Life On Earth

Life On Earth - Extravagant Logo

Previously Unreleased Music From Life On Earth Available Now

Since Michael and I have become friends many years ago we have talked about releasing a collection of songs from his band Life On Earth. Michael has lots of tape recordings that we uploaded to the computer and picked through to find a good sampling of their sound. I think we came up with a great collection of songs and here is the Proof!

Proof from Life On Earth is available now all around the Earth. We had a lot of fun going through all the old tapes and reliving the memories. We made a video a while back for the song Hard At Work, which is available below that will give you a glimpse into the life and time back in the day in San Francisco.

Now I present to you Proof, that there really is life on Earth.

Mark Bray
Crystaleyezed Fine Arts

Preview Life On Earth – Proof before it becomes available on all online platforms and CD.

Life On Earth - Proof
Life On Earth Proof Back Cover

Life On Earth – Proof
Released May 1, 2021 on Crystaleyezed Fine Arts

The Arrow 3:36
Gimme A Rest 5:00
The World Is Hollow 4:27
White Lies 3:51
No One Told Me 2:56
Under Surveillance 3:26
Hold On To The Secret 5:29Hard At Work / Space / Doomsday Boogie 9:29

All songs Copyright Michael Foley 2019 except White Lies White Lies written by John York, publisher Debris Music
Mastered by: Emmet Foley songs 1,2,3,5,6 and Mark Bray songs 4,7,8 Produced by Mark Bray
Cover Art by Mark Bray Back cover photo by Tommy Paiva Back cover logo by Peter Swanson
Published by: Maurice Buday Music Distributed by: GRAYROCK Records and Crystaleyezed Fine Arts

The Story of Life On Earth

Life on Earth was the brainchild of two young New York-based artists, Michael Foley and Peter Swanson. The two met in elementary school and began playing guitar together in the mid 1960s. They had an acoustic guitar duo called M&P Products, with Foley doing all the singing and in some cases writing the songs. Of the two, Swanson was the more reserved while Foley played in different bands and had a strong choral background.  In 1965, Foley recorded a 45 RPM record of two of his songs on Decca Records with the Fleetwoods (“Come Softly”) producer Cy Levitan.  The record company changed the band’s name to “the Stitches”.  The song “I’m Looking For You Baby”, ironically the supposed B side, was banned from the airways in four cities, Baltimore, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Boston because it made reference to divorce. Foley and Swanson moved to California where they experimented with drummers and bass players until they landed John Perry Buffham on bass. They performed as a trio called Nada Corona until ultimately they found Al Urezzio , another New Yorker, to play the drums. This was the quartet that became Life on Earth.A commune grew up around the band that ultimately included six houses and hundreds of people. The headquarters for Life on Earth was on Stoneman St. in San Francisco. It was a safe place for the erudite, the disenfranchised, the brilliant, and in some part, the harmless insane.

As well as playing in the usual venues and bars, the band was known for supporting community causes and played benefits for food co-ops and free medical centers, as well as in prisons, schools and at outdoor festivals. They played larger venues as well, like California Hall. In 1973 they performed for free at what was then called the first “Gay Day” in Golden Gate Park to a crowd of thousands. Some of the fundraisers they played for then were for a little known disease called AIDS.

Between 1970 and 1978 all of the band members had children and by late 1978 the band morphed into RPM. Drummer Al Urezzio had moved on and the new drummer was Sandy Tullimello. Female drummers were a rarity at that time but breaking down barriers, especially musical barriers, was part of the bands identity.

All of what you’re hearing here was recorded by Foley and Swanson at Stoneman Street or live at gigs. The Teac four track was a relatively new device so everything in this collection was recorded to tape, either in stereo or on the four track and mixed to a Revox half track mastering machine.

Press Release From 1976

The following press release was published in Bam magazine, April 1976. The writer is music columnist Michael Zipkin.

YES, FOLKS, there is LIFE ON EARTH, abiding in the form of four tight rockers called (gee, how about that) Life on Earth. Led by guitarist Michael Foley, whose lead vocals reminded me of Nils Lofgren at his sneering best.  The band presented energetic all-original material with an informal, yet exciting presence. Their five-year association shines in the interplay between Foley and fellow guitarist Peter Swanson, and in their Turtles-like falsetto harmonies. They play the Savoy in April.

Life On Earth – Hard At Work Video

Life On Earth – Proof – Lyrics

The Arrow
Take me to a friendly placeDon’t leave me out here in the coldTake this charm to stand your trialAs you stand the rain and snowBe you true a faithful arrowAlways true and never narrowSent by a strain stress and tensionYou can take us all alongAll along . . .
Are you bored or did you noticeWas there question in your diaryDid you speak to a crowd of peopleOr was that only wind I hearWho’s to say when no one’s talkingAll the brakes come soft and nearIs there marching on your mountainVisions of them come in clearCome in clear, come in clear, come in clear
If you’re granite one more minuteIf you make your life less iceGive me back my coat of questionsMy paper sack my childish riceTake the loss that you call winningLeave me with your best adviceBest advice best advice 
The corner door was soon forgottenWhen you entered through the gateIn your dress of sterling silverIn your checkered dyn-o-miteTake your friend to meet your faceDon’t leave her out here in the coldTake this arrow to stand your trialAs you stand the rain and snowRain and snow, rain and snow, rain and snow

