Performer / Songwriter / Producer
Life is mysterious. But rock’n’roll can be downright beyond human understanding.
Case in point: Chris Cappell. It’s merely remarkable that he was a songwriter by age 8; a leader at 15 of a popular high school band that regularly played to thousands; an alumnus of the way-cool Berklee College of Music at 16; a sought-after studio producer by 17; and an arranger and writer for a multi-million-selling artist by age 19.
But what’s really and truly uncanny about Chris Cappell is this: how is it possible that a 23 year-old guy who grew up so far from the good ol’ rockin’ USA is able to make music that rings with such genuine, balls-to-the-wall pop/rock authenticity?
Though he speaks like he was raised on burgers, fries, and cokes, Chris Cappell was actually born in Rome in 1975. While most kids there were jonesing for their next Madonna fix, Cappell was in a totally different zone, where Elvis Presley, Brian Wilson, and Van Morrison ruled supreme.
After obsessively absorbing every note of their rock, pop, and soul mastery, Cappell formed a high school band that often drew crowds of 3,000 people. So impressive were his studio demo tapes that Cappell became a much in demand producer/engineer around town.
But already by age 16, Rome had become completely foreign to him. Desperate to leave, he fled to the US, where he attended a summer program at Boston’s famed Berklee College of Music. Feeling immediately comfortable in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Whopper, Cappell stayed on to attend North Carolina’s Wake Forest University, from which he graduated in 1997.
While in college, Chris Cappell continued to have musical success back home: The press raved about his writing, arranging, and performing skills on the European chart-topping album, Milky Meal, by Mina, the legendary pop/rock diva. But though lucrative offers to produce other Euro-based artists came flooding in, Cappell turned them all down, determined to stick to his one true ambition -a career here in America. “And that’s as it should be,” says veteran Milky Meal producer Max Pani, “because Chris is completely American in every respect. There’s nothing ‘European’ about his sound. Just totally, totally original.”
Though he’s got 15 songs that are ready for the studio, the L.A.-based Cappell has recorded 3 songs in particular that are proof positive of his ear for great hooks, his deft production touch, and his over-all radio-friendly pop/rock sensibility:
“Sally Brown” Shot through with a snarling, irresistibly sinister riff, “Sally Brown” is a sly twist on America’s cartoon sweetheart Charlie Brown’s sweet little sister Sally — who, in Cappell’s fertile imagination, has grown up to become a rather disreputable piece of white trash. (And we always figured it would be Lucy!)
“Let Me Run Away” Next up, for a gear-shifting change of pace there’s the sugar-in-the-raw “Let Me Run Away.” Loaded with escapist energy and a chorus that won’t quit, this tune is a good example of Cappell’s pop chops and his ability to transform personal desperation into something universal and totally rocking.
“Tribal” Inspired by Cappell’s own transformation from clean-cut kid to modern primitive, “Tribal” is an infectious, propulsive rocker with lyrics of love, lust and desire that come at you in a gutsy, nearly out of control gallop. The total reckless abandon of this track is utterly breathtaking.
Combining the classic with the cutting-edge — say, Neil Young’s grit and Tom Petty’s craft with Counting Crows’ urgency — Chris Cappell delivers relentlessly hook-driven pop/rock with no filler, no artificial ingredients.
“You could say that what I’m doing is more in keeping with the women rockers, like Alanis Morrissette, Sheryl Crow, and Paula Cole,” says Cappell, “performers who put personal stuff across in a gritty, rocking kinda way. They have stories to tell, and that’s exactly what I’m into.”
Artist biography by – MANwrites Ltd LA. 1998