David Baker is the former lead singer and founding member of the band Mercury Rev. He is prevalent on the albums Yerself Is Steam and Boces and all of the singles and Peel Sessions the band did concurrently. Mercury Rev's sound changed considerably after the departure of Baker, whose deep voice was replaced by the much higher-pitched singing of Jonathan Donahue.
David Baker left Mercury Rev sometime before 1994 and produced the album World under the name Shady. The album featured contributions from artists such as Adam Franklin from Swervedriver, Martin Carr from The Boo Radleys, Jimi Shields from Lotus Crown and Rollerskate Skinny, Bill Whitten from St. Johnny and Grand Mal, and Sooyoung Park from Seam. A music video for the song "Narcotic Candy" was directed by Jim Spring and Jens Jurgensen. He then moved to Chicago, IL where he is a studio engineer, and has produced a number of bands, such as Comet, from Denton, TX, and Marvelkind from Chicago.
In 2012 it was announced David Baker's new band Variety Lights was to be releasing their debut album Central Flow on Fire Records June 12, 2012. This was followed by a UK tour in 2013, and headlining slot of Chicago Psych Fest V in 2014.