Chad Hollister

There's a reason Worcester, Vermont native Chad Hollister gets compared to artists like Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson and John Mayer on a very regular basis - and its more than just the obvious talent he and his band (Drew McKeon-drums, Jeremy Goldsmith-guitar and Jared Johnson-bass) bring to the table. After all, part of Chad's six (count em' - 6) records was worked on in Saugerties, New York at Applehead Studios with producer John Alagia...the man who has been behind superstar acts like Dave Matthews and John Mayer! Clearly, the guy has an eye for talent.

As mentioned before, the latest and sixth album from Hollister has taken it to a new level with a self-titled collection that was in part brought to life by producers Anthony J. Resta and Karyadi Sutedja. Chad says "AJ and Karyadi are a true genius team. They work so well together and function as one.  They also really got my music from day one." They've created a piece that stands out from Hollister's other work - some seriously high praise.  We asked Chad to get a little more into the sound; he says "My sound is rock and roll. I feel people get confused trying to explain how special or different they are...I stand out a bit with my rhythmic approach being a drummer. I take time to make sure all the parts fit rhythmically. I also feel my music is positive and carries that message. People love to feel good and my music makes them feel that way."

Good stuff. Hollister has opened for a list of who's who including legends Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Tom Petty so you need to check out his schedule as he supports this latest self-titled record. You have a lot to get into below, so keep going for all the answers to the XXQ's.

XXQs: Chad Hollister - The Chad Hollister Band

PensEyeView.com (PEV): Often compared to artists like Jason Mraz, Dave Matthews, Jack Johnson and John Mayer, how would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Chad Hollister (CH):  My sound is rock and roll. I feel people get confused trying to explain how special or different they are. My music is similar to all of the above artists and feel that we all have many similar characteristics. I stand out a bit with my rhythmic approach being a drummer. I take time to make sure all the parts fit rhythmically. I also feel my music is Positive and carries that message. People love to feel good and my music makes them feel that way.

PEV: Calling Worcester, Vermont home, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

CH:  I love The Police, Paul Simon and Bob Marley--also listened to a lot of Bryan Adams which must be the rocker in me. As I grew a bit older, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald really spoke to me. Their work separately as well as together is precious. I would say The Police would be my main influence. I grew up as a drummer so my music is certainly infused w/ all kinds of rhythm. This was due in part to Stewart Copeland of The Police. I feel he really changed the way people listened to popular music bringing reggae and rock together without people even realizing it. This was big for me.

(Photo: chelseadee.com)

PEV: Having played in the business for a good time now, what was it like for you when you first started out?

CH:  It was a blast. I loved and still love to write and perform live. The beginning was very fresh and new and felt there was so much to discover out there. I'm still feeling that way.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

CH:  I was working in Saugerties, NY at Applehead Studios with John Alagia producing (Dave Matthews, John Mayer etc..) and it hit me that I was working w/ a brilliant human who was helping me be better at what I do. That was cool.

PEV: With that, what can fans expect from a live Chad Hollister show?

CH: A lot of energy, smiling and twists and turns that we don't even know are coming. We've been doing it for a long time and it just fits when we get on stage. WE have a blast on stage and I hope that people see that we feel lucky to be here.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

CH:  Let's get these people into our world and show them how rock and roll saves lives!! ...And I hope I remember all these damn words!

PEV: Any preshow rituals before going on stage or do you just wing it?

CH: No rituals but contact (eye or a knuckle or 2) to connect before we hit w/ my boys.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

CH:  An appreciation for the life we have been given.  I find inspiration everywhere from radio interviews to my children to my sweet wife to the amazing trees, mountains, glaciers and Eagles.

PEV: Tell us about your sixth record with producer Anthony J. Resta and Karyadi Sutedja, “Chad Hollister”. What can fans expect from this work?

CH: AJ and Karyadi are a true genius team. They work so well together and function as one.  They also really got my music from day one. I remember being in the studio playing for Anthony for the first time on an old Harmony electric and he loved it and I was amazed....They are real humans that care about music and making the music they are working on the best it can be. That is a true talent in today’s music biz. I feel they should be much bigger than they are(in notoriety terms), but if they were, I wouldn't have had the chance to work w/ them so it sure worked out for me. I also look forward to the next records w/ them and the next and the next... think you get the point. They are partners for LIFE!(and friends too).

