MP: Hey there…

MN: Hi Maranda!

MP: How are you?

MN: Good, good.

MP: Are you pulled over?

MN: Yeah, well, I have such a busy day! Train at the gym, eat a quick breakfast, go to band practice, then go to the barber shop… it’s one of those days where everything’s planned to the minute.

MP: Thank you for making time to fit this in, I really appreciate it.

MN: Yeah! No worries, no worries.

MP: What makes you most vulnerable as a human being?

MN: What makes me vulnerable? God, that’s a good question!

MP: I know, right?

MN: I think, honestly, that ego makes you most vulnerable. When you are in humility you are much more comfortable, open and okay with BEING vulnerable, whereas the ego is the protecter, and even though you think you’re protecting, I think you are more vulnerable if you’re in ego. Does that make sense?

MP: Yeah. What in your life makes you feel the most awkward? What are the really sensitive places for you?

MN: There are those uncomfortable things that’ve passed that you have to deal with or they define you, like childhood trauma. Like when I’m lost, I just feel like somewhere along the line, if you’ve gone through any childhood trauma, it makes you lose your essence and it takes a while to get that back. There are certain things about that that push my buttons.

MP: Wow. I knew I loved you! So, speaking of childhood trauma, what do you do with your pain? How do you dance with your pain? How do you transform it?

MN: I am an amazing escape artist! I’ve learned how to run and escape from this stuff, but at the same time, I’ve had to work on it and address it. I feel like things are presented to me when I’m ready. When I cleaned up drugs and alcohol, I had primary things to deal with and those were pretty basic. As time goes on you are given responsibility and other things to deal with. You become a husband and a father and there’s another shirt of stuff. I do feel like, now, approaching fifty, I am definitely at a crossroads and having to reevaluate things and look at things. It’s time for more change, and that’s good.

MP: Wow. What is the primary way, when it comes in, that you transform pain? MN: I was taught early on in my recovery that, ‘Pain is good. Extreme pain is extremely good.’

MP: Laughing. I don’t know about that!

MN: But how do you look at it as a gift, when it’s happening? But it is! It’s an opportunity to experience something that a lot of people aren’t aware of. It is what made me, me, I can’t escape that. I do know that love, whether you’re giving it or receiving it, or both, it is the ultimate healer. Whether you’re going through fear, whether you’re going through pain, or whether you’re going through anything, it’s the best healer and the most powerful thing in the world. But you have to be open, and being open is a daily challenge, I think.

MP: I’m writing this down for my personal notes: Mantras, by Mike Ness! At ACL I heard you weave in, very briefly, that you have a yoga and meditation practice. How significant is that for you?

MN: Well that’s partially true. I went to yoga for six months straight, but that was about five years ago! I’ve been trying to get back. I probably could’ve seen the President five times, it’d be easier than it has been to get back to yoga! I’m gone a lot and when I’m home I’ve got to stay in shape, so I go to the boxing gym, and now I’m having to go to pilates because I’m having back issues. Even though I know yoga would probably be the best thing for me in the world right now… Why don’t I go?

MP: Is your wife making you go to pilates?

MN: No! She’s been trying to get me to go to yoga for the last five years.

MP: Do you have any sort of meditation? How do you still your mind? Is there something you do when you wake up? How do you find stillness?

MN: I’m in the midst of trying to find that right now. I went a retreat and came back all spiritual, and then life got busy again and it all went out the window!

MP: Laughing.

MN: I think I’m probably going to have more luck on tour, on the road, than I am at home, because as hectic as traveling can be, I have a little bit more control, for life situations out there on the road. It’s the one aspect of my life I feel like I do have some control of. I can wake up in my hotel room, I’m alone and I can ease into the day and do what I need to do. It’s not like I’ve got to get up and drive the kids to school, feed the dog, get to the gym, go to practice, go pay a bill, you know what I mean? I’m reading a book right now, by Michael Brown, called The Presence Process, and it just talks about being present. I’m definitely grappling with it right now, and I have a desire to get there.

MP: I hear you’re also quite an activist, and are outspoken for the environment and vegetarianism.

MN: Yes, and for animal life. I’ve never been a flag waver, but I can lead by example. I feel that if you’re in the public eye in any way that you do have a little bit of influence on people. People who had a closed mind to it before might go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting! Maybe there’s more to it than I thought!’

MP: Quite a while back, before I knew who you were, I was researching you and saw this guy, covered in tattoos, a punk rocker, talking about animal rights and sustainability, and being a vegetarian. It makes a real impression. How long have you been a vegetarian?

MN: About thirteen years.

MP: What wakes you up in the morning, besides you kids and your dog? What’s that thing that sets your soul on fire, that gets you really excited?

MN: Well, I look forward to a cup of coffee! Sometimes I think about it before I go to bed! I wake up to my three dogs and my wife in bed and the kids, and those are the best gifts that I have. It used to be my car outside, or my motorcycle, or this, or that, but it’s really just the real stuff.

MP: For you personally, as an artist or a man, what is the thing that you are most excited about, most passionate about right now?

MN: I don’t know if I could narrow it down to one thing. I’m really into song writing right now, I’m really into clothing, I’m really into getting back into meditation, I’m really into boxing. There are a lot of things that are a part of the big picture.

MP: Awesome. What are you most excited about your new music and this new tour for you?

MN: I’m still really, really excited about this record that we just put out this year. I’m still excited about getting out and playing it for people. There’s something about playing every night, it becomes easy and it becomes fun. I love being up there and playing for different crowds every night. I love what I do, obviously, or I wouldn’t still be doing it.

MP:Is there anything else?

MN: I can’t really think of anything. I don’t have a profound closing statement, I’m sorry.

MP: Laughing. We should lead with that! He does not have a profound closing statement for you, I think that was it, actually.

MN: That’ll work for me.

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