Our Souls and Creativity

Sunset from the highway

We are getting close to wrapping up this east coast tour and I am sad to say goodbye to this side of the States.  For all the crap I give Florida, it still has a place in my heart, especially the Keys.  I had another great visit with Captain Jack (Chicken & Blunts inspiration) where I was again faced with the fact that our music can make a difference in the world and people need to hear what we have to say.  I am not talking about Chicken & Blunts………more so the other song’s like Wake Up (written about finding passion in your life)

or P.F.I.P. (a song to make us realize we are all the same brothers and sisters living on our mother Earth).

or 10,000 Men (a song I wrote after discovering our own military was skimping costs on bullet proof jackets for our soldiers)

or Aphro (written about a moment in time where I didn’t think I could love someone so much)

or perhaps 3450 (a song about doing what’s right for yourself and the world we live in)……the list goes on but does it resonate?

I can’t make people care.  I tell our stories and those who listen know Fish out of Water isn’t here to serve themselves, feed their egos, or drink themselves silly.  If there is one thing I believe I can claim about myself and my band-mates, it’s that we set our soul on fire every show, every note, every moment we are on stage.

FOW at Blue Heaven -Key West 8/16

There is no easy way to give yourself to something like music.  You become a novelty that women want to kiss and touch but save any serious considerations for your love because they are scared of where you go next and who you will meet.  There is also that constant battle of finding rest between long drives and long sets.  I drive in a van with three grown men who have all agreed to take this challenge with me.  We break our backs to bring the music to you, so yes it’s frustrating when we are under paid, under appreciated, and misunderstood…..but we are free.  Free to speak our mind and sing our song over PA systems that carry our message.

Feelings of musicI refuse to sit idly by while my people get reamed, and by people I mean everyone on this planet who gets the middle finger from our government.  A political circus swirls around our heads while we trash each other on social platforms, kill each other over race, and eat poison in our food supply.  Is it me or are these machines in our pockets pushing us further away from each other while stuffing the pockets of billionaires who can’t spend the money fast enough?  Nations…..entire nations are starving and we look the other way.  When I get off this soap box, I will go back to what I always do, make music to soothe my soul, to connect with you, and you, and you.  I have been noticing a phenomena lately.  It’s people listening to us with their eyes closed, in a deep, meditative, trance-like state.  It seems to be happening more and more.  The longer we continue to play our music and the more enjoyable it becomes to listen to, a bridge is forged with our audience.  How do I widen the bridge?  How do I entice everyone to cross over?

I was setting up our equipment in Key West at our show at Blue Heaven one morning when I met Leo.  He was most likely between 7-9 years old.  He asked me very politely if he could play my guitar.  I set him up with my acoustic and let him experiment while I continued to get ready for our brunch show.  When this kid strummed the guitar, his smile was undeniably pure and joyous.  It was like watching someone find 100 dollars on the ground.  As adults we must raise our kids to survive in a real world, but we must also pass down wisdom of the soul and adhere to the creativity that surrounds that.  Once our set began, Leo sat and watched us and I remember thinking to myself how perfectly calm and attentive he was.  “He is soaking this right up”, was the thought that was going through my mind.  Later his mom left a note on our email list thanking me for inspiring her son.  I walked up to our room and cried a few tears of gratitude for my life, my band members, our amazing support system that we would be nowhere without.  I am grateful for this journey.  When I leave this place I want to know there are Leo’s out there that understand, that get that there is more to this world than we can see.

Of course, I wouldn’t sign off without a quick update of the shows most recently passed.  1. Green Parrot in Key West was a blast again and we will be returning to the venue in Dec.  One of the few places our friends and family can watch us via webcam.  Big shout out to their staff!!!
2. My favorite venue to play, Blue Heaven, was again a magical experience filled with the kindest, most fun and amazing people.  I swear it’s like our family is working there.  So hard to leave such good people.

3. The Porch was a soul sacrifice, one of my best personal musical experiences.  I felt I could do no wrong on bass and guitar and had Captain Jack by my side to feed the beast.  4. The Commodore in Charleston, SC was off the hook.  Seriously check this venue out if your are ever in the area!  Best sound man to date (don’t let it go to your head Wayne), best looking door girl (pretty sure Sara already knew that), and best cocktail maker (Evan is a legend with those tequila combos).  They book tons of funk and R&B every night of the week and is a local fav.
FOW w PaperWork
I had to start a new paragraph for the show at Crooked Floor because my boys from PaperWork showed the F up.  Thank you Conner, Zach, and Daniel for sitting in with us.  If you ever wondered what we sound like with a genius horn section, it’s a lot like funk angels touching your ears.  These dudes are so much younger than us but play with such confidence and skill that I would never guess their age.  I predict big things for these guys and you should definitely check them out!  I am very flattered that they find our music worth learning and I respect the time they put into figuring out their horn lines prior to show.  These dudes are another example of people who understand and want to make this world better through music.

