Chris began playing trumpet in 5th grade but quickly switched to percussion because all the buzzing made him sneeze. Between the ages of 11 and 16 Chris studied percussion privately with Gregg Martin in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana.
“Gregg was a laid back guy and a fantastic teacher. He taught me how to read drum charts. He started me off with some standard rock tunes but we later branched off into more progressive stuff.”
He was heavily involved in his high school music program participating in marching band, concert band, jazz band, and pep band. He also started playing guitar at age 17 and studied privately with Ron Pritchett.
“High school was where I came into my own as a musician. Outside of the usual school bands, I played drums in several garage bands. We tried our best to cover Black Sabbath, Megadeth, and Metallica tunes. Spring break of my junior year is when I got my first guitar. I couldn’t put it down. I was instantly hooked!”
He completed a Bachelor’s degree in Music Theory and Composition at Ball State University in 1998 having studied percussion with Erwin Mueller and composition with Ernesto Pellegrini and Eleanor Trawick. He then went on to complete a Master’s Degree in composition at Bowling Green State University where he studied with Burton Beerman and Mikel Kuehn. In 2003, Chris and drummer Bruce Vermett formed what would become Killbot Zero.
“Killbot Zero is a duo consisting of myself on guitar and Bruce Vermett on drums. It’s instrumental progressive metal with a bit of weird synthesizer stuff thrown in. We take movie clips and write music to them, and then we perform our little film scores live on stage with a large projector. We play along with pre recorded bass and synth tracks. In our headphones we hear the other instruments along with a click track so we can stay synchronized with the video."
Chris works at Terra State Community College located in Fremont, Ohio where he heads up a growing music technology program and oversees Terra Recording Studio. He also teaches courses in music theory and aural skills as well as private guitar and percussion lessons.
"Many colleges and Universities have recording studios but ours is unique in that it is open for public use. Students work as assistant engineers and earn paid internships. We give them a fair amount of recording theory and then throw them into real world situations. We feel it's the best way to learn. Knowing the technical stuff is ongoing and something that you have to keep up with, but the other half of the equation is knowing how to be relaxed and professional with clients. You have to be able to get along with everyone and be a calm voice of reason and support."
Chris also reviews musical gear and writes articles for Bass Gear Magazine. Bass Gear is a print and online periodical that focuses on equipment and instruments for bass players. It prides itself in offering highly technical and in-depth reviews of the latest and greatest gear for professional bassists.
"I feel very fortunate that I have been able to build a career around my passion for music. I hope that I can inspire my students to do the same."