many of the same questions seem to come up again and again. a lot of them are about my hair and since i'm so grateful to still have it in any shape or color, i'm always willing to discuss it. there are, of course, other queries and many of them are here.
thank you for asking!

how can i ask you a question?

you can ask me your question by sending me an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or going to the contact page on the website. it is so inspiring to hear from you, so don't hesitate to send me you thoughts.

how can i find out about your upcoming shows and activities?

upcoming shows are listed on the website. however, i would recommend joining our mailing list. it's a much more interesting way to get the information. i send letters with show updates and other late breaking news. it takes me a long time to write these emails and the more people that sign up the more inspired i become!

where can i find the lyrics and chords to play and sing along to your songs?

you will be able find them in the songbook section of our website.

am i too young - or too old to play music?

i'm not sure if there is a right age for beginning to play (i got my first guitar at 8 and wrote my first song at 9. it was called "walking down the road" it had two chords) but one thing i do feel strongly about is that there is a place for everyone, young and old, when it comes to music making. usually the biggest obstacles are in the mind. grown-ups have been known to tell themselves that they aren't musical or that the sound of their voice is less than pleasing. these thoughts must be banished and replaced with the wild uninhibited spirit that we see so often in our children. everyone has a voice and there's always a way into the family and neighborhood band!

my child seems very interested in learning an instrument, but i'm not sure where to start and on what instrument...any ideas?

for children (and grown-ups for that matter) who want to learn a stringed instrument i usually suggest a good ukulele. it's the perfect instrument for little and big hands. ukes have a very rich history (always a plus in my book) and you can usually be playing songs sooner on a uke than on other larger stringed instruments.

i'm quite partial to "the fluke" and "the flea", which are plastic and wood hybrids, are very playable, and relatively inexpensive. they're handmade here in the usa by my friends the magic fluke company. i am such a fan of their products that i asked them to create a limited edition model dz flea!

wherever you are there are music teachers and players of instruments who have much to offer on this subject. ask them all! who wouldn't go out of their way to see an instrument in the hands every child and (and adult).

can you recommend some places to buy musical instruments?

i like local independent music stores when ever possible if they sell instruments of quality (fortunately quality doesn't always mean expensive). for online shopping and knowledgeable customer service i like elderly instruments: www.elderly.com. they have many good instruments, videos, and books for sale.

why is your hair suddenly curly?

this is the way my hair looked when i was growing up but when i was in a rock and roll band i started straightening it. these days it feels better to be more natural.

when you were growing up did your mother dance around the house all the time?

no! i never saw her dance. she was always taking pictures. she's a great photographer.

what is your favorite instrument?

usually it's the mandolin. it's a good choice for almost any kind of music that i might find myself wanting to play.

where is your favorite place to play music?

on a stoop. or a porch. or a kitchen.

what music do you listen too?

lately i have been listening to dancehall from jamaica.

what do you wish?

that people would tell more jokes.

what is your favorite time of day?

sunset.

are you still taking spanish lessons?

not at the moment but i'm sure i'll be heading back to el taller on 103rd and broadway sometime soon. ¡necesito practicar!

why do you always smile at shows?

because i am happy to see all of you singing and dancing.

where do you like to buy clothes?

the goodwill.

do you cook? do you like organic food?

i try to cook as much as possible and use organic ingredients whenever i can which is most of the time because i am a member of the park slope food co-op.

have you ever been kicked out of the food co-op?

twice but this time around i'm doing pretty well keeping up with my work shift. i check people out and then say "thank you for shopping with us today!"

did you ever kill a chicken?

twice, but no more.

do you have any hobbies?

not really. everything i like to do relates to music making which is technically my job.

can i record your concerts or take pictures?

of course! we'd love it if you'd send them to us too at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

if you are going to record our shows we ask that all audience audio and video taping of our performances be used only for private and non-commercial trading. and please be sure to please speak with someone at the venue before doing so because they each have their own taping policies.

will you play at birthday parties?

unfortunately, i don't have the time, but i have a better idea for you. call your friends that play instruments and ask them if they will put a birthday band together for the occasion. three or four songs can go a long way and it's very inspiring for people to see friends gather together to make music. don't let the professionals have all the fun.

i lost my del fuegos album - are the records still available?

yes, the first three del fuegos recordings are in print. look for them on amazon (click here). for a real blast from the past, there's even a video or two up on youtube.com.

do you have a favorite songbook?

in my humble opinion "rise up singing" is the ultimate songbook. never run out of words again! 1200 of the most sung songs are here with chords. www.singout.org. click "buy stuff." then click "rise up singing." make sure to get the spiral binding. get one for the car too!

why do you always talk about family bands?

my guess is that as a society we play less music together now than at any point in recent history. my hope for all of the cds that we release is that they are a starting point for people to make their own music. people of all ages. my message is that communal music making is not only wildly enjoyable but it's easy. it brings us together. it connects us with our past and points toward a brighter future. it's how we can learn about each other and it's available to everyone.

our cds are a way for me to spread songs that i love. i've included chords and lyrics in the cd books because these are tremendously social songs, made to be played. when dinner is over and it's time to get out your instruments or when you're at a beach party and sense a responsibility as a guest to supply some memorable musical moments, i hope that the cds have in some way helped to fill your songbag and give you plenty of soulful ideas that are right for young and old folks alike.

what is your favorite food?

mexican food of course!

what's your favorite movie?

soul power.

how old are you?

the same age as barack obama.

do you like to fly on airplanes?

no. i would like to travel everywhere on a train.

do you think you'll play shows without colin brooks on drums?

i hope not!