I was in Virginia when I wrote this blog and soon before our two shows there last month at Wabi Sabi in Petersburg, one of their employees was crushed by a van and passed away.  I didn’t know Tim well, but I know Wabi and it’s owner DJ has always treated his staff like family.  I hope we brought light and fun and passion to everyone who needed a pick me up here.  On the mic I reminded the crowd that death is here to make us appreciate life and those we still have.  I recommend after reading this to hug someone you love, look within and give thanks for what you have (arms, legs, breath….) remember all you have is this moment.  Pump Funk Increase Peace!!! Until next time fishes.

Summer’s rockin’ on the East Coast!

FOW w J-Sneez & Rick Elliott“If you are tired of starting over, stop quitting.”  It was a quote on someone’s Instagram page a few days ago…..this blog, our band, my abs…..they all suffer when I forget that consistency is really the key in all of this.  It’s easy to say you will do something tomorrow instead of now or today.  Alas, I know it is long over due, but I guarantee it has been an eventful two months for Fish Out of Water.  New album, new studios, flying horn players into Florida, buying merchandise (new shirts & hats now available online!), trademarks, and oh yeah…..rocking the U.S. under the radar.

FOW w/ J-Sneez -Charlotte, NCI have never worked harder or seen my band-mates pushed harder then this past June.  My brother told me that greatness is accomplished from giving more than you think you have left.  To not feel the exhaustion or pain would mean you didn’t push yourself, therefore how can your results be amazing and spectacular?  We played 27 shows in 30 days, laid down hot tracks for the new album, coordinated two musicians to fly into Florida from two different states, took band photos, and got about three total hours of sleep for the month of June.  There was little room for personal time, or really anytime that didn’t involve a guitar in my hand.  Rick Elliott from Virginia Beach flew down to play horns and keys on the album.  We met Rick in Petersburg, VA at our friend’s wedding and have stayed in touch over the years.  He is such a solid player and musician to be around.  “Your sound is your signature” is what Rick told me once and I think we left our signature at Ramble Room Studios in Key West.

Kyle & SneezJ-Sneez has been part of Fish Out of Water for over eight years.  We have built a bond beyond music during that time, so of course we had to have him on the album.  Travel isn’t easy for J but he makes it work and I always appreciate his dedication to the music.  Working with him this time was cool because he got to give his input on some of the foundation of the grooves.  It hit me during our sessions that we are no doubt professional recording artists.  Some songs we knocked out in one take!  The pressure that I felt in the studio wasn’t at all as intense as it used to be.  The art of playing perfect but soulful music to a metronome is what separates the greats from the rest of the herd.  I am proud of what we accomplished and more so, how we accomplished it.  Big shout out to Nick Romanelli, our producer and engineer who made the three hour drive both ways, slept on a couch, and negotiated several drum takes with Mike.  It was the first time we have let someone else help in the process and I think the most exciting part will be his mixing of the tracks later this month.

FOW w Drew, Nick, & Mary
 I could go on and on about the upcoming release, but there has been so many live shows in between that need recognition.  One that stands out to me was our summer concert series in Highlands, NC over the 4th of July weekend.  What has been in the past a lack luster event turned into an awesome concert with hundreds in attendance.  We got so many people coming up to us afterwards sharing their gratitude for our music, it was really touching.  Clyde’s on Main was another great show in Chattanooga, TN.  It rocked so hard they put salt on the floor because the sweat from the dance party was dangerous.

We continue to touch lives through music on this journey.  In Key West, a man showed me a video of his son playing guitar, he could barely hold it, he was so small, but he was strumming it with coordination.  The dad told me I gave his son a guitar pick and let him strum my guitar when they were visiting the Keys last year.  I vaguely recalled it, but thought to myself how we don’t really know who we affect or inspire, only that we indeed are reaching those who need it.

Chicken & Blunts request

I talk about sacrifice often.  It’s not that we don’t want a lot of the same things and comforts that you have….we do.  It’s that this music takes your soul places it’s never been.  The feeling of creating sound-waves that thump your chest, shake your ass, and puts smiles on your faces easily makes it worth the long drives, lonely nights, shitty hotels and lack of sleep.  These past two months would not be possible without the sacrifice of our amazing friends.  We try and compensate with our energy and cooking skills, but it is a blessing to have so much love across the U.S.

