FAIRVIEW, N.J. -- Headlining at the legendary Whisky a Go Go in West Hollywod, Fairview native Sergio Michel played a self-penned heavy metal tune that came to him as he walked up Gorge Road from Edgewater after he proposed to his girlfriend -- and she said no.
“I'm a troubadour of real-life melancholia,” said Michel, 36. "I've seen a lot of people lose their lives to bad influences. I'm independent and at times abrasive, but believe in facing darkness with light."
"Marry Me, Cindy" was one of several tunes he performed that night on the same Los Angeles stage that was a launching pad for Janis Joplin, the Doors, Van Halen and Alice Cooper.
He also presented a kind of music that would be considered the anti-thesis of some of their styles.
A 2006 men's retreat led him Michel on a path of abstinence and refraining from alcohol as a born-again Christian.
"Some religious groups don't understand my music, and some venues won't take me because I talk about religion," he said.
Michel, who has performed at Love Sexy in Hoboken, among other tri-state area venues, has been recognized for his music by ReverbNation this year and last.
He has trended in the top 20 percent of artists on Twitter and had similar success on Facebook.
"I Close My Eyes," from the "Marry Me, Cindy" album, has had more than 157,000 plays.
He's more recently been recording "Tropical Depression," about his experiences in Miami.
“The backdrop is sunny but there's a lot of messed up stuff," Michel said. "In the end, it will be symphonic, have better vocals, and still be a concept album about the underbelly of South Beach."
"God gave me this talent, so I'm going to use it to the max," he said.