It started a little over a year ago with an email about Adam Levy’s solo record Naubinway. I was in the early stages of the campaign and freaking out. What did I know about putting out a record? I’m a book guy. So I sent a note to the supremely gifted guitarist/songwriter/all-around awesome dude Mike Michel, whom I had met a couple times, and asked him: Is this crazy? He said no — well, yes — but do it anyway. Good advice. And then he shared his own story. In November 2013, Mike developed severe tinnitus and hyperacusis, which kept him out of music for a year and was causing him anxiety. But being the positive guy he is, he then shared how he’d been integrating mindfulness into his life to deal with the symptoms, which was proving beneficial. He told me he was doing cognitive exercises to rewire his brain — re-tuning it like a guitar — and writing music about the process.
Well, I’d never never heard anything so empowering in my life. It took the span of that one-hour lunch to know I wanted to be part of this work.
I’m delighted to announce that Mike and I will be collaborating on the campaign for his record, which is called On The Mend and will be out later in the year. I’ve already heard several tracks. Oh my heavens. Wonderful. I’ve been a fan of his for two decades now, going back to his days in Iffy and his own group The Bill Mike Band. (Check out this fantastic performance of “Wearing Out Love.”) I love his music and I think On The Mend is career-defining work.
That’s on the music front. On the public health side, the campaign is sure to have a big impact. Mike is just so eloquent discussing the potential for mind-body healing connections. This should have come as no surprise to me as Mike has always been an inspiration, just in the way he lives his life. This is a guy who hands out Good Vibe Tokens at shows and teaches “Rock & Roll Therapy Room” classes at MacPhail Center for Music. Mike’s just someone who makes people feel good about themselves. He reminds me of Wayne Coyne that way, if Coyne could shred.
I’m just so glad to be part of this work. And I’m so relieved Mike’s back playing music. I hated the thought of him not.
— Adam Wahlberg