Modern rock with heart like Switchfoot or Foo Fighters without the screaming
The Early Years
As the son of a professional symphonic violinist, Chris began his classical musical training early. But it was a chance encounter with Van Halen’s 1984 at the age of 11 which triggered the start down a rock guitar path. It was quickly obvious that rock was where Chris belonged as middle school performances of songs like Ratt's "Round and Round" and Ozzy's "Crazy Train" made him well known in his hometown in northern Michigan. Oddly enough, though, it was his tuba playing in the school band which helped take him to the next level musically. "Tuba is what got me a scholarship into an arts focused boarding high school in Michigan: Interlochen Arts Academy. There I studied tuba, jazz guitar and composition for 3 years."
While continuing his formal music studies throughout the late 80's and early 90's, Chris was playing in rock bands as well as writing and recording music, most often with his brother on bass and cousin on drums, all accomplished musicians and all studying music in college at the time. Chris attended the University of Michigan School of Music where he majored in music technology (a blend of composition, recording, and multi-media performance) and minored in classical guitar.
Chris sums up the story of his Michigan band, "In the mid-90's my brother, my cousin, and I decided to formalize, professionally record and promote our melodic prog rock band, Jester's Crown, with the addition of a keyboardist. Our first release was Above the Storm (1995). Based in Ann Arbor, we toured from Madison, WI to Toronto, Canada, with most time spent performing between Detroit and Chicago. An acoustic EP release, Where Daydreams Play (1996) reflected the many in-store acoustic appearances we were doing at the time and led into our final large scale recorded release, Away (1998). The band broke up roughly a year later after Away failed to gain significant traction."
Moving to Seattle at the turn of the millennium, Chris continued forward on his own, playing and recording all instruments himself in his home studio for the CD Marooned (2001). His first son was born in October of that year, so it was at this point that he focused on raising a young family and on his career as a producer in the videogames business, including leading the team which created the classic horror game "The Suffering."
Looking for new inspiration and other musicians to collaborate with, in 2007 Chris joined a small local group of musicians called Songwriters in Seattle, whose seemingly random few monthly meeting participants would discuss the current state of the music biz and play a few songs for one another. Sticking with it, bonding with like-minded musicians, and finding motivation in the monthly meeting “deadline,” Chris slowly began his return to writing, recording, and performing, albeit at a slow pace. This eventually led to the release of twelve songs recorded between 2007-2009 with a variety of songwriting collaborations entitled Bankrupt Generation (2010).
A Return to Musical Focus
Songwriters in Seattle continued to grow both in membership and purpose as Chris took a larger and larger role in leading the organization. Taking a break from the videogame industry in late 2010 to focus on musical pursuits, Chris officially took over Songwriters in Seattle (now a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with over 500 members and 10 events each month) and at home accomplished a major studio upgrade. These two actions set the trajectory for an explosion of music in 2011-2012, most notably the release of his 3rd solo album, This Journey (2012). “This Journey is the realization of a rock sound I’ve had in my head the last 20 years!” Chris says, “It is focused, consistent, dynamic, produced and performed to the best of my ability, and represents a vision I am truly proud of.” With a professional graphic designer re-inventing Chris’s visual presentation as well, This Journey is a spectacular package that Chris hopes will compete and be recognized on a whole new level.
Chris has a variety of guitar-oriented rock inspirations and influences with a mix of prog rock, classic rock, hard rock, and modern pop rock. Among his favorite bands are Foo Fighters, Switchfoot, Green Day, Collective Soul, Staind, Tonic, Fuel, Breaking Benjamin, Rush, Yes, Genesis, Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, and Joe Satriani.
Chris's music suggests a journey through the struggles of life and ultimately a message of hope. Sometimes wistful and poetic, finding peace despite longing for what wasn't and may never be, while other times gritty and raw, tackling tough reality head on and searching for the answers. If Chris were to sum up a life lesson he says, "So-called ‘experts’ aren't trustworthy just because of their title or because they've been doing something a long time. Question everything and believe in yourself, especially when your gut tells you you're being led down the wrong path. Take action and responsibility for your success in life."
Chris currently resides in Kirkland, Washington with his wife and two children.