While I like to think my time in Nicaragua has made we wise and learned in dealing with the challenges that come with living in an under-developed country, my recent experience of having the privilege to speak with musician Xavier Rudd has shown me otherwise. Perhaps the stoke of having Xavier take time out of his current tour schedule to give 5ones a little love blinded me from the reality that Nicaragua walks hand in hand with Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. An ant breaking wind will put the power out for days here and I work from an office located on the main drag of a town that celebrates weekly holidays like they were going out of style. So while it may have been naive and even ignorant on my part to set up a phone session with Xavier, thank god he is one of the most truly special people I’ve ever come across.
“I’m just another person, we’re probably very similar me and you,” Xavier told me in the midst of our discussion that covered his music, life on tour, and surfing among other things. “I’m just a vehicle, someone who’s been given a gift,” Xavier said, “I’ve had this music running through me ever since I was a child and it’s never changed.” This is the way Xavier sees his music. It’s this gracious and brilliant form of spreading positivity that has made his grassroots, or better yet, sandroots following, especially within the surfing community, so passionate about the issues he covers through his musical activism. Protecting our environment, protecting the rights of native people, protecting each other… these and others are all issues that Xavier holds dear to his heart. He engages in this activism through his unique form of musical expression. It’s an expression that doesn’t just come through his inspirational lyrics, but also through his simultaneously playing multiple instruments when on stage, including the aboriginal didgeridoo. If Xavier Rudd’s music is as he calls it, simply a gift, then it is a gift that he has taken and developed in hopes of bringing about a better world.
And surfing? Being on tour does affect the ability to find time to paddle out, however tour stops such as his recent show in San Diego help to remedy that. “Yeah I was able to get out for a bit up at Oceanside when I was down in San Diego. It was definitely nice to get out in the water,” Xavier said, “when I was young I didn’t always take advantage of my opportunities to surf, now I’m just grateful for any chance to get out in the water.”
When I spoke with Xavier he had since moved on from the west coast portion of the ‘Dark Shades of Blue’ World tour and was currently in New York City preparing for his show there on Sept. 11. This brought up an interesting point. How does someone who grew up in a place like Jan Juc, a tiny coastal town of Victoria, Australia which boasts a population of roughly 3,000, cope with the hectic life that goes along with being on a world tour? It would seem that having to deal with the traveling, the press requests, and all of the other business aspects would be a source of frustration for Xavier. Not at all. “I’ve surrounded myself with a great team of people and they make it all easier,” Xavier said in regards to life on tour,” they help with the decision making and allow things to run very smoothly.”
Thousands of miles of separation, faulty power and phone connections, mariachi bands and percussion bombs blasting away… none of this had any effect on the message that Xavier Rudd spreads even through telephone conversations. He is as he calls it, a vehicle to spread his music and his message. He let me know that he will continue to do so until that message ceases to run through him. Here is to hoping that this day is still a long way off. Because if there is one thing, above all else, that I was able to take away from my time spent chatting with him, it’s that the world needs more people like Xavier Rudd.
Tags: 5 with 5's
Posted by Shaun on Sunday, September 21st, 2008 in Surfing.