Rock Media: Mishka Shubaly. Cowards Path.
There is a town in north Ontario… Mishka Shubaly was born there in the year Vla- dimir Nabokov and Elvis Presley died. He was a bright kid, if a little soft. When he was eight, he moved with his family to Los Alamos, New Mexico where his rocket scientist father had landed a job working on Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Ini- tiative. When Shubaly was 13, his family moved again, to New Hampshire. There, he excelled at both academics and fighting, landing High Honors while only one further dust-up away from expulsion.
On April 20th, 2015, Mishka Shubaly will release Cowards Path through Invisible Hands Music on LP and CD. Described by Johnny Depp as “Forever a favourite – sublime!” the album features twelve affecting tracks shot through with the blackest of humour. Shubaly himself calls it a “collection of depressing, alcoholic, nihilistic songs” and, whilst he’s correct, there’s hope here too amongst the piles of broken bottles, promises, dreams and bones.
This is not music for a dinner party. This is not a party record. As Shubaly says, “I am not a role model”. But, by documenting his time spent at the bottom of a bottle, with courage, wit and élan, Shubaly proves finally that the Cowards Path is, in fact, anything but.
Mishka Shubaly started university at Simon’s Rock College of Bard at age fifteen and graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Colorado at 20. At 22, he was awarded the Dean’s Fellowship, the largest merit-based scholarship offered by Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Over one winter break, he recorded Thanks For Letting Me Crash, an EP of hungover bedroom 4-tracks, which he qui- etly self-released in 2001. That EP slowly gathered praise from bands like Dead Meadow and several record labels. Shubaly interned at The New Yorker reading fic- tion and was offered an internship at Harper’s Magazine, which he declined in order to crew on a sailboat in the Caribbean, which promptly sank. Mishka Shubaly re- ceived a note of commendation from the Dean of the University for completing a de- ceased classmate’s thesis so he could graduate posthumously. He graduated with an MFA in Fiction in 2003. Upon receiving his expensive degree, he promptly quit writ- ing in order to play music and ruin his life.
Mishka lived out of a Toyota minivan for a year, touring nonstop as a singer song- writer, and has shared the stage with artists like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Decemberists among many others. In 2007, Stumptown Records released “How To Make A Bad Situation Worse,” a sprawling record reveling in drunken cha- os Shubaly had written and recorded as his life was unraveling. That record found firebrand comedian Doug Stanhope, who declared Shubaly his favorite musician, and dragged him out on tour around the country. The shows were so successful that Shubaly had to get sober in 2009.
Shubaly’s writing has appeared in publications such as The Denver Post, NY- Mag.com, and New York Press. Shipwrecked, his firsthand account of a disaster at sea was named one of the “Best E-books of April” by Amazon.com, where it has sold more than 30,000 copies.
Having played gigs in US thirty-seven states and several countries, in 2015 his album Coward’s Path is being released by Invisible Hands Music. It is a tragic, funny and always honest account of his former life dealing with addiction and what happened along the path to sobriety. Johnny Depp calls it, “Always a favourite – sublime!” and comedian Doug Stanhope says, “If you have ever considered committing suicide at happy hour, Mishka Shubaly is the singer-songwriter for you.”