with musicians and festivals; his work with The Polish Ambassador in 2014 on the groundbreaking Pushing Through the Pavement Tour and documentary film Pushing Through the Pavement: A Permaculture Action Story was essential to the burgeoning Permaculture movement in live music/festival culture, as is the Permaculture Action Hub which he helps organize and produce at various international events.

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Jill Trashley and Ryan Rising. Permaculture Action Day at Gill Tract Farm in Berkeley CA, 2016

It was at this time that The NOHM Co.'s Jill TrAshley, a trusted friend and the person that first put Permaculture on my radar, was adamant that Ryan Rising was doing big things; that's precisely why I pegged him as a "person of interest" so many moons ago. Finally, I had the chance to ask about his journey, how this important organization and movement was launched.

Before Ryan Rising, first a shout-out to our friends at Disc Jam Music Festival; and take a stroll through the NYE-week run of shows in the Bay Area (4mins 30secs), including CloZee/Goopsteppa, Erykah Badu, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe featuring Z-Trip, Thievery Corporation, and Dave Tipper.

Ryan Rising Interview Starts at 23:50

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Rising starts off with the upcoming Oakland Permaculture Action Day, Sunday January 20th, at 319 105th Ave, Oakland, CA.  The Action Day will be at the Sogorea Te' Land Trust & Planting Justice Nursery, where the indigenous women’s land trust is building the first ceremonial arbor that has been on Ohlone land in 250 years. Sogorea Te’ and Lead to Life are at the helm, and so is Planting Justice, who started a nursery in West Oakland using an economic justice model that Rising details in a language that we can easily understand. He explains just why Sogorea Te’ is the organization he's most honored to work with, and delivers passionate downloads on what Lead to Life is all about. It was empowering to find out about all these righteous organizations doing good work right here where we live, and Ryan explains how we can plug in here in the East Bay and get involved.

But the work Ryan does and his plethora of relationships and collaborations extends well beyond the Bay Area. He's been involved in Atlanta, Georgia (with Lead to Life), and Permaculture Action Network's varied Action Days across the country, including a few I was honored to participate in. Ryan Rising explains how Permaculture Action Network got connected with Rising Appalachia and some of the collaborations they have undertaken, and what that work has lead to over the past few years.  

 

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 Permaculture Action Network and Rising Appalachia collaboration. #ActionDay

Ryan Rising talks about his evolution from being a "weird kid reading anarchist books in math class", to how he found himself inside of punk rock. His life's work begins volunteering with Food Not Bombs and various organizations, and evolves into demonstrating at George W. Bush's second inauguration in Washington D.C., all the way to Rage Against the Machine's legendary township rebellion at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. From there Ryan details his path as a Community Organizer and his involvement in Occupy Wall Street, how Occupy informed his organizing and direct action tactics and concepts, and how he brought them to the West Coast.

Ryan takes us back to his time living and learning with the Zapatistas in Chiapas, Mexico, and how he brought those ideals and lessons back to the States. We both were turned on to the plight of these people through the music of Rage Against the Machine, and we discuss how we were individually awakened by singer Zach de la Rocha poignant lyrics at a fertile time in our respective youths. Ryan explains how punk music was at the core of his belief system at a very young age, and how the DIY ethos informs his ideals and way of life. Naturally, we take the opportunity to geek out on some music ish, talking hip-hop, punk, and later Drum & Bass and Tipper.

 

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Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week (1hour 47mins)

Karl Denson's Tiny Universe's lusty, timeless chestnut "Groove On" from October 2002. Happy 62rd Karl!

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Check out all things *PERMACULTURE ACTION NETWORK* here!

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!

Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE

 

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Thanks to all for tuning in! 

~bg~

www.upfulLIFE.com

 

007: DERRICK SMOKER (SOUL Brass Band’s Derrick Freeman)

December 12, 2018
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Episode 007 of *The Upful Life Podcast* comin' atcha with special guest Derrick Smoker, NOLA's own drummer/emcee/singer-songwriter/jazz-cat/lightning rod. Back in late October, the man they call D-Free was kind enough to meet me midday, somewhere near the Bywater, for a colorful stroll thru his career & journey. Embarking from Houston to NOLA in 1992, to study Jazz at UNO, we revisit all the people, places, and experiences that life as a Crescent City working musician will manifest. AKA Derrick Freeman, who you may know from Soul Brass Band, Smokers WorldKermit Ruffins and the BBQ Swingers, Low End Theory Players, or even way back in the Crönk days, as well as the HBO David Simon docu-drama Treme, and (my personal fave of the Smoker legacy), 2012's seminal hip-hop/R&B/Comedy album Blurple Pain.

