Every Thursday night around 10pm we invite musicians from Miami (and beyond) to perform live in our lush courtyard to an audience of fellow nomads from around the world. The atmosphere’s inviting, the vibes are infectious and the tunes are always authentic and fresh. A few weeks back, Sean Spellman (frontman of the band Quiet Life) was one of those musicians passing through, sharing his rootsy, folky tunes with us. Before Sean packed up and hit the road, we imbibed Broken Shaker cocktails and talked travel, music, and most importantly, veggie-oil-powered tour vans:
First off – the vegetable oil-powered tour van – what’s it like driving over 200,000 miles without using any gas?
It is liberating. I feel good about using an alternative fuel source considering how much I travel to play music. I’d much rather be recycling old fryolator oil than burning fossil fuels. It’s free, and I’m not contributing to “Big Oil.”
You’ve toured all over the US & Europe, what destinations would you recommend to fellow nomads?
Well that’s all a matter of your particular taste but my current favorite underrated places in the U.S. are Asheville, NC for food, beer and mountains, and Asbury Park, NJ for the beach and boardwalk life. I also really love New England. Small coastal towns in the summer are my favorite; I eat a lot of seafood and swim in the ocean as much as possible. Also, Portsmouth, NH, Westerly, RI, Gloucester, MA. Real thick accents.
Then there’s always New Orleans, Portland and New York of course. You guys really turned me on to Miami too.
Name five things you always bring on tour.
1) Dr. Bronner’s soap
2) My grandfather’s camera
3) A good hat
4) My guitar
5) Cedar oil
What makes Miami stand out compared to other cities you’ve passed through?
Miami is one of the most vibrant American cities. It’s got the wildness of New Orleans and the money of NYC. I love Cuban food and music and anything generally Caribbean, which makes me love Miami. It’s nice seeing chickens in the street everyday too.
Where are your favorite spots in Miami for live music? For grabbing food/drinks?
I didn’t get to spend much time in town but I really like Gramps.
What are you doing with your solo work that differs from your band, Quiet Life?
There really isn’t much significant difference between the songwriting at all, mainly I’ve just been recording without the other band members which has given me the freedom to do things on my own time and by my own terms, and allowed me to use other musicians. It ends up giving the songs a slightly different vibe.
Where do you draw your musical inspiration from? Any artists/bands that have influenced you?
My influences come from all over the place. From the guitar sounds of 60’s Caribbean music to the songwriting of Dylan and American folk and country singers, of course. I’ve been attempting to listen to more new music lately. I’ve been digging The Blank Tapes a lot and some of that Foxygen stuff. I’m curious about folks who are making their records at home on old tape machines with limited recording gear. There’s also a great band in Philly called Bunnie. You should check them out!
If you could have a drink with anyone at the Broken Shaker, who would it be?
Jimmy Buffett so he could tell me all the good spots in Florida or Ernest Hemingway right after a big fishing trip in the Keys.