Fans can expect my best record to date for sure. The production is crazy great and I also dig the songs. It was cool doing some co-writing w/ AJ as well (The Answer, Change).Brian Alex(Entrain) also helped out on "Change". The musicians were also amazing: Anthony on all kinds of stuff from lightbulbs to road cases to cool guitars, Michael Visceglia(Suzanne Vega) on the bass was truly great, Drew McKeon on half of the drum tracks-my drummer, and a great one at that, and Dave Mattacks(Paul McCartney, Richard Thompson,Fairport Convention) on the other drum tracks--Dave is an amazing drummer that plays exactly what each song needs and nothing more...Steve Sadler on guitars and mandolin, Cameron Stone on the brilliant cello on Best Friends Girl and Jensen--I love the cello and Cameron is brilliant.  It was an amazing mix of musicians that made it all happen and created a very cool product that I am very proud of.

PEV: How is this work different from your past albums, most notably, “Spirit”? 

CH: I always try to get better w/ each record as a songwriter, singer and musician and I feel that's what happened from Spirits to the latest one. I still dig those tunes off of Spirits but feel I've grown and gotten better. Jim Chapdelaine (Spirits co producer)is an amazing talent and I really liked working w/ him. There was something extra special when I found AJ and Karyadi and I know it shows up in the music too.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Chad Hollister?

CH: I love to cook... all kinds of foods but especially dumplings and egg rolls. I have great sauces for them too thanks to my friend Greg who is my cooking guru.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

CH: It was always in my heart and think I always just knew. I love to make music and feel very blessed to be able to do something that I love and have my family too.

PEV: What one word best describes Chad Hollister?

CH:  Passionate!!

PEV: Having opened for such legends as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Tom Petty and has jammed w/ countless heroes from Blues Traveler to Giovanni Hidalgo to Warren Haynes and Merl Saunders, your life on the road sounds very exciting. With that, how is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

CH:  The best is seeing new places and returning to my favorite places (FL, CA, AZ and CO). I love to meet new people and have them learn about my music. That is what touring is all about. I like being w/ my band (Drew McKeon-drums, Jeremy Goldsmith-guitar and Jared Johnson-bass)--they are really great guys and we have a lot of fun and laugh more than most.

The worst part is being away from home. I miss my wife, 2 kids and my own bed. There is nothing like arriving home to a sweet Riley and Bodi running into your arms screaming "Daddy's home!!!"---nothing!  The wife’s hug and kiss comes after and is very nice too.....(no, I didn't have to say that!) Also, the PR on the road is a hard part--getting people out to shows these days is hard. this is a constant struggle for us in new areas. Hopefully we won't have to worry about that someday---until that day, spread the word!

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

CH: Australia--working on it now.  I would also love to do Europe--someday soon.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

CH: They are very supportive and love to see me at home. The local radio WNCS 104.7 has been a huge supporter of my music this past year and I thank PD Zeb Norris for that. I love to play at home but don't do a lot of band shows here to try and keep it fresh.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

CH: snowshoeing, sledding, skiing, eating great food, hanging w/ my kids and wife and my whole family too. Mom likes to come and visit and being a self proclaimed Mamas boy--I like that a lot.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

CH: Bret Dennen is really great. Ryan Montbleu is a find as well. He has such a unique style and writes great songs w/ a kickass band. Kris Gruen--a good friend and an amazing voice w/ more great songs. Grace Potter--a hometown girl that has a great voice w/ good tunes. also, Habib Koite--a friend who is a star in Mali and is growing here in the states. He is an amazing talent and his guitar style is so original and cool. His voice is also a real force and tells an amazing story...

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

CH: Teaching kids to write songs and find the songs in their hearts.

PEV: So, what is next for Chad Hollister?

CH: More playing on the road and a new record... not sure when because I really need to get this one out there more because it deserves and needs to be heard by more people... hope to see you all out there.

For more information on Chad Hollister, check out www.ChadMusic.com

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