Songs & Stories Podcast: S2, E7
Chris Stark is an instrumental rock guitarist and songwriter from Hilo. He’s played guitar in a variety of bands and ensembles over the years, ranging from thrash metal to reggae, to big band jazz to contemporary classical, and worldbeat fusion. In this episode, you’ll hear two of his originals, “Pandemic” and “Ice Blue.”
You can find Songs & Stories on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. It also airs weekly on KONA 100.5 FM in Kailua, Kona. You can also read an excerpt from the podcast’s transcript below.
Connect with Chris Stark: https://chrisstark.com
Steve Roby: What made you want to pick up a guitar?
Chris Stark: I started as a lot of people do, in my teens I picked up a guitar. My dad was a guitarist, and so we had a couple of guitars around the house. I picked them up, and kind of fiddled around with them. I actually got my start on the keyboards, though, and I took that knowledge and kind of taught myself how to play the guitar, just translating. I knew what the tuning was on a guitar, but I didn’t know anything else. So, I kind of had to pick my way through it, just translating keys to frets. And over the years, I got some lessons and learned that.
I grew up here on this island and North Dakota, and I had a great music teacher, Mr. Sid Ainsworth, and he’s no longer with us. But man, he was a great music teacher. He just brought the fire out of you, and he was very inspiring, a very striking man. He was probably six-foot-six, with bright red hair and a loud, booming voice. He got your attention even just without even saying or just seeing him.
Roby: He sounds kind of menacing.
Stark: A little, but my goodness, he was one of the best sax players I’ve ever heard in my life.
Roby: Was there a particular moment, a group, or a player that got you excited about music in the beginning?
Stark: There was. It was a really strange occurrence, actually. I was sitting in a sixth-grade classroom one day. We were watching one of those terrible eight-millimeter films, educational films, and the subject of computer music came on. And just all of a sudden, the gears kind of clicked, something about computers and synthesizers and weird noises. All it just was kind of like, wait, this is what I want to do. So that’s what got me into the keyboard part. And then a couple of years later, all my friends started listening to rock and heavy metal music and stuff. I just seemed like, you know, guitars, far cooler chicks. That didn’t work out, but that was my love with music instead.
Roby: Tell me about some of your guitar heroes.
Stark: Probably my top five would be Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, and then stepping back into kind of the ‘70s, classic rock, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, and Peter Frampton…