Footloose with Donavon Frankenreiter and Sanuk


Photos by Adam Walker
For a guy who seems to take things pretty slow, Donavon Frankenreiter hit the road at a breakneck pace this summer, his Sanuk sandals sidewalk surfing from Florida to Vermont in the span of a month. You’d think 33 shows in as many days wouldn’t leave much room for recreation, but you’d be underestimating Frankenreiter’s capacity to take it easy.

“I think no matter where you are you can find what you’re looking for. You just have to get out there and go see it for yourself,” he told Whalebone Magazine. “Every place has its beauty you can find most of the time. They all hold on to a secret or hidden gem of some kind. It could be an incredible restaurant or coffee shop… or a place to find one-of-a-kind items. When we’re touring, we’re trying to make the best of what we’ve got each and every day.”

We talked to the possessor of one of the most prodigious mustaches in rock about digging through record crates and just digging the scenes in his east coast tour stops.

Pulling out all the stops.

Stop where you had the most fun this tour?

Donavon Frankenreiter: Oh man, hard to say… I have the most fun when I can share it with my wife and two kids. There is nothing like getting out on the road with the family and seeing what’s out there. Sometimes we get some waves and go surfing. Other times we end up hunting down some insane treasures we never thought we would find…. Unique antiques, vintage goods, rare trinkets. It’s sort of like a musical-surfing-family-“American Pickers” type a day.

Best thing you ate?

DF: There was this guy who cooked at a place we played called Elevation 27 in Virginia Beach, and no joke, the dude makes the best smoked chicken wings we have ever had. Lemon pepper. We must’ve had a dozen orders by the time the night was all said and done.

Best city for record digging?

DF: I don’t really have a best city or place. We see so many! It’s always those days I wake up and think there is going to be nothing in this town today, then we end up filling the back lounge of the bus with crates of vinyl. You really just never know until you go digging…

Who DJs the bus radio?

DF: Oddly enough, we don’t do much of anything on the bus but sleep and relax. Sometimes we’ll fiddle with a rare record find or tinker with a vintage vinyl player. But mostly, when we are on the mothership, we all just give each other the space we need. Quiet time can be rare to come by, so it’s much needed… Especially when we do 35 shows in a row. You end up needing some kind of sanctuary just to stay sane.

Advice for sleeping on a bus?

DF: It’s weird… some nights you sleep great, other nights not at all. They say, “the smoother the road the better the sleep” but sometimes you’ll have weird dreams in the bunks while you’re moving from spot to spot. You’ll wake up tripping out, thinking you’re going to crash or you think you’re in a coffin… Those are the nights it’s hard to get back to sleep.

Key to having fun on tour?

DF: Just live in the moment and always be grateful that you are where you are. Touring is a gift—and to be able to do it around the world is really something special. We always try to stay in the present and enjoy every moment. Good, bad or in between. You just never know when you’re going to play your last show, so make them all count.

When not touring, what’s your happy place?

DF: For me, home is my happy place. That’s where my family is. I could live on the road forever as long as my family is with me. My wife and two boys give me everything I need to keep going.