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Mr. Smoker fronting The Low End Theory Players with M@ Peoples, Khris Royal, Danny Abel 

DERRICK SMOKER SEGMENT at 11 MINS, INTERVIEW 22:45

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I asked this dude to rap for a reason, & Derrick brings the goods in his atypical no-holds-barred/frank AF fashion, with recollections dipped in both humor and the realness. We keep things mostly music and mostly NOLA, as Smoker covers career-spanning relationships with luminaries, legends and locals alike, including (but not limited to) Ellis Marsalis, Walter Payton, Ed Peterson, Shannon Powell, Kermit Ruffins, Davis RoganCyril Neville, and many, many more. Smoker gets very poignant and reflective when recalling the myriad ways in which the late, great Theryl Houseman DeClouet (formerly of Galactic) put him on game. We get into Derrick's various projects thru the years like CoolBone, All That, Mass Hysteria, the all-too-short-lived NOLA funk gangstas Crönk. Of course his current gig, SOUL Brass Band, as well as solo albums like Blurple Pain and DWB (Driving While Black). 

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Theryl "Houseman" deClouet The HOUSEMAN Cometh! album cover

With regard to The Upful Life Podcast's intention to shine a light on human resilience, Derrick discusses the ups and downs of the music biz, especially in NOLA, and how he almost quit altogether. Later, he reveals how fellow drummer Nikki Glaspie put the battery in his back, her inspirational words motivation to get out and really do his own music. Inevitably during the chronological telling of his career path, Derrick also touches on his experience surrounding Hurricane Katrina, when he was overseas with a who's who of NOLA music, watching the storm footage and Superdome via Fox News. The aftermath and his wayward path back to the city, which took him from Brazil to Miami to Dallas to Alabama to Canada before he finally returned home to NOLA, while now-wife Carolyn held him down the whole way through. 

Later we get into the swamp of Jazz Fest politics - again from a local working musician's perspective- and why it's important for both Jazz Fest fans AND promoters to have the best intentions when returning to NOLA each and every spring. From where I sit (and what I do), this was an important dialogue to have with a brutally honest cat who is really living this on an authentic & local level. We wrap things up in the now, with SOUL Brass Band, his project with James R. Martin, Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown, and a krewe that came together pretty much by accident. SOUL is now a white-hot book, taking Smoker & company global. We finally get hip to The Low End Theory Players, a local-to-NOLA live hip-hop ensemble that recreates the greatest works of titanic artists like OutKast, A Tribe Called Quest, Jay-Z, and more.  A thrilling conversation with a musician and personality in the middle of all things New Orleans. In a nutshell- I asked Derrick to shoot me straight, and for exactly 100 minutes- he absolutely did, no two ways about it. 

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Derrick Freeman (front) with SOUL Brass Band

All That Smoke plus B.Getz's usual ramblings du jour, & shout-outs to the good folks at Euphonic Conceptions.  Closing (2:03:35) with the *Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week* : "I Get Lifted" by GALACTIC featuring the late Theryl "Houseman" deClouet

This past week, though still reeling from the July 2018 passing of their iconic former frontman, the five full-time members of Galactic purchased the legendary venue Tipitina's Uptown in New Orleans ! So this 2002 Galactic rendition of a K.C. & the Sunshine Band cut, with Houseman at the helm, culled from Live at Tipitina's: We Love 'Em Tonight, is our *Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week*.

*Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week*: LISTEN HERE!

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!

Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE

Thanks to all for tuning in! 

