"This boy is going to grow up to be a guitarist!"
Chris Stark was 5 years old and still living in Southern California next door to Spanish guitar master Antonia Morales. She made this bold claim after the youngster sat and unflinchingly watched her play her instrument.
Shortly thereafter, Chris and family uprooted from cool coastal California to the lush and balmy Big Island of Hawaii. It would be another several years before Chris would bring Ms. Morales' prophecy to fruition. However, by the time he picked up the electric guitar, a teenaged Chris already had a strong vocabulary in Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, The Who, and Peter Frampton from his parents' collection of vinyl LPs.
As fate would have it, the tsunami of 1980s shred guitar was just starting to crest as Chris learned his first chords. A new era of guitar slingers including Joe Satriani, Kirk Hammett, Eric Johnson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Steve Vai caught his attention and inspired him to practice for hours every day.
Chris would go on to study music and eventually earn his undergraduate degree in music, with a focus on composition. Throughout his college days, Chris played in several bands while living in metropolitan Honolulu. He contributed guitar work to local artists' albums, independent film soundtracks, and television commercials. Chris also toured Japan and Europe as a hired sideman for a local metal band in need of a short notice replacement for a band member who was unable to travel at the time.
In 2009, Chris and his wife moved from Honolulu back to his home island when offered a job with one of the world class telescope facilities located at the summit of Mauna Kea, the world's best astronomical observation site. While the isolation of the Big Island initially meant a sharp decline in performing, it also provided a perfect environment for songwriting.
As of mid-2020, Chris has released four full-length instrumental rock guitar albums on CD and all of the major streaming services, all of which were recorded and produced from his home studio. His latest album “Electric Sky” is currently a finalist for the 2020 “Instrumental Album of the Year” for the Hawaii Academy of Recording Artists’ Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards which could be considered Hawaii’s version of the Grammy Awards.
Lately Chris has been adding video production and global collaborative musical project management to his resume. For the birthdays of both Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, Chris coordinated and led two separate efforts, each with over 20 other guitarists from around the globe to record audio and video tributes to these artists for their respective birthdays. In the week following Joe Satriani's birthday, the Joe's birthday video was viewed over 6,000 times, and Mr. Satriani himself applauded the video and shared it on his own social media channels.
Chris is currently in the middle of writing new songs for his fifth album. He is also finalizing the setup of his home studio for live Internet streaming, enabling him to perform while still respecting the ongoing need for social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once the pandemic passes Chris is eagerly looking forward to jamming on stage again with Steve Vai, resuming his regular gigs with the Jeff Gaeth Quartet, and rocking out with Hilo-based band Page 43.
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"Hawaii is another place that has hardly been known for acts of note in the rockular field until now. If that be the case, then Chris Stark could be the game changer here..."
-- Dave Attrill, MetalliVille Webzine
"Bearing in mind that this is Chris Stark's first release, I must say that he has come out with a very accomplished release. The album is enjoyable, especially if you like guitar instrumentals all the way through. It's consistent and without any tracks that you would feel inclined to press 'skip' for. This is well worth getting your hands on."
-- Andy Brailsford, Fireworks Magazine