Chris Tsefalas - A Life in Music
My career started at the age of eight, writing music and singing my own songs. Starting about 10, I took guitar lessons from Bill Alexander (who got his chops from the great jazz guitarist Buddy Fite). At the age of twelve, I wrote “Saturday Morning Alone,” which I recorded, produced by Bill Alexander. Within a week, “Saturday Morning Alone” hit No. 1 on the Northwest Regional chart in 1972, and held that mark for a month or so.
I then got signed by Great Northwest Record Company. I was sent to Los Angeles, where I recorded four songs with The Hudson Brothers, Fleetwood Mac’s engineer and Flo ’n Eddie’s band. The title song, “I’m A Rock and Roll Man” also hit No. 1 on the Northwest Regional chart in 1976.
At seventeen, I went to Seattle for a year to record a full-length record produced by James Curley Cooke (Steve Miller Band) and the band Bridges. We worked out of Hearts Studio and then became the first band to record at Bear Creek Studios. Times were changing, and Polydor Records put a hold on the project. We spent the next couple of years trying to finish the project, in and of court due to a few incidents caused by management. Unfortunately, the record was never released.
I returned to Portland and played in a number of projects of my own, doing solo acoustic sets for Leo Kottke and David Grisman. However, my heart was set on being in a band.
I formed Crow with Charlie de Frank and Sid “Bones” Jones. Crow was a power pop band working as a three piece, and we eventully added another guitar. Crow played regularly at Pine Street Theater, La Luna, and Satyricon, and opened for national acts such as Violent Femmes, The Replacements, P.I.L, The Blasters, Tragically Hip, 54-40, X, and Husker Du. I enjoyed playing with Crow, but after eight years together, we split up.
After Crow disbanded, I formed Red String, incorporating two basses, a gospel singer, and a violin player. My bandmates were Fred Chalenor (Tone Dogs), Courtney Von Drehle (3 Leg Torso), Rob Thomas, Kita Montgomery and Charlie de Frank. We worked for a couple of years, and had some label interest, but it was time to move on.
Next was Niven, which added Jeff and Trapp and Dave Stricker (one of the Unreal Gods with Billy Rancher, Kung Fu Bakery) on bass. Niven recorded an album, and then I worked on my solo career.
I reunited with John Moen (The Decemberists), as we had often crossed paths in music. I asked John to produce my first solo record, “I’m All Right?” with co-production by our good friend Larry Crane (Elliot Smith). At the time, I didn’t have my own band, and the album has more of a pop feel than later recordings. John greatly influenced the direction of that first album. Touring in support of the record, I opened for Graham Parker and Twilight Singers.
My next album, “Follow The Sun,” reunited me with John and Larry, and Chris Funk (The Decemberists) adds pedal steel. The album felt more like a collaboration between me and John. (See the Music page for more information and sample tracks from these albums.)
My latest album, “Wishing Well,” is set for release in October 2016, with John Moen, Larry Crane, and Chris Funk. This record represents my personal music, with greater production effort than I have done, with Larry and John guiding the way.
Out and About
MTV Artists - Chris Tsefalas
In Music We Trust - Chris Tsefalas
AllMusic - Chris Tsefalas
Spotify - Chris Tsefalas