Chris Rea, british guitarista/songwriter/singer, born March 4th 1951 in Middlesborough, England; of italian/irish/yugoslav origin; married to Joan; two daughters, Josephine and Julia Christina, both of them memorized in song ("Josephine" on album "Shamrock Diaries", 1985; "Julia" on album "Espresso Logic", 1993); passionate Ferrarista; would LOVE to write film music, and has indeed done so ("Auf Immer und Ewig", "Soft Top-Hard Shoulder", "Willie & the Poor Boys", "Parting Shots" - these are the only ones I remember at the moment...), but Hollywood hasn't called yet. Would work excellently with actor and producer Bruce Campbell, only I can't get them introduced to each other - GUFFAW!
The whens and whys of my personal Chris Rea-history: Of course there was "Fool, if you think it's over", but I only have a very dim recollection of having it heard performed by him, it was much more popular sung by Emmilou Harris. "I Can Hear Your Heartbeat" from the 1983 album "WaterSign" was kind of a memory jogger, though what made me look and listen twice was a small incident happening during a german tv show: They had invited him because "Heartbeat" was high up in the charts, and before he started to play the show's host did a little interview, "blablabla, we remember you from that song 'Fool, If You Think It's Over', but that was quite a few years ago and what have you done in the meantime?" Well, in later years Chris Rea has become a bit more talkative but then he only grinned as if over some secret joke. (I remember one German journalist complaining that he was wont to tell cryptic anecdotes that only insiders understood and then ROTFL, and if he deigned to reply to questions it was in such a thick accent that he - the journalist - couldn't make head or tail of it :) The answer came, when the host had already trundled off, removing himself from one of these embarassing situations when you believe either your English must be lousier than you thought or that you've unwittingly said something rude or stupid. Anyway, he had to turn round and scurry back to catch the precious words with his microphone: "Oh, nothing much: Spend all the money I earned with that one." Hm. Neither the tv person nor I realized that he meant it literally, that "WaterSign" had been his last chance to get himself onto dry land. But even without that knowledge I enjoyed the little scene hugely and Chris Rea, with his hair dyed blonde, surplus weight and enchanting grin stayed firmly in my sights. The 1984 album "Wired to the Moon" was followd 1985 by "Shamrock Diaries" with "Josephine" - ah, what can I say...
Apropos surplus weight - I carried rather a lot of that myself way back then. With his music it was one new addiction overriding the old bad habits - the fat melted off my frame just so, residues were burnt through working out at a gym, and I've never had any trouble keeping my weight and shape and fitness since 1986. Mind, I don't listen to his music that much anymore, though even nowadays, when he's touring Germany, I'll be up and out to buy a ticket, rent a hotel room and drive several hundred kilometres to see him live on stage. He's kind of like an old friend you always have an eye on even though you've drifted apart over the years.
The reason I go to so much trouble just to see him perform live - years ago I didn't own a car and not only had to go by train from my neck of the woods to the cities on his route but had to stay at a hotel overnight, mostly it was expensive ones, close to the location, 'cause I'd rather not wander round a strange town at night; I remember one year when I was, well, pecuniary disadvantaged, I spent the night at the Bahnhofsmission (=charitable organization for helping needy rail travellers) in Frankfurt and caught a train home at 4 o'clock a.m. Only the train, nothing else :) - as I was saying, the reason I go to so much trouble to see him perform life is, that his live performances are great. Not much of a show but excellent music, much more energetic than on his albums. And when he gets in the mood he can really let it rock. Songs that seem a bit limp on CD suddenly talk and make sense. And sometimes his guitar "like to the lark at break of day arising from sullen earth/sings hymns at heavens gate". (Guess, whom I borrowed that from!)
Apropos guitar playing and film music (the following quotations are taken from magazine Guitarist, July 1991. That may seem to be a long time in the past but the gist of it has remained unchanged. How I came by that magazine is a story in itself. In that year 1991 me and family went to the Republic of Ireland for three weeks of biking from coast to coast. Our starting point was Dublin. When right after having arrived and secured rooms at the local youth hostel we went for a stroll through town, first thing I saw in the display window of a small music store was this magazine with Chris Rea on the cover and a lo-ong interview inside. Of course I whisked inside at once and bought it. I took this treat as a good omen for the biking tour but, alas, it turned out that I was not as fit as I had arrogantly believed to be, so the following three weeks were more of an ordeal than fun. (Tip: Should you plan a similar enterprise, never go from east to west, you'll have to battle the winds from the Alantic Ocean all the way. Rather fly to some spot on the west coast and have them at your back, easing your toil.):
"...Normally they (journalists) just want to ask me about my gravel voice and what's it like coming from Middlesborough. No-one wants to talk about what I want to talk about, which is guitars and guitar playing...."
"...a very famous guitarist said to me only a year ago: 'Who plays guitar on your album?' And I thought: 'Well, I have got a long way to go...'"
"...In fact, about a year and a hald ago there was a charity band with Gary Moore, Mark Knopfler, Dave Gilmour, Andy Fairweather-Low and Bill Wyman, and I thought, 'This is it, now all the opportunities are coming. Thank you God!' And I was there with my Fender Tremolux, pink Strat, all plugged in ready to play, and everybody's gone, 'Microphone', and pointed. And I said: 'Well, no...guitar', and they said, 'Microphone". So I've got a long way to go..."
"It does actually hurt that no-one has noticed that your guitar style has evolved into something completely ypurs, and that there are interesting little nuancs in it. Like there's a lot of Eric Gale's influence in what I play..."
"There was one guy in France who picked up on the idea that I play slide guitar somewhere between an Irish pipe an a violin, and that actually brought a tear to my eye. I thought, 'Jesus, How did he know that?How did he know I spend hours listening to people like Davey Spillane, and blues violin?'"
"Well, it [old 'Pinky'] was primarily bought hoping it would sound like Ry Cooder's blue one. He had a Lake Placid Blue one in the early eighties, and I was still at the point where I thought, like most people who've just begun, that it's what you own as opposed to what you're playing. We had reason to believe that his was a '62, and Willy [Grimston], who's always been with me and who's actually got more guitars than me, came up with this pink guitar one day and I fell in love with it. The out of phase pickup setting was the most fantastic sound I'd ever heard. Funnily enough, it didn't sound like the normal out of phase sounds; it wasn't anywhere near as hard as an '61/'62 Strat and a lot of guys picked it up and didn't like it. It's loud and the actual tone is very wide, but it doesn't have the bite; it's very feathery."
"Film work. Not necessarily Hollywood film work, but anything where you put music to vision."
"You see, normally what happens is you finish the album and someone says, 'Shit! We haven't done B sides', and you've got this lovely little tune in your head. I normally name them as if there from films, hoping somebody will listen and go, 'Oh, he does film music, let's give him a job.'"