Singer, songwriter, guitar player
June 15th, 2011: SAN DIEGO, Calif.
Fresh off a world tour San Diego based Christopher Leyva and Montana’s Taylor Brown, the Split Personality tour took them to ten countries in nine months, with multiple cities in each. Opening in Scotland on August 8 and ending in April 2011 with a run of shows in Japan, the tour also stopped in to England, France, Sweden, Mexico, Finland, Paris, Germany, Amsterdam, Australia and the U.S. ( NY,CH,LV,LA and more).
Though a longtime mainstay of San Diego’s music scene, Chris Leyva was actually born in a small town outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. He arrived in San Diego as an eight-year-old. An insatiable music fan, Leyva was soon hooked on the idea of rock’n’roll. “Lots of my friends don’t recall knowing what they wanted out of life that early, but strangely I do,” he laughs. “I remember hearing, the intro to ‘Jailhouse Rock,’ it still gives me chills.”
He cites The Beatles, Nirvana, The Rembrandts as major influences, but it was a San Diego artist who pushed Leyva to pursue his own projects. “All the local musician’s were supportive” he recalled. “Particularly The Dragons and Convoy, but it was Steve Poltz who really pushed me to do it”. Leyva plays guitar, piano and sings in all his bands, though he considers the lost art of arranging to be his main talent. The most important thing about a band is their songs. And the most important thing about a song is the arrangement. As much as I like playing on stage, there’s a magic to choosing and placing instrumentation in the studio. Restless to a fault, in addition to his own solo work, he fronts a band, Blizzard and also works with indie-rock trio Revolution 89.
“To date he has released seventeen albums. In 2003 he started up a music management agency Black Cherry Music Group. “After the slow demise of the music industry there were a lot of acts caught in a sort of purgatory state,” he explained. “I thought maybe I could start up something that wasn’t about the money per se, but instead existed simply to put out good music. Of course, my music needed a home too,” he quipped. “Really, it’s a way for me to connect the dots the different players in the music Industry. If I can help other artists, than that’s even better”.
Based in and part of the vibrant San Diego, California music scene, Black Cherry Group has affiliates throughout North America, with representatives in Mexico, Los Angeles,New York,London and Australia. Already a blur of activity, 2011 sees Leyva stepping up his efforts, moving into video production as well as adding publishing to his resume. The year will see Leyva undertake a thirty day U.S Radio promotion tour from San Diego to New York in an effort to push his new material and a trip back to the UK early fall! A documentary on Blizzard is also in the works as well as new recordings from all his various groups.
Leyva continues his upward trajectory with his new group the Dead 67’s (members are Ryan Schilawski drums and Tom Lord bass)with two new albums so far this year. New Life, showcases the Dead 67’s to good effect. The band provides the perfect backing for his tunes, a solid combo that wears it’s influences well – in this case a mix of rock, glam, punk and powerpop. The second disk is a double album, Black & Gold volumes one and volume two, with thirty tracks constructed as a whole, complete with a large cast of backing musicians, including the late saxophonist Dave Isabelle in the last recording before his passing. The gathered musicians create a sound that’s part Eddie Vedder angst and part Chris Martin gloss. There’s something here for just about everybody; rock’n’ roll, with a touch of glam. If you’re new to the vast archive of Leyva recordings start here, while long time fans will find it a mandatory addition to their music collections. Leyva’s already working on two new albums due this fall titled Live,Learn,Loose and a fifties cover album, simply titled 1957, “I don’t plan, I follow my muse,” he said “In the romantic sense, I go where ever the adventures take me. No matter where the road goes, count on me making music. There are lots of business things to work on, but basically I’m a troubadour.”