After sharing the stage with all-time legends such as Pantera and Slayer back in the day when he was in the Los Angeles hardcore thrash metal scene, Chris Holly the alt-rocker from Charleston, South Carolina shows the world a better way of thinking in his new track ‘WAR PAINT.‘
There is much to like about a highly respected underground legend who has reinvented himself, as he coats our speakers with a quality track to play loud in our awaiting ears. ‘WAR PAINT‘ is a preview and the opening cut to Chris Holly’s concept album ‘3’ which will release in January 2023. Based on the symbolism of the number 3, “Birth Life Death” the album tackles everyone’s similar journey ultimately facing our toughest battles in life alone, our battle cry, thus WAR PAINT starting off the album. Indie Boulevard caught up with Chris Holly to talk about the new single and many more.
IB: Hello Chris. How did your journey in music begin? You caught the music of the 80s, 90s and after all this time, music is still your best friend. Tell your story about how you got into music.
Chris: I was raised to be a tennis pro and was top ranked as a USTA junior. I began to feel the sports burnout around 13, then I saw Mtv and everything changed. I got a cheap acoustic guitar for Christmas and it was game, set and match. I played it nonstop growing up in North Alabama teaching myself and practicing hours a day. I also played in a high school band that did covers, backyard parties stuff like that. When I turned 18 I moved to Hollywood, CA that’s when my whole world changed.
IB: When you started making music and playing the guitar, did you immediately decide that this is a matter of your lifetime, or was it just a hobby at first?
Chris: I approached playing guitar like tennis, worked as hard as I could was determined to get very good at the instrument. I’ve always loved music since I was a very little kid listening to my parents Beatles records.
It was never a hobby I wanted to make it as a musician at the highest level. Determination, and never give up.
IB: What was the key and turning point in your musical path that completely changed your life as an artist?
Chris: My turning point was the move to Hollywood, CA (1986) I attended Musicians Institute and lived right off Hollywood Blvd. The first night I got to Hollywood, mind you I’d never been there and was by myself. I was staying at the old Holiday Inn at Hollywood and Highland. I checked in at the desk my suitcase in hand, and a gig bag on my shoulder I headed to the elevators. The door to the elevator was shutting, a hand from the inside stopped it. When I got on the lift the entire band, the Ramones were on the elevator. I couldn’t believe my eyes, moving from North Alabama to that situation, that moment I knew I was right where I needed to be.
IB: You’ve been sharing the stage with big names like Hootie and the Blowfish, Edwin McCain, Darius Rucker, Better Than Ezra, Todd Snider, Tonic, Slayer, Pantera, Toadies, Billy Joe Shaver, Drivin N Cryin, Mike Nesmith, Eric Bass (Shinedown), and Mike Mills (R.E.M.). How did you manage to achieve such heights?
Chris: The first big tour I did was with the pioneers of Thrash Metal OMEN playing guitar for them on “Escape to Nowhere” Tour. We played everywhere in the United States and with so many other heavy bands. We also played Canada, our first night was in Vancouver but a lot stuff went down at the concert that night including a riot. We were thrown out of the country canceling our other Canadian dates. It’s a long story, maybe for another time.
I’ve been blessed to play with so many diverse artist. I truly love all styles of music and love sharing world stages with my fellow artist/musicians. I’ll play with Slayer to Darius Rucker in the same week. I Love Music! That should be my bumper sticker.
IB: Your new single ‘WAR PAINT’ is quite a heavy track. I really liked the message and tension in the song. Tell us a little about the new single.
Chris: WAR PAINT is the first preview from my concept album 3 which will be released 1/3/23. That’s why the track is short but a very intense attack on the senses foreshadowing the war to come on the album. The strange voice mail at the end will open the next track called LOVE HATE. The song WAR PAINT is me on all instruments with very little processing in the mix, giving it a more personal conversation vibe for the listener.
IB: Your new album is due in January 2023. Will the upcoming album be in the same heavy style or will it be more an experimental, acoustic album?
Chris: Yes, the new album 3 will be out January 3rd 2023. So much of life comes in 3’s, Birth Life Death or Mind Body & Soul. The Greeks considered 3 the perfect number, defining harmony, wisdom and understanding.
The album’s theme is based around my love for music more than anything or anyone and the affect it has on my personal life, relationships and mental health trying to come to terms with that complicated reoccurring puzzle in my life.
IB: Chris, I know that at some point in your career you gave up rock music. How did it happen that you lost interest in the heavy scene and turned to an acoustic guitar?
Chris: I never gave up rock music but I was knee deep in the Sunset Strip scene 1986-90. Hell, when I first moved to Hollywood Guns N Roses lived down the street from me off Sunset. I loved those years and that scene but following the massive tour with Omen I wanted to find a new direction. My acoustic release “Raised of Hatred” (1990 Furnace USA Records) was really a precursor to the grunge scene in Seattle, oddly enough a former “band” housemate in the late 80’s was Mike Inez now the bassist for Alice In Chains. It all comes full circle at some point if you stay in the music game long enough, Small world syndrome stuff. I am very proud to say that my acoustic release was selected best of new music in Los Angeles, 1990 by 95.5 KLOS Radio.
IB: Can you tell us what was your best performance in your career?
Chris: My best show would be plural. One of my favorites was Las Vegas, New Years Eve with Hootie and the Blowfish. My birthday is NYE so a very loud partying crowd sang Happy Birthday to me. Another would be my 90’s band Holly On Methadone performing with the Toadies in Savannah GA stage diving was off the chain that night! Last but not least The Basement Club in Dallas, Texas (89’) OMEN live concert broadcast nationwide on Z-Rock with Pantera guys hanging with us. My shows in 2023 will be some of my best, with age you come to appreciate those little moments more on the road and the interaction with the crowds.
IB: Is there a tour planned for the upcoming album? Will it come out on CDs, or maybe vinyl?
Chris: Yes to touring many shows planned and booked for 2023 in multiple countries. Funny you ask about CD’s I was literally just discussing pressing this next release on CD too.
IB: And the last question. Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of music?
Chris: No to hobbies. Music is my life 7 days a week, my happy place, my best friend that has never left me… MUSIC!
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