SpearHeadBand, BandMembers ...

Actual and past members of Michael Franti & Spearhead


Raliegh J. Neal, II - Keyboards / Vocals (2006 - 2015)

Taken from Michael Franti (Sep 11, 2010)

At 4 years old Raliegh Neal, II learned to play and sing "Proud Mary" on a baritone Ukulele. At the age of 5 he performed for his kindergarten class. It all seemed natural for him. He formed a jazz Quartet in 11th grade called Moment's Notice named after the John Coltrane classic. While in High School the band "gigged" professionally and participated in many jazz band competitions. Later Raliegh auditioned and was accepted to the University of Miami's school of music. Raliegh moved to New York City in 1991 and truly discovered the power of music and the arts in direct Community service. He became the Music Director for the CityKids Repertory Company where he implemented a music composition course for beginners and an audio engineering class for more experienced youth composers.


Jolene Rust - Vocals (2009 - 2012)

Taken from Michael Franti (Sep 11, 2010)

I have been singing for as long as I can remember, whether it was along with the radio on long road trips, singing opera at age 5 in the bathroom, the church choir, years and years of talent shows, or performing the national anthem at countless sport games. My love for music has always played an integral part in my life. I grew up on the California coast in Monterey, just north of Big Sur. Being born and raised in such an incredibly beautiful environment ingrained the deepest love within me for nature and the outdoors. I started playing the piano at age 6, but after a couple of years moved on to musical theater and dance.

In high school I got my first guitar, and after I graduated I attended Cal Poly to study Theater and Dance.


Dave Shul - Guitar (1998 - 2011)

Taken from Michael Franti (Sep 11, 2010)

I'm Dave Shul I hope all is well in cyberspace. I play guitar in Spearhead. I've been involved in the Bay Area music scene for about 20 years and joined Spearhead in April of 1998. My favorite part of being in Spearhead is traveling and meeting local folks, because I don't usually get to see a lot of the sites as we are moving from place to place so quickly.

I first started playing guitar at age 12. My older brother had a guitar and I used to sneak into his room and play it, because every time I'd ask him for a lesson he'd bop me on the nose and say, "get outta here you ...!" At age 13 I went to Cazadero Music camp at the Russian River in northern California. Among the teachers were Bobby McFerrin, Eddy Marshall, and John Santos.


Cherine Anderson - Vocals (2008 - 2010)

Taken from Cherine-TV (Apr 27, 2016)

"Making music is like food to my soul. It make me feel good, it's powerful, it heals...I hope people feel inspired when they experience my music too."

Cherine Anderson is one of Jamaica's leading young female singer/songwriters, actress and performers. Her genre defying grooves coupled with her powerful voice and thought provoking lyrics has brought her in front of well over 1,000,000 live audience fans, in places such as Jamaica, Europe, Canada, Australia and the USA.


Anthony Robustelli - Keyboards (2004 - 2006)

Taken from www.anthonyrobustelli.com (Apr 26, 2016)

Anthony Robustelli is the epitome of a born musician. Though his primary instrument is keyboards, he is truly a multi-instrumentalist. Anthony is also a prolific writer who has four prior albums to his credit, Another Fatal Blow, Grown Tired of the Con, Comfort is so Rare and a six-movement straight-ahead jazz suite, entitled Travels of a Lost Soul. The music from Travels was featured in the film "Get Famous" along with songs from jazz great Gary Bartz. He also co-wrote the score for the critically acclaimed independent film "Hitman's Handbook" the award-winning PBS documentary "Off the Curb" , penned the theme song to the 2012 documentary "Naked Brand" , and played keyboards on the Spearhead LP Yell Fire.


Roberto Quintana - Percussions (2003 - 2006)

Taken from LinkedIn-Profile (May 02, 2016)

Roberto Quintana is ...


Radioactive - Vocals / Beat Box (2000 - 2004)

Taken from MC RADIOACTIVE | Flowerbox (Apr 28, 2016)

Originating from Boston, MA, Radio Active embodies the essence of hip hop. He is an emcee, beatboxer, writer, painter, and b-boy. He plays musical instruments, incorporates electronic beats with his beatbox and commands active audience participation during his fresh, soulful original live performances.