Kyle, Mike, & Ben -Ft. Lauderdale, FLThank you to Layla, Fletch, our CLT family, Ben Johnson and Super, Donnie and Theresa (I’m writing this blog sitting on their couch in Petersburg, VA), Jason KLING!  328 riders in Delaware (put the bong down guys), all our family for the constant support in chasing our dreams, and of course Russ Levitan, the man.  Lot’s on the horizon for Fish Out of Water!  Look for Married to the Music out in Sept.  Stay sexy, healthy, and sharp 🙂 P.F.I.P.

FOW w Chattanooga Brewing growlers
Written by Kyle Daniel Moon

First time playing Amarillo, TX!

We have begun the voyage to the east and for our first show in Amarillo, TX, we didn’t know what to expect.  It was pleasant, it was a surprise, and it was inspiring……..interested?  Leftwoods Bar is a large venue in Amarillo’s strip of entertainment.  The staff, super cool.  The opening DJ, super late :).  The crowd was into the music we played though and for never playing somewhere before, we won over fans within the hour.  We had a lot of energy and dance moves.  James Gomez, the booking agent, let us crash at his place and was more than accommodating with safety for all.
I ended up at a small after-party by myself, guitar in hand, as I walked into a room that had picture frames that were completely empty.
Pictureless FramesIt wasn’t by accident or laziness that they weren’t filled, it was a statement.  Like any art, we can make up our own interpretations and mine was that these frames represented potential memories.  A picture depicts a moment in time that was our past.  Something we always hear about is “trying to live in the present” like Buddha or the Dali Lama.  But the past is so easy to revisit because it is what we know rather than what we could know :).  I sat down in front of the “magic wall” and like every other time I’ve created music, my mind and hands began to tell a story.  I don’t force music, I feel it.  Not once have I sat down and said “OK, time to write a song.”  It’s always been an emotion sitting inside me waiting for the right moment to surface as if my subconscious is looking for an opening in my soul.  I express pain, love, anger, all the feelings a human can have through music.  I have never learned a cover mainly because I need to express those feelings for myself and it has happened to turned into an extensive catalog of material.  I am fortunate and grateful for being able to listen to my heart.  I made a small memory in that empty picture frame behind me and tomorrow another will take it’s place……I left that house in a taxi and maybe the young lady that invited me thought I had an alternate plan in mind besides playing music.  But I wasn’t living in the future……just the present.  “It seems lately I can’t part ways from this six string lady of mine.”
Written by:  Kyle Daniel Moon

Benefit concert & dance parties in AZ!

Lake Walton AZ 4 16I used to live on the Hopi Indian Reservation in Second Mesa, Arizona where my mom taught high school for two years.  Being one of only three white students in a school that had over 1500 Native American students, I stuck out like a sore white guy…ha ha.  It was hard at first to make friends, but through playing basketball and being myself, I was able to connect with some amazing souls who took me under their wings.  My best friend Wayne Sekaquaptewa and his girlfriend at the time Lorissa were my true homies and getting to see them when I come to Arizona is always a treat.  The desert is an interesting and beautiful place.  Solitude is easy to find and as we drove to Flagstaff for our show at Hotel Monte V, I took in the landscape as if it was for the first time.

Monte V is a historic hotel in downtown Flagstaff that caters to music lovers, backpackers, and anyone who is willing to have a good time.  The vibe was kicking from the start and we rocked the dance floor full for a solid three hours.

FOW at Hotel Monte V

We met some awesome gentlemen from Canada who were on a cross-country bachelor party.  Tony the bachelor and his brother used to be in a band and they were hooting and hollering after every solo.  Afterwards, we had a safety meeting and learned Tony made sock hats……yep sock hats!  Check it out at www.pook.ca  Get ’em while you can!  They are selling like hot cakes 🙂  Lorissa and her husband Mike came down from the rez to check the show.  I love jamming for my native friends because I know they see my soul.  There is a deepness in their connection with nature and people that our culture does not recognize or value.  I will never forget the day Wayne and I were walking through a parking lot in Tucson, AZ after a basketball game.  We were 16 and he pointed at a puddle in the parking lot and yelled “Look Moonpie (my nickname), a frog!!!”  He raised his arms up to the sky and yelled again “Rain baby!!  Rain brings life!!”  I felt so stupid for not acknowledging something so important in my everyday life.  It also made me realize how difficult it is to survive on the land that natives were forced to take (poor water supply and infertile land).  Here was Wayne, excited about rain, which I had completely taken for granted.  I owe a great deal of who I am as a person to my experiences on the rez and would never trade those days back if I could.

