It was a total of 28 days. Being away has grown to mean a different thing since the arrival of one of the most incredible human beings I have had the chance of knowing, Mr. Oliver Fred James. Traveling has grown to be a part of my being and I can’t deny it’s ambivalent effect on my state of happiness and progress. It is out amongst the wide-open space of consiousness that I find my darkest and brightest days. There is a wicked righteousness to its stinging and stark realization of life and death. I find that it cures me (for the most part) and aids the slow to heal cuts that life inflicts along the way.
Evan and I left for Australia March 3rd to tour with the great Neil Finn of New Zealand. I knew that my heart would long for my lover and my boy, but one (me) must carry themselves through the flame of existence and adventure before taking on the cargo of weight that another is tethered to, across the great lake of death and life (and even then should they?) that ALL are expected to see. And with ALL of that we boarded the jet-airliner. The plane took us 14 hours from Los Angeles to Brisbane, Australia where the time would eventually make our minds wake at un-god-lee hours and cause our brains to suffer from a mild case of sleep deprivation. There were so many (I might even say too many) life altering experiences along the in and out roads of the Australian hi-ways and by-ways that I couldn’t begin to start on such things or we might be here until next week, and we can’t have that (YOU CAN NOT). We learned to drive on the left side of the road, we drove through some of the most beautiful country that my eyes have had the privilege of seeing, we met Neil Finn, who, for some reason let us play before him every night on his Australian tour in some of the finest cities and venues that the OUTBACK has to offer. We went from
NAMBOUR (log walkers. faux talkers)
BRISBANE (jungle -ites)
CANBERRA (A Call. A Whistle. BIG SKY)
GEELONG (Roos make no fuss / Animal Kingdom)
MELBOURNE (on the 100 acre farm, high above the city)
ADELAIDE (Children leading childlike)
PERTH (Boy meets Boy / Beach-Side Behavior)
SYDNEY (moments before taking the ferry to the Opera House)
INSIDE THE HOUSE OF THE OPERA. Best Friends // Best Life.
where we ended the tour at the infamous Sydney Opera House, we spent the night(s) with people we had never met, but yet were willing to let us invade their homes and spaces for days, allowing us a freedom to explore the “REAL” culture of Australia. We surfed off the coast of Geelong and Perth and danced with the waves of the Indian Ocean. Kangaroos accompanied us on our morning jog when staying on a beautiful 100-acre farm outside of Melbourne. We have been supported by an amazing Australian Record Company (Cooking Vinyl), and by many of the people that were in attendance at the shows throughout our time in the land “down under”. The three weeks that we were able to spend there passed us by like the whipping wind and before we were able to notice we were aboard the Virgin Airlines flight # DL146 heading to Los Angeles, California.
The flight was a horrendous 13 hours from Sydney to Los Angeles dropping our overly exhausted bodies off at the gate that lead into the zoo of an airport. LAX. It was 7am local time and we had left Australia at 11:30am, the same time. We had traveled back in time, literally leaving us 4 and a half hours younger than when the wheels of the plane had lifted. We wandered around down town L.A. before popping our heads into Amoeba Record Store. The morning and day (for that matter) felt strange and spacey. Our bodies hadn’t rested (properly) for over 30 hours by the time the night sky came. At around 4pm we contacted the owner of the Hotel Café to see if there were any available spots that night to play. Our brains and bodies wouldn’t allow for a day off and we were determined to do some singin’ somewhere/anywhere. “You’re on!” said Marko through my digital device. We played, though highly exhausted, from 10pm to 11pm and decided it was time to call it a day.
