Sometimes, boredom takes us great places. At 20, a musician named Michael, who had amassed some fairly significant musical experience playing in a “crappy punk band” in high school, was living at home with his mom in Cabot, Arkansas, just a little perplexed about what to do with his life. Driven by boredom, armed with a guitar and a swift talent for using home recording software, Michael transformed himself into Totally Michael, a buoyant musician with a penchant for pop hooks and an adoration for blink-182.
After figuring out that the Internet was a pretty good place to pass around your music, Michael landed his first gig playing his own going away party in early 2005 just before he moved to Bloomington, Indiana. He got dressed up as a “sexy” bee (fishnets!), prepared some audience participation games, greatly inspired by the stage antics of the band Soophie Nun Squad, and played four or five songs. It seemed to take and over the next few years Michael penned a hefty dose of uplifting feel-good hits, played some shows in basements and local bars, went on his first tour in his car (where he got to see both a blimp and the ocean for the first time!), transitioned from the bee suit to a pumpkin suit to a pair of short shorts and a tee-shirt that read “I’m Tight Like Spandex,” and spread joy whenever he went with his participatory shows.