Our next show was in Prescott, AZ for a fundraiser supporting foster care for the Arizona Children’s Association.  We get asked to do fundraising a lot and usually it is never paid.  We are asked to donate our time and service in order for the event to do better than say if they had to pay us.  This can be frustrating when you see the sound man, stage crew, bartenders, etc. getting paid when you aren’t.  That was not the case last Sunday.  Every single employee at The Raven Cafe donated their time, from managers to the bar staff to the sound man (who was amazing!).

Daniel Levitt (director of ACA) and his staff all donated their time as well.  It felt so good to come together for such a great cause.  I got goosebumps a few times while playing and just felt an energy that was beyond words.  This is where I see our music going.  I wish we could afford to play thousands of charities.  Unfortunately, we have to grind to make a living and our opportunities to afford to play free shows are few and far between.  But believe me when I say I want to pump funk increase peace.  That is the end goal of this dream.  Change the world through music.  So I thank all who support us and no one more than my sister Jenny boo.

Kyle & Jenny 4 16My mom worked full time and went to night school most of my life.  I had a big sister (8 years older) and a big brother (5 years older) who helped raise me.  Over the past three years, I have been fortunate enough to see my sister Jen and her husband Greg (whose amazing talents in graphics and art installation design are dwarfed by his true love for my sister) more often.  It is a joy to see them dance together at our shows and see the pure happiness they have for each other in their hearts.

If everyone were lucky enough to find their best friend and lover like they have, we would all be better people.  I couldn’t hope for a more perfect match for someone who is as caring as my sis.  Every morning I stay with her she makes me breakfast and we chat about life, dreams, Bernie Sanders 😉 etc. while Greg slaves over a poster design or t-shirt logo Jenny is making him do for us pro bono (Chicken & Blunts logo is his).  We go to the grocery store together and make beautiful dinners.  This last time we got to have some friends over for a fun and festive Taco Tuesday……

Party at Jenny's 4 16A dance party ensued followed by stories round the fire.

In all, I really couldn’t have had a better experience this time through AZ.  Thank you to Shelby, Keri, Lorissa and Mike for the support in Flag…we love you!!  Thank you to The Raven for being the best bunch of folks on planet earth and, as much as my sister hates public digital affection :), you are my rock, leader, and light in this crazy world.  Thank you for our talks.  Thank you Beth Tom, John, Jeremy, Amanda, Aubrey, Skyler and Emory for reminding me there is more to life than music and highway.  Greg…….well, hell, what do you tell Superman???  Nothing….. you just plug his website and let everyone know they are crazy not to hire you for any graphic/mural/art install projects they need.  Greggpayne@mac.com // www.greggpayne.com

-Written by Kyle Daniel Moon

Cali in our Hearts

S. Lake Tahoe, CA 3 16There is nothing like the quiet of snow. Untracked, pure, and smooth. Passing through the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California, I find peace beyond the glass of our moving fishbowl.

Half Moon Bay, CA  4 16Our return to the golden state has made me appreciate the diverse eco system that separates California from the rest of the nation. We say “from surf to snow,” and it is really true. Within our first week back we played several shows on the central coast (which was beautiful and spring like) and later that weekend we were carving the side of a mountain at Sierra-at-Tahoe Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe, where we play regularly every winter.

This trip was extra special because we teamed up with the S.O.S. Outreach Program (a non-profit organization that benefits under privileged kids through sports and activities) and we were able to provide our instruments for a jam/introduction to electric music as well as be able to play music with the kids.

This was our second time doing something like this and again, all the kids were interested in the wah pedal. A lot of children have seen a guitar but the gadgets, I think, is what they enjoy experimenting with the most. To see them smile and make sounds they never heard before was really gratifying and another great reminder for me that music is for everyone. We were able to raise a small bit of money for S.O.S. as well at our show in Tahoe through the efforts of On Course Events and all the cool peeps who cruised out to The Lakeview Loft…….thank you.

Our shows at the resort were a blast and we brought Cinco de Marzo in with style. Mr. T entered a taco eating contest on a full stomach and was blown out of the water by a human trash compactor.

Being up in the snow was therapeutic, like I said the quiet of the mountain was overwhelming. Brandon and I love snowboarding and this was our only opportunity to go this season.

S. Lake Tahoe, CA  3 16A couple of times I had to focus on just soaking in the view. Our world is so beautiful and is certainly appreciated by many, but I needed to remind myself that I wouldn’t see these ranges and scenery for awhile. When you travel for a living it can be exciting going to the next new place, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to miss the place where you currently are or will soon be leaving.

Back in San Luis Obispo we connected with close friends and got to test drive a Tesla. Holy crap!  Mind blown!  The future is here.  Not only is this thing running on no gas, but it is hauling ass. (0-60mph in 2.5 sec)  Oh, and it drives itself……yep.  By using wi-fi and radar sensors around the body of the car, it steers and merges with on-coming traffic hands free!!!