HOTEL CAFE (Mirage Image / Ghost of Evan) photo by Chris Stills
The following day we played in Solana Beach at the Belly Up before heading to Ojai to play for the kids of the Thacher School. The experience in Ojai was magnificent. We finished our singings by 8pm and the school had provided a hotel for us to stay at while visiting the small city along the coast. We loaded our stuff into the hotel room and headed to a small restaurant/bar that served 100’s of different types of beer and wine. Evan and I sat across from each other, reminiscing on what had just occurred in our lives and the fortunate state in which we found ourselves as musicians and human beings. Oh! The wonder some adventures that we have been able to have. We are thankful. Eternally & Forever (we are). Before we knew it the features on the wall started to come in at a slight blur and the conversation continued with a heightened sense of laughter and silliness. We walked back to the hotel where I convinced Evan to join me in the hot tub. Two boys, a bottle of wine and world of wonder to discuss lead us to the wee small hours of the morning, examining the road that is laid out before us. The travels and times, the possibility of family expansion and children. The constellations written in the sky. Life, death and the ever-evolving concepts of the fate of us both kept the night’s discussions interesting and evolved. The morning came earlier than expected and I read a good portion of the George Jones autobiography “I Lived To Tell It All”. I loaded my backpack in the rental car and told Evan that I was going to try and hitchhike to the next town and to call me when he was leaving. I walked a good couple of miles before anyone picked me up. Zach drives a ’99 Chevy Blazer, he is a middle aged man with an apparent lack of direction to where is he going and why. He explained to me that he had no plans, near nor far, for what he was embarking on. I found him beautifully composed and collected with how his life was turning out and he didn’t seem to be concerned about changing that any time soon. He dropped me off near the Ventura exit, where Evan picked me up and we drove the remainder of the way into LA. We played the Troubadour that night and I was off to see my baby boy and my lover in the morning.
TROUBADOUR (The Ghost of George Jones / Choices)
As I sat there on the jet way, waiting for the other passengers to exit the plane, I could hardly contain my excitement to see my two lovebirds. They were there at the security gates, waiting my arrival, and it took my breath away to hold them close. The travels of my life have brought me from one coast to another. I have found inspiration in the eyes and the voices of many that I have had the chance to meet and learn from. But amongst it all, through the late nights and blurry mornings, the singing and the sights, I find my heart returning to this place. My greatest joy, my soul and my THUNDER belong in the arms of my lover, in the eyes of my boy. We spent the whole two days together. We dug trenches and planted early wonder beets, golden beets, Amarillo carrots, Little finger carrots, Dandy half long carrots, rutabagas, and blue kale before weeding around the small garlic stalks that are beginning to break their hands through the soil.
FIRST WORM. Ollie-Ver in The Land Of Cauliflower.
DIRT DINNER (A Lesson In Horticulture)
We also were able to start, under our grow lights, our year’s tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and the like. It is some the most exciting times, for it is THE ONLY TIME THAT EXISTS. The beautifully terrible “PRESENT”. She is always here and never leaving or arriving, to find her is to find my muse.
The day ended with a wonderful recipe taken from Heidi Swanson’s “Super Natural Every Day” cookbook.
Pan Fried Mung Beans with Tempeh (we opted out on the yogurt)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
225 g tempeh, cut into pencil-thick strips
255 g broccoli or broccolini florets, trimmed into bitesized
Fine sea salt
225 g cooked mung beans
Grated zest of 1 lemon
20 g packed fresh coriander leaves, chopped
85 g Greek-style yoghurt or crème fraîche
Whisk together the olive oil and shoyu in a wide shallow bowl and add the tempeh. Toss gently until
the tempeh is well coated and let it sit for at least 5 minutes.
Place the tempeh, in a single layer, in a large frying pan over medium–high heat. Reserve any
left-over olive oil mixture; there should be about 1 tablespoon. Cook the tempeh until both sides are
deeply golden, a few minutes on each side. Remove the tempeh from the pan.
Add the reserved olive oil mixture to the frying pan over medium–high heat. Stir in the
broccolini and a couple pinches of salt. Cover and cook for just a minute to cook it through. Uncover
and stir in the mung beans. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the broccolini is bright and slightly tender
and the beans are hot, another couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest and
In a small bowl, stir together the yoghurt and 2 pinches of salt.
Turn out the bean mixture onto a platter, top with the tempeh and a few dollops of the salted
yoghurt, and serve immediately.
It is good to be home, even if it is just for a spell. We are to leave Wednesday for San Francisco and I am excited (ALWAYS) to be able to sing and dance with some of the greatest boys ever. The “PRESENT” is the only adventure, for tomorrow never arrives. Long for the current of life!
Oh, my heart is full!
The fullness of which I could never tell!
Joshua Fred J.