Christopher Fink Musical Biography
Born in Milwaukee in late 1964, Chris's early musical influence was shaped by his parents' jazz and classical leanings, with a heavy dose of AM-radio Motown and pop thrown in for good measure. At the age of 12, his father, a former army drummer, bought him a snare drum, jump-started his enthusiasm by taking him to a few Buddy Rich shows, and then pawned off his tutelage to a local instructor for the next four years, during which time Chris, like most people his age, drifted toward rock & roll. Not having a full drumset yet, his on-stage experience at the time was limited to school jazz and concert bands, but in 1977 his parents bought a 3-piece Rogers kit, and by 1979 Chris had already joined bands playing southern rock, early metal, and 50's & 60's pop, the latter of these bands remaining together throughout high school.
In college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his musical experiences and influences expanded dramatically. While most of his classmates succumbed to the lure of New Wave, Chris and his friends dove back into earlier psychedelic rock, art-rock,and experimental/ambient styles , and then further back into jazz and blues. Madison was (and still is) a hotbed of cultural opportunity, and when not soaking up Indian classical music at the free Krishna dinners, scouring local used-record bins for obscure and avant-garde material, or burrowing into blues and reggae at rallies on the capitol lawn, there was ample opportunity to take classes in music theory, opera, and jazz history and performance, or see national artists like Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, Ravi Shankar, Pink Floyd, Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, or the Art Ensemble of Chicago when they came through town. Not to mention regular road trips to Milwaukee and Chicago to see blues acts like Leroy Airmaster and Magic Slim and the Teardrops...
Inspired by this wealth of musical possibility, Chris took every opportunity to join bands in a range of styles, from art-rock to reggae, folk-rock to country and psychedelic blues, the most popular and longest-lived of these being an original power-pop outfit called The Other Kids, which toured the east and west coasts, and released a number of albums on Butch Vig’s Boat Records between 1983 and 1991, before succumbing to local-area saturation and the rise of grunge. Chris took this opportunity to form a short-lived bebop group, and continued a seven-year history of giving private drum lessons, before leaving for graduate school at Florida State in 1994. It was in the deep south that he really was forced to develop his blues chops and sense of time, though in addition to blues bands he worked with local alternative-rock talent.
Moving to Fredericksburg, Virginia after graduation in 2001, Chris was faced with another new environment in which to build musical contacts, and soon was drafted into the drummer’s post of the local original rock band She Bites Dogs, with whom he released two albums on his own Metasopht Airware label. After that band ran its course, Chris began sitting in at local jazz jams, where with the help of like-minded musicians he founded The Fredericksburg Jazz Collective, , a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting jazz and Latin music. Chris is currently leading his own local be-bop act The Dangerous Kitchen, while occasionally sitting in with a variety of classic rock and country bands, including The Survivors, The Sterling Band, and Swamp Trash.
Musical Education and Personal Mentors
- 1976-1979 : Individual snare drum instruction, Milwaukee, WI.
- 1977 : Michigan Tech Jazz Camp
- 1978-1979 : Marquette University High School Band, Milwaukee, WI.
- 1982-1987 : University of Wisconsin-Madison classes in music theory, opera, jazz history, and jazz performance, the latter two with Richard Davis (Sarah Vaughan, Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis, et. al.).
- 1988-1993 : Weekly funk open mics hosted by Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown)
- 1991-1992 : Weekly free-jazz open mics hosted by Roscoe Mitchell (Art Ensemble of Chicago)
- 2009-Present: Monthly jazz jams sponsored by The Fredericksburg Jazz Collective
Main Musical Influences
Drummers: Buddy Rich, Elvin Jones, Jack DeJohnette, Graham Lear, Gary Husband, Vinnie Colaiuta, Tain Watts, Vodie Rhinehart, Alla Rhaka, Aynsley Dunbar, Bill Kreutzmann, Trilok Gurtu, Neil Peart, Keith Moon.
Bands & Bandleaders : John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Chick Corea, Dave Holland, Dizzie Gillespie, Don Cherry, Branford Marsalis, Frank Zappa, Santana, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Police, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lonnie Brooks, Leroy Airmaster, Magic Slim & The Teardrops, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Gypsy Kings.
Other : Thomas Tallis, Claudio Monteverdi, Gyorgy Ligeti, Jocelyn Pook, Ravi Shankar, The Anonymous 4, Brian Eno, Fela Kuti, Sonny Fortune, Toru Takemitsu, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Smithsonian Folkways Records.
1979 Phobia (Southern Rock)
1980 IT (Metal)
1981 Paradox (Classic Rock)
1982 The Visitors (Classic Rock)
1984 Touche’ (Art Rock)
1990 Sample Mosaics 1984-1990 (Experimental Music)
1989 Harvest (Folk Rock)
1990 Polyriddims (Reggae)
1992 Mr. P.C. (Bebop)
1994 Ruby Dust (Psychedelic Rock)
1998 A Lecture on Shelley (Alternative Rock)
2000 Boogie Church (Blues)
2000 Rock Shrimp (Grunge)
2000 Bourbon Kings (Southern Alt-Rock)
2002 She Bites Dogs (Rock)
2005 816 (Grunge)
2008 She Bites Dogs (Rock)
2009 She Bites Dogs : B-Sides (Rock)
Released Studio Recordings
1985 The Other Kids : Living in the Mirror (Boat Records)
1987 The Other Kids : Happy Home (Boat Records)
1991 The Other Kids : Grin (Boat Records)
1994 Ruby Dust : Self-Titled (Garfinkel Music)
1998 The Other Kids : Neverland (Spinolio Records Compilation)
1999 The No Reallies : Self-Titled (Higgins Music)
2001 The Bourbon Kings : Self-Titled (Bourbon Records)
2003 She Bites Dogs : Self-Titled (Metasopht Airware)
2006 The Other Kids : Self-Titled (Wizzard-In-Vinyl Japanese Compilation)
2009 She Bites Dogs : Have I Changed? (Metasopht Airware)
2016 The Other Kids : Song "Madtown" featured in the movie The Smart Studios Story and soundtrack album American Noise, Vol. 1.
Released Live Recordings
1987 The Other Kids : Beat of the City Live (Virgin Records Compilation)
2014 The Mike Matthews Band : Sound and Fury (Metasopht Airware)