~bg~

www.upfulLIFE.com

 

006: RANDOM RAB / Personal reflections from B.Getz / .Paak’s Oxnard & more

November 28, 2018
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Episode 006 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* is proud to welcome Random Rab to the show for what is an enlightening conversation, a free exchange of ideas cutting a wide swath over his magical journey and meteoric career. But first, shout-outs to scene stalwarts JamBase and Silverback Music Management, a look toward New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, before we kick things off. A rundown of what's on the horizon for Upful LIFE coverage in December, including DJ Williams/Shots Fired, Dimond Saints, Thriftworks, the annual Favorite Albums listicle, and much more. We take a moment to discuss how people can get involved, donate and help out with the devastating Camp Fire in Northern California. Snap-judgements/hot-takes on Anderson .Paak's highly-anticipated third full-length LP Oxnard, as we examine the oft-putting casual misogyny that runs throughout the record. We discuss and have a listen to .Paak's "Cheers" (featuring Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest), a touching eulogy-in-song to dearly departed emcees Mac Miller and Phife Dawg.

Photo by Zipporah Lomax

List of organizations to donate to help victims of the Camp Fire. 

We met up with Random Rab in early November in his "White Whale", an old-school Sprinter van that he uses as a trusty mobile-dwelling on the road, this was the cozy confines for our dance down memory lane. Rab was in the midst of a Fall tour up the West Coast, and was teaming with longtime pals Dirtwire for a sold-out engagement at the Cornerstone in Berkeley CA. As such, the host caught Rab for about 30 minutes before the show, and another half-hour as Dirtwire was finishing up. Before diving in to the hour-long dialogue, I take a minute to recite my own 2017 artist bio of Random Rab, to further familiarize listeners with our very special guest. (SHAMELESS PLUG: Need an artist bio? HMU! B.Getz@UpfulLIFE.com )

Random Rab segment begins at 30:30, Interview starts at 36:00

In this heart-filling interview, Rab brings us back to his humble beginnings in Fort Wayne, Indiana as a classical-music student on the trumpet, and his heavy metal adolescence on guitar, before taking us on a cross-country jaunt that relocates him on the West Coast after a brief stint in Mexico. Most notably, he breaks down the origins of the seminal El Circo troupe, and Rab spends several minutes beautifully eulogizing his friend, the late Tiffa Novoa, a pioneering fashion designer and matriarch in Burning Man culture who tragically passed away in 2007. Rab reflects on what Tiffa meant to him and El Circo, and on being asked to master the ceremonies at her funeral. We both explore how this avant-garde collective and halcyon era would sew a myriad of embryonic seeds that continue to flourish inside and out of festival culture so many years later.

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Tiffa Novoa 1975-2007 (photo: social-creature.com)

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Random Rab at El Circo camp, Burning Man 2009

Click HERE for Upful LIFE's RANDOM RAB Playlist 

From there, Rab and I touch a number of topics and tales from his lengthy career : seminal songs and records, his masterful mining of sorrow for authentic artistic expression, harnessing other emotions as he's both become a father and matured as a musician. About his 20-year consecutive Burning Man streak, how his legendary sunrise sets were born on the Playa, and how they have grown to otherworldly levels of grandeur for eight consecutive blissed-out years at Envision Festival in Costa Rica. (At one point, Dirtwire's David Satori knocked on the door of the van so we took a minute to chat with him off air. We also break so Rab can perform to a sold-out room, before Dirtwire takes the stage.)

To break up the split in the interview I play my favorite Random Rab song "Kloud Kings" (1:02:10) from ARose, then we return to the conversation (1:07:00)Rab recalls how a fan once proposed to his partner at a sunrise set (I was present for this magic), and how that same benevolent man gave Rab maybe the greatest personalized gift he's ever received. We talk about how Rab's music has fundamentally changed from 2000's Epicycle to 2017's Formless Edge, and how he's approaching songcraft, guitar playing (and instrumentation in general) in 2018. Rab explains why when recording with fellow musicians, it's essential for him to actually get in the studio in person, and how friendship and collective conviction are at the root of nearly all of his numerous collaborations. All of that jazz and a whole lot MOUR in this candid and open-hearted pow-wow with the whimsical wizard Random Rab.

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Random Rab & B.Getz at Symbiosis Gathering 2013. Photo by Jill Trashley

After we wrap up with Rab, (1:37:00) I felt compelled to share some personal reflections regarding my guest's ever-looming influence in my own life. This powerful interview led me to open up considerably, with regard to when Rab and I first met outside the Fractal Planet sound camp at Burning Man 2013, and how that fateful morning interaction and his eventual co-sign (of a festival media application) steered me (and JamBase) towards Symbiosis Gathering 2013, which were the first pages of the next chapters of my musical life, and career as a journalist. From there I was driven to dig even deeper, and unpack something we touched on in the interview, this time in far greater and more intimate detail.

