By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Oct 04, 2015 at 5:15 AM

Every week in 2015, and local design company Too Much Metal join forces to introduce the latest member of the Milwaukee All-Stars – a team of unfamiliar winners living in the city who consistently and diligently make it shine. Each week, a new member will join the team – based on your recommendations – and at the end of the year all will come together in a Rally of the Raddest Milwaukeeans. We're not sure what that means quite yet, so for now, meet ….

James Anderson

OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What do you "do" for work and play?

James Anderson: If the line between work and play is even present, I try to blur it as much as possible. I "do" music, cooking, farming and yoga. Music and cooking are essentially the same thing for me. I’m expressing my creativity both to you and with you.

If I play a song for you, and you like it, it’s a special exchange. We can look at each other and nod, almost telepathically saying, "I liked that." It’s the same thing with food. If I make you a dish that you like you might taste it and look up from your plate to find my eyes, it’s the exact same nod and smile: "I liked that."

I’m looking for acknowledgement of a shared experience rather than your approval. The not-looking-for-approval thing feeds into farming and yoga, too. I do what I do, and the earth is my witness. It’s a fairly old concept and a main tenant of my own spirituality. The Bhumi-sparsha Mudra is the image of Buddha with his hand touching the ground, it’s all about saying whatever I’m doing is between me and the Earth. That’s it. The food, the music, the farming, the yoga, I love it all so much that I would still do it even if I was the only human on Earth. 

OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Did you grow up in Milwaukee and what side of town do you live on?

Anderson: I grew up in Milwaukee. When I was a kid I bounced between two neighborhoods. In the evenings I stayed with my parents on 35th and Silver Spring and in the mornings I stayed with my grandmother on the top floor of the Farwell Arms Apartments, over by Fazio’s and where Abu’s used to be. I lived in Madison for a little bit, and came back to live in Riverwest.

I love Riverwest. It’s awesome here. Everyone is relaxed and accepting, I want to turn it into a modern Haight Ashbury district. It’s the new hub of music and the arts here in Milwaukee. You can throw a rock into a crowd of Riverwesterners and hit five or six artists. Everyone knows each other – or is connected in some way. It really is beautiful, like a snapshot of the hey day of "neighborhood communities." I see Riverwest being the champion of this cause, a community of open-minded and gifted individuals who are not afraid to present themselves openly and honestly to the world.

OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: Why do you do what you do?

Anderson: It's simple: pleasure and satisfaction. I do what I do to elicit pleasure and deep satisfaction for my self and others. When you destroy the already-blurred line of work and play in your life all that’s left is pleasure and satisfaction. It’s a mindset I’ve had to work very hard to develop. When I decided my life was going to revolve around my saxophone, I also decided that even though practicing is hard, it will contribute to my future success and that brings pleasure. But at this point, seeing, touching or even thinking about it brings me the utmost pleasure and satisfaction, and it’s my profession, what could be better than that? Seriously, figure out how to find pleasure in everything you do, like a 100-day challenge.

OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What is your favorite or least favorite smell in Milwaukee?

Anderson: The smell of Colectivo roasting their coffee beans. I smell it most mornings from my bedroom and it’s amazing. I wake up everyday like I’m in some sort of French movie.

OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What is your hope for Milwaukee?

Anderson: My hope for Milwaukee is that she can be the hotbed for a Midwestern revolution in arts and education. Many things are changing, many new people, businesses and ideologies are flooding through the city and intermingling with the great things we already have. My hope is that we will continue to grow while retaining what makes us who we are – specifically the neighborhood where I have the pleasure to reside, Riverwest.

OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: What is your favorite season and why?

Anderson: I was born in July, dead in the middle of the summer’s most intense heat. I love it. Everything grows out and is so lush and green in summer. People are relaxed and enjoying the weather, the city comes alive. Muggy sunrises, the smell of soil during a summer thunderstorm, eating fresh vegetables from the garden, 95 degrees and sunny. I’m about that life.

OnMilwaukee / Too Much Metal: If you could high five one Milwaukeean, whom would it be?

Anderson: Berkeley Fudge, when he was playing sax. He was the baddest motherf*cker on this side of the Mississippi.

Do you know a Milwaukee All-Star? and Too Much Metal are looking for true-hearted folks living in the city of Milwaukee who love what they do – and do it with zest and style. Email or with recommendations.