As amazing as this was, I am still pissed off that our society still manufactures gas cars!!! WTF!?  We have the technology and it is time to move on from destroying our earth for the sake of keeping wallets fat.

We also got to play at our friend Dan’s brewery in El Granada (Bay Area).  It’s amazing how fast the craft brew industry has blown up.  We used to play music with Dan in SLO and eventually he began a brewing company.  His beer is delicious and I am not just saying that….writing about it now kinda makes me want an “A” Frame IPA right meow.  His place is called Hop Dogma and is in a picture perfect coastal town overlooking the pacific ocean.

The crowd was really energetic and we played a great show. The bar was small and it made for an up-close and personal introduction to Fish Out Of Water 🙂  My favorite line from the night was this guy telling me, “You’re my new favorite band………..until I find a new favorite band.”  Hahahaha…classic.

Central Coast, CA  4 16I am in the van now after 2 last minute shows in SLO heading towards Arizona as we begin our 14th national tour!  For only being on the west coast for a month and a half, we have traveled most of it and it is greener than ever with all the much needed rain.  It makes me happy to see and I will miss you Cali.  See you in the fall!

Funkin’ out the Carolinas!

Our last leg of the tour couldn’t have gone better, we played two shows in Charlotte, NC and three shows in Murrells Inlet and Pawleys Island in South Carolina.  I celebrated my birthday with friends and family and my cousin Melissa made Shepherds Pie from scratch so……yea it kicked ass.  I love my cousins Melissa, Evbo, Bryon and Jamie.  I think how grateful I am for music and how it has allowed me to connect with family.  We have made a bit of a name for ourselves in Charlotte and the town is blowing the f up.  Condos are being built on condos!!  As we speak, young professionals are piling into these living spaces and business is booming because of it.  Sycamore Brewing, a venue we rocked with J-Sneez, was almost impossible to load into due to the heavy “condo-cattle” traffic. (Exhibit A)

Evan, James, FOW 2 16The coolest part about rocking Sycamore is that my cousin Evbo gets to come and participate in the festivities.  When I say “participate”, I actually mean he gets on our mic and says something genius (as most 9 year olds would).  Last time we played at the brewery he said, “Everybody raise your hand if your ready to listen to me.”  Crowd control 101 will begin right meow…hahahaha.  This time it was a much sweeter tone.  After dancing his bunz off, he came up on stage and said, “Great dancing everyone!”  It was so genuine and in the moment that I laughed out loud and thought to myself how positive he was being.  I have learned a lot from Evan.  He once told me, “Bring your face closer to mine”, a line I used to get a girl to make out with me once. 🙂  The poetic vibrance of simplicity cannot be denied.  The dance moves were good, but the way you compliment them makes a difference.  Being around Evbo makes me realize to say what I mean, ask for what I want, and have as much fun as possible doing it.

Sometimes we get a new gig and it’s always a little nerve racking knowing you are making a first impression.  You want to keep getting bookings and unfortunately in this biz, you are always as good as your last show.  When you get a chance to make new clientele, you have to make the most of it.  I met Bart in the bathroom of his own sports bar, Helles and Dunkel, during an ass whipping the Kansas City Chiefs were administering to my Raiders.  I know it doesn’t sound like a good start, but it’s how it happened.  He gave me an earful about being a Raider fan and I in turn told him his Patriots were a waste of skin.  I don’t know how we got on to music but within 20 minutes we exchanged phone numbers and a few days later a gig was booked.  Right time, right place kinda thing I guess.  Bart showed up ready to party and you could tell we transported him to 1976.  He made the same faces I did during my solo and was constantly bobbing his head to the beat.  It was refreshing to see a true music fan who was also an owner.  In fact, Bart came to see us play another venue the following day.  Looking forward to our return in May…..so many new friends to revisit!

South Carolina was our last stop on the east coast and we did it right.  We had a dance party with a cool band we met called PaperWork at The P.I.T. in Pawleys Island.  J-Sneez and I have been working on a new song called Hot Kinky Freaks.
(Exhibit B)

I can appreciate bands who are down to earth, have a few dance moves, and don’t act the fool.  The “too cool for school” syndrome was not a factor and I felt like the vibe was mutual.  I wish them the best as they begin to tour the U.S. and you can find them on the worldwide web at www.paperworkband.com  Our final show was a huge event in Murrells Inlet raising funds for the Surfrider Foundation at their third annual Oyster Roast and Bloody Mary contest.  We took the gig knowing we had to cross the U.S. in two and a half days for a show in AZ.  First of all, I have never seen so many oysters or bloody marys in one place.  (Exhibit C)

After a bit of a rough beginning, we won the crowd over with Chicken & Blunts
(Exhibit D)

and then rode off into the sunset.  Literally, as the sun set we began a non-stop, 31 hour drive, leaving our beloved friend Layla and her one-in-a-million staffy Stella (nicknamed the Hobblin Ho) behind…….but not for long.  Thank you to J-Sneez, Layla, the Island Bar Surfside crew, PaperWork, and everyone else who made our stay epic as usual!!