Gimme me a rest

Gimme a rest I need your best tonightWhat would you do if the number was twoAnd it was alright AlrightGive me a break cause we’ve made that mistake One more time
I know what you mean when you say not to scheme with the piecesAnd what would you do if they came up to youAnd called you Jesus JesusThose old virgin Isles well they won’t be the same When you’re gone
 I used to be a loner living by myself Maybe I’ll go back to Cuba And start living like Fidel I’ve been with the goons and squeezed the balloons and got custardWhen you get near the endYou can tell a real friends when you’re bustedBustedIn the moon with the spoonIt’s a sane enough plain as it is
With the way that you drive I just try and survive and I wonderIs it the same well don’t play those games Just take me under Take me underI’d just like to love you and notHave to pay with my life
I know it’s not accidentalShe rubs my dungareesI’m screaming in my desperationAnd I need your company

The world is hollow
The world is hollowAnd I can feel you breathingThe world of solids, hollowAnd I know you’re sleepingSo I will not wake you up And I will not bring you downI’m sure I’ll be around longer than tomorrowThe world of sorrowFrom people cryingThe world of sorrowFrom people lyingLike the military and the police,It’s like doctors and diseaseBut I’d sure like to get a releaseI don’t have to borrow
Betty was a woman with a million names And none that meant the sameEvery time she had to watchIt changed the nature of her game
I asked my shadowHow can you followIn the darknessOf the instant mountainHe said crazy men they followed meAnd they put me in a jarPut a pin in my wingsTo mount me up on target
I heard that doctorsMilk for the peopleAnd they promiseThe Grim ReaperI went straight to the presidents chair You know I told him it just wasn’t fairAnd he said I’m just doing my bestTo keep eternal life a secret
Rainy days are bound to comeAnd flood your little lifeKnock you down on your wings Praying for your life
I asked the coyote Who’s nearly perfectIn his sharpness And cold cutting edgeHe said if madness ain’t enoughYou’ve got to practice being toughAnd then turn around and seeIf you’ve climbed up any ladders
In his pocket Was a diamond BibleAnd a locket And lots of green billsHe said I’ve been framed I’m not to blameI meant it all in funI never meant to make you thinkYou never get it done
Hey don’t you worryAbout the futureDon’t you worryWorry don’t mean nothingIs it that nothing stayed the sameOr is it that nothing really changedOr is nothingWhat you really going to have tomorrow, tomorrow

White Lies
White lies made you kneel And pick up the gunHow does it feelTo see your blood runThe trouble you’ve seenIt’s still on your faceCould we be as cleanLeft in your placeYou did what you could nowBut you were betrayedThey broke every promiseThat they ever made
Did you feel prideOr did you feel shameChained by white liesAnd riding the train
Good people sit therePicking their teethShaken by trialsThey lose all beliefThe battles are overThe people have criedLife was much better Before they arrivedThe history books tell itIt’s all very fairYou lost your landAnd they lost their hair
Did you feel prideOr did you feel shameChained by white liesAnd riding the train

No one told me
No one told meYou took me by surpriseI never knewYou felt that wayI could see itIf I looked into your eyesLest this moment Be over
Someone hold meI feel all cold insideI maybe neverHave been down so lowHave mercyI asked all of my judgesLet me make it Up to you
Then you bring meThe laughter and the smilesBehind closed doorsThe mind fades awayOnly separationIs keeping us apartTill this momentIs forgotten
When she found meShe made me feel obligedI often knewHer mind and waysBe patientDon’t make me be mistakenOver what isUndecided

Under Surveillance
Many times I’ve sat here Dreaming just of youStreaming tears of taxicabs Stuck outside the zooIf we tried, if we criedMaybe even satisfiedPlease believe in your bedEspecially since it’s true
Grab me by my hands dearEven while we’re youngFlashing eyes relax in timeWe‘re burning like the sunSee a sign, you breathe a lineMy eyes look out at youThe moon and sun of everyoneWhisper parlez-vous 
You’re under surveillance, sweet surveillanceRed white and blue  We’re under surveillance, sweet surveillance No matter what we do
Bothered by the busy worldMove your mysteryAnd Marie please take your timeBut separate those kneesConcrete deeds, you’re pained by weedsA message from the throngYou heard it said six thousand timesYou don’t know right from wrong
You can take me out to shoot meI will leave my heirTake him outside with meAnd burn our kitchen stairIf you lied, you have not triedBe careful of yourselfIf she loves you for yourselfShe’ll offer you her help, helpWe’re under surveillance sweet surveillanceRed white and blueUnder surveillance sweet surveillanceNo matter what we do

Hold onto the secret
It’s been protested, since the dawn of manThe condition of testing, in the rest of the clanHow far from home, can a young girl goDown the hallway of time, she makes her way
Hold onto the secretLet go of the scoreHold out for the memoriesThat linger on and on
How close to the middleI know I started with oneNowhere was an ending, to be foundIn the face of a storm manIn the eye of an owl Goes a history of wisdom, yet unknown
I always got wasted, so I can’t hold backI always carried, a knife in my backThe heart’s a tough muscle, inside of a gloveThe warm glowing silence, it hands you love
I shook and I trembled, I did not want to resistThere’s room in the jungle, so I split the lipIn the face of confusion, everything’s gone wrongThere’s some kind of fusion that sang this song 

Hard at work

Hard at work hard at play Good to see you smile againJohnny it’s been hard on us all
Late at night, sleeping tightHeaven sends her home tonightNever meant to worry, for so long
Dark is light, left is rightFeeling her, recline in frightGoing on your way, too long, too long
Things are change sounds so strangeSlow you go you rearrangeYes coming wrapped inside a songA song, a song
Maybe yes also nowonder if we ever knowreal loving, up and downmake it strong, so strong 
Point me her, me, she, treeNow you know, what makes me beIn the shining light, of GodOf God, Of God