What activities were you involved in while a student, both within the RC and elsewhere on campus?
Lots of theater through the Rude Mechanicals, RC theater and Arena Stage, acting, writing and directing. Co-directing Macbeth was an epic memory. I played in a rock blues group called The Midnight Special all around Michigan, and played intramural soccer.
What are some highlights of your career - or side projects - that you’re most proud of?
I’ve toured the world with a roots soul collective Dustbowl Revival based out of LA for the last ten years - played 12 countries. Put on plays I wrote in LA and NY - compose music for theater productions.
What are you doing lately that you’re passionate about?
Lately I’ve been working on my music discovery podcast - it’s called The Show On The Road - where I get to deep dive with some of my favorite songwriters and performers from around the world. Editing, writing and producing it myself has been a real learning experience and has forced me to really listen to entire albums again - like I used to do in college when I would fall in love with a new band and tell everyone I could about it. I’ve talked to over a hundred songwriters and performers from around the world!
What about it makes you so passionate? What is the underlying reason or cause you’re doing what you’re doing?
It’s hard for me to keep still - writing and songwriting specifically just kind of take over my body and soul and I love sharing stories with strangers and seeing the world.
How does something you did in the RC relate to this?
The RC gave me the creative freedom to be me and to create stories in my own oddball voice. The encouragement was essential. Being in the RC was all about immersive creativity - and when you are a bandleader, small business owner and podcast producer and host you have to wear many hats at once. It can be overwhelming and the victories are often small - but it’s the drive to be relentlessly creative that keeps me going.
If you could have dinner with anyone, fictional or real, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Maybe the late John Prine who just passed - his music and lyrical sensibility have shaped me tremendously. I first saw him at the Ann Arbor Folk Fest. His ability to use humor to cut like a knife to the heart of things is second to none.
What’s your favorite food to make, and why?
Being of Italian heritage I guess I am programmed to make spaghetti and real red sauce bolognese - secret ingredient: portobello mushrooms. Though I’ve also gotten really into smoking ribs.