Chris was born in Watsonville, California, May 15, 1956.

He became interested in music at an early age, pounding on his Grandmother's antique piano.

Chris took up drums and accordion at the age of nine. The first four accordion lessons were won in a drawing held at the local county fair. 
"Some of us just are luckier than others, I guess."He learned basic ukulele chords after seeing Tiny Tim on the "Laugh-In" television series in the late 1960's. He traded two S&H Green Stamp books (remember those?) for his first uke. "My sister sat on it and crushed the top, which cut short my ukulele career. Isn't fate strange?"Chris' parents were very supportive, buying early instruments and lessons. He tagged along with his mother Pat, to the showrooms of Nevada casinos. He saw and learned from the big acts; Sammy Davis, Roy Clark, Victor Borge & Wayne Newton.

After seeing Roy Clark's live show, Chris developed a fascination for the five-string banjo. Against the advice of family and friends,
 ("Why would you want to play one of those?") he was given a banjo for Christmas in 1972.

His first band job was playing guitar with the "Stanford Street Jazz and Music Company". Composed of five members from the high school band, the group played retirement communities and wedding receptions throughout Santa Cruz county. (The lead accordion player's mother was Chris' accordion teacher.)

He started studies in Finger-Style guitar on his sister Mimi's nylon string guitar.
 "The top was crushed by a closet door, which cut short her musical career."Through the early 1970's Chris was very active in the Watsonville High School Band. He played timpani in concert band, bass and snare drum in marching band. He was a champion Drum Major in his senior year. (Can you say, band nerd?) In 1973 he started intern work as a graphic artist at a print shop in his home town.

Chris majored in music for one year at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. His studies were cut short due to illness.

Through the 1970's Chris was heavily involved with model rocketry. He won national awards in rocket design and flight competitions, where he met many wierd people and pyromaniacs.

In 1976 Chris won a gold medal in western states Ice Skating competition. He auditioned for the Ice Capades and was accepted for the line, but turned it down for a musical career.
 "Who knows, if I made a different choice, I might be out tonight . . . just skating around."In the summer of 1978 he got his first full-time music job at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, California. He did six instrument changes and sang harmony in the Country Jamboree show, seven shows a day, six days a week.

The following summer found Chris at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. He did a solo act in front of the Gold Trail's Hotel in Ghost Town, playing outdoors with no amplification. Again, seven shows a day, six days a week. The engagement was short, everyone being let go because of gas shortages. While in southern California he made the infamous GONG SHOW television appearance, scoring 30 points doing his version of "Dueling Banjos". (Still part of Chris' show today.) Summer, 1980 brought Chris back to Great America, this time as lead for the Country Jamboree

While playing "talent showcases" (a fancy name for open mic nights at the Sahara Casino) Chris was "discovered" by the talent booker for the Gold Dust Casino in Reno, Nevada. This lead to a eight month booking, playing the graveyard shift, 12:00 midnight to 5:00 a.m., six days a week.
 "I played for every drunk, bum and hooker in town!"A large midwestern talent agency brought Chris to Minnesota for a "guaranteed" full year of work. After a very cold winter and a four month stint in Saskatchewan, Canada, Chris jumped at the chance to entertain in Florida.

While initially his sights were on Disney World, he had the good fortune of getting an audition at Sea World. This lead to a long term relationship which continued for over 25 years! Chris has played every major entertainment venue in central Florida. 
"I'll work for anyone who has the nerve to hire me!"Chris met his wife, Terri at Sea World. (She worked for the special events department and actually hired Chris to entertain for the Summer "Blitz" promotion.) They were married one and a half years later. Now divorced, Chris has two daughters, Whitney and Madison.

Chris is now a headline act for major Cruise Lines.
 "It's fun to return to a real showroom again! Live band back-up, an audience that comes to be entertained and a full tux with cowboy boots. It doesn't get any better than this!"

No comments:

Post a Comment