Becker is graced by the agents of morality

Courtesy of Free Moral Agents

As the semester ushers itself forward, so do the weekly Wednesday concerts at Becker Amphitheater.

A quarter of the way through fall semester, the stage will once again be taken over.

The live musical performances  ring through the square outside of the Titan Student Union and campus bookstore.

On Wednesday, the band Free Moral Agents will treat Cal State Fullerton students to a one-hour performance at noon.

One of the band members might seem familiar to some audience members.

Isaiah “Ikey” Owens is a  Grammy-Award-winning keyboardist.

He was a member of the eclectic rock group The Mars Volta and De Facto and was involved in the Long Beach music scene.

Originally he started Free Moral Agents in 2004 as a solo project.

In the eight years since the band’s birth, Free Moral Agents left solo territory and became a group effort.

Today the group is comprised of  Mendee Ichikawa (vocals), Reid Kinnet (Rhodes), Jesse Carzello (guitar), Dennis Owens (bass), Ryan Reiff (drums) and Isaiah “Ikey” Owens (keyboards).

Leaving The Mars Volta to start his own project was anything but difficult for Owens.

Ichikawa and Owens are longtime friends that made music together for many years. Owens said it was an easy choice to welcome her to his one-time solo project.

“Mendee and I have been making music together since the mid ‘90s,” said Owens. “She’s my favorite singer.”

This decision has been proven right as the group continues to climb in their movement.

According to the band’s Facebook page, Free Moral Agents are currently preparing for the release of their newest album, Honey In The Carcass Of The Lion. They are also working on an EP titled Control This.

Free Moral Agents is collaborating with legendary Fela Kuti’s drummer and co-founder of Afrobeat, Tony Allen, to produce a 10” vinyl that is titled North Is Red.

With a tribal funk sound drizzled with hint of jazz that is laced over with the soft crooning of Ichikawa, Free Moral Agents produce a variety of sounds with their unnamed genre.

Throughout his career Owens has worked with artists from Sublime, Saul Williams and El-P. He is currently touring with Jack White.

This mix of artists, some that are as different as night and day, have surely inspired and influenced Owens and the various directions he continues to lead Free Moral Agents.

The unique sound that Free Moral Agents now embraces will likely evolve and grow as their collaborations extend farther and their current influences only deepen.

“All the people that I’ve played with have been my biggest influence, including the people I’m playing with now in Jack White’s band,” Owens said. “Also, Money Mark and R. Scott for California Lions have been big influences.”

Although the band has had an amazing and successful path in its eight-year lifespan so far, the future is still uncertain.

Owens is a tad hesitant to wish for too much when it comes to the future of the Free Moral Agents.

“Time at best is an uncertain entity. At it’s worst it’s cruel and unfair, so it’s hard to say,” Owens said. “In the digital age it’s hard to say what ten years really even means anymore.”

With a confession of uncertainty in a digital fast paced age of music, the words and their meaning are intriguing and only time will tell how true they might be.

The band’s interesting and memorable name runs as deep with intrigue as their indie-esque sound.

“Free moral agency is what makes us human. It’s what makes us powerful,” Owens said. “It’s the difference between us and the beasts.”

About Sima Sarraf

Sima Sarraf is a journalism major in her senior year at CSUF. After serving as assistant editor for the Detour section in the Fall of 2012, she is thrilled to return as editor of the section. She will be traveling to Vietnam for two weeks this Spring with a medical mission, which she will report on while shadowing doctors and nurses. With a passion for live music and writing, she hopes to one day grace the pages of Rolling Stone magazine beside her writing heroes Matt Taibbi, David Fricke and Peter Travers among many others.