Coordinator, Prior Learning Assessment & Articulation at Cardinal Stritch University

I began writing songs and learning guitar in my late teens, inspired mostly by rock and folk acts a generation older. Growing up in Tennessee, I couldn’t help but be influenced by country music, though I fought it at first. I found my voice when I realized the distinctions between styles were less meaningful than the similarities. After playing solo for a number of years, I finally formed a proper band in 2009 and have been performing with Chris Head and the Honchos since then.

Official website:

www.chrisheadandthehonchos.com

Social media:

Facebook

Reverbnation

SoundCloud

Photos

Review:

CD review in the Shepherd-Express: http://expressmilwaukee.com/article-18324-chris-head-amp-the-honchos.html. We also were interviewed and received an especially positive review in the Americana Gazette, which no longer maintains a Web presence. The press section of our website has some quotes pulled from a few places.

Links to music and videos:

YouTube

CDBaby

iTunes

Amazon

Albums:

Chris Head – “Candy Cigarettes” (2004), self-released, a solo, home-recorded project prior to forming the band and sold only at shows

Chris Head & the Honchos— “Hard Truths” (2009), self-released, our first band project

Self-described style:

Americana—a melding of roots music (country, folk, etc.) with more modern, melodic styles (rock, powerpop)

Instruments, vocals:

Guitar primarily, and I sing lead in the band. When necessity requires, I’ll pick up a harmonica, mandolin, or bass.

Performance group:

Chris Head & the Honchos includes Rizal Iskandarsjach (drums) and Tim Ungrodt (bass).

Notable names:

I opened for Amy Rigby years ago when making the solo rounds. She’s not known by the populace but is highly respected among critics and fans of independent music. We’ve also shared the stage with a number of local acts.

Influences/mentors:

The list is endless, but the Beatles, Dylan, the Byrds, and early rockabilly made a huge mark, especially combined with more modern bands like R.E.M., Jason & the Scorchers, Let’s Active, Los Lobos, etc.

Favorite band/musician/composer:

Still a huge Beatles fan.

Favorite song:

My list of favorites changes daily, but you can’t do much better than Bob Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate.” Heartbreaking.

My favorite original song to perform is currently “Born to Be,” which is a newer one.

Pieces with a special backstory:

“In the Kitchen,” a song on “Hard Truths” that has been played on WUWM at Nite and was featured on the first volume of the compilation CD “Indie MKE,” started as a tongue-in-cheek challenge to write a “Martha” song. I chose Martha White, which is a brand of flour in the South. Not many folks up here know about it, but that joke turned into the inspiration to compose a nostalgic song about a place and time from my childhood and has become one of our most liked songs.

Biggest musical feat so far:

Getting on local radio (WUWM, WMSE) has been pretty fun, and the most visible thing that has happened to us.

Awards/honors:

The Americana Gazette chose “Hard Truths” as the 2nd best locally-produced CD for 2012.

Earliest music memory:

Singing “Behind Closed Doors” to parents, aunts, and uncles. Still one of my favorite songs.

Memorable gig:

Our only Minnesota gig was as part of a free music in the parks series. We began playing near dusk on a beautiful August day. During “It Won’t Happen Tonight,” one of our hardest rocking tunes, the power suddenly went out, plunging the stage in darkness and leaving only the microphones working. I finished the song by switching to acoustic guitar, and we played another song or two that way to close the set. We had to use the headlights from Riz’s van to pack up our gear, which drained his battery and required a boost to get us back on the road.

Future goals:

I’ve come to realize that being a musician is more an aspect of my person than something I do and has no connection to whether it’s done professionally or not. I make music because it fulfills a need in me. As long as I can continue to write and perform, I’ll be happy. Having said that, I would love an opportunity to see one of my songs take on a life beyond me, whether through a licensing opportunity, being covered by a higher profile act, or in some other way.

Stritch music memories:

The band has performed several times at Stritch, for special events, student orientation, and most recently a staff social event at the Union. They’ve all been a lot of fun. The Staff Development Committee Spirt Day event was probably the most successful in my mind. For days afterward, coworkers complimented us on the show. I was proud to have been asked and to have been able to contribute in that way.

Upcoming gigs:

We’d love to see a contingent of Stritch folks come out to one of our shows. Our calendar is updated first on our website and is generally the most accurate:http://www.chrisheadandthehonchos.com/shows.html.

Other interesting facts:

Though based in Milwaukee, all three members of the band are either not originally from the area or have spent significant parts of their lives living elsewhere. Chris is from Tennessee, Riz is from Indonesia, and Tim spent 20 years in Dallas.

E-mail the band at chrisheadandthehonchos@gmail.com