CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — When Donavon Frankenreiter plays at Crystal Bay Casino’s Crown Room on Sunday, he’s certain to be in a good mood. On Monday, the surfer and musician will return to his home in Kauai for the first time in months.
“I’ve been on the road nonstop for awhile,” Frankenreiter said. “I haven’t been home in four months. We’re just out on the road promoting “Start Living,” the new album, and we’re just having a really good time.”
Frankenreiter first began playing music in front of audiences in the nineties, briefly with the band Sunchild before pursuing a solo career. He has collaborated with artists like Jack Johnson and G. Love, and has released 10 solo albums since 2004.
Frankenreiter is also an accomplished surfer, a hobby he took up as a youth. It led to numerous sponsorships, including with Billabong, Von Zipper, Subaru and more. He has appeared in numerous surf videos, including the “Drive Thru” series.
“I’m still doing a bunch of surf movies for all these different endorsements and traveling around the world nonstop, going on surf trips, magazine trips,” he said. “Anytime I’m doing the music thing in a different part of the world I connect the surfing thing. It’s all one, wherever we go, we try to surf.”
Frankenreiter is joined on tour by Ed Bendrock (drums), Sam Bollet (bass, vocals), Paul Clark (saxophone, keys) and Matt Grundy (guitar, vocals).
Released in May 2012, “Start Living” represented a new way to go about recording, the musician said. He and Grundy recorded the tracks in a studio in Southern California, placing an emphasis on a homegrown, down-to-earth musical approach. The album features a variety of different instruments including ukuleles, lap steel guitar, banjos, organ and more.
One fun element was experimenting with percussion instruments improvised from household items, the musician said.
“It’s just a bunch of different sounds that I haven’t really used before,” Frankenreiter said. “There’re no drums on the entire record, it’s all just percussion things like hitting guitar cases, a slinky, salt shaker, pots and pans. If you listen to the record there’s a bunch of stuff on there that’s just from Matt’s kitchen.
“The way we recorded it, we did it in seven days in six-hour sessions. That was a whole experience, getting in there and doing it that way. It’s probably one of the most rootsy records I’ve made, it’s laid-back.”
Laid-back is also the word to describe Frankenreiter’s philosophy when it comes to live shows. He doesn’t worry much about planning out a performance, preferring to let each concert develop its own vibe.
“Whatever the mood we’re in, whatever the mood the crowd is in, whatever happens. We just try to have as much fun as we possibly can,” he said. “Our show varies from night to night, what we’re gonna do and how we’re going to do it. It’s just fun to keep it alive and fresh and change it up a lot.”
Still, he may have a special plan for the Crystal Bay Casino concert.
“It’s Easter Sunday that we’re playing there. Maybe we’ll hide a bunch of eggs all over the dance floor and people can look for them,” Frankenreiter said.
All joking aside, Frankenreiter said he always enjoys playing the Crown Room, where he usually performs once a year.
“I love it up there. It’s a really great room, they’ve got a great sound system,” he said. “It’s a big party every time we play there.”