By Brian Heisler

Xavier Rudd
Growing up in Torquay, on Australia's south-east coast, Xavier Rudd has developed an intimate connection with our world. The multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and surfer has traveled far and wide. Rudd has seen the people, the places, the highs and lows, and he uses this as inspiration, channeling it into his music.

Coming on the heels of Rudd's wildly successful release Solace, which broke Australia's Top 15, the music community welcomes his sixth release, Food In The Belly. With his pure vision, positive message, and barefoot soul, Rudd continues to build his loyal following around the globe. JamBase is pleased to offer insight into what makes this young, honest pioneer tick.

JamBase: Food In The Belly was released in Australia in 2005 and in Canada in 2006. When and where was it recorded?

Xavier Rudd
Xavier Rudd: It was recorded in Vancouver two years ago. We changed over record companies and things in the States, so it took a while to get it happening.

JamBase: Originally the album was on Universal and now the American release is on Epitaph's ANTI- label. What was the reason for the change?

Xavier Rudd: It just seemed like the right thing. I've always had an independent deal with Universal in Australia and New Zealand, so we've been kind of looking at how we're gonna do the rest of the world. Initially, it was Universal with the option given that I had deals in other territories with them, but when it came down to it, it just seemed to be more suited to ANTI- and their whole approach. A bit different, a bit more independent, a bit kind of left of center. I think it kind of suits what I do.

You've called Food In The Belly a celebration. Is there an overall influence to the album?

Xavier Rudd by Joel Johnston
I guess Food In The Belly was a gratitude thing. I was just feeling really grateful for my opportunities. It was a time of touring around in new places, meeting new people, about feeling new spirit and new energy in an unbalanced world, feeling really grateful for who I am, where I'm from, what I do, my opportunities. So, it sort of comes from that place a bit.

The song "Messages" seems to be the cornerstone of the album. Can you explain where that one came from?

"Messages" is pretty powerful. It seemed to come up through me. It comes from aboriginal ancestors in Australia and people watching over the land. It's gratitude for the time and the place we've been gifted. This is a beautiful Earth. We live in a time where the Earth is deteriorating and we're aware of that But, we still live in a time where we can enjoy our fetish beauty of this powerful gift, Earth. It's written in hope that our future generations can feel some of the similar spirit and energy that we've been gifted in this lifetime.

Many of the songs on Food In The Belly have been taken on the road already and seem made for the live setting, specifically "Energy Song" and "Food In The Belly." Can you explain how you develop songs live?

Xavier Rudd by Joel Johnston
Essentially I'm a live performer and that's what I spend most of my time doing. I don't spend a lot of time recording. I've always developed my songs live and everybody that comes to my shows is involved in that process. The energy people bring, the situations, they help me develop songs. So, a lot of stuff has come about while on the road. I don't think there's anything that doesn't [develop from that situation]. Sometimes more intimate songs sit with me, more personal reflections I put down in the studio, but a lot of stuff I develop live.

"Connie's Song" has a different feel than the rest of the album. How did you get the idea to add tuba and banjo that to the song?

It's written for a woman who is close to me and whose son died in her garden. The way she connects with him is through her garden. His spirits are strong in her garden and her husband is a tuba player, so it was sort of fitting to have tuba on there.

The last song on Food In The Belly, "September 24, 1999," where does that name come from?

Xavier Rudd
It came from when my wife conceived our first child. That's just a personal song that I wrote quite a few years ago. It was always just a personal song and then there was a piano in the studio and one night I was playing it. It was light and I hadn't played it for years. [Producer] Todd [Simko] had some mics up and recorded it, and he was like, "You should put that on [the album]."

"Fortune Teller" is a good example of how you use myriad instruments. You've said in the past that you never intended to be a one-man-band. When and how did you realize that you could put all these instruments together at the same time?

Just over time, although like you said, I never planned it. I'm just someone who likes to fiddle with things and mess around. Music's been my life and touring around and playing and just building this world that's around me over time. Nothing's ever planned. It's just sort of what's come to me and a lifetime of doing that.

Do you have any plans for 2007?

Well, I'm in the studio right now recording the next album, which should come out sometime in the next year. I'm excited to see that take shape. And it looks like more touring and playing. I'm not a goal person. I sort of live in the moment. I don't really know what's happening a long way ahead of time. I kind of like it that way. That way I'm constantly surprised by things. I just kind of live in the present.

JamBase | Australia
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[Published on: 2/21/07]

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the mighty quinn starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 07:39PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

the mighty quinn

one of the best shows i saw in 2006...a powerful spirit comes through his soul and into the mic. the whole crowd feels it. even his studio albums buzz...

koach starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 08:59PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Great Musician, amazing show at bonnaroo 2 years ago...

mickrod420 starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 10:51PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This is the best artist out right now. Powerful spirit, very humble and modest. I suggest everyone to listen to him.

