Chico Motel
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Chico Motel

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States

Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States
Band Rock Pop


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Cheesemaker (CD)
Transatlantic (CD)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Paolo and Mike met in Berkeley, California in 1994 when they were across-the-hall mates in the International House at the University of California. At first they didn't like each other, but within a few months Mike's loud trombone playing attracted Paolo's guitarist ambitions and they started writing and performing songs together. The first product of their songwriting partnership was "The Nose," a song reflecting their mutual admiration for Gogol's short story. Their first performance took place at an IHouse Sunday Supper in front of 100 fellow Berkeley students. Over the course of that year, Paolo and Mike played and wrote songs together and hung out in the IHouse.

Musically, they discovered they shared a love for the Beatles and Bach (played by Glenn Gould), Judas Priest and Steely Dan, Thelonius Monk and Broadway musicals, Big Band classics and Norwegian black metal, Arnold Schoenberg and the Beach Boys, King Crimson and Paolo Conte, Elton John and the Bulgarian Women's Choir, Arlo Guthrie and Squeeze, Bela Bartok and Frank Zappa, early punk rock, Chinese opera, and patriotic songs. These tastes are not original, but Paolo and Mike pursued them with a unique focus and ambition. All of these influences found their way into Chico Motel's music.

The name? "Chico Motel" came from a snowy trip that Paolo and Mike took to Crater Lake in January 1995. On the way back from Oregon, they spent the night at a cheap motel in Chico, CA - $27/night -the only thing two indigent grad students could afford. After passing the huge trash heap in front of their room door and discovering the vast dried blood stain on the hotel room mattress, they pulled out their sleeping bags and stared the whole night at the ceiling for fear of catching disease or dying as collateral damage in a drug deal gone bad. A band was born!

With the addition of pianist Edouard, Chico Motel came together in Spring 1995 as the backup band for 端berguitarist Jochen. From there, the new group performed at several Sunday Suppers and in its first solo concert in April 1995. Several songs on "Cheesemaker" - I'm Fat, Monkeywrench - were first penned and performed during that year.

Over time, the band moved out of the IHouse and set up at Edouard's house on Fulton Street in Berkeley. But the real crossroads came when Paolo moved to Switzerland to study cheesemaking. Would the band continue or not? There was never much doubt. In 1998 Mike moved to the US East Coast and in 2002 Paolo settled in Paris. Chico Motel became truly transatlantic.

The ocean was, of course, a problem, but Paolo's technical prowess helped to overcome it. In the next half-decade, Chico Motel produced occasional songs as Paolo and Mike got together to travel, talk politics, fart around together.

In 2002, the band started work on its first album, "Cheesemaker," released in 2004. The disc gathered songs written over the past decade - as well as some new ones. Most of the recording was done in two condensed Paris sessions, with overdubs and additions in between. "Cheesemaker" earned the band musical accolades as well as $23.47 in royalties from CDBaby sales!

In 2008, the band started its second album, "Transatlantic" (2010), made up of entirely new material. With new recording and file sharing capabilities, Paolo and Mike were increasingly able to record and produce while staying on their sides of the pond, although trips to Paris and Virginia jumpstarted the album.

With two albums done, the future is wide open and it will most likely include an acoustic third album and a musical about the English war poets of World War I!

Band Members