[wpaudio url=”http://tomacasindiecafe.com/audio/Native_Ways_Exitwound.mp3″ text=”Native Ways by Exitwound” dl=”0″]
He was born in 2002. That was the year he came to understand and accept that his life was not his own. It belonged to music and it belonged to his people.
Warren Michael said of The Native Axeman (Exitwound): “Music has a power that is often misunderstood, even by those who craft it. This power is built by the emotions of the players, transferred to the instruments or vocal chords, and when it leaves their bodies, either as instrumental or vocal music, it is transformed into a part of their own personalities and placed into the minds of the audience. We all have experienced this many times. Have you ever felt emotion from a song and had it overwhelm your senses? How many times have you heard people speak of “their” music, meaning the music of a particular performer, that the speaker uses to get to a special emotional place? …” — Warren Michaels as written by John Havener.
NA: Yes. I seek peace from the music. It has healing properties and I feel that it’s so special that I won’t play in clubs and bars — party atmospheres where people are drinking and partying – the music is spiritual.
I recognize that I am just a vessel and I don’t take credit for the gift. Especially because sometimes what comes out of me is mind boggling. People will come back to me and ask, “Well how did you do this? Where did that idea come from?” and the only answer I can give them is that it comes from the Spirits, from the Universe – the Creator. There is a lot of emotion tied into the music and in its creation.
The music that comes out of Hollywood — the commercial music — you can’t feel it, you can’t feel the music. Music is supposed to be alive. It’s all in the approach.
NA: I want to inspire the youth and anyone else who says they can’t do it. On the reservation, there is so much negativity, people have given up hope. I was told repeatedly what I couldn’t do, what I didn’t have and what was impossible — for most of my life. During my heavy period of self-reflection, I decided to embrace all of the negativity that was poured into me to stand and prove that those people were wrong. Yes, I had attitude! I went back to the music and I practiced and learned and practice and learned. I fully dedicated myself to the music and thus all of the accomplishments were a result of that.
I want to inspire people. I talk and talk and talk to the youth. If there’s just one person who gets it in the group, then I have accomplished something. I need them to look at me and understand that if I can do it, so can they. I tell them that dreams do come true. I am living proof of that. I want to inspire anyone and everyone to do so much more with their lives and to embrace their gifts, whatever they are.
NA: The wolf spirits…wolves run in packs. In nature you see them; they’re very strong, protective and deadly. They are protection. I look to them for protection – to watch my back. I have custom-made trenchcoats with three wolves on the back of each of them. And, like the wolf, I will stand my ground.
Eagle feather – it represents honor. Eagles are sacred. My kids made an eagle feather with a medicine wheel attached to it. I keep it on my guitar. They are special and have significant meaning.
The moon gives you light so you can see for the journey ahead on a dark path. I’m in new territory as far as making inroads in American society with my music. This journey can be scary, so I need the moon to light way. I am a Native American in a spot where there are no others. I am being a role model; I am being the voice.
I am told all the time that “the world needs you. This is your calling” and it’s scary. People are looking for escape from pain and have been able to harness this type of music that takes you on a journey. In invite people to come along and come with.
NA: The name “Exitwound” was given to me by Ted Tafoya 13 years ago and it will remain. It represents all the states all the bad judgment – the healing process, making the amends – changing my ways.
TIC: Have you experienced discrimination as a Native American artist?
NA: Yes. I experience it on both sides in that I am half white and experience it on that side and also from the full bloods, the Natives. I learned how to live in both worlds and know how to mingle and created my own world. Now my focus is on building new bridges here. I am taking the opportunity to create something that has special meaning. I want to help out where I can.
Everyone listens to music. It can depress you, soothe you, rile you up and heal you. I want to give something to somebody that will help them out. It’s all about being that music and letting it go heal where it needs to.
2007 “Debut Artist of the Year” Nominee
2007 “Best Instrumental Recording” of the Year Nominee
2008 “Best Male Artist Nominee
2009 ” Silver Arrow Award” Winner
The New Exitwound Project Band:
Paul Underwood Sr: Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Bass, Synthesizer’s.
Sheldon Scrivner: Lead & Rhythm Guitars, Synthesizer’s, Bass & Back-up Vox.
Gary Ramsey: Lead Vox & Bass.
Lewy Stix: Drums & Percussion