S. Florida….wow!

There is no way to keep this Florida blog short.  I am going to wrap it up in a concise little fun pack package for you……….because we packed a bunch of fun into one month 🙂  We have a solid group of venues in Fort Lauderdale to rock and one of my favorites is Kahuna’s in Deerfield Beach.  It’s the bar that doesn’t really get going until about midnight…..but then it get’s going.

We met an older couple from Colorado and the woman said one of the coolest things I have ever heard.  She walked up to me on break and said, “I know you guys are good because I like your music…..and I am old.”  She said it with a smile like it was a joke, but I believe our music to be cross generational due to the fact that we play rock, funk, reggae and hip-hop.  She and her husband handed me a twenty dollar bill and l thought to myself, “we won another one over.”  It’s important to me to give our audience a bit of everything because I know there are older cats who appreciate our rock because it reminds them of classic rock and I know college kids love Chicken and Blunts and hip-hop.  For there to be 21-70 year olds at our shows is a sign we are indeed a diversified musical group.  Kahuna’s is a definite prime stop if you are in S. Florida!  Their staff are some straight ballers.  If you meet Chris or Nick, tell them the Fish sent you.

Kyle at Q-Bar 1 16The Q-Bar has been another spot we have developed a great relationship with.  The food is bomb, the staff is gorgeous, minus the bald dude 🙂 and the place is a quieter setting for us, so we have to play a little more jazzy, which is a challenge I enjoy.  For some reason, I crack way more jokes at this venue then anywhere else.  The stage is set up behind the bar and makes me feel like I am at a comedy club I guess.  We can’t mention S.Florida without a few words for Fat Cat’s in downtown Fort Laudy……here are a few words….dark, tasty, rocking, late, secret smoke spot, all original music seven nights a week.  Boom! Done.  Thanks Ian, thanks Ed.

Key West…..yep we went there too!  Blue Heaven was, as usual, a weird vacation mixed with a lot of guitar playing and tea drinking (I was sick as a dog).  Brandon and I get so tight acoustically after our Blue Heaven gigs because we play allllllll day long 10am-2pm brunch and 6-9pm dinner.  Kinda like Q-Bar, we diversify the sound at Blue Heaven playing acoustic for the first hour or so then switching to light electric, sometimes not so light…..sorry Richard 🙂

J-Sneez was in tow for the shows and it cracked me up watching him rap Chicken and Blunts while people ate eggs Benedict.  That’s how cool Blue Heaven is.  They want their artists to be artists not corporate entertainers.  I love playing there mostly because the Kyle & Hanroe's daugher 2 16relationship we have with the bartenders and staff.  Peter and his pen, Mike (the only man I Facetime with to date), Brittany (my sister from another mother), Jenny (going to make NBA babies one day), Lyndsay “popping babies and bottles bitches!”, Joan (Blue Heaven’s human form of business duct tape), Hanroe and his adorable daughter, my dancing doppelganger Marcella and Jane, sweet sweet Jane.  Thank you for making our visit a blast!

Gotta give a shout out to the folks that keep us warm at night and allow us to do what we do. Mad love to Captain Jack and Bonnie for hosting us on a moment’s notice and, as usual, keeping the convo interesting.  Love you guys!  Colleen, the foundation for the Fish and my S. Florida besty (thank you for being such a down, cool, bad-ass beezy).  The Fish love you.

F.O.W. w/ Ben Johnson 2 16Our newest friend on the block and my mental doppelganger…….wait for it……Mr. Ben Johnson.  This dude didn’t just come through in a pinch, he allowed myself and the guys a place to recoup our mind, body and soul.  You can check out his dance moves here:

The road gets weary and it had taken it’s toll on all of us.  Ben’s energy and passion for life was a shot in the arm.  He took some amazing footage and honestly, could be a full time photographer if he wasn’t saving lives as a fire fighter and raising his beautiful daughter.  No joke.  He is what I call salt of the earth.  No b.s., just hard work, hard play and a lot of love for his family and fellow brothers.  Gazebo at Ben's 2 16We built a Gazebo in his back yard and, against all odds, somehow got a roof on the thing using two ladders (instruction manual said three 🙂 )  Breaking a sweat and putting a million screws into holes can really bring the bonding levels up.  I can’t wait to get under that thing this summer when we return.  I am honored to know Ben Johnson.  Plain and simple he is a great guy and a Fish in my book.  Welcome to the fish bowl my man.

