Life Changes Show, December 4, 2017

Life Changes Show with Filippo Voltaggio
Show Headline: 
Life Changes Show
Show Sub Headline: 
Wake Up Laughing with Guest Swami Beyondananda (aka Steve Bhaerman) and Musical Guest Ben Carroll

Life Changes Show with Filippo Voltaggio and cohost Mark Laisure

​“Wake Up Laughing,” with Guest Swami Beyondananda, The Cosmic Comic, Alter Ego of Writer, Humorist, Performer and Uncommontator Steve Bhaerman; and Musical Guest, Musician, Singer, Composer, Producer and Multi-Instrumentalist, Ben Carroll on The LIFE CHANGES Show


Guest, Swami Beyondananda aka Steve Bhaerman

Guest Name: 
Swami Beyondananda aka Steve Bhaerman
Guest Occupation: 
Cosmic comic alter ego of writer, humorist, performer and uncommontator Steve Bhaerman
Guest Biography: 


Swami Beyondananda is the cosmic comic alter ego of writer, humorist, performer and uncommontator Steve Bhaerman. The Swami, whose favorite yoga pose is tongue-in-cheek, is the spokesperson for a new non-religion, FUNdamentalism (accent on “fun”). Says the Swami, “We are strictly non-dominational.”

Steve was pursuing a career as a teacher and writer, when a funny thing happened. The name “Swami Beyondananda” flew into his head on day in 1979. As Steve tells it, “I got struck by enlightening during a brainstorm.”

The following year, when he and a cohort were casting about for a comic mascot for their ground-breaking holistic publication, Pathways in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Swami’s name popped back up. The first issue of Pathways in January, 1980 featured an ad spoofing the old Famous Artists ads. This ad was for Famous Guru’s Schools, and the headline proclaimed, “We’re looking for people who want to draw … on higher consciousness.” The piece included some mock testimonials, including: “Dear Swami … loved your leadership training … please send followers.”

Before long, Swami was the most popular feature in Pathways, as he held forth on topics such as “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sects” (“… unbridled sects can lead to unwanted misconceptions …”), Teach Your Dog to Heal (“… being around friendly canines generates healthy hormones called puptides …”), Tantrum Yoga (“… the latest rage on the path to ire consciousness”), and Be There Now, Swami’s ultimate take on bi-location (“… the first time I stepped outside my body, I was beside myself with excitement …”).

After Pathways ceased publication, the Swami’s articles began to appear in national publications such as the old East West Journal, and local publications in Philadelphia, Austin, Salt Lake City, among others. When Steve decided to pursue comedy as a full-time career in 1985, the Swami was the obvious vehicle. (You can read the surprising story of the first words that ever came out of Swami’s mouth in the e-book, Wake Up Laughing: An Insider’s Guide to the Cosmic Comedy.)

Anyway, shortly after his first public performance as Swami in 1985, Steve met his wife-to-be Trudy, and a year-and-a-half later, they took off in a van and trailer and launched the Swami and Trudy show. And the rest … is mystery.

In the course of nearly twenty-five years of purveying cosmic comedy and healing laughter, Swami has had a successful, long-running monthly column, Ask The Swami, has written four books (Driving Your Own Karma … When You See A Sacred Cow, Milk It for All It’s Worth … Duck Soup for the Soul … Swami for Precedent: A Seven-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction), and produced a half a dozen comedy cassettes (sorry, not available on 8-track) and CDs.

He has been on stage with the great sages of the past quarter century, and even performed for Swami Satchidananda’s 80th birthday party in 1994, along with Hollywood celebs and international recording artists. He has gained a reputation for being both pointed and compassionate (his comedy has been called “irreverently uplifting”), and over the past decade, his comedy has become more political.

(“I know,” Swami says, “that many people don’t want to go there. But there has already come here.”)

In recent years, the Swami has performed at numerous political events, including the Transpartisan Alliance Citizens Summit, the Network of Spiritual Progressives Conference, the Department of Peace Conference, the Praxis Peace Institute Economics of Peace Conference, to name a few.

Swami’s latest venture is to combine his non-religion of FUNdamentalism with the non-politics of the newly-formed Right to Laugh Party (“one big party … everyone is invited”), to create one big evolutionary up-wising to overgrow the current dysfunctional system. He will also be launching his radio feature, Karma Talk this year — to give folks from all over the world to ask the Swami answerable questions, and receive his questionable answers.

Guest, Ben Carroll

Guest Name: 
Ben Carroll
Ben Carroll
Guest Occupation: 
Los Angeles musician – singer, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist
Guest Biography: 


Ben Carroll is a Los Angeles musician – singer, composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist. His various studio and live projects range from Soul to Classic Jazz to upbeat sunny California Surf Pop, and more. He has played and does play around the world. He writes for commercials, TV and film. Write him and say hi:

Ben Carroll. You know him, right? That’s the feeling you get when you hear his music. He’s the guy next door who you’ve seen come and go and wondered about…There’s something to him that’s kind of special—kind of magical and connective on a level that you can’t quite put your finger on. There’s a slew of hidden worlds within this one man.

