The music scene

Donavon Frankenreiter: He just keeps livin’

 
 
DONOVAN
DONOVAN

Surfing and rock-’n’-roll have gone hand-in-hand since the days of Elvis, Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys: Each skill exponentially increases the other’s cool factor. There aren’t too many rockers who hang ten these days, however, but one such rare specimen is heading to sunny South Florida this weekend.

Donavon Frankenreiter — California-born and now living with his wife and two boys in Kauai, Hawaii — brings his mellow, soulful rock sound to Fort Lauderdale’s Culture Room on Saturday in support of his latest album, Start Livin’, which largely eschews traditional drums, percussion and bass for a more creative, “found object” approach to recording.

What inspired you to go so organic and minimalistic on your new album?

That kind of just happened in the studio. We were gonna use a drum set, and the first day we went in there we recorded Shine, which is the first track. The thing is, when it started out I really wanted to just be in a room with my buddy, [bassist] Matt [Grundy], who I’ve been playing with for a long time. I wanted to record a track where I had, like, me on the acoustic singing and him singing backups, and build the track from there. And so I think that led to us doing a lot more percussion stuff, because instead of getting the great bass and drum tone and building a track around that and then singing last, we did it the other way.

Was it liberating?

It was a lot of fun; it was the first time I’d recorded a record that way. And the process seemed to go a lot faster. We did the whole record in seven days.

How does that creative instrumentation transfer to the live stage?

We just kind of adapt all of our songs to the live show. A lot of songs are really mellow but become more upbeat live.

You’ve said that “Start Livin’” is pretty much a love letter to your wife and two boys. How do you feel about touring?

You know, it’s crazy — I love to tour, and I love traveling around the world and playing music and surfing, and when they can come with me it’s sort of the best of both worlds. But it’s one of those things where if I want to have a career in music and make a living, I gotta tour. I’m not by any means selling massive amounts of records, so I can’t just sit around and pick and choose where I want to go. But I feel fortunate that I’m able to go to Europe and Brazil and Japan and Australia.

As a surfer, you know Miami doesn’t really have many waves. Can you still enjoy the beach here, or does the flat water kind of bum you out?

No, it’s really good. It’s funny. I’ve got a couple friends there who work for MasterCraft. And they have this boat that creates these insane waves behind it. And when the waves are flat, you can surf behind this boat without a rope, and it’s pretty rad.

Donavon Frankenreiter appears 8 p.m. Saturday at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; $20; 954-564-1074 or www.cultureroom.net.

Michael Hamersly

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