David Stücken has been kicking around the Southern California music scene for 17 years now. If you’ve seen some of the local rock shows at Chain Reaction, on the Sunset Strip, or pretty much any other small to mid-size venue, you’ve probably seen him play music in one variation or another.
These days, the 32-year-old singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer is tearing things up with some new music and a brand new video from his band David and the Curse. But while Stücken has used his music to convey his thoughts on life’s most simple and complex topics over the years, his new visual for “Like a Ghost” captures the hollow feeling that most people have experienced one too many times. Fun fact: The video was shot and directed by Well Hung Heart’s Greta Valenti and Robin Davey.
“The song is about isolation, whether it’s isolation from a loved one or meaning in your life — or sometimes those two things are one in the same,” Stücken says. “It’s about isolation and also about losing those things, but I also think that people feel really isolated within themselves now. With social media and staring at phones and the current regime or whatever you want to call it, I think a lot of people feel isolated emotionally. That might be why it’s relevant right now — and also because there’s nobody in the world who hasn’t lost somebody they loved in one way or another.”
With Facebook functioning as a digital therapist for so many struggling with feelings of isolation and depression, Stücken hopes the year-old single will make his fans (or anyone else listening to it) take solace in knowing that they’re not alone. It’s a deep sentiment from the intellectual rocker, and it’s the latest step in what he sees as a lifelong musical evolution from a punk rock kid to playing with his heroes and now taking matters into his own hands.
“I’ve been writing songs and playing shows since I was 15 — when I couldn’t even drive myself to my first shows at Chain Reaction” Stücken says. “As you get older, I think it’s important to grow and evolve, because if you don’t evolve then you’re just going to stay in the same place. I feel that everything that you do needs to evolve in one way or another, but for me I feel like it’s nothing I need to force. I like to play around with different things and listen to different songwriters, and sometimes I just feel something and I need to do it.”
Of course, Stücken isn’t the only one that’s been evolving over the last several years. The artist has watched as his hometown venues open, close, and change with time, and he can’t help but notice what an impact the vast universe of the internet has had on what was once his beloved small and experience-based music scene. Without sounding like a grumpy old man, the songwriter is among those who miss the days of having to discover a band either within the walls of Tower Records or at a concert itself.
“I think any club changing is just an echo of the music industry itself changing, and I think everything is changing and has just turned upside down,” Stücken says. “I think live music is suffering these days, because now you don’t need to leave your house to get new music — you can just pick up your phone, type in the name, and boom. I think the only answer is just to make better music so maybe people feel the need to come out and see a show or buy a record. There are so many people out there doing their shit that the wagon is really full, and there are a lot of thirsty motherfuckers out there looking to play shows.”
With the birth of numerous internet-based bands, Stücken knows that he has to do more than ever before to stand out from the crowd. Thankfully, his years of experience have granted him one simple message to give to prospective fans checking him out for the first time.
“Listen to the lyrics,” he says. “Just listen to the lyrics.”