I’ve been a minority for 53 years and when I got to Africa, I’m not a minority anymore. I’d never had that feeling and it’s something most Black people in Western culture don’t know. When I’m Johannesburg and look at the crossing guard or the Mayor or the chef at the local restaurant, it’s Black-owned everything and makes me feel very at home. It almost makes me feel like a different person because of the duality I have to live with at home here in the west. In Africa, I lose the American experience. I am unshackled and almost like a totally different person. It was a huge revelation for me and a place I encourage everyone, but also every Black person, to go.
I’ve often planned to move here, I just haven’t yet. I like Sydney, but if I had to choose a city, I’d pick Melbourne and again the audiences there are very keen on Arrested Development. It’s laidback and I feel comfortable in Australia, probably more than almost anywhere else in the world. It’s funny, because I like Paris and don’t eat bread or drink wine and I like Australia and I don’t surf, but that’s what it is for me—the vibes from the people. When I travel I like to be around people who I think are good.
The crowds are very aware of our music and excited about what we represent as a group. I always find the energy in France to be stellar. When I first went, I felt like the people were rude and not easy to get along with, but it’s funny how as you get older appearances change. Now it’s not just one of my favourite places to perform but also has some of my favourite people. I really like the general culture, and this says something because I’m not a wine guy and I don’t do bread, but they do incredible baked goods. Literally, any time I’ve ever had them they are the best in the world, but the people are what I love about France.
This city is very traditional with tons of temples and old architecture from thousands of years back that moves me in a lot of ways much more than modern architecture or most modern things. Plus, the foods here are delicious. Of course, I also love Japan, but Kyoto just felt really special to me. It’s almost a theme here now because I don’t eat meat but when I think back on Kyoto I remember that kobe beef and how it melts in your mouth. There’s also a style of humility in the culture I respond to. I like the notion of servitude and thinking that way about humanity—how we can be with other people and I think it reflects in Japanese life. As an artist performing in Japan, it’s better than anywhere else on the planet in terms of details: the mix in our sound, the setup of our microphones, everything is well thought out and detailed. We’ve had huge success in Japan and that’s always made me feel very happy.
For more from Arrested Development, including global tour dates, see arresteddevelopmentmusic.com.