Click HERE for RANDOM RAB'S MOURNING MIX  

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The host with his late father Lloyd Getz in Burlington VT, May 2001.

My father Lloyd Getz passed away in April 2015, at a time when I was incarcerated, and I revisit how Random Rab's music reached me in my darkest hour of need, even there in the custody of the State of California. My story then takes us back to Black Rock City, to the Temple at Burning Man in 2016, when I finally had the chance to honor my father's death on my own terms. Again, Rab organically and cosmically becomes embedded into this narrative, and I only chose to reveal this extremely personal reflection because it's so closely interwoven with my guest; I hope that both Rab and I can serve to bring others a measure of comfort and inspiration if they are going through similarly dark times.

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The Temple burns at Burning Man 2016

We conclude with the Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week, "Cloaked" by Tipper, (2:35:00) a ebullient and emotive piece of music Dave Tipper composed and released on the day of his own father's death in 2017. I thought it appropriate to include this mystical track at the tail end of Episode 006 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast*

Rest in Power Lloyd L. Getz,

~bg~
 

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!

Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE

 

005: KATRINA BREES/ J.A. Talks Halloween in Vegas

November 13, 2018
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Episode 005 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* welcomes New Orleans artist/activist/parade-maker KATRINA BREES to the show for a lengthy convo that takes a long, winding, interesting path in a plethora of colorful and emotional directions. I first met Katrina Brees in the early 2000s when I first started going to Jazz Fest, long before she'd taken that moniker, back when she was partner to a dear friend of mine in NOLA. Even though we were a bunch of "hippie bros" in that era, I was most definitely attuned to the kaleidoscopic vibration that was emanating from Karina way back then. We shared a few conversations that stuck with me through the years, and in that time I've paid attention as she's evolved into a tremendous artist and inspiring activist. Hers is a story that is at once entertaining, engaging, hilarious, and at times gut-wrenching. As such, I was sure to include some lighthearted music discussion at the front end of this episode. 

Katrina Brees segment begins at 50:00mins, Interview at 55:00 

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But before we go deep with Ms. Brees, the host runs thru a few community thank yous, I take about 15 minutes to detail the past couple of weeks musical adventures, including Kruder & Dorfmeister's 25th Anniversary Tour stop at the MidwaySF. Then we circle back to noted Delaware Valley Phishtorian J.A. who checks in from Philadelphia, PA for the second time (25:00). Thanks to The Phish from VT and their ever-evolving tradition, Jason recently returned from yet another Halloween celebration in Las Vegas. This year's prank, which saw Phish performing I Rokk, an album from (a fictional!) Scandinavian band Kasvot Växt, was one for the ages. Usually pretty jaded regarding modern Phish, I really love the material performed in costume this year, and wanted to hear more from J.A. on the shenanigans in Sin City.

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Katrina Brees has spent 15 years co-producing over 200 parades. In 2003, she introduced New Orleans to the Mardi Bra,™ her first of hundreds of eco-conscious, parade art pieces as seen in films, commercials, television, events, and parades. Brees was motivated to found The Bearded Oysters Parade Club in 2004. The women’s parade club is now the largest in the country with a current membership of over 850 women.

Moved by the BP Deepwater Horizon tragedy, Brees used her powers of parading to affect change. In 2012, Brees founded the Greening of the Gras conference, a platform to connect Louisiana residents with solutions to the devastating impact that petroleum-based Mardi Gras beads are having on the ecology, economy, health, culture and global community. Brees founded I Heart Louisiana as the sustainable future of Mardi Gras and works with Carnival producers to source local throws, costumes, floats, and live entertainment. Brees continues to expand The KOLOSSOS Bike Zoo, an interactive visual and performance experience featuring her unique, kinetic sculpture collection of eco-friendly art-bike animals that showcases the majesty of animals without their exploitation. Brees also was a major cog in Fantastic Casket, where she created fabric caskets made with soft  upcycled materials that she quilts and sews to form the coffin.

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Photo: NOLA.com

Katrina and I detail her long path in NOLA from fledgling fashion designer to DIY artist, careening through her colorful career and all the aforementioned endeavors, and much more. Towards the end of our lengthy and engaging chat, the topic turns tragic. 

The remainder of this interview contains some disturbing and emotional content. Please proceed with sensitivity.

