‘I was living in Columbus, Ohio when I first played a gig in San Diego, and I liked it so much that I ended up moving here,” says singer-songwriter Mike Wojniak. After releasing his debut album Follow the Crane in 2008, he followed up in 2010 with Memento Vivere, then Libero in 2012, and his Anima Mundi EP appeared in June 2014 via his Golden Wave Records label. Now a staple on the local club scene, he can be found onstage somewhere in town every few days, usually backed by a cracklin’ hand-picked ensemble.
...composed and performed by Mike Wojniak
“The band first started when [drummer] Paul C and I connected and started playing some gigs together,” says Wojniak. “Paul mentioned his previous bandmate, Marcus the Barron, might be available to play, too, and he’s an accomplished guitarist, bassist, and music teacher. Marcus has been an awesome addition to the band’s sound, writing tasteful parts and bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge.”
Wojniak’s sound, particularly live, has evolved from his early solo days. “I would describe it as melodic indie rock. Another new term I’ve been using to describe our sound is ‘gluten-free rock.’” He appears Saturday, March 19, at Nate’s Garden Grill in City Heights and on Thursday, March 24, at Liberty Station’s Loma Club.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
“Right now, I’m listening to Jonny Keeley, an English songwriter that I met briefly in Shropshire, England, while playing a show there. Another CD in my car is from an Englishman as well, Robin Mukherjee, a Manchester-based singer-songwriter that I teamed up with for a couple gigs while there. Also, local musician Justin Werner’s release Awakening Magic has been getting quite a bit of play, too.”
ANYTHING YOU WERE EMBARRASSED TO MENTION?
“Probably one of the many songs in my R&B playlist, like Brian McKnight or Boyz II Men.”
“I had a dream where I had all the candy in the world and then, much to my dismay, I woke up with no candy.”
ARE YOU A PET PERSON?
“As a kid, I had several hamsters, lizards, a hermit crab, and an ant farm, along with a couple dogs that our family raised. I think my first pet was a hamster named Houdini, and rightfully so, as he would constantly escape from his cage, much to the horror of my two older sisters.”
BEST AND WORST BAND NAMES?
“Best band name ever I think would be Free Beer — who wouldn’t go to their concerts? Worst band name ever, maybe Wank.”
ANYTHING REMAINING ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?
“Play a concert with a full orchestra. And I want to farm.”
WHAT WOULD YOUR GRADE-SCHOOL TEACHER SAY ABOUT YOU?
“I was a silly but friendly kid who loved animals and doing anything creative.”
“Probably not studying abroad as a young lad.”
WHAT SONG BEST DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE?
“One song that I love and feel connected to is called ‘Haegt, kemur ljosio,’ by the Icelandic composer Olafur Arnolds. It doesn’t have any lyrics, but I think the music speaks both quietly and loudly, as the song contains powerful dynamics and to me a message of love and hope.”
FEARS OR PHOBIAS?
“Amnesiphobia, fear of forgetfulness or amnesia.”
WHEN WERE YOU THE MOST HUNGRY?
“Probably after my first year of college, when I moved into a pretty rough apartment and didn’t make much money. I saw a dude run across my parking lot with a cash register.”
IF YOU COULD CHANGE YOUR NAME?
“I would probably change it to a food that I really enjoy, like Peanut Butter or Pizza. It’d be awesome to be able to write a delicious food item anytime you had to sign something.”
“I was in a bad accident that messed up someone else’s car quite significantly. Luckily, nobody died, but it could’ve had a much nastier outcome. I wrote and released a song called ‘Unconscious at the Wheel,’ which was about this experience and how I woke up upside down in a vehicle that was incredibly banged up.”
BIGGEST LIE YOU EVER TOLD?
“I told someone I was 40 when I was 18. They believed me, so either I don’t age well or this person was really gullible.”
3120 Euclid Avenue, City Heights
WHO SHOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE?
“Well, I get told frequently that I remind people of Jake Gyllenhaal, so I suppose him.”
ANY DUES-PAYING ROAD STORIES?
“I had a minivan stolen from me right underneath my nose. After a gig in Ohio, we were loading up our gear and someone hopped in and drove away with it. My brother and I chased him down the street, but, unfortunately, a vehicle is typically faster than a running human.”
SOMETHING WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?
“I have metal plates and screws in head and face.”