I currently tour as a singer/songwriter/guitarist/storyteller, with seven critically acclaimed, self-produced music CDs, one all-original psych folk, one Hawaiian (half original, half historic), one jazz/blues (10 original and 2 standards), one Americana/world music (eleven songs and medleys, of which I wrote two), one of solo instrumental guitar medleys (Americana, blues, psych folk, protest songs and Hawaiian songs), one remastered 1973 archival recording of Ramon Sender Barayon and me performing our original music from our collaborative book, Being of the Sun, and a second all-original album of mostly psych folk, with some swing tunes and blues waltzes for extra color.
A lot of people know me from my first book, Living on the Earth (Bookworks, 1970; Vintage/Random House, 1971; Soshisha, Ltd., 1972; Villard/Random House, 2000; Gibbs Smith, Publisher 2003) a DIY guide to sustainable living, bohemian style, that I created at Wheeler Ranch commune in northern California in the late 1960s. Besides its utility as a craft, gardening, construction, herbal remedy and recipe book, Living on the Earth documents utopian commune life in the late ‘60s (college libraries stock it). It’s also seminal book design with a recognizable (and much imitated) illustration style. First published in 1970, it’s still in print in English, Japanese and Korean. In 2012 it was chosen as one of the 101 most influential American cookbooks of the 20th century. In 2016 and 2017, it is displayed in three museum exhibitions about hippie life and culture. The illustrations continue to appear on fashion and other merchandise from Japan. For some people, Living on the Earth is a source of spiritual inspiration, since it demonstrates living joyously without a lot of money and consumer goods, living close to, and protecting, nature, and living in harmony with others.
I’ve illustrated nine other books, five of which I also wrote or co-wrote. I’m planning on creating more books in the years to come.
In this photo, taken in 2008 at the home of Tokyo fashion designer Aya Noguchi, I am wearing a wool jersey dress and scarf that she designed. Both are printed with a pattern she made using the illustrations from Living on the Earth. I am holding a Traveler Guitar, which is an electric guitar designed to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane. It can be played through headphones, making it possible to practice almost anywhere.