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On June 26th of this year, Katrina's mother Donna Nathan, who'd suffered from mental illness for her entire life, decided to end hers suddenly one day without warning. In addition to mourning her mother, setting up funeral arrangements, and surrounding herself with family and loved ones, Katrina was tasked with accepting the gun back from the police department after the case was officially closed. In the aftermath of Donna Nathan's suicide, her courageous daughter Karina is working hard to see that it the laws are changed to reflect this short-sighted legislative judgement.   

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At the end of that powerful powwow, Episode 005 wraps up with the Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week. Check out "Wait a Minute" (2:28:00) coming to you from future superstars MZG, an electronic music producer duo destined for greatness. Formerly from Northeast Florida (Duval County to be exact), Zach and Charles Weinert have relocated to the Front Range and have set up shop in Colorado, smack dab in the middle of the current-day Mecca of stateside electronic music. The Upful LIFE has been big fans of these twinzies for nearly a decade, and wanted to throw some proper shine on the boys and end Episode 005 on an uplifting note

Episode 006 will feature the wizard himself, Random Rab!

Via Con Dias,

~bg~
www.upfulLIFE.com

 

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!

Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE

 

 

004: WEEDIE BRAIMAH / HULA 2018 Highlights, Jamiroquai feat. Shady Horns

November 1, 2018
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Episode 004 of *The Upful LIFE Podcast* welcomes master djembefola Weedie Braimah to the show for an enlightening chat, in the aftermath of his seismic seance at Music Box Village in NOLA this past May during Jazz Fest. The performance remains one of the most exhilarating and emotionally-connected artistic expeditions that i've ever had the privilege of experiencing. I wrote at length about Weedie Braimah & the Essence of Time in my annual Jazz Fest reflection on L4LM and thankfully FunkIt was there to capture it live on video for all to enjoy. Weedie explains his mission as an artist and a purveyor of love & light, as he details how his music seeks to Edutain, Inspire, and Spiritually Move the Crowd. We get a rundown on the narrative that his ensemble wove with ethereal riddims and melodies that have circulated the globe, how the African Diaspora, and Afro-African music has traversed into and throughout different cultures and environments, mutating into a myriad of styles that define and continue to inform contemporary and underground music. A thrilling conversation with a humble master and shamanic wonder of the drum, in anticipation of his forthcoming tour as Weedie Braimah & the Hands of Time (read more HERE)

Interview was originally intended for L4LM feature, but Weedie was simply too engaging not to release the convo in it's entirety. Hence we present it in full on The Upful LIFE Podcast, five months after it was conducted.

WEEDIE BRAIMAH segment at 29:00 and interview starts at 37:00

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But first, we take a look in the rearview mirror with #SnapJudgements from last weekend's monumental Suwannee Hulaween 2018! A brief rundown of the host's favorite and most treasured moments including Jamiroquai's massive electro-funk throwdown featuring Lettuce's Shady Horns, TroyBoi detonating the the Amphitheater Stage, MZG, Justin Martin, Janelle Monae, Chris Karns, Dave Tipper, Break Science Live Band, Vulfpeck, Vlad the Inhaler, The Polish Ambassador & Diplomatic Scandal, The Fritz and much, MUCH more. And a special personalied message from yours truly for the benevolent HULA gods.

That plus the Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week, (24:00) appropriately TroyBoi "Do You" after big homie torched the Amp into Rachet Town USA at HULA on Saturday at sundown.

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photo: Keith Griner/Phierce Photo

The show ends with an EXCLUSIVE listen (1hr 07min) to the aforementioned Jamiroquai feat. Shady Horns at Suwannee Hulaween, as we unveil the two songs they collaborated on "Hey Floyd" and "Starchild".

Don't forget to email at B.Getz@upfulLIFE.com with feedback OR leave a review on iTunes please.

Big Love to Weedie Braimah, Paul Levine, and Michael Berg! 
Over & Out from NOLA and Spirit of Suwannee Music Park!

~bg~

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!

Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE

 

 

003: SCOTTY ZWANG (Ghost Light)

October 18, 2018
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Episode 003 of The Upful LIFE Podcast features drummer SCOTTY ZWANG, currently of Ghost Light. Scotty has been an enigmatic persona in the Northeast jam/jamtronica scenes for well over a decade, and is a fixture on the Philly musical landscape. The erstwhile rhythm wizard goes deep in this interview, taking us back to his humble beginnings in New York, learning the drums and joining alternative rock bands as a youth (Code Anchor). We then embark on the lengthy discussion of his entire career arc, including his stint in Sonic Spank, which is when I first encountered him at The Blockley in Philadelphia.

 

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From there we touch on a variety of projects and endeavors, including the mentorship of KJ Sawka, Scotty joining (and leaving) Greenhouse Lounge and Dopapod, and the creation of his current project Ghost Light, which was formed by JRAD's Tom Hamilton, and includes pianist Holly Bowling, among others. We also take a lengthy and hilarious detour into his history with The Disco Biscuits and affiliated projects. Scotty's story is one of success, failure, and rebounding to bigger and better things. Scotty closes things out with his thoughts on taking a step back from the rock n'roll and EDM party scenes (and the activities that go along with them), as well as his recent choice to go Vegan.

We play a little Ghost Light jam in the intro, so Scotty's interview starts around 12:30 and lasts about seventy minutes.

This episode's Vibe Junkie JAM of the Week is a look back at the astounding collaboration between Jamiroquai's Jay Kay and the debut performance of The Fearless Flyers, a Vulfpeck side project. This magic took place late night the Sunday before Labor Day, at an official afterparty for North Coast Music Festival.

 

Fearless Flyers

 

~bg~

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!

Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE

 

 

002 : CHRIS PERELLA (Ardmore Music Hall, The Blockley, Philadelphia)

October 3, 2018
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Episode 002 of The Upful LIFE Podcast, featuring a long-form interview with Chris Perella, of Philadelphia-area jam hub Ardmore Music Hall (AMH). Before assuming the reigns (and ultimately heading up a team to buy) at Ardmore Music Hall, Chris was manager and talent buyer at storied, infamous Philly club The Blockley, which operated (as CP details, by the seat of it’s pants and skin of it’s teeth) for about five years. I had the pleasure and privilege of working for Mr. Perella at The Blockley for a year and a half or so, during this time period Chris both befriended me and peeled back the curtain of the Philly music scenes/industry.

Beginning in June 2012 through August 2013, Chris Perella hired and employed me through some very dark personal times; I was not back in Philadelphia by choice, I moved back from Florida because my father had become very ill, and my mother was overwhelmed caring for him. It was during this time that I came to know CP both professionally, and personally’ and since then he’s been among the finest humans I’ve been lucky to call a friend in this life. As such, I was anxious to get him onto The Upful LIFE Podcast to discuss his career arc, as well as any number of music culture topics.

Chris Perella interview starts at 10:30 mark

CP and BG take a trip down memory lane, discussing the five years that AMH has been doing the damn thing. Chris really opens up about his former club, the infamous/legendary Philly nightspot #TheBlockley, where I had the pleasure of working for him in 2012-2013. Perella wrestles with what made The Blockley both the dream venue, and his personal nightmare, and we laugh at a few classic nights of yore (including the sold out LETTUCE show in May 2013!). Perella offers insights as to why The Blockley ultimately failed, and how he mined the lessons from that experience to find great success at AMH.

Chris also details his own path from green AF rookie band manager almost overnight to big-market talent buyer, running the hottest room in town with virtually NO experience. He talks about what he’s looking for when booking a new band, and why. We reflect on some gambles he’s taken on young bands years ago. Also sheds light on how he became co-manager of Everyone Orchestra. We get his thoughts on the legacies of Grateful Dead, New Orleans music, The Disco Biscuits and how these entities have affected and influenced Philadelphia’s vibrant music scene, of which he is a major cog. We conclude with an honest and raw exchange about loyalty in this industry. A fantastic (HOUR LONG!) powwow with CP!

Episode 002 ends with the debut segment *VIBE Junkie JAM of the Week* (1:15:25), where I will be placing a spotlight on a excessively dope piece of music every episode. Sometimes I’ll play just a song, other times I’ll discuss it at length. This week’s segment focuses on Lettuce recently busting out D’Angelo‘s “Brown Sugar” (9/20 Berkeley CA), which was a very special moment for the host, and many others. You’ll have to listen in to find out why!

~bg~

The Upful LIFE Podcast is available on iTunes!

Theme Song: Mazel Tov by CALVIN VALENTINE