Chris Amodeo and The Modern Minds
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Chris Amodeo and The Modern Minds

Laguna Beach, California, United States | SELF

Laguna Beach, California, United States | SELF
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A couple times a year I meet someone at a party, a show, or even here here in the Halls of Rock, get into a deep conversation about music, and then get around to asking this music lover what instrument he or she plays. “Oh, I can’t play an instrument,” the person tells me, “I’ve got no rhythm!”

I usually don’t say much, but inside I’m blown away that this person who knows so much about the music he or she loves, maybe even knows some of the music theory behind it, claims to have absolutely no ability to play any instrument, not even poorly. You’ve got hands, I want to say, you’ll find some kind of rhythm! Maybe I shouldn’t be so idealistic, or presumptuous, but I’d like to hear every music lover take a crack a playing an instrument. I’d like to hear ever music lover’s song, or if not actually hear it know that it’s out there. File Under “Freak Flag.”

Earlier this year Townsman sammymaudlin told me about a new design project he was kicking off for a friend’s album cover and website. The story behind the debut album by Chris Amodeo was like something out of a Hollywood adaptation of an Oliver Sacks book: middle-age Master Rolfer (a body-centered form of psychotherapy) and voiceover artist buys his first guitar at a fundraiser for the dying son of his friends, begins playing Beatles songs to his own kids, is encouraged by his wife to write a song for their son, and soon thereafter is flooded with the gift of songwriting. Song ideas invade his activities of daily living. Less than two years after first picking up a guitar Amodeo is playing his songs for friends at some Oliver Stone-worthy shindig, where it is determined he must enter a studio and record an album of his songs. The resulting album, Homo Luminous, is not just an inspiring testament to a middle-age dog learning new tricks but an accomplished, melodic album of songs expressing the spirit and hopes of a grown man.

In anticipation of his November 20th show at The Coach House, in San Juan Capistrano, CA, I spoke to Chris about his latent awakening as a musician and songwriter, the making of the album, and his recent success in turning our mutual friend, The Back Office’s sammymaudlin, onto the elusive charms of Be Bop Deluxe. We concluded our chat with a round of Dugout Chatter and by looking forward to the completion of voiceover work this VH1 Behind the Music veteran is doing in support of a future Rock Town Hall initiative.

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After buying his first guitar in support of his friends’ son, Chris began learning the songs of The Beatles, Elton John, James Taylor, and other childhood favorites. He’d play his kids those songs before they went to bed. “So I’m learning and absorbing these songs that I’d naturally gravitated toward, and everybody thinks it’s great, it’s fun. I’m embracing something I’ve loved my whole life.”

Then, as his son’s 10th birthday approached, his wife suggested he write a song for him. “What?!?! I don’t know how to write a song. I’ve never written a song!” His wife wouldn’t let up, he continues, “So she leaves me there kind of slack-jawed. It was the weekend and I found myself as a dad, with soccer and all…No one was home, so I had a window of time. I grabbed my guitar, sat and meditated, then BOOM, a song about my son’s birth spilled out. I thought, That’s incredible.”



A debut performance of “Splittin’ the Atom” for his son and family followed. “It was emotional, and I thought that was it, a one-time thing. And then our daughter said, ‘Will you write me a song?’” He replied, not as confidently as he would have liked, “Sure, honey!” After repeating the same process that led to his song for his son nothing clicked. “I’d read about this, and I realized it just has to come.” A few weeks later he was having a discussion with a fellow father at the pool where his kids swam and an idle discussion about oil unlocked the idea of “Love Could Run the World.”
From this point he was hooked. Songwriting presented new challenges to Chris’ everyday life. “There was a phase of taking these songs that came out of the blue over a period of about a year of intense, almost psychosis, where I’d be working with clients—I’m a rolfer—where I’d be doing intense cranial work that requires the utmost silence and sensitivity, and all of a sudden I’d hear a complete chorus in my head. I’d think, ‘Whoa, this is trippy.’” On his breaks from work he’d hole up in his office with his guitar and figure out the chords he was hearing.

Amodeo finds himself in for the long haul as a musician, but he’s not ”chasing the dream”; he’s living it. He hopes other music lovers will take a chance at making music. “Even people in the music industry ask me, ‘Why do you want to get into this now, don’t you realize it’s dead?’ [I tell them] This is not my intent; my intent was not to get into the Music Business. My intent is not to be a pop star.”

Instead Amodeo is committed to writing about life as he knows it. “Up to this point I’ve spent - Rock Town Hall


Discography

Homo Luminous LP Released July, 2010

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Bio

Chris Amodeo's recent burst into music has been a mythic journey. As a Rolfer® and Shaman he already lives an unusual life committed to transformational work. A few years ago he bought a guitar at a fundraiser, started playing for fun and things got really wild in the creativity department.
His simultaneous emersion into Shamanism further expedited the process and has now launched him into an entirely new destiny.
Music hidden inside exploded in a big and unforeseen way. He, along with his band The Modern Minds, have released Amodeo's first album of 14 original songs, Homo Luminous, meaning, "man of light". Music reminiscent of classic folk-based 70's rock merges with lyrics that are soulful and smart.
The Modern Minds are led by veteran drummer/producer Ray Weston and rounded out by members who've worked with Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Andy Summers, John Prine, Bonnie Raitt and The Motels.
Shows at The Coach House last October and November followed by LA's Whisky A Go Go, a spectacular performance at the 2011 Sunset Sessions featuring legendary artists K.D. Lang, Daniel Lanois, and Stevie Nicks launched Amodeo out into the world. Continuing with Worldfest 2011, Sunset Sessions Rock and the Hotel Cafe. They killed it at the Malibu Music Awards last September and won their Best Upcoming Artist 2011 award. What other artist opens their shows with a shamanic opening of "sacred space"?
"My learning curve has been fast and fun... people are hungry for what's real, soulful and transparent. Maybe now more than ever, in this jaded, post-meltdown world. Music always has room to offer more ."