Churches frontman Caleb Nichols sings of love and politics

Courtesy PhotoRecord launch party: Churches plays Saturday at Bottom of the Hill to celebrate the band’s new 7-inch featuring “Lovelife” and “Save Me.”

Courtesy PhotoRecord launch party: Churches plays Saturday at Bottom of the Hill to celebrate the band’s new 7-inch featuring “Lovelife” and “Save Me.”

Churches frontman Caleb Nichols’ early childhood in Los Osos was tolerable, but when he entered middle school, his life became a living hell. Maybe it was the geeky “Lion King” T-shirt he wore, his ear piercing or the Breeders patch on his backpack. But his classmates bullied him, Nichols says, “and had all these superfluous reasons that I was gay, which turned out to be true later. I could have hid in the library with the D&D kids and played ‘Magic: The Gathering,’ but instead I just dealt with the abuse.” He left high school early, joined Bay Area bands including Port O’Brien and Grand Lake, and, with his majestic trio Churches, is exacting sweet revenge with the ebullient new single “Lovelife” backed by “Save Me” (both on a new EP). The group’s purpose is making music that Nichols’ younger self would want to hear.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 14px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

Does “Lovelife” deal with larger issues of prejudice, like Proposition 8, or the microcosm of you and your boyfriend just wanting to get married?

When Prop. 8 passed, I was living in Oakland — we live in Santa Cruz now — and it was such a surprise. Everyone was like, ‘WTF?!?’ So John and I are engaged, but we can’t get married here, we’d have to go somewhere else like Washington, which is very frustrating. The song also touches on the existential frustration that when you spend your whole life having this integral part of yourself constantly being debated by other people, as to whether it’s OK or not, I think it’s really damaging.

You just turned 30 this Thanksgiving.

Yes. And being 29 sucked because I was just thinking about being 30 a lot, then having an existential crisis about death. Which I had when I turned 20, too. But as soon as I turned 30, the next day I was like, “Oh. This is fine.”

A death crisis? So young?

Well, if you listen to any of my music from the past few years, you’ll hear it — I’ve had a pretty severe struggle with death anxiety, and it’s informed the way I live my life and certainly informed the kind of music I make. But I’m getting over it now, now that I’ve recognized it.

Is “Save Me” about music saving you?

It’s a little more nebulous — it’s more about a feeling, and it’s the first song I ever wrote for this band. So it evokes a lot of nostalgia — my alternative-rock heyday, when I really started getting into music, was ’95, ’96, ’97, so that whole MTV ‘Buzz band’ era really brings out some strong emotions in me.

artschurchesentertainmentmusicPop Music & Jazz

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes at SFPUC spark concern, hope

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Supervisor Shamann Walton joined with community members to speak out against rising homicides, which have taken a heavy toll in the Bayview-Hunters Point in 2020. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F Examiner)
SF homicides surpass 2019 total with month left in year

Police attribute rise to COVID-19, shootings and deadly gang violence

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said he expected San Francisco to enter the purple tier within days.
Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner
SF still in the red but expects move into purple tier ‘some time soon’

Four more counties moved into highest COVID-19 risk category by state

Most Read