Here it is! The official launch and first episode of Thriving Rockstar. Enjoy this great conversation and make sure to get on myVIP list at the bottom of the page!
Having Neal on the show was great! I’m a huge fan personally… His insights and wisdom made this a great episode!
(I’ve embedded some top-rated product links in the text whenever relevant. Please support the podcast by using these links if you wish to purchase those products. Thanks!)
Born in 1960 to a musical family in California, Neal Morse formed and played in many bands in his youth, learning and mastering several instruments along the way. In 1995, he wrote and recorded with his band Spock’s Beard The Light, an album based firmly in the then unfashionable progressive (‘prog’) rock genre. This album quickly became a modern prog classic and began to bring Neal and the band global recognition. In 2000, he also joined forces with Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Peter Trewavas (Marillion) and Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings) to form Transatlantic, a ‘prog supergroup’ that won further acclaim - and yet more fans - across the world. A second supergroup with Portnoy followed - Flying Colors – which also features Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Casey McPherson (Endochine), and Dave LaRue (Dixie Dregs), with whom he earned his first #1 international chart position.
Forging out on his own in 2003, Neal has made a series of ground-breaking albums, including the widely-acclaimed Testimony and Sola Scriptura. In 2015 he formed The Neal Morse Band, featuring long-time collaborators Mike Portnoy (drums) and Randy George (bass), as well as Bill Hubauer (keyboards) and Eric Gillette (guitar). The band’s first album - The Grand Experiment – showed both a freshness and maturity that was further developed in 2016’s The Similitude Of A Dream.
How he deals with bad emotions: I repeat scripture to myself if I’m not feeling well
On diet: Neal starts his day with some water and fiber. He tries to eat healthy but gives into some pizza the band has after show. For damage control, he only eats the toppings if he has a second slice. When they have a buffet, he tries to save some healthy food for after the show.
For exercise, Neal will have an hour walk and likes to pray during that time. He mentioned that god has dealt with important things while he ran. He speaks about that in his book, Testimony. Further, he uses workout bands and likes to workout with a T25 DVD.
He tries to eat around 5:30, which is about 2.5 hours before they play. He doesn’t like to eat close to performing. He had mentioned Carlos Santana preferring to play hungry.
On substance abuse, Neal had used to drink a lot, but now only has a glass of wine sometimes. He theorizes that artists get entangled in substance abuse because of the nature of tour life. Having lack of sleep, they usually go for coffee or other uppers. After the show, they are high strung and need to calm down to sleep so end up drinking or taking other drugs to go to sleep. He prays for strength of character to get through life on tour.
For fun, Neal like to ski, play tennis, hang out with family, and go out to dinner with friends.
Neal tries to prey without ceasing, as the Bible dictates. The band does a prayer before going on stage, he also preys while playing. He shared a recent prayer he did before going on state at Cruise To The Edge, “Lord just touch my heart and let this not be a mechanical thing; let me feel this myself." He recalled being so stricken that he was in tears on stage… I witnessed it! “I cried through half the show. Be careful what you wish for… it was a bit too much!”
He is so grateful that god gave him a second chance; His kids don’t know the man that he was, “The slate is clean”, Neal said.
He recalls a pivotal time in his life, back in the 80’s when was an atheist and prayed to the universe. H was standing in front of his house in LA and meditating, asking the universe for things and suddenly this voice boomed inside him and said, “Would you knock it off and call me God?"
On maintaining his character he said, “Whatever is good, think on those things. Let your mind be set on things above. It starts with your will.” Although not always successful at the above, he keeps that as his goal.
He gets into “God’s view” and suggests we let “God’s mind” be in us. By doing this, we see our situations from a higher perspective. This leads to an upward spiral.
On social media trolling, He finds some of the comments online valuable but tries not to carry it with him too much.
His important relationships include his wife, family, kids, grandkids, friends, and church. He uses Skype to communicate with them when on the road. In order to do this, he plans to call them at key times in their schedule, coordinating between his time zone and theirs. Further, he takes control of his schedule and sets boundaries around when he will and won’t tour, so he can be with his family during key times. Neal said, If you don’t put in effort, you won’t have friends, or much of a family either.
We discuss the importance of having an independent partner as a touring musician. His wife is strong and self-sufficient, but he couldn’t stand being away for too long. His wife even brought a house when he was on tour.
He has taken leaps of faith such as quitting the Eric Burdon band to be with his family more.
On writing, he shared that when things are not fitting together, that’s where the band comes in for him to bounce ideas off of. “I only have a certain amount of tiles for the mosaic.”
Inspiration strikes anywhere for him, and he will write anywhere. He goes through times where he does not write for months though, he take it as it comes.
On his “Waterfall” app: The focus was on wanting people to have the experience and have everything of his all in one place. The app includes old demo’s and other bonus material. He wanted people to have all of that on the go. He is a big fan of streaming but wanted to take control of the experience. He is open to other artists opting in and pays double what Spotify does.
He tries to be active on social media; his demographic is concerned mostly with music and it is tough to have much other content since he has a pretty smart audience. He enjoys just sharing with people, and is always filming to create more content. To engage with his audience, he asks them questions, such as what book to buy during his recent trip to the bookstore, knowing his fans are avid readers.
His ultimate goal is to help people draw closer to God, whatever that might look like for them.
His one message for musicians was “Surrender all, and you’ll never be happier.”