“PROOF” 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.
Foley Recording in 1965
In 1965, Foley recorded a 45 RPM record of two of his songs on Goal Records, a subsidy of 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.
Going To California
In 1970 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 band began in an apartment on 22nd St. in the Mission district but after the move to Bernal Heights, 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.
Playing Around The San Francisco Bay Area
As well as playing in the usual venues and bars like the Shady Grove on Height Street, the Last Day Saloon, the Keystone Corner, or the Garden of Earthly Delights, 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. One night when playing at the Garden of Earthly Delights, a trio walked in and asked to sit in and use their gear. It turned out to be the first public appearance of Hot Tuna.
PROOF of Life On Earth!
All of what you’re hearing on “PROOF” 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.
Life on Earth – PROOF now available on CD, download and streaming!
Life On Earth – Proof
Michael Foley – Guitar & Vocals
Al Urezzio – Drums
Peter Swanson – Guitar
John Buffham – Bass & Vocals
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 5:29
Hard At Work / Space / Doomsday Boogie 9:29
Video Featuring Archival Footage For Hard At Work
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.
The band enjoyed having an occasional 5th piece. One of of their favorites was Sylvia Mitchell pictured here with the band on Bernal Hill.
From a press release by Nancy Swingle for the Summer Jazz Festival at Keystone Korner, August 22-27, 1977
“Life on Earth, appearing August 22, is a band of five tight rockers from San Francisco who play original music. The main vocalist, Michael Foley writes their widely varied material and plays guitar. He and guitarist Peter Swanson first got together as a folk duo in high school. Sylvia Mitchell plays violin, and has also performed with the Anchorage Symphony, and is currently a member of the San Jose Symphony. She was featured on Buffy Sainte Marie’s newest album as well. Bassist John Buffham and drummer Alfred Urezzio round out the group. Life on earth promises, and delivers, a night of new and stunning music.”
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
Mark Bray – Crystaleyezed Fine Arts Crystaleyezed.com
Michael Foley michaelfoleymusic.com
Al Urezzio reverbnation.com/alurezzio
Mitchell Holman mitchellholman.com
John York johnyorkmusic.com
Emmet Foley firstname.lastname@example.org