A CONVO OVER COFFEE
WHERE DOES THIS CREATIVITY AND MOTIVATION COME FROM?
I won the genetic lottery, its random, luck.
HOW DOES ADVENTURING AND FIRE FIGHTING RELATE TO ART?
All three are about taking a risk.
WHAT'S THE SCARIEST THING YOU EVER DID?
Fell in love.
"Caffeine, treadmill for the brain."
How would you describe your creative process?
I work with a practiced level of concentration yet I'm
relaxed and ready to respond to my thoughts and ideas.
Is it the same in the Fire Department?
It's the same but different, it begins with concentration and is supported by training. An emergency doesn't offer time to think so you need to respond quickly and act with purpose. Being creative isn't an emergency but requires a level of spontaneity to be successful.
With so much to think about how does it stay together?
When you train with intent and accurately identify the priorities then you'll see what opportunities are available
and how best to deploy resources and people. Once that's
in play you then have actions to focus on.
How much does experience influence decision making?
Being familiar with certain fire behaviours gives you the edge because you're able to quickly identify threats and decide on being offensive or defensive. Again, concentration is important as it leads too consistency which leads to confidence.
What does it mean to be a professional?
Every decision I made was peer reviewed and each year there was a list of re-certifications so I was expected to consistently perform at the highest levels. The little success I've had with my art is because I understood how to apply these fundamentals to being creative. As a result I was taken seriously by professional people in music.
What are some of your musical influences?
I graduated in 1972 so that's where I'm coming from
but I like any music that has relatable emotional
What's your biggest achievement with your art?
Raising over 35K for the White Helmets in Syria in 2015.
How did you get involved?
Caught the news clip, got angry and responded effectively.
What's the biggest take away from the fire department?
There were a lot of personal moments with all kinds of
people in trouble and suffering. I didn't always want to see what was in front of me but someone has to help and this
connection with strangers stays with me.
What's the take away from adventuring?
The climbing partnerships and experiencing the highest levels of trust that we had in each other.
What's the take away from Outward Bound?
It was satisfying to help people discover what
I called the 'deeper you'. This happens when
you overcome a challenge you believed wasn't
possible and that spontaneous joy you
experience is the 'deeper you'. Give yourself
good reason to believe in yourself and everything
What's a fire fighter's worst day?
When one of us doesn't go home.
Any close calls?
Not really but exposed to many high risk scenarios.
Saving a life must demand the most from you.
It does and it's intense for everyone. I dealt with it by being hyper vigilante in my training and preparation. I wanted to give people the best chance of rescue and recovery.
What's life like in a fire hall?
It has a lot of dynamic tension to it, you need to be relaxed but also ready to perform at your best in the time it takes to arrive on scene.
People look up to fire fighters and see them as heroes.
We're not heroes but well trained people. To me the heroes are the ones who witness an emergency and act without waiting for us to arrive. That impresses me, they're great human beings.
What's the best thing about being an artist?
My mission statement for my art is, Be Honest Be Expressive. Staying true to this has become a
meaningful human experience regardless of success.
What's your songwriting process?
Playing the guitar was a way to take my mind away from
professional responsibilities beginning with Outward Bound. Songs would emerge and I came to believe in this process.
The risk taking is in the emotional commitment?
Exactly, it's also where you find authenticity.
How do you know which way to go with an idea?
I trust the first expressions, that being mood and tempo,
then I allow myself to settle into that characterization.
Any tricks to help that along?
I'll create a click track that has percussive elements
common to the style to keep the vibe happening and focused.
How does the song come to life?
As scenes in the story form the way forward slowly emerges.
It can be a lot of effort or there are times when it happens spontaneously and you just get out of the way and go with it.
How do you define 'flow'?
Concentrating without thinking.
Coming up with original lyrics must be challenging.
For me it begins with Be Honest Be Expressive. After that
you have to work at it.
How do you know when a song is finished?
When I'm satisfied that my best effort is on every part of the production and the result excites me then I consider it to
be a 'musical conclusion' I can live with.
Your process is really a journey.
It's a journey of self discovery guided by intuition.
As the story takes shape deeper motivations, insights and wisdoms surface. It elevates your personal growth. It's a trip for sure.
It sounds like it's something you really enjoy.
Definitely, the more fun I have the better I get, the better
I get the more fun I have.
Have you ever had writers block?
Where does all this art come from?
My experience makes me believe it's genetic and random.
I was lucky to be born in a time when the opportunities to record at home and film independently became available.
How much did the challenges of life contribute?
A lot. I started writing in my mid thirties and quickly discovered that I had secrets I didn't know I had. It also became apparent that adversity reveals rather than builds character and if your character isn't coming through it
means it's time to grow up.
Originality is hard to come by these days.
Bringing anything original or innovative into the world is exciting and having it be relatable is an unexpected but welcome reward. Be Honest Be Expressive is what
What do you mean by Analog Love, Techno Mind?
The first video camera I used was a rental from 7eleven and
as technology led us to digital I embraced it. The same is
true with the music, I started out recording on a boom box.
Some refer to their songs as their children.
I get that but for me the songs are more like souvenirs
especially the 4 track recordings because they're so raw
and energized. There's a lot of nostalgia attached to all the
How did Outdoor Living come about?
The need was there as the one film I found on Hypothermia consisted of do's & don't's which educates but doesn't inspire learning. Dramatic action does this really well.
What are the challenges of this method of teaching?
Writing natural sounding dialogue and the believability
of the actors is what makes it work.
Everyone is so authentic and the out takes are hilarious.
They'd goof off right up to 'action' then they would drop
instantly into character like Clooney and Pitt.
Being yourself makes everything easier.
The fact no one had any acting experience is notable.
Things like speaking on the radio were second nature for Brian & Bob and being themselves was real easy for Tyler
Education through entertainment was a success.
Definitely, signing broadcast agreements with 2 PBS stations was gratifying. They were genuinely excited
about it and the broadcast party afterwards is memorable. Everybody was proud of the team effort.
And all the money is on the screen.
That's right, fortunately during a lift evacuation on Whistler
I met the Patagonia rep, he asked what I was filming, I told
him about Outdoor Living and on the spot he committed
to sending full sets of gear for everyone. Good things can
come from good intentions. Not always but this time it did.
What were the years at 'Outward Bound' like?
It began in 1973 and went to1985 and I didn't want to be
anywhere else. Taking on the responsibility of people's
lives was the level of professionalism I was seeking. It's meant a lifetime of humility and mountains of fun.
Those years also led to an invitation to climb Mt. Everest.
It did and they're also what got me the job with the Delta
Fire Department which meant giving up the Everest climb.
Was that a hard decision?
A little but by the time it came around I had already decided to change directions.
Any professional mountain misadventures?
No, all my decisions stood up and everyone went home.
Any personal mountain misadventures?
Nothing serious until age 62 when I did a head jib off a cliff while skiing and ended up fracturing my pelvis.
Was that the end of skiing?
No, it was a closed fracture and didn't require surgery making it easier to recover. I was on my skis in 8 weeks.
Any words for others pursuing their creativity?
Be Honest Be Expressive and give yourself time to discover your art and grow into your process.
Are you a religious or spiritual person?
Spiritual in the sense that I have a conscience and don't need religion or a god. Ultimately I believe in the intelligence of life and helping others.
Do you have any home truths you want to share?
I staked my 'claim', watched my side of the street and got it
right when it counted. That seemed to work.
More than memories.
Pretty and nobody's fool.
Staked my 'claim', watched my side of the street and got it right when it counted.
More than memories.