American rock ’n’ roll songster Chris Isaak comes to Vilar Performing Arts Center
If you go …
What: Chris Isaak.
When: 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7.
Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center, 68 Avondale Lane, Beaver Creek.
Cost: Tickets start at $105.
More information: Tickets are on sale now at the VPAC Box Office, by calling 970-845-8497 or at www.vilarpac.org.
American rock favorite Chris Isaak will take the stage at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on Sunday. Known for classic hits including “Wicked Game,” “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” and “Somebody’s Crying,” Isaak has also acted in television shows and movies and been a judge for “X-Factor Australia.”
Read on to learn more about his musical influences, career and excitement about returning to the Vail Valley.
1VILAR PERFORMING ART CENTER: What was it like to be a judge for “X-Factor Australia?”
CHRIS ISAAK: At first, I thought I would hate it. I come from a background playing bars, stores, clubs and working my way up. I had the idea that television singers just couldn’t be real. I’m happy to say I was wrong. I met a great group of young singers that made it a ball to go to work each day. I loved just passing around a guitar backstage, singing and picking and talking music. The best!
2VPAC: What do you like most about performing in the Vail Valley?
ISAAK: It’s a gorgeous place. It reminds me of my hometown of Stockton, California, but the best thing in any town is the people. They come to have fun, and Vail makes that easy.
3VPAC: How has your acting career influenced your music?
ISAAK: I think I’m a guy who loves movies; even as I’m doing this interview, I have an old movie playing in my bunk on the bus. But I think of myself as a singer more than an actor. And I have 20 films to prove it.
4VPAC: As your albums have been released throughout the span of 30 years, how has your musical style changed and evolved?
ISAAK: Not much. I love pretty singing, love songs and American style rock ’n’ roll. I don’t rap; I don’t have a political message. I’m not angry. What the hell do I have to be angry about? I sing for a living! I just try to do what I’ve always tried to do. Sing pretty and have fun doing it!
5VPAC: What is new or different about your most recent album, “First Comes the Night”?
ISAAK: We recorded in Nashville with two new producers. I was running back and forth from studio to studio, but it was a ball. Paul Worley and Dave Cobb, two very different guys with a lot in common, they love and respect American music and they know its history. Every day was playtime, not work.
6VPAC: How does it feel to be coming back here and performing in the Vail Valley?
ISAAK: We love putting on a live show; I’m really proud of this band. After 31 years, I think we are having more fun than ever. … The guys are dressed up sharp in suits that could have come out of James Brown’s closet. And I have one suit that weighs 35 pounds and is covered in mirrors. It looks like something Liberace turned down as too flashy! I can’t wait to be back. We have been working out twice a day — our team is ready.
7 VPAC: “Wicked Game” is a classic that everyone can’t wait to hear live in Beaver Creek. Why do you think that song resonated so well with audiences and became such a classic hit?
ISAAK: I think everybody has had that feeling when love grabs you and you aren’t in control. It’s scary, and it’s wonderful. Ain’t life grand?
8VPAC: In addition to the track “San Francisco Days,” how have your California roots influenced your music?
ISAAK: I think I listen to a lot of country, a lot of Mexican music … but I think that’s blended in with Bing, Beatles, Dean Martin, Elvis. I’m your typical American. I listen to a lot of music, from rock to Hawaiian.
9VPAC: What are some of your main influences and common subjects for your songs?
ISAAK: Roy Orbison, Elvis, Beatles, Dean Martin. … I love Sun Studios and that sound. Scotty Moore, Elvis’ first guitar man, passed away this year. I have been so lucky to work with Orbison, Cash, Scotty, Jerry Lee. I hope we keep some of that music in people’s minds.
As to what’s the subject of my songs … love. And anything except a love song is a novelty. Love’s the thing that keeps this blue marble spinning.
10VPAC: What excited you the most about playing at the Vilar Performing Arts Center?
ISAAK: It’s a great location with world-class acoustics, but that isn’t what counts. It’s the audience.
11 VPAC: What do you hope audiences will enjoy the most about your upcoming show?
ISAAK: I think we sound like our records — we should, we made ’em! But I’m really proud that we put on a great live show and entertain people. We dress up in flashy clothes, we show up on time and we get off the stage and into the crowd, sometimes the crowd ends up on stage. We dance, very poorly, but we dance, and most of all, we have fun. If someone comes and has never heard us or our music, it doesn’t matter. It’s a party and everyone’s invited.
12 VPAC: What is your favorite part of being on tour and the show you’re currently performing?
ISAAK: I love everything about this job. I travel the world with my best friends singing and having a ball. Every night, I get to sing love songs to gorgeous women. I have had lots of jobs. I worked unloading ships, throwing hay, roofing, boxing … I picked the right job. I love to sing!
Chris Anthony’s documentary film project chronicles post-war activities of the 10th Mountain Division.