I created Chris Ellis Productions to promote and distribute products and services related to my original songs as well as a place to get to know Chris the singer/songwriter, violinist, cellist, bass player, and keyboardist.
I started singing when I was a teenager and took lessons from Bob Bernard in Palo Alto. He taught correct vocal technique and is a noted opera coach as well as a really fun guy. He had me lunging around his house with various swords and props while singing lines in Italian. I had no idea what the lines meant and sometimes I wondered if Bob was just playing with me, but I had a blast and I learned a lot. During that time, Bob was also working with Joan Baez, whose lesson was right after mine! I had the opportunity of watching her perform some Italian arias in master classes that Bob taught. Although this was over 20 years ago and since then I have sung in a lot of different venues and situations, I have never injured my voice thanks to Bob and his attention to the welfare and longevity of the vocal instruments as well as his attention to the beauty of the performance.
Shortly after that time, I started playing bass and took lessons with Myron Dove whom I still think is one of the premiere bassists on earth. Myron has toured with Santana and with Dave Meniketti of Y and T fame. Subsequently I started playing bass with the Tearmagnets which featured two of my favorite people on earth. One of these people was Oliver Harris who was named as one of the “Unsung Guitar Heroes of the Bay Area” in the BAM Magazine poll of 1989.The Tearmagnets also featured Dennis Dove on drums and vocals (Dennis is Myron’s brother). Dennis is currently touring with his band Gumbo. Watch for him at the various festivals around the Bay Area.
With the Tearmagnets, I warmed up stages for the likes of:
- Clarence Clemons (sax player for Bruce Springsteen)
- Ric Emmett of the hit 70′s band Triumph (his voice is still as great as it ever was)
- Dave Meniketti from Y and T (Wow! He and his band are incredible!)
- Ronnie Montrose
- Rory Gallagher
- Bourgeois-Tagg featuring Lyle Workman on guitar who went on to play with Todd Rundgren and was recently touring with Beck (Lyle was also my roommate for a couple of years during the early Bourgeois-Tagg years)
- Robben Ford
- Bloodline, featuring Jason Bonham (the son of John Bonham of Led Zeppelin fame) on drums
- Blues great Sunny Rhodes
- Tony McAlpine who is currently touring with Billy Sheehan, Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen
In 1995, in the Haight Ashbury Free Press, my original song “Insanity” was awarded eighth in the Local Band Top 20, beating out Jerry Garcia who placed number 20. That same year, the Tearmagnets placed Second in the Battle of the Bands sponsored by Cheers in Sunnyvale. The competition was brutal but the other bands were very nice. It was awesome!
Additionally, The Tearmagnets were played on local radio stations including KSJO with Greg Stone, KSJS, KFJC and college radio stations in San Francisco and other parts of California. In the early 90′s The Tearmagnets were approached by music attorney Mickey Shapiro (Attorney for Fleetwood Mac). He invited us to go to LA and record in Madonna’s personal studio. At that time, the engineer on the project was Dave Poulliot who had won a Grammy for his work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (Cuts from that project are on the Tearmagnets, Tribunal CD available at CDbaby.com) At that same time, we were approached by people at Restless Records to do a showcase. We had to decline due to other commitments.
In the meantime I have turned my attention to teaching and selected performances. I am teaching vocals, music theory, singer/songwriter classes and violin, both classical and contemporary.
Most recently I have been concentrating heavily on becoming a virtuoso violinist and cellist. I am currently playing cello with the South Valley Symphony. I am also playing special events with my friend Tammi Hopwood. Tammi and I are available for weddings, baptisms and parties. The music is anywhere from classical to jazz, to blues and frankly, we’ll try anything.
I have also recently written two books. One is a collection of funny short stories entilted “Ode to Bad Plumbing and Other Serious Poems for the Modern Age”. The other is a romantic story entitled “Chasing La Bella Vita”. Both of these are available on my Casa Bella Vita site. Chasing La Bella Vita is also available as an eBook on both Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. My third book is pending! Stay tuned!