My First Novel

29 Jun

Hey Friends,

Ten years ago, I stood in my driveway and told my mom the news of Michael Jackson’s passing. I was surprised when both of us cried a little.

Later that day, I went to every library in my county, checking out 9 or 10 books on my childhood hero, MJ.  I started that day to research and write a new book about him. Now, ten years later, I’d like to begin sharing it with you. The book is both true to the history of MJ, and also a fictional exploration of what might have turned out differently, as MJ runs away from fame and family at age 18, to pursue musical mastery on his own terms, and hoping not to be recognized for his true identity along the way.

To write or talk about MJ is fraught with complexity. Even as his music inspires people the world around, he is almost certainly guilty of sexual abuse of children. In all my research, the work that faced this conflict most directly was Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson. I highly recommend this book. Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize winner, and can speak to Michael Jackson’s place not only in American culture at large, but also in the Black American experience.

When I finished the first draft of this book, I gave copies of the manuscript to a circle of writers, musicians and friends. A few of them mentioned that this book could live under the fan fiction umbrella. As I got hip to the genre, I discovered, where in fact there are more than 1,200 fiction stories about Michael Jackson! This was simultaneously a relief and a disappointment.

Why did I write this book? First, because on June 25 2009, the day that Michael Jackson died, I was strongly gripped by the idea that things could have turned out differently for him. His art and life contain some kind of distilled American essence: his art, his identity, his fame and struggles therein, and yes, the monstrous aspects of the man.

My book is called “I WISH THE KING”. The first chapter is largely non-fiction, and sets us up for MJ’s departure into another life. My intention was to write an inspirational book – perhaps something that a young musician could use to find their compass in life. Dan Millman’s “The Way of the Peaceful Warrior” and Herman Hesse’s “Siddartha” were both templates in this regard. There are several African American characters in this book. I do not believe myself to be any kind of authority on their experience, and I tried to write those characters with respect. I hope to learn from the experience of putting this book out, so if anyone is troubled by what I’ve written, I’d be grateful to hear from you.

By and large, the book is a love letter to music, and to the musician’s path. It is my first effort as a fiction writer, and it’s definitely the work of a novice. Nevertheless, I hope you find the book to be entertaining or inspiring.  I’ll be sharing a new chapter on Wattpad every Tuesday throughout the summer.

With respect,
Chris Peck

Cover Art by Cameron Forsley:
MJ messy Cursive

New Video ~ “Feather”

14 Jun
Dear friends,
I have something special to share with you:
A few months ago, a great French musician named Greg Bette visited me here in Marin County.  Greg had been incredibly hospitable when I visited France in 2014 and 2016 to play at the Festival de la Cour Denis. On the second trip, Greg played a key role in the French edition of the Ancient Baby band.

I wanted to return the favor by showing him a classic California experience. Luckily, the deepest California vibes I could possibly fathom were nearby in Inverness, at Owl Mountain studio.  This is the place where the Ancient Baby album was recorded, and also where Ethan Turner and Jenn Chan produce their fantastic Owl Mountain Sessions series on Youtube. This studio was built in the 1970’s by Marin music legend Jesse Colin Young, and has been helmed by Ethan for some twenty years now. Perched on a ridge line overlooking Tomales Bay, this studio exudes a golden era California energy.

Ethan and Jenn gamely took me up on the idea, and Greg and I made our way up the mountain one Saturday afternoon. Ethan suggested that we come to the studio “with just a notion”, and try to compose the music then and there at the studio.

The video you see above are the results…Owl Mountain Sessions, Number 13! We went to a really transcendent place that day, and approached the whole thing with a spirit of “YES”. Jenn was there throughout, filming us, setting up some truly stunning shots. We couldn’t be happier with the result. Take this flight of fancy with us, and in the process get a peek at the room where the Ancient Baby album was made, with many of the same team members who brought their skills to bear on this video.  While you’re at it, hit “subscribe” on Ethan and Jenn’s Owl Mountain Sessions youtube channel, where this video resides. Everything they publish there is gorgeous and unique.



Thank you, as always, for your eyes, ears and support.



