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‘Executive Order’: “Do not give away your songs”

I have always had this notion that the world would become “locally-global.” Our debut single, All Bleed Red, I believe captures this concept. The song represents to me that we can have unity and community without uniformity, on a global scale. From 1990 to 2008, I was a Christian minister. Our church was primarily White so […]

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I have always had this notion that the world would become “locally-global.” Our debut single, All Bleed Red, I believe captures this concept. The song represents to me that we can have unity and community without uniformity, on a global scale.

From 1990 to 2008, I was a Christian minister. Our church was primarily White so I worked to bring in diversity as we “planted” churches in California, Missouri, and Switzerland. I was known for elevating women and men of color into leadership positions of the churches where I worked. I saw the systemic bias against women in leadership. I saw how different ethnicities were being treated by those who were “God’s helpers.” Having my eyes opened to those and many other realities of life, that the church could not balance in the “Right and Wrong” checkbook of humanity, caused me to eventually leave the church and all of its beliefs. But before taking my leave, I began using the term “Glocal” to describe the concept of acting locally for a positive impact on a global scale as “one people, one planet.” If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be the concept of Glocal activism. Somehow we need to get people to see how our local actions are almost always tied to global harmony. We can’t ONLY protest slave labor in one country while we unconsciously consume the products of that country. It is my belief, the only way to truly eradicate issues such as; poverty, racism, systemic inequality, human trafficking, disease, war, environmental catastrophe; and a myriad of other challenges, is for humanity to work together…as a species and not just as artificial lines drawn on the globe. Note: I am a Sci-Fi junky the Federation in Star Trek comes close to this concept.


As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Executive Order.

Executive Order is an eclectic, genre-defying, new band with a seriously fun and often provocative attitude. This three-member band features danceable and sing-along original tunes reminiscent of classic rock, funk, and blues from the ’60s to the ’80s, and alternative rock of the ’90s to now. This diverse sounds comes from all three band mates who were, to varying degrees, influenced by rock sounds of the ’60s, blues, pop, Motown, and the Seattle scene. Executive Order’s storytelling lyrics along with their creative hooks and bridges stimulate the imagination and supply tantalizing sounds. Individually, members of Executive Order are amazing artists in their own right. Together they make magic.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

JIM: Whose full name is, James Anthony Hewahewa Christian, is proudly part native Hawaiian and grew up on the island of Oahu. I spent most of the time outdoors, at the beach, hiking, swimming. ALL play. All the time. Got into music in 1965.

JOSEPH: Born and raised in Torrence, Ca I grew up in a blue-collar family, with a very resolved, blue-collar attitude. In the old days, they’d say I grew up in a “broken home.” I grew up having several “mothers.’ My biological mother had signed me over to my father in some nebulous dealings I would know nothing about until the last few years.

I am the eldest of four boys and three girls from different relationships and marriages and they are all my brothers and sisters. My father and brothers were mechanically gifted while I was the outsider who never liked to walk around with dirty hands and had zero mechanical aptitude. I worked hard as a newspaper delivery boy from 6th grade to my Freshman year of high school. My sole purpose was to buy the comic books that supported and help develop me over the years where I was often the caretaker of my younger brothers. In high school, I found solace in sports and music, both of which carried me into adulthood.

RICH:
I was born in New Jersey but was moved to Southern California as a baby. I lived there until age 7 when my parents decided to move us out to Hawaii. I spent the rest of my childhood growing up on the North Shore of Oahu. I attended Sunset Beach Elementary School and Kahuku High and Intermediate. I lived with my Mom and Dad and my younger sister. As a kid I enjoyed skateboarding, playing basketball, and going to the beach with my friends.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Joseph: Watching the movie “The Rose”. This movie inspired me to write my first poem, which led to writing lyrics. Then I spent the night with my friends, Nick Benedetto, and he played “Iron man” and I tried to sing it. So begins my singing career…

JIM: When I was 15, I moved to Kailua, Hawaii. I had been listening to early ’60s music, rock like the Stones, Beatles, etc. I heard a band playing up the street. The band had drums, guitar, and lead vocals, but no bass. So, I got a bass and within a week we were rehearsing together!

RICH: I was really into skateboarding as a teenager and I would skate after school almost every day with my friend. I was really into rock music but I never thought about playing an instrument. One day, my good friend Joey brought an electric guitar to school and showed us some songs he was learning. I thought it was so cool that he could play and I wanted to learn immediately. He showed me how to play the riff from “Sunshine of Your Love” by the band Cream and I was hooked right away. Soon after that, I bought my own electric guitar and never put it down.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

JOSEPH: During high school, our rock band played a concert for special needs high school students. It was an amazing gig, seeing the pure joy, heartfelt smiles, and watching the energy of them enjoying music.

JIM: Back in 1972 I attendee the Crater Festival at Diamond Head (Sunshine Festival), and I got to jam with a bunch of friends to open the festival, which was very early. But there were thousands of people there at 9:00 AM. Santana and Buddy Miles finished off the day! There were a lot of people. Lots of Love and Peace, and drugs of course!