Julian at Riverside Market 2 16Justin at Riverside Market 2 16Oh, and Riverside Market……..what?  You didn’t think this blog was going to end without a shout to the Don Juan of craft beer did you?  To Julian and Justin – my deranged, totally awesome, inappropriate, and always good for a laugh, home skillets.  We will always rock the Riverside…..All Ways.
FOW at Riverside Market 2 16Brandon at Romanelli RecordingsCrap, I can’t really finish this thing without mentioning our recording!!!  Across the Globe is getting mixed as we speak after a session at Romanelli Studios in Hollywood, FL.  This cat is so fast on the keyboard and clean on the edits we call him the “Janitor”.  Vibed really well and nailed almost all the tracking in first takes (not going to lie, my solo came out epic).  I really enjoy recording now more than ever because I feel like we are executing what I hear in my head, where as before my chops weren’t quite there.  Time, energy, and focus is what I will leave you Mike at Romanelli Recordings 2 16with.  Stay dedicated Fish!  Be the better than today, tomorrow, and do it with a smile.
Pump Funk, Increase Peace!

Late night after-parties & killer sax lines!

Brandon & Sneez play beer pongLate night after-parties are what rock-and-roll seems to thrive on. No one really wants to hear stories about live performances or recording music…..everyone wants to know what happens after the show. This past weekend we were knee deep in an after-party with our close friends from Wabi Sabi. Our good friends Jason and Kenny, who are two hilarious stand-up comics, threw down a mini fiesta at Jason’s house after our show. At first it was the standard beer pong, cheeba smoking, and shot taking kinda soiree. Mr. T and I dominated our first game of beer pong, while Chino and J-Sneez “repped” the Fish and 843 as expected. I had to leave Mike’s side and grab the guitar (which he complained about until he realized Donnie was much better than me). The night had great energy and I think we all needed it.

Brandon on guitar I have to thank everyone at that party from the bottom of my heart. It was something I needed badly. Music brings people together. That night I sat next to Kenny and Jason and we sang/rapped til the weee hours. At one point we had the whole party singing “Red cups……orange balls. We playing beer pong”. Kenny gets the credit which doesn’t surprise anyone considering he is somewhat of “the hook” guru in Petersburg. The guy can make a hook out of any beat and melody you give him. Jason was his usual 106 bars over the standard 16 most rappers adhere to and, in the end, we shut the place down. I haven’t felt that love in a long time. Sure booze helps, but really it’s just about being with people that have positive energy, giving it back to them and living in that very moment. Sometimes you need nights like those to stay motivated, to validate what we do as entertainers and show you can share that stage with all your friends. That’s what it felt like……like we were all on stage with no crowd but ourselves. Thank you Wabi staff and friends for making my night. I really love you all.

Kyle Mike & Sneez rocking WabiOh the shows? Well, we did secure some footage of one Rick Elliott taking every sax player to school. This dude is legit, 100 percent pro, and I told him how much of an honor it was to play music with him. After the second show on Saturday, we parted ways but I love what he told me. He said, “You know Kyle, your sound is your signature.” Not just what you play or how you play it but everything (equipment, effects, etc). My days of piss and vinegar are behind me. I try and listen to the guys who have been doing this longer. Thanks for the hard work (rehearsing as well) and leaving it all on stage Rick. You are a Fish in my book.

The adventures continue…Look for our South Carolina blog coming soon and remember to pump that funk and increase the peace!

Southern Hospitality in S. Carolina!

FOW w LaylaSouth Carolina has become a home away from home for the Fish. Our close friends book us at their venues and our close friends come to the shows. We have considered moving to South Carolina several times, the cost of living combined with the location on the east coast makes it a prime spot for us. One great thing about South Carolina is our friend Layla and her dog Stella (if you have seen any of our recent Facebook videos you are sure to see her being pet by one of us). Layla shares her home, dog and safety materials with us :). She was one of the first friends we made when we started touring, and playing at Island Bar -Surfside means hanging with her and Stella. Kyle, Mike, & Stella 1 16Our song Round ’em Up is about how Layla used to introduce us to other girls and basically vouch for us, this chivalry gained her the nickname “Ho Wrangler”……Alas our beach house after-parties were put to rest and now we reminisce about the good ‘ol days on her couch while we pet her dog. Layla gives rides for free on New Year’s Eve because she wants her friends to arrive safely home. She is always taking a friend to some appointment or sending someone a bit of encouragement when they are down. I am grateful for her not just because she helps us out, but inspires me to be better than yesterday.