Innovative to the industry, Radio Active brings hip hop into other genres, a true crossover artist. An electrifying performer, Radio Active has toured extensively the past years throughout North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Japan as a member of the politically charged musical group Michael Franti & Spearhead to audiences in theaters and festivals upwards of 100,000 people ...


Bob Crawford - Keyboards (2001 - 2003)

Taken from Bob Crawford Music - Biography (Apr 28, 2016)

The Bay Area's Bob Crawford is a pianist/keyboardist who finds home in a wide range of different musical styles. He's had experience in everything from jazz to afrobeat, salsa, samba, funk, hip hop, rock, and more.

Although he had little formal musical education, Bob proved to be a quick study with the afro-cuban montuno piano style, and found himself playing in a great local latin funk band called Los Angelitos throughout the early '90s . The band won several Bay Area music awards and played to packed houses, including The Warfield, The Filmore, Slims, and the Great American Music Hall. In addition, the band's music was featured on the national TV show Nash Bridges, including one of Bob's compositions. Clearly, he was on his way.


Goapale - Vocals (2000 - 2001)

Taken from Billboard (Apr 28, 2016)

Born Goapele Mohlabane in Oakland, CA, this singer grew up in a socially conscious and politically active family. Her mother married South African political exile Douglas Mohlabane while studying in Nairobi, Kenya. At an early age, Goapele attended the Berkeley Arts Magnet School where she led a pre-teen peer support group. She also became involved in various groups and organizations that combated racism and sexism. It would be these extroverted activities that assisted her singing career as she would also sing at community functions.

In high school, Goapele sang in the Oakland Youth Choir and became part of a semi-professional music group called Vocal Motion. Upon high school graduation, she attended the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where she studied music theory. She also began developing her songwriting skills during her post-secondary education. In the summer of 2001, Goapele was signed to Skyblaze Recordings and completed her debut album. After finishing the record, she toured North America with Spearhead. She returned to the studio in 2002 to begin work on her second record. ~ Jason MacNeil, Rovi

Taken from MTV (Apr 28, 2016)

Singer/songwriter Goapele broke out of Bay Area at the beginning of the last decade determined to make a difference in the world of music. Seamlessly blending genres while refusing to be limited by the "neo-soul" tag, the eloquent singer/songwriter completed her first release Closer in 2001 and never looked back. Embraced from the beginning by critics and fans alike, Goapele craved the perfect niche for herself as she created music that fused jazz, soul and hip-hop with her own beautiful poetry.

Yet, while the Oakland native and former Berklee College of Music student has continued to grow as artist and live performer in the eleven years since her debut, Goapele is also known as a savvy businesswoman.

Not content to be merely another singer lost in the machine, Goapele's follow-up recordings Even Closer (2002) and Change It All (2005) were released through majors in conjunction with her own independent label Skyblaze. "I like being more hands on when it comes to my music," Goapele says of the family owned independent label. "Establishing Skyblaze allowed me to have a more direct connection with my business as well as the music."

While Rolling Stone magazine once called Goapele the "spiritual love child of Sade and D'Angelo," her searing voice can be both sensuous and serious, often on the same song. After taking off six years from recording, Goapele has returned to the forefront of the music scene with Break of Dawn, a collection of sophisticated songs dealing with love, loss and all the life in between.

"One of my goals for the newest project Break of Dawn was to be more uninhabited," Goapele says. "I came into this business as a young woman who wanted to be taken seriously for my music, but, now I'm more willing to share my sexiness as well. I realize that it's possible to be both complex and provocative."

As a perfect example of Goapele's more sensuous side, her first single "Play" is like a hot bubble bath overflowing with synths and passion. "I was working with producers Electric Thunderbolt, Dan Electric and Teddy Thunderbolt, and they started a little vibe with the synths and drums. I just liked it so much I was ready to get into the recording booth," Goapele says. With sizzling rhythms that are subtle, sexy, but nonetheless funky, one feels as though Goapele is whispering lustful secrets in your ear.