RICH: Getting the opportunity to work on our album, “All Bleed Red” with the amazing guitarist and producer Michael Cutting. He took our rough demos and turn them into a great finished product. He pushed us all to perform to the best of our ability during the whole recording process. It was so interesting to see the songs we wrote together come to life.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

JOSEPH: One of my earliest mistakes that stick with me was trying to sing like other singers instead of working toward finding my true voice. I stunk in the beginning, and my band teacher in 8th grade let me know it. He said I couldn’t be in the school choir.

Despite my school choir teacher, I continued to sing. At 20, my vocal teacher, Sabine, said learn to love your voice. Her advice was for me to work hard on my voice and sound, but not to compare my voice to others. I learned to sing and write melodies that were meant for me.

JIM: This may not be funny, but way back in the ’60s we used to play lots of pool parties. I remember a pool party we played where we were outside by the pool in swimsuits, T-shirts, and barefoot. I hadn’t noticed the puddle of water on the cement at my feet. I DO remember the blue spark shot from the microphone into my lip though!

RICH: There was a gig I played about 5 or 6 years ago with our old band, Naughty Smile. We had one song in the set with a different guitar tuning. I forgot that I needed to retune my guitar after that song so I could play the next song in standard tuning. I ended up playing the next song in Drop D tuning by mistake. Luckily I was able to adjust on the fly and make it work, but the beginning of the song was a bit rough!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

JOSEPH: Getting Wicked out to the World is the big deal for us right now. With the release set for All Hallows Eve, I am hoping it gives people something fun to play with for Halloween and beyond! We just released our first single, All Bleed Red, 11 September 2020, and we are still promoting that as well. So it is like two full-time jobs promoting two releases so close together.

Promoting Wicked has been very cool. I want to see the effect it has on people and hope that they have fun with it in this October season of fun wickedness. It would be nice if Wicked becomes a conversation piece for listeners as they comb through the lyrics and discuss possible meanings, but at the end of the day we want them to just have fun and for a few minutes be transported to a sultry-spooky place where they can let go and just groove.

JIM: We have our Executive Order project finished and that is and was my biggest project. Looking forward to part II! Now, I am recording with a friend Gordon Freitas. We are recording original Paniolo (Hawaiian Cowboy) songs! Also recording with Peter Apo, folk music, and originals.

RICH: I am working on promoting our music from our first album, “All Bleed Red.” Now that all the songs are finished, we are focusing on trying to build a following on social media. I am also always working on my guitar playing. I practice improvising over the blues or some old jazz standards to work on my fretboard knowledge. I try to also think of new riffs and record them on my phone so I can use them for new songs down the road.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

JOSEPH: One reason it is important to have diversity well-represented in film and television is Story Telling . We can learn so much about each other’s experiences. Even though we have not lived another person’s experience we can KNOW that it exists! Being aware of this existence can help people become more empathetic to others.

The second reason is that diverse representation helps people SEE our local and global neighbors. Seeing how babies and children from across the globe still laugh at the same things. Grandmas spoil their grandchildren regardless of language. Lovers play the game of hunt, chase, date, fall in love everywhere, and more often than not it can be recognized regardless of language, skin color, or religion. That “seeing” can help build global trust. Trust helps to break down barriers in communication and understanding other cultures. Music events such as “We are the World” and “Live Aid” are great examples of doing just that. Music lovers went to the concerts, played the music, bought the albums/CDs. Music and video events were brought into homes around the World, telling and showing the World the struggles and suffering of those they have little knowledge of and can’t see. Having people in the entertainment industry, with considerable clout, bring these events to our living rooms was incredibly huge.

A third reason that diversity is crucial in ALL venues is creativity. Creativity is stifled in a vacuum. Creativity in a vacuum becomes a habit. Free-range creativity sparks innovations, technological advancements, and medical cures. Homogeneous thinking does not create or engender the evolution of thought or deed.

Music is a great example. While Jazz was around before Prohibition Speakeasies, Jazz was the great ointment in unsegregated Speakeasies that brought diverse musicians together in secret to entertain and let loose. Jazz went on to become an American staple appreciated around the Globe. The entire history of Rock and Roll also speaks to the creativity of Black American culture woven through other ethnicities, cities, states, and countries. Music uniquely has been invited into different cultural environments that many of her people were not allowed.

The language of music is understood by the soul, and all languages have a song. Music has a way of breaking down cultural barriers and teaching us stories suppressed or never heard.

Music written locally and expressed globally can move us towards a more complete global community. Music is the party that everyone wants to go to.

JIM: In our band, diversity is prevalent. We are all very different, yet together our music tells the story! Our differences come together to tell our story of rock, funk, blues to come up with a unique type of Alternative Rock.

RICH: I think people from all cultures need to feel like they are represented in entertainment. Including people from all cultures and backgrounds in media can help eliminate prejudice against minorities in this country and across the world.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

JOSEPH
1. Learn how to read and write music. Now, some years later, I am learning music. It has broadened my ability on guitar to do what I did naturally; write songs vocally.