First Music Video from the Ancient Baby Album

11 Jun

Today, we release the first music video from the ‘Ancient Baby’ album. This was a special one ~ it seemed the team was meant to meet. Shannon Gray Collier gave a stunning and vulnerable performance. Rachel Pozivenec lent her distinct and powerful maskwork and costuming. Taliesin Gilkes-Bauer directed with sensitivity and conceptual weight. Lawrence Martinez filmed and edited with depth and patience. The day of the shoot felt like some kind of rite. Kelsey, Shakti, Slim and I, dressed in Rachel’s robes, guided Shannon to another space or place. We ran across rushing flood waters to get the last shots of the day, and stayed out until the light was gone. Anyway, I could go on… Here it is, ‘We’re All Thinkin’ About You’, recorded by Ethan Turner and featuring Adam Bowers on soaring steel guitars. To everyone reading, I hope you can find a quiet time to watch this and take the journey. Song and video in memory of San Francisco songwriter Jeremy Hill.

~ Ancient Baby Book ~

21 May

What’s good everybody –

Peck here, sharing the news that the Ancient Baby Book is now available on Bandcamp!


This book pairs home-made recordings of all 13 songs from the Ancient Baby album with whimsical and poignant illustrations by Rose Pearson.  These recordings were home-recorded by me, and have a dirtier, earthier vibe than the pristine tracks that Ethan Turner produced for the Ancient Baby vinyl.

You can hear the whole ‘Home Fi’ version of the album, and purchase the limited edition book here:

If you want to have both versions of the record in one place, there is also a double CD, designed by mirth master Parker Richard. Have a look!

Also, today marks the release of the first Home Fi single, ‘Possibilities’. I hope you find it uplifting!



With hope and gratitude,








11 May

Dear inner circle – after 7 years of writing and recording, the Ancient Baby album is OUT, in Vinyl, CD, Book and digital forms!

Have a listen here: 

Ancient-Baby_Cover_WEB_MD (1)


There are in fact two versions of the album, one recorded by Ethan Turner at Owl Mountain (the HiFi version), and the other recorded by me at home (the HomeFi).

This home-made version has it’s own distinct energy and instrumentation. It’s available in hard copy as 26 page book, pairing lyrics for each song with whimsical and poignant illustrations by Rose Pearson.

Or, both versions of the album can be had at once on a Double CD.

Have a look at the Book, CD and Vinyl editions here:

Gosh, it’s so exciting and also a bit of a relief to finally complete these babies and release them into the world. Thank you for listening, and for your support along the way.

Love, mystery and a healthy planet,





1 May

New Music Y’all! Today, we have a first listen to ‘Back to the Start’, the second single from the new album ‘Ancient Baby’, coming Friday, May 3rd.

This one features Miriam Speyer on vocals and Luke Westbrook on piano (what a dream team), and was co-written with my brothers Greg Scott and Tomas Deltoro-diaz. If you’re in the Bay Area, join us for the Album Birthing Ceremony this Friday May 3rd at HopMonk Tavern Novato. We go on at 9pm, and perform the whole Ancient Baby record. After us, the stellar James M Harman will take the stage with his band of veteran players, and celebrate the release of his new album as well! (I have heard it and it’s fantastic).

Advance tickets can be found here:

Thanks so much for listening!! Hope to see you Friday, babies 🔮




ANCIENT BABY ALBUM RELEASE! May 3rd @ Hopmonk Novato

22 Apr

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Alright babies, this is the big one…the post in which I announce the Ancient Baby Album Birthing Ceremony!!! That’s right: the album is done, the records are nearly assembled, and we’ve scheduled the release party:

***May 3rd, at Hopmonk Tavern Novato***…/Chris-Peck-James-M-Harma…/380236

There, at 9:00pm, the Ancient Baby Band will play the album from beginning to end, with the help of some very special guest stars. If you haven’t been there before, the Hopmonk Session Room is a beautiful spot, with a killin’ sound system. Most of our band now lives in Novato too, so we can’t think of a better place to hold this most sacred of ceremonies. We will be joined that night by the stellar James M Harman Band, who will take over at 10pm and play some supremely smooth instrumental music so we can dance, and celebrate this occasion. James is truly a phenomenal guitarist, and also the newest member of Ancient Baby. As if that weren’t enough, James’ band will also be releasing their new album that night!! Yep, it’s a double album release show.