"Milk & Honey," produced by Bedrock, is another sleek, sexy song that helped set the tone for Break of Dawn. "Bedrock and I worked together on the last album, and when he started working on the music for 'Milk & Honey,' I knew that was the direction I wanted to go in."

Recorded mostly at Zoo Studios in Oakland, Break of Dawn digs deep while honestly revealing the many layers of experience that defines Goapele, from the birth of her daughter to the death of her father as well as a close friend.

"When I began thinking about the kind of disc I wanted to make, I felt as though the world was open," Goapele states. "My musical foundation was already in place, so I could experiment and try new things." As one of the earliest songs recorded for this project, the title track is the perfect anthem of perseverance in an ever-changing world that we have no control over. "I chose Break of Dawn as the title, because for me it represents being able to face challenges while still moving forward. After recording 'Break of Dawn,' I felt that through the good and bad things that have happened in my life, these were the experiences that led me to where I am today."

Produced by multi-instrumentalist Malay, who has worked with John Legend and Big Boi, the self-empowering song has a vibe that matches the Goapele's personality perfectly. "Both the album title and the song represents a new day and yet another opportunity to live the life we want to life," Goapele explains. "This is what keeps me inspired and motivated."

Collaborating with an array of creative folks including Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, Bobby Ozuma, Malay and Bedrock, this is also the first project Goapele has worked with other songwriters. "Writing lyrics has always been such a personal process for me, but for Break of Dawn, I decided to take some of the pressure off of myself," she says, laughing.

Songwriter Carman Michelle teamed-up with Goapele and producer Krucial to help compose one of the album's most heartfelt songs "Hush," a beautiful lullaby written for her four-year-old daughter. "For the first time I felt I didn't have to do everything myself."

Another emotionally charged track is "Tears on my Pillow," a sorrowful song that explores death, abandonment and separation. Produced by Bobby Ozuma, "Tears on my Pillow" is a hard-hitting soulful song that explores Goapele's more bluesy side.

Growing-up in Oakland, her politically activist parents helped Goapele develop her musical taste by taking her to countless concerts. "Both of them loved music, so we'd go to shows," Goapele says. Her father was a politically exiled South African who knew many of the musicians. "They were often friends of the family, so they would let me go on stage to sing and dance with the backup singers."

In addition to attending concerts as a girl, Goapele went to a performing arts elementary school. "My big influences were Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Prince and Bob Marley." As a child, Goapele also attended a lot of rallies and leadership conferences with her mother.

"Music was always a part of the program and I would be called upon to perform songs by acapella group Sweet Honey in the Rock," she remembers. "But, I will admit the first album I ever owned was Whitney Houston, which I carried around with me everywhere. My brother was the one who turned me on to rap, because he always played EPMD and Run-DMC."

After graduating from high school, Goapele attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she auditioned by singing the Lena Horne classic "Stormy Weather."

"I went to Berklee, because I wanted to have a better understanding of both the creative (singing, songwriting) as well as the business side," says the former voice major. "I even performed in a James Brown ensemble group so I could be pushed out of my comfort zone."

Indeed, a little bit of the James Brown/Prince vibe comes through on the hypnotic-funk of "Money." As the last song recorded for Break of Dawn, she says, "Although I'm a naturally laidback person, I felt I need a song to kick up the tempo a little bit. Malay played me a funky bassline and we just took the song from there. The subject of money is stressing out so many people these days, but I wanted folks to realize it's not more important than relationships with other people."

After a six-year hiatus, Goapele returns to the limelight with perhaps her most diverse and exciting project to date. Without a doubt, the beauty, tenderness and joyful music on Break of Dawn will make your day.


Charlie Hunter - Guitar (1992 - 1994)

Taken from Guitar Casa (February 14, 2014)

An Inspiration for Anyone Inspired to Play Jazz on an 8 String Guitar

Although most 8 string guitar playing is associated with the genre of metal, the Charlie Hunter guitar style proves that this guitar has an iconic place in jazz. Over the course of about 20 years, Hunter has proven that he is a skilled musician capable of magic on the eight string guitar.

Early Years

Charlie Hunter was born on May 23rd, 1967 in Rhode Island, but moved to Berkeley, California with his family at the age of four...


... to be continued ...