There are two shows scheduled next week in San Francisco, a new record due out in the fall, and we changed our name to The Light Switches. Details follow below. Good evening to you, Michael Musika
WED APRIL 18, 2018: Obo Martin, The Light Switches (Michael Musika), & Sleepy Todd return to SF for a night of Storytelling & Songs. The Lost Church. 65 Capp Street, SF, CA, 94103
7:30pm. TICKETS HERE
SAT APRIL 21, 2018: V.V. Variety show #10. ((I'll be doing a comedy set as part of this variety show)) The Red Victorian. 1665 Haight St, San Francisco, California 94117. 7:30pm. TICKETS HERE
NEW RECORD DUE OUT THIS FALL
I spent August through December of last year with Eric Kuhn in Ypsilanti, Michigan recording. We recorded in a basement studio with traditional rock and roll band instrumentation. The music is direct, and not very ordained. The subject matter is collected imagery since I left home in August of 2015. There's a ghost story about my departed friend who's the inspiration for my skull mask fascination. There's some love songs that seem in retrospect a lot like Marlon Brando putting cotton balls in his mouth to be the Godfather. And a handful of soundtracks for the home movies of dreams I'm not supposed to talk about. Don't worry darling, you'll love it. It's all mixed and mastered and ready to go. We'll release it this fall and also tour. If you live in the midwest or east coast...definitely write to us. We'd love to play in your town and will begin booking soon.
Additionally, we recorded another half of a record's worth of collage music songs using samples and midi instruments. I'll tell you more about that later when it's further a long. I hope to have time this summer in Oakland to finish it up.
WHY "THE LIGHT SWITCHES?"
I've been playing in bands with lots of different friends for a long, long time now. After a while it became more and more a collaboration between Eric and I. We made two records where we called the artist "Michael Musika & Eric Kuhn." I remember Joe Lewis, who played bass with us, pointing out one night that this was a clunky name and it didn't match the music.
I've come to realize in the time that's passed since then, that Joe was right. Having a band name be two people's names sounds as if we play contemporary folk music and talk like NPR people. Also, "Michael Musika" sounds like a kooky stage name I gave myself because I like world music and power my toaster oven with an exercise bicycle. I like my name, and it's not a stage name, but strangers think it is, and then treat me like someone I don't want to be. I'd rather they like me, or not like me, for what's really in my heart. There's plenty on both sides of that ledger to choose from. Nothing against contemporary folkies or exercise bikers, I just don't care for eating toast or standing still.
I do like baseball though, and I'm not against wearing a uniform. So I tried to make one that represents all the friends that have ever played, or will ever play in the band, and the audience we play for. The Light Switches is the name for that.
We're people from Maryland and North Carolina who moved to California, and some of us keep going back and forth. There's a lot of bands in history. People tell you how it's necessary to have a branded identity for advertising. Trouble is, we live in an age of being assaulted by useless information. I respectfully decline participation in that trend. Hence, The Light Switches is not an identity. Like a criminal organization, comic book hero, or someone who took art school too seriously, we have created a name to serve as a disguise.
Mind you, I don't believe in justice, primary colored lycra costumes, nor in pursuing authentication from any external authority. Churches. Universities. Black markets. White markets. Democrats. Republicans. They're all the same, and you can't have one without the others.
When I look back to being born, I remember anger, tranquility, chaos, abandonment, and love all in the same breath. I've been in trouble half my life, and spent the other half wondering how I was stupid enough to wind up in a cage. The worst things I've done, I'd prefer for you not to know, and the same goes for the best of them. I know that for any of this to be meaningful one needs to be of service. The trouble is, me alone is not the type of fellow many people would like for a waiter on most nights, and on the night you did, I might very well be some one else.
So what does one do? I read in a book last night about a punk rocker who didn't want to be one anymore because they painted all the windows black and the rooms got smaller and smaller. They were rebelling against a nebulous oppressor, by doing the oppression on themselves. It was thrilling at first, but a thrill is only a thrill because it's momentary. We should know that by now, but many of us don't.
The best teacher I ever had taught me it's all a game, and those who don't show up to play are just procrastinating on facing the music. Moreover, you can't just arrive once, and expect to gain eternal victory by playing pretty, nor to receive reliable reprieve by unconditionally acting the fool. A hero lasts until they tear her down, and the world needs an anti hero until it doesn't anymore. The reward isn't to finish, it's to keep on going. Love does not complete you. It makes you go away.
The light switches. The Light's witches. THE LIGHT SWITCHES.