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Spearhead is a musical band which has been made by Michael Franti. This band was formed in 1994. It involved few studio musicians, including mainstay Carl Young, and announced the dissolution of Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.
Michael Franti is an American poet, musician, and composer of African, American Indian, Irish, French, and German descent. He was born in April 21, 1966, in Oakland, California.
Franti is the creator and lead vocalist of Michael Franti & Spearhead, a band that blends hip hop with a variety of other styles including funk, reggae, jazz, folk, and rock. Carole and Charles Franti, a white Finnish-American couple in Oakland had adopted Michael Franti. Charles Franti was a professor in the department of epidemiology and preventative medicine of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and died in 2003.
Michael attended Lick-Wilmerding High School and graduated from the University of San Francisco. At the fourth annual Mountain Jam Festival, he brought Cappy on stage to sing a song.
While attending the University of San Francisco and living above the college radio station he developed a fascination with music and decided to start a band. The Beatnigs included DJ Rono Tse and released a self-titled LP, and an EP Television on Jello Biafras Alternative Tentacles records.
First album won acclaim for its social commentary, and they were chosen by U2 to open for their Zoo TV Tour. Franti and the Disposable Heroes put together another record of music accompanying novelist William Burroughs readings for an album entitled Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales.
This album diverged greatly from the style of the bands previous work, as they were largely providing musical background and accompaniment to Burroughs spoken readings from several of his books.
Their first release, Home, in September 1994, was a departure from the politically charged rap of the Disposable Heroes and drew more from funk and soul music. Their follow up album Chocolate Supa Highway was released in March 1997, with several changes in band members between releases.
This album featured a bit of a return to Hip Hop and a pronounced reggae influence and included guest appearances by notables like Stephen Marley and Joan Osborne.
The band released two albums As Spearhead, Home and Chocolate Supa Highway, followed by a split with Capitol Records. The band instead decided to create its own record label, Boo Boo Wax. Since Capitol Records owns the rights to the name Spearhead, subsequent albums have all been released as Michael Franti & Spearhead. In 1999, Franti began a deeper exploration of his music and politics.
Franti returned the following year as an organizer and cultural worker tied to several intensifying political movements of the time, voicing his observations through his music. Franti continues to hit the festival circuit worldwide.
In addition to producing the annual Power to the Peaceful festival, which has drawn more than 20,000 people to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco over the past seven years.
Franti composed many of the songs from his guitar and, like fellow 21st century cultural globalists Manu Chao and Ozomatli, continues to synthesize his eclectic influences. In a departure from the industrial sounds of the Beatnigs and Disposable Heroes, and the minimalism of early Spearhead, Frantis affirming lyrics are now set to appropriately swelling rock chords, while keeping a world-wise groove nodding towards reggae, dancehall, bossa nova, Afrobeat, and funk.
Anthems like the title track Everyone Deserves Music, Yes I Will and Bomb The World are constructed with a nod to the 80s rock of The Clash and U2, as well as classic soul from Stax and Motown.
The song We Dont Stop even manages to bridge the two sounds in a Magnificent Seven style mash-up. Also in 2003, Franti released a mostly acoustic album.
On July 25, 2006, Michael Franti & Spearhead released Yell Fire!, inspired by Frantis trip to Israel, Baghdad, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip. Michael Franti and Spearhead have taken a highly unconventional route to notoriety for an act with Hip Hop roots.
Largely ignored by the traditional mainstream TV and radio channels of promotion, Franti and Spearhead have gained a passionate worldwide audience. The groups newest album All Rebel Rockers was released on September 9, 2008.