Been a long time coming friends, years actually. I’m so happy the time has come to share this album with you… We aim to sell this show out! If you want to show your support for Ancient Baby, please follow this link and get your tickets in advance!…/Chris-Peck-James-M-Harma…/380236

You’ll be hearing more from me soon about all of this, and you’ll probably start seeing this joyful poster around town, if you haven’t already, designed by mischief master Parker Richard, featuring the art of Rose Pearson, who made a bunch of soulful and singular drawings for this album.

Thanks for reading y’all, let’s fill the room with music and community!


Ancient Baby Comes to Terrapin Crossroads

24 Jun

It’s been a long time comin’. After seeing many shows at Terrapin, and feeling a kindredness all the while, at last Ancient Baby will play! Join us Wednesday, June 27th, from 7:30-10:00pm. We’ll play two sets. Show is free and all ages are welcome. (100 Yacht Club Dr, San Rafael, CA 94901)

We’ll be in quartet form, with Sean Nelson on drums, Noah Wheeler on bass, Adam Bowers on steel guitars, and myself on the Peck.

To mark the occasion, here’s a live video of the band performing “Possibilities”, filmed at Translucent Studios in San Rafael, CA. Hope you enjoy, and hope to see you there!

Ancient Baby at Fairfax Festival + New Video

9 Jun

I caught my first Fairfax Fest at the riotous age of 14. I still remember seeing the Jazz Iguanas play and buying their cassette afterwards…

NOW…let’s talk about 2017. This Saturday, June 10th at NOON, my band Ancient Baby will be playing on the Forest Stage in Peri Park, near the intersection of Park Rd. and Bolinas Rd. in good old Fairfax.

For the first time in a few months, we’ll be featuring our complete quartet, with no substitue players: Adam Bowers on steel guitars and voice, Angeline Saris on bass, Sean Nelson on drums, and yours truly, Chris Peck on guitar and voice.

We’ll be playing for a solid 70 minutes, right up till 1:10, so we’ll be stretching out and improvising a bit more than usual to fill up all that spare time! Here, in advance of the Fairfax Festival, is a brand NEW VIDEO of the quartet, performing “Keeping it Together”. This session was directed by Josh Mehler at Translucent Studios, in San Rafael, with camera work by Neiel Cavin, and audio capture by Andrew Erickson.  It was a really chill crew that day, as we hid out from the rain in Josh’s supremely mellow warehouse studio. Hope you enjoy this video. If the spirit moves you, please give it a share ❤


Keep vibin’ y’all, hope to see you Saturday at Noon in Fairfax!


Two New Ancient Baby Videos Premiere Today on the Bay Bridged

23 Mar

Hey babies 🙂

Peck here, with the second post of the week! Wanted to share two new videos from the Ancient Baby quartet.
Back in January, we had the pleasure of recording two songs in my living room with Loustic Sessions, a French production duo who make intimate musical films all over the world. Julien Nehring moved around the room like a dancer & filmed stripped-down acoustic versions of “Go, Girl” and “Put Two Sticks Together” – two songs from the summer-coming Ancient Baby album.
Star turns here by the Ancient Baby quartet: Adam Bowers on dobro, Angeline Saris on upright bass and Sean Nelson playing a unique drum kit. Hope you enjoy watching these as much as we enjoyed making them, & please do give them a share if you dig:
In other news, Ancient Baby has a couple shows coming up in the Bay Area:
On April 22nd @ Doc’s Lab in North Beach, SF, we will open for Go By Ocean – their album release show!
On May 19th @ 19 Broadway in Fairfax, Ancient Baby is excited to share a bill with the excellent Ezra Lipp, whose new band Magic in the Other is going to be artistic and chock full of great musicians. Show starts at 9:00pm. $10. 21+

That’s the what, friends. Hope to see you soon, if not on Earth, at least on screen.

With love,