Chris is Sara’s music director and bass player. He has also played music with Ben Kweller or Andrew Bird. Here’s our interview with this talented dude :
My name is Chris Morrissey and I am Sara’s music director and bass player. I hope you know what “bass player” means, but I’d understand if “music director” needed some clearing up: When Sara moved to New York, she needed to put together a new band. We were introduced through our mutual friends in the band Mosco Rosco (formerly Harper Blynn) and from there I assembled the band that you’ve been seeing over the last year or so and the one you’ll see on this summer’s Little Black Dress tour. Beyond that, it’s my job to run rehearsals and sound checks and write string or horn arrangements when needed and be the band’s representative. Ok now for the questions.
– How long have you been playing the bass? When did you first start?
I picked up the bass in 9th grade when a friend and I both wanted to audition for our school’s swing choir on guitar. We decided to flip a coin and I lost. From then on, I was a bass player. I grew up singing and playing trumpet but it became clear to me that girls weren’t as interested in trumpet players and there was no trumpet player in Pearl Jam or Smashing Pumpkins that I was aware of. If there was he/she was kept out of all promotional materials.
– What inspired you to play this instrument?
Besides the fateful coin toss, my mom always had an intuition that I was a bass player. She noticed how into the drums and rhythm I always was, but that I also had a melodic sense which is kind of what bass is all about. I can remember her saying “I think you’d be a good bass player.
– Have you had any ‘formal’ music training?
I studied with lots of great teachers including my parents who are both professionals. My mother a flautist and my dad a trumpet player (now do you get it??). I went to college for a few years and studied music but started touring and dropped out to start a life that seemed and turned out to me much more interesting than finishing my science generals. I think science is the shit, I just don’t want to have to pay to learn about it especially now that “Cosmos” is in production.
– How did you meet Sara?
Sara moved to New York a couple years ago and was looking to put together a new band. We have close friends in common in the group Mosco Rosco (formerly Harper Blynn) as I mentioned and they pointed her in my direction. She came to see me play my songs one night at the Living Room in Manhattan. It was a duo gig with Rich Hinman who is now Sara’s guitarist…anyways, she introduced herself to me afterwards, said some kind things about my singing and mentioned that she was new in town and was looking to find some people to play with. I wasn’t even playing bass that night!!! I was pretty unaware of who she was believe it or not but she piqued my interest. We played a show in Canada and I played a little on “The Blessed Unrest” which was being recorded at the time (I’m on Little Black Dress” and a b-side called “Root Down”) and soon after she asked me to be her music director. We then started the large and exciting process of finding the right people for the job, which we did. We built a group of staggeringly talented musicians who are also gentle souls which are my favorite kind of people.
– What do you enjoy most about performing with Sara? How is it different from other bands you’ve been a part of?
Getting to accompany a virtuoso singer is very gratifying. She also makes me laugh very hard onstage and off, and she has surrounded us with the best crew and fans that I can even imagine existing…so yeah you could say I like it ok.
– What’s your favorite Sara Bareilles song to perform live, and why?
If I have to pick one, it’s Gravity. I arranged it based around the version that’s on Careful Confessions, but with a more somber tone to match what the song’s sentiment is: I’m very proud of the string parts and the solo section that I get to hear Rich Hinman SHRED over every night. I love achy songs and that one is a masterpiece in that language.
– What’s your favorite moment on a Sara Bareilles tour so far?
I have lots, but 2 come to mind: Watching her rehearse Gravity with Elton John. It’s a beautiful thing to have a front row seat to a dream coming true for someone. Also, the night we opened up for the backstreet boys. Don’t judge me. It was a serious party that also included a Whitney Houston dance party on the bus.
– What are you listening to these days?
The Backstreet Boys I’M JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!
Here We Go Magic
– Do you have any side projects?
I have three records out of my own: One under the band name “Taurus” with a record called “Cannon Falls Forever”, and two jazz records out under my name. One called “The Morning World” and one called “North Hero”. All available on iTunes. I write lots of music and play it in new york a lot. I’m in the Jim Campilongo Trio, Beat Music with Mark Guiliana.
I’d like to thank all of Sara’s fans for their support and making us feel welcome since day one of joining forces with her.
Make sure to check out Chris’ side projects and his website & social links :
Thanks Chris for taking the time to answer our questions!
Pictures were taken by Shervin Lainez.
Watch Chris sing and play the double bass on “I Choose You” :