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.
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.
I 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.
“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.
I 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.
J-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.
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.
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.
Thank 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.
I 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.
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.
My 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……
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
Our 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.
A 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.
I 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!
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.
Late 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.
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.
Oh 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!
South 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. Our 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.
Our 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
Another 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.
The 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 people? 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!!!