The Gift of Inclusion (Part 2)

A few years ago a small tribe of us wanted to reach out to people who felt excluded (for one reason or another) by the Church… and so we created, what some people called a ‘Church in a Bar’.

After much experimenting… or trial and error, we came up with a model that suited our characters, personalities, skills, gifts, shared vision and the perceived need before us… which was to throw a party once a week (sometimes twice) and invite people to come share a meal, a bit of music, some poetry, story telling and good old fashion banter. We would provide all the food (3 course meal), wine, music and an incredible venue, a shared live-work space (decorated and loved by James Alexander Langteaux) in an industrial part of LA. This phenomenon became known as ‘The What Club?’ Read On »

Having a Blast 23

Last week we finished working on the trailer for the feature film  23 Blast, which will be in US theaters October 24th.

Brief Synopsis: When a high school football star is suddenly stricken with irreversible, total blindness, he must decide whether to live a safe, protected life or to summon the courage through playing football to step back into the world.

23 Blast is (me thinks) a very good dramedy (funny and moving), with a cast rich full of established character actors including Fred Thompson (Die Hard 2, Law and Order, The Hunt from Red October), Stephen Lang (Tombstone,  Gods and Generals, Avatar), Becky Ann Baker (Men in Black, A Simple Plan, Sex and the City) and Dylan Baker (Anchorman 2, Dr Connors in Spiderman 2,3, Happiness). Read On »

I’m Feeling Close to You Tommy Emmanuel

I was 17 the first time I heard Tommy play. Along with my friend Pineapple (my nick name was Helen back then but that’s a whole other story) I had snuck in to the Manzil Room in Kings Cross to hear this wiz kid guitarist from Parkes play with Doug Parkinson & The Southern Star Band. It was a Thursday night. I should have been home studying (though I don’t recall ever doing much of that for any subject other than music or maybe English if it involved a good book).  Read On »

This was no Charles Shaw or Porphry Pearl

The other day I was reading that story of the wedding feast in Cana… you know the one in which a certain Jesus was purported to have turned six large jars of water into wine… not just any of kind of wine mind you… It wasn’t Charles Shaw or Porphry Pearl. No this wine was so good that the more important guests were asking why this sumptuous wine had been kept till the end of the seven day feast… I am guessing that the more gluttonous among them had wasted their fine palate’s on the cheaper stuff provided by the groom… I have been to a few of those weddings myself.

Now while all that is of interest… or a topic of debate for some, I got to thinking ‘just how much wine are we talking about here?’

Each jar (according to the account of one of the attendees) held approximately 25 gallons of liquid. Multiply that by the six jars and we have 150 gallons.

Now, as wine is more commonly measured within the metric system… this comes to 492.104 Liters. Dividing that by 0.75 (the amount of wine in a regular bottle) we have 656 bottles… or 54.6 cases (of 12)

Imagine this. You are going to a party and you say ‘how about I bring some wine”. The hosts might anticipate a nice bottle of red or… maybe something white… but you are feeling generous and so you bring one of each.

But not Jesus, when you invite him to a party… he goes and fills the truck! And then he has all his friends carry in case after case of the ‘good stuff”.

Does it seem a bit extravagant?

I’m not sure about you, but I know who I’m inviting to the next party!

And the Academy Award Goes to?

For many years now, I have been working on television/film projects, mostly as either a composer or songwriter. But when I read the book “The Kid Stays in the Picture” I felt a rush of blood to the old gray cells and began dreaming of the day when I too could become a film producer. I also visited the local library to borrow books on film making, pestered my producer friends ad nauseam, practiced script writing with other novice film makers and even pitched one of our movie ideas to a division of Warner Bros. The answer from the brothers Warner was no, but the experience, even of being on the WB film lot was the fulfillment of an ‘impossible’ childhood dream.

Stranger than fiction, this WB meeting eventually opened up doors for both my friend, Damian Allen, and me to work on such films as Cats and Dogs 2 and Immortals, and while I am considered more often than not of the musical family of production workers, I am actually credited (amongst other things) on IMDB as a Visual Effects Producer.

But as of today, I can also add the actual title of Producer to my CV, having worked tirelessly for many months on this wonderful short film, The Release. I also composed the music and wrote the theme song “I Think I’m Ready”… which features Sandra Stephens.

Written and directed by my good friend John Sideropoulos, with a cast and crew worthy of any major television network programming, The Release tells the story of a victim of child abuse who finds the courage to let go of her past and forgive both herself and her assailant. For more information on the movie visit The Release website.

Staying Alive

I am currently touring and visiting friends in Europe. This past Saturday I played a little concert at what I would call a Big Fat Swiss Birthday. The party started at 1.30 pm at Dieter’s house, with drinks and snacks. Then we were given a bottle of water to keep us hydrated as we all walked around the lake of Constance (not all the way mind you… about 4 kilometers) towards the next stop… the Chateaux of Napoleon the 3rd, where we would spend the next 10 hours (yes you read it here… the Swiss know how to party), drinking, eating, enjoying the view from the many terraces and of course listening to me sing and play (along with Andre, Jurg and Claude, my Swiss version of the Oxygen Thieves).

After about 8 hours of partying the DJ wisely selected a song to re-energize the crowd and, as I did my own (slightly tipsy) Travolta impersonation across the dance floor I was reminded of this wonderful cover version of Staying Alive by my son… the one and only Sam Sparro accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, circa 2008.


Pep Talk for Michael Clarke


A few days ago the Australian Cricket team suffered a most embarrassing and potentially demoralizing defeat at the hands of England. If I could, I would love to give Michael Clarke and his team a little Pep Talk.

Note: To US readers just pretend this is about baseball, for now is not the time to explain the rules of this wonderful game. But as I know you like beating England, please read on. Read On »

Performing for The Queen


Many years ago I was in a musical theater company touring the outback of Australia. It was a grueling 5 month expedition, playing a 3 hour show each night, then pulling down the stage, packing the truck and driving on to the next town. Most nights I’d get a few hours sleep in the van, as I would have to share the driving (sometimes up to 16 hours) with the other guys. It was all part of the job and for the first few months it was a lot of fun.

My deal with the management promised me a share of the door takings and for a while there all the blood, sweat and tears seemed well worth it.

One night, after a long hot drive over dusty roads we readied ourselves for a big show in a mining town club with seating for over 800 hundred. Word from the management was that it would be sold out and in my mind I had already spent that bonus money. But as I peeked my head out of the curtains just before show time I counted barely thirty in the audience. Read On »

The Gift of Inclusion

A few years ago, along with a makeshift band of friends that included the dulcet tones of Mike Eldred, blues guitarist extraordinaire, I played a concert at a maximum security prison in California. The atmosphere in this prison, once the home of the likes of Al Capone, Micky Cohen and Charles Manson was less than welcoming and as we set up our equipment in the main exercise area we could feel the heat of mistrust and suspicion from a thousand pair of eyes. Read On »

That’s not how we Play it!

There is a quality in a musician that is more important to me than either skill or professionalism and this is a childlike love for the unknown… an openness to the discovery of something new.

I view a performance, whether it be on stage or in the studio as a moment of its own.

This particular shared moment has never happened before and will never happen again. It is ours to create and enjoy together. Read On »