Greatwaves Thu 2/22/2007 05:49AM
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this guy is great, very emotional and spiritual, at Allgood he brought tears to my eyes... he should tour with Keller as the two one man shows

beatleboy000 starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/22/2007 06:21AM
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I just started listen'n to this guy....VERY VERY good stuff!!! i cant wait to catch a live show....

anonymous starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/22/2007 07:15AM
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Xavier is awesome, much much needed message to get out to this artificial US culture..he and michael franti are cut from the same stone, in terms of giving very powerful performances with an incredible amount of love and superb message behind it all....of course the keller comparisons are inevitable from the one man show style, but keller is much more PLAY, not that Xavier isn't fun, but he's got the message that keller doesn't........Xavier is an advocate for the aborriginal culture, if you have never investigated what he has done in trying to get respect from the AU gov go to his website and take a look.......also, with Xavier the message is much more respect and love for mother earth, franti's tend to be more political than Xavier gets, but both are BY FAR my favorite shows to attend.......i've toured with phish and cheese for many moons, danced my ass off at many many other jam band scenes; but those 2 artists have the heart and the message that out culture SO NEEDS TO HEAR....

philsy77 starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/22/2007 09:09AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Xavier is one of the Purest artist, in our music scene today!! Seeing him live will possibly change your life. The emotion and heart felt meaning of his music will move you!!!! One of the few musicians today in which music has a meaning!

illinikrush3 starstarstarstar Thu 2/22/2007 11:02AM
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man does wonders with his music. i have had a chance to see him 3 times now and he just gets better and better with every show. lyrics have alot of meaning and his fan base is loyal... hope to be seeing him back in the states touring again soon.

Derekmk Thu 2/22/2007 11:42AM
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Does anyone have his All Good '06 set?!! It was one of the best sets of the weekend but it's nowhere to be found! There were quite a few mic stands up i'm sure it's somewhere. It's disappointing, honestly. The blistering sun combined with didgeridoo's was very fitting. And a tired, dazed but anxious crowd, the result of a weekend of beautiful music, created great energy when he took the stage. The vibes at his shows are so uplifting. His music is truly what music should be, very primal..hits you at your center. It was the perfect setting for Xavier. A memory i won't forget..

dogbeach Thu 2/22/2007 03:43PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Okay, I like this guy, his music is cool... but can I ask one question?

Why does surfing have to be forcibly inserted into any musician/celebrity article that it can possibly fit?

Some of us live at the beach and surf every day. Xavier Rudd does not mention surfing or the ocean one single time in the interview. Why is it relevant? Does it make him cooler or a better musician? Or, did the author just watch Blue Crush and a few too many Mountain Dew or Toyota commercials?

Please help--I honestly want to know.

toestothenose starstarstarstar Thu 2/22/2007 04:12PM
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In response to DBeach - Perhaps to provide him some dimension and not just portray him as musician. Although, until I read this I did'nt know he surfed.

DB - Here's my stab in the dark west coast/ not east coast- You live in San Deigo near PB...

dogbeach Thu 2/22/2007 05:01PM
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Hey Toestothenose--

#1--nice name! I've been known to wander towards the front of longboard on occassion, although I prefer a short singlefin or fish....

#2--PB???? Please tell me you're kidding! I'm a Winston's & Sunset Cliffs regular and I live about two blocks from Dog Beach (used to live in the very last house before the water there). That should make it pretty obvious.

The surfing thing reminds me of the 80's, but worse--surfing is in every ad, but thankfully, minus the day-glo.

rebubula7 starstarstarstar Fri 2/23/2007 08:22AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I have a special place in my heart for Xavier. He is an amazing person and so very talented. His message is pure and unfaltering. Everyone can learn alittle something from him. I feel that his messages carry with me and I find myself reflecting upon his words. If you haven't heard Live at the Grid or Live in Canada....do it now...you won't be disappointed.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstar Fri 2/23/2007 09:53AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

any music made with a positive message is good. some of the posts I see here show the narrow minded perspective about music. hehe.. I see outright hatred cos some people dont like this or that music. Is it really hard to stomach. True I dont like everything, but I surely dont just spew hatred at other people or bands cos I dont like it. hmmmm franti,jr gong, xavier, they bring a positive vibe, this we need more of..

pinkfloydfan420 starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/23/2007 01:29PM
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Xavier is amazing, a truly talented musician so unique, you cannot descibe or compare him to anything else. Also, I've never seen more beautiful women at a show than when I saw Xavier in Detroit a year or two back. That was the most beautiful crowd ever...

grooveaholic Fri 2/23/2007 05:25PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Xavier is one of the most overall talented musicians i have ever seen. His lyrics are amazing and the fact that they portray an actual positive message, is inspiring. I love this guy and cant wait to see him next

chetzel69 starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/25/2007 04:11PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Xavier has been one of my favorite shows to go see in the past 3 or 4 years by far the most talented musician that I have ever seen. I seen him play with keller at Bonnaroo two years ago. I got to met him and very chilled and laid back person I also had him write in my quote book which Xavier put a smile face and wrote One Journy. Now I'm in Australia and getting ready to hopefully se him atleast twice in his own surroundings, but if you ever have a chance go see this guy because his live show will blow you away Peace Love and Harmony

joshncola starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/25/2007 08:46PM
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The new album is spectacular and xavier is one of the best i've ever seen at what he does. cant wait to see him at bonnaroo

johnnygoff starstarstarstar Mon 2/26/2007 07:44AM
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Take the empowered feeling you get w/ Richie Havens, Country Joe McDonald and Bob Marley and combine with some of the most beautiful, crisp, clean guitar sounds, "didg" backgrounds and a Moving voice w/ moving lyrics and you have yourself your representative for Australian hipsters/surfers and a new voice for the American freedoms we all desire. Believe the hype! via johnnygoff

cookoo Tue 2/27/2007 12:34PM
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but we hungry
a hungry mob is a angry mob...

woohoo! this guy is awesome, saw him as an opener for galactic who was an opener for gov't mule...for $15!!! Amazing show

vernoislawnboy Tue 4/3/2007 07:25AM
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xavier rudd sounds like phish mannnn