Craig Chaquico

Craig Chaquico

 Ashland, Oregon, USA

Craig has engaged and inspired two generations of pop music fans, first as a founding member, lead guitarist, and a prolific principle song writer for the multi-platinum Jefferson Starship/Starship - '70s, '80s, '90. While others came and went Craig is the only person in the band to appear on EVERY recording, tour, MTV video, album, CD, and hit song during that time. With 20 Gold records combined between Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship and Starship, Craig
was instrumental in making that


Born September 26, 1954 in Sacramento, CA; raised in Sacramento, CA; married to Kimberly; one son, Kyle, born 1991; Addresses: Adresses: Record company-Higher Octave Music, 23852 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 2C, Malibu, CA 90265.

Craig Chaquico gives credence to the oxymoron "rock and roll prodigy." Indeed Chaquico wrote his first song at age 12, played professionally in a popular San Francisco band at age 14, and joined in a professional studio session at age 16. Immediately upon graduation from high school, Chaquico joined the celebrated Jefferson Starship band and played with the group until 1990. He never missed a performance nor a recording session. After the demise of Starship, Chaquico embarked on a solo career in the musical genre of new age jazz, writing and performing uniquely poetic melodies for acoustical guitar.

Craig Chaquico (Cha-kee-so) was born in Sacramento, California on September 24, 1954 and was raised in a close-knit family environment with his parents who were particularly fond of music. His mother, a pianist and organist, played at church and his father played saxophone semi-professionally. Chaquico's admiration for his parents flourished over time. Although he idolized his first rock and roll heroes, "... Hendrix, Page, Clapton and Beck," Chaquico confided in retrospect (to E.K. of the Rock N' Roll Reporter), "Now that I have a family and am older, I realize my parents were my real heroes."

As a child, growing up on a farm in northern California, Chaquico imagined himself as a singing cowboy with a guitar on his knee. He first started to play acoustical guitar when he was in grade school, around ten years old. He loved the instrument and one day it became particularly precious to him. It was his guitar that kept his young life from falling apart after a serious auto accident when he was 12 years old. The Chaquico family, out in the family car, was struck by a drunk driver. The three were lucky to escape alive, although Chaquico himself suffered two broken wrists, a broken thumb, a triple fracture of one leg, and a cerebral hemorrhage which left him unconsciousness for three days immediately following the accident.

Guitar as Therapy

For some time afterward his life was a blur of wheel chairs, crutches, and corrective shoes. Unable to return to school for three months; Chaquico passed the time playing the guitar. He didn't simply strum the guitar but played riffs and arpeggios all over the frets. His doctor, along with his parents, encouraged him to play as much as possible as a form of therapy to help recapture the dexterity in his wrists and thumb. All he could really use was one finger because of the casts that confined his hands and fingers. Chaquico's father promised to buy him a new guitar, an electric model, as an incentive to work hard and recuperate fully. Dauntlessly, Chaquico practiced, his fingers flew. He composed his first substantial melody during that painful convalescence,with his arms still wrapped in casts. The tune, "E-lizabeth's Song," was named for the doctor who brought him through that difficult time and for the E-string on the guitar, because that was all that he could reach with his fingers wrapped up in plaster. Although the entire song was composed for one string, high E, it is nonetheless lively, a busy song with an astonishing profusion of melodic riffs. In time, the creative 12-year-old healed, and he received the coveted electric guitar as a gift from his father. So dramatic was Chaquico's recovery in fact, that by the time he started high school he was truly a skilled guitarist, despite the debilitating accident.

Chaquico was only 14 when one of his teachers, Jack Traylor, invited him to join a band called Steel Wind, a popular combo in the San Francisco bay area. Chaquico was so young that he disguised his appearance with pasted-on whiskers in order to work in the clubs late at night. Steel Wind meanwhile caught the ear of Gracie Slick and Paul Kantner of the top-selling rock group the Jefferson Airplane. Slick and Kantner invited Chaquico to join in a recording session to back up Airplane violinist Papa John Creech for a solo album release called Sunfighter on Grunt Records-Slick and Kantner's own label. Chaquico, only 16 years old, was honored to play in the session with rock and roll greats David Crosby, Graham Nash, and the late Jerry Garcia.

Jefferson Starship and Starship

In 1974, after Chaquico finished high school he went straight to a world-class rock group, the Jefferson Starship, a reincarnation of the former Jefferson Airplane, under the direction of Slick and Kantner. Years of practice as a youngster, playing his old wooden guitar while healing from the auto accident, and jamming on his electric guitar as a teenager with Steel Wind paid off for Chaquico who stepped onto the stage and played lead guitar behind the world famous singer Gracie Slick. Chaquico's first performance with the Jefferson Starship was truly me


Below is a partial discography that will take you through a tour of some of CraigÂ’s huge body of work. Many of these listings are linked to sections about Craig and his career, with more to come each month so check back often!

As A Solo Artist:

* 1993 Acoustic Highway - Higher Octave
* 1994 Acoustic Planet - Higher Octave
* 1996 A Thousand Pictures - Higher Octave
* 1997 Once in a Blue Universe - Higher Octave
* 1998 From the Redwoods to the Rockies - Windham Hill
* 1999 Four Corners - Higher Octave
* 2000 Panorama: The Best of Craig Chaquico - Higher Octave
* 2002 Shadow and Light - Higher Octave