When you hear Ben’s music, you feel like you are really being sung to. Ben makes it personal for you, like he’s sitting in your living room with a guitar on his lap. And on the tunes when the whole band plays, it sounds like they’re playing just for you, the music creating an atmospheric presence that invites you in and gently closes around you.

Such is the experience on “Letter From Memphis,” the fifth cut on Carroll’s latest record, the independently released Lighting Bonfires. The rolling, twangy fingerpicked guitar, ticking drums with a steady shaker, and country blues double bass resound a lullaby that is both uncomfortable and settled. As he sings the opening lines, Ben’s sense of a home scattered throughout the world is painted like a postcard for you, evoking the emotions he felt while writing the song on tour in Memphis. For Carroll, home is less of a place and more of a connection shared with others:

It’s 9:26 in Budapest but here the stars are out
And the Memphis skyline’s flickering like it never deals with doubt
And it’s certainly an interesting way to pass the time
Two heartbeats closely listening for a reason and a rhyme

The son of two Grammy-winning parents (“Afternoon Delight,” 1976), Carroll’s power of craft comes fully to light on “Child at Heart,” track two on Lighting Bonfires. With a two-step stompy groove that drives the song, Ben defiantly declares his penchant for whimsy as he sings:

I live a dream like children
Above your sullen law
I celebrate the live-long day
By riding a see-saw

Later on, you hear Ben’s super-ego kicking in, giving a window into the artist’s search for balance between the heart and the head. Says Carroll about “Child at Heart,” “You can show up on time, do what you say, and still fly over mountains dressed like Dr. John in a headdress, sucking a lollipop and clapping your feet.”

I will do my deeds with honor
I will show up there on time
But the story’s not a goner
The laughter’s not a crime

The juju is the joy now
The dance is still the dance
The whisper is the pow-wow
And recess is romance

Lighting Bonfires was recorded almost entirely live in one take, without autotune, at the famous Magic Shop recording studio in New York City. The album was produced by Adam Levy (Norah Jones, Amos Lee) with Emily King (R&B Grammy nomination, John Legend tour) joining for backup vocals on “Precious Precious” and “Wanna Be Me” and Nicholas Britell (Woody Allen’s New York, I Love You composer, SXSW Grand Jury Prize composer) writing and arranging the string parts on “Grace,” “O Sarah,” and “Books and Movies.”

“What I loved about doing it how we did it this time was, essentially, doing it live. I played with guys that I’d played with often around town for the past three years before recording in New York, and a lot of the songs we had played together dozens and dozens of times at shows. And that’s how we recorded them. Everything was one take, with very few exceptions, and I feel like that really translates…the record sounds really good. We did it with energy, all together.”

Lighting Bonfires also tells a great social success story. Ben’s fans paid $22,455 in a Kickstarter campaign to make the record happen. Backers from around the world told Ben, through their pledges, that they wanted to hear this music. This release marks the fulfillment of Ben’s promise to give his fans a record that provokes an immediate and deep connection with what it means to be human in some way.

Though Lighting Bonfires marks the achievement of new milestones in production and collaboration, Ben Carroll is not a newcomer to the industry. He has steadily toured North America and Europe as a solo act since 2004. He released his debut solo album Lover Undercover in 2005 and his followup Real Thing in 2007 (on UK label Blue Cloud Records), which was #1 for five weeks on AAA FM Radio in Ohio and was played on over fifty radio stations in the US and Europe. Ben’s songs have also been featured in television and film, including Pier’s End Productions’ 2008 release Wake, which premiered at the Tribeca Cinema in New York City.

Life Changes Show

Life Changes Show with Filippo Voltaggio
Show Host: 
Filippo Voltaggio

Come and join the conversation about what's going on and what we can do together about it, with it, and for it. We have the choice, we have the power. We can do magic if we just believe!

A show about the changes going on in us, to us, around us, and because of us. Therefore, it's technically a show about "Everything," only with a how to make it better, see it better, be better.

In the show, there is talk about, and with, people who have either been through major changes, are helping others with major changes, or people who are changing the world for the better in a major way.

The show is a one-hour talk show format with a monologue by the host, a 30 minute interview with a guest of note, capped by a "Producer's Wrap" segment, in which Filippo and Co-Host Mark Laisure, and sometimes surprise guests, bring it all home for the listeners in a sometimes humorous and sometimes touching, but always entertaining conversation.

Weekly Show
BBS Station 1
7:00 pm PT
7:55 pm PT