2. Learn the Business of Music. It is amazing to me how many companies will not share the full truth to up and coming musicians.

3. Do not give away your songs. Learning the art to write your own songs and keeping your circle close on who helps you. Amazing how many people try to say that they had a hand in a song after you spent thousands of dollars and much writing time on the song.

4. Write your heart, do not worry about end result . Do not focus on style or genre just write in the moment and clean music and lyrics later.

5. Simple is good. If the song sounds great done by yourself on acoustic or piano it has a great chance to be good.

JIM: It all depends on how you look at this. Anything that anyone would have told me would have changed the way things turned out today! I am very pleased with the way things turned out and happy that I didn’t listen to the many things I was told!

RICH

1. Learn songs by ear.
2. Play with other people as much as possible.
3. Sing what you play.
4. Learn to play in time. Play along with records or a metronome. 
5. Always work on songwriting and record all your ideas.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

JOSEPH: Find a hobby. Diversify your time between work and play. When the music starts being work, go out and do something else for fun. Most importantly, don’t take yourself too seriously!

JIM: I have always been a laid back person. Even the earlier tours that I went on with bands were played back because we toured in Hawaii! I have yet to get to the point where I feel burned out. I did music gigs for 9 years straight. You need to be around the right people!

RICH: If you start feeling burnt out, listen to new music. Explore different genres. Take a lesson. Learn something brand new. You just need to find something that sparks that interest and excitement again.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

JOSEPH: I have always had this notion that the world would become “locally-global.” Our debut single, All Bleed Red, I believe captures this concept. The song represents to me that we can have unity and community without uniformity, on a global scale.

From 1990 to 2008, I was a Christian minister. Our church was primarily White so I worked to bring in diversity as we “planted” churches in California, Missouri, and Switzerland. I was known for elevating women and men of color into leadership positions of the churches where I worked. I saw the systemic bias against women in leadership. I saw how different ethnicities were being treated by those who were “God’s helpers.” Having my eyes opened to those and many other realities of life, that the church could not balance in the “Right and Wrong” checkbook of humanity, caused me to eventually leave the church and all of its beliefs. But before taking my leave, I began using the term “Glocal” to describe the concept of acting locally for a positive impact on a global scale as “one people, one planet.” If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, it would be the concept of Glocal activism. Somehow we need to get people to see how our local actions are almost always tied to global harmony. We can’t ONLY protest slave labor in one country while we unconsciously consume the products of that country. It is my belief, the only way to truly eradicate issues such as; poverty, racism, systemic inequality, human trafficking, disease, war, environmental catastrophe; and a myriad of other challenges, is for humanity to work together…as a species and not just as artificial lines drawn on the globe. Note: I am a Sci-Fi junky the Federation in Star Trek comes close to this concept.

JIM: Funny, I never thought of myself that way, but in this day and age of COVID changes, I would like to see peaceful people flock together, singing and dancing. A Peace Movement-All Lives Matter — Enjoy Each Other!

RICH: I would like to inspire a movement to provide opportunities for people that are in need. I think there are a lot of places in this country and around the world that need better schools and economic opportunities. I would like to see our government work harder to make sure we all have an equal opportunity to succeed in life.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

JOSEPH: My first bandmates, Robert Pele, Chris Wolslager, Nick Benedetto, and Michael James Ryan. Even though I struggled with singing cover songs they continued to let me learn and develop my own voice without being mean or discouraging me. It was the most encouragement I had outside of sports.

JIM: Mostly I think of my parents, who helped, whenever possible starting out. They gave me the freedom to choose my direction and understood my and other’s diversity and how to work with them to achieve a single goal.

RICH: My loving partner Melissa has always been so supportive of my music. She encourages me and inspires me every day to be a better person and I would not be where I am today without her.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

JOSEPH: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants,” Sir Isaac Newton. This quote for me means, I am only where I am at because others, in one way or another, invested in me.

Another that helped see me well into this season of music-making is, “ Encouragement is oxygen for the soul, “ John Maxwell

JIM: Always be honest, be on time or early! These things I have always lived by. Be honest and on time will follow you wherever you go. They become who you are, and though many times they are not easy, they are most important.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

JOSEPH:President Obama. Hands down! He is the closet person, in my lifetime, that I felt had an affective World reach and wanted to bring the global community closer.

JIM: James Taylor

RICH:I would have to say Paul Gilbert. He was a huge influence on my guitar playing early on, and he seems like such a fun, down to earth guy.

How can our readers follow you online?

Website: www.ExecutiveOrderMusic.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ExecOrderMusic/ 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/execordermusic/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHe_dmxIxW8fLvrZ3sPN0A 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ExecOrderMusic
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5o4fNdzWVg6oTrHbWzg29i 
ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/executiveorder
Link To Stream All Bleed Red: https://ffm.to/k4ym1lr.ois

This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

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