Our first show was in Conway at a really cool spot called The Warehouse (Layla informed me I had misspelled it on Facebook…..another advantage of her friendship). The place is big and wide open. Our first song attracted a drunk older woman who was a fan at first until she then started demanding drum solos every song and shaking her head disapprovingly when we played reggae. I am all about playing to your crowd, but as soon as you let individuals dictate the show…… you’re fucked. Crowd control is what performers do. I can spot someone who is generally enjoying the show but is too drunk to express it correctly. To her credit she did start a dance party and her boyfriend or husband bought us a round.

 

Our boy J-Sneez jumped on the set and we killed the rest of the night. I think Conway is actually starting to come up. The town has always been a bit rough around the edges but the downtown is coming alive and our music was a good fit for the mix of people that came in that night. I love how young and old can get down to our sound. That was the point of RoPhunk RaeHop. We didn’t want to appeal to just young people with hip-hop and reggae or just older folks with rock and funk. The four corner stones of groove are present in our sound and it has become our signature.

Shirtless warriors -Island Bar SurfsideOur next spot to rock was Island Bar in Surfside. So many memories have been created in this club over the years. Our friend Brandon and his wife Cynthia have owned it since we did our first tour, and we keep coming back to pay dues, say hello and rock as hard as we possibly can. Brandon is always dropping me notes about who to sing to or requesting his own F.O.W. song. I catch him singing along to almost all our older songs and he is always reminding me to get new merchandise and record new music (Chicken and Blunts shirts are on their way Brandon!!). Playing music at a fan/owners bar is by far one of the best feelings when you are on stage. Mad props to Island Bar -Surfside and all the sweater hoodie love bestowed upon us by Brandon and the fam!!!! They kept us warm in Petersburg, VA. Virginia shenanigans coming soon, until then P.F.I.P. Fish friends and fans xo

FOW in Island Bar hoodiesJah Fish

Happy New Year from the Fish!

FOW near Highlands, NC 1 16Another year passes, and though our world seems on the brink of collapse (if you watch the news), I am grateful for what 2016 has in store for us.  I say grateful because I am alive and in good health.  We did a V-log for our Facebook page about resolutions for New Years and Jamaal, our resident east coast MC, said “stay alive”.  Sometimes that’s what it takes to appreciate life a little more……

I have the same New Year’s resolution every year since I started playing music professionally:  To play somewhere on New Year’s.  I resolve to do this every year because I know it means still having this band and dream alive.  Music has brought me closer to people all over the world that I would not have met otherwise.  I gain an appreciation for it the more I am able to go out and reach people including myself through sound waves.  Invisible waves of positive energy being dumped into small crowds, big crowds, sometimes just nature……a guitar and a shoreline make great peace within your soul.

Our show at Highlands for NYE was special to me in that every note, every second was keeping my body moving.  I thought about how good it felt to stand by the bass and feel it resonating.  I really don’t know how long I will have to feel that.  Our time on Earth is short and our attention span shorter with phones and televisions in every nook and cranny.  I just wanted to feel our music and cohesiveness.  The venue charged $35 for admittance which is by far the most we have ever had a door charge for, but people paid and we had a crowded dance floor come midnight.

It was empowering in the fact that we generated that income for a venue, it made me realize we are really starting to gather a following in the area.  Ugly Dog Pub has always been one of our favorite spots to play, another quality venue that treats their artists with respect.

FOW w Sneez near Highlands NC 1 16Sneez & Mike in front of waterfallThe following day we took a band hike down to this epic waterfall nearby.  Starting the year out in nature was a great idea (Mike gets credit for making us stop and get out of van).  It was awesome until on the hike back to van we saw trash everywhere.  We picked up what we could with our hands but it was just a small amount.  I don’t understand people that leave their trash in spots they like to visit because it’s beautiful???  I picked up a cigarette butt some dude flicked on the ground in front of a bar we were going to watch football at.  I walked inside following him and realized it was the bartender (littering in front of his place of business).  I handed him his butt and said “you dropped this”.  Who are these Some trash near waterfallpeople?  Everyone thinks we are going to be judged by some God based on how we treat people, but I think its how you treat this Earth and animals that are weaker that say more about you as a person.  The shift is coming where old school is being replaced by new school and I can’t wait….at least the majority of our youth can see what horrible things we have done to this Earth and know where a recycling bin is!

Bringing it back to music, I have a line in the song P.F.I.P. that goes “You are my brother, this is our pie.  Leave some for sister, leave her a slice.  STOP purging mother until we all die, this is the ground that she supplies.” 

It’s as simple as that.  Be good to each other and this planet this year and we may get another one.  P.F.I.P. y’all, South Carolina Blog coming soon!!!