chao

chao

BandAlternativeAvant-garde

Biography

TONIGHT (8.29.03) at Rubber Gloves in Denton with I Love You But I've Chosen Darkenss and Soviet

Regina Chellew knows exactly how she wants her music to connect with her listeners. "I'd like it to hit them between the eyes," she says of Hits the Miss (Last Beat), her debut outing from her latest project, Chao. "I hope it does what other people's music has done to me. Music can give you chills, make you cry, or piss you off. It becomes the soundtrack to your life ... music means something to me.” Mean something, she illustrates, in the way that the music of the Velvet Underground, and above all David Bowie meant to her. Music like that is not born of indifference.

Regina Chellew is Chao, in much the same way as Chan Marshall is Cat Power and J. Mascis was Dinosaur Jr. It's her first project since her previous outfit, Dallas' acclaimed art-pop trio Captain Audio, went on hiatus last year. Written, conceived and co-produced by Chellew, Chao is a solo venture in all but name.

Captain Audio released My ears are ringing but my heart's ok ep in 1998 and Luxury or whether it is better to be loved than feared in 2000. The trio eschewed the all-too standard gig routine of playing the same set of songs week after week in the same clubs, rather they approached each show as an event. Every show they ever played had a distinct theme or artistic quirk, be it performing under a giant bubble sculpture, dropping balloons on the audience or playing nothing but Bowie's Hunky Dory album, or the Beatles' Abbey Road (but only Side 2). Captain Audio songs were primarily band collaborations. Thoughts of a solo project began as Chellew amassed a store of songs which didn't have an outlet. When the rest of the band moved to New York to concentrate on a new project, The Secret Machines, Chellew took the opportunity to sort through her demos, and Chao was born.

Her own project was to make what she calls "pretty much a straight-up pop record, whereas there wasn't anything straight-up pop about us in Captain Audio." But under no circumstances should Chellew's perception of "straight-up" be misinterpreted as "normal." From the slinky, rolling opener "Gotta Go" -- built on one of the most infectious bass lines since the Breeders' "Cannonball" and featuring Earl Harvin (Seal, The The, Earl Harvin Jazz Trio) on drums -- through to the spookily beautiful closing cover of the Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated," Hits the Miss reveals Chellew to be as formidable a voice on the alternative music scene alone as she is in the context of Captain Audio. It's a sweepingly diverse debut, as full of melodic snap and bite ("Bugs," "Find a Hole") as it is lushly beautiful arrangements ("Low") and inspired touches like the gorgeous duet with Marcus Striplin of Pleasant Grove on the cover of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" and the fluid foot stomps of a Ballet Folklorico dancer weaved into its rhythm of the seductive, Latin-flavored "Whisper." Chellew plays all of the guitars, bass guitar, piano, trumpet and organ parts on the album, in addition to drumming on one track and programming three or four others -pretty much every instrument on the album but the strings.

Chellew fully intending to make every show Chao show as unique as those that set Captain Audio apart from the crowd. She explains that some shows will be strictly solo, while others will emphasize electronica, or feature string players or a full rock band. "I'm still figuring out exactly how and what I'm going to do, I am not much of a planner," Chellew admits. “ I create as I go, which means anything can happen.” All that is certain is that
the possibilities are endless, which is the closest any one will ever likely come to defining her music.

Discography

Captain Audio - My ears are ringing but my heart's ok - 1998

Captain Audio - Luxury or wheter it's better to be loved than feared - 2000

Chao - Hitsthemiss - 2002

Various guest appearances and compilations, check the website for more, www.chaomusic.com

Set List

Set varies with each performace, ranges from one woman solo show to full band sets