A weekly peek into what makes the Knoxville music scene phenomenal. We’ll be bringing you album + concert reviews from the Knoxville area and interviews with local musicians + people behind the scenes.
JC: What made you want to start playing the guitar?
CA: My brother. He played the guitar, and I liked the loud noise. If I didn’t like playing, he’d beat me up. *laughs* No, seriously, I looked up to my brother. It just felt fun to play.
JC: Banana pancakes or crouton salad?
CA: I like ’em both.
JC: You gotta pick.
CA: OK. Crouton salad.
JC: Judges? Judges? Sorry, the correct answer is banana pancakes. How did the Retroholics form?
CA: There was a band called the Hip-Twangers. I was in a band called The Pineda Band with the keyboard player and drummer. We were thinking about making something different, an ’80s music. Kind of combined our efforts towards that.
JC: You play the guitar with your teeth. How’d that end up the first go ’round?
CA: Oh yes. *laughs* That’s the craziest story. I had braces, and a heavy Gibson.
JC: Not a good start.
CA: No, its not. *laughs* I was in seventh grade. Thank God no one was in the house but me. I put the guitar to my mouth, tried to pluck it with my front two teeth. I made a couple of notes, thought “wow, this ain’t too bad.” Did it again, and the guitar got stuck to my braces. You don’t realize how heavy a Gibson guitar is until you’ve got it stuck to the front of your mouth. It felt like I was stuck in a bear trap… with my face.
JC: I was expecting a Marty McFly type event.
CA: *laughs* Fortunately no. Then, the weight was getting heavier and heavier. The more I tried to get it off my mouth, the more it got tangled up in my braces. After struggling for half an hour, cause I was panicking, I remembered that my dad had some wire cutters in the garage. Which was a couple of rooms over. So I tried to walk through the door, in panic and shock. Instead of turning sideways to get the guitar through the door, I went “boom!” The head and guitar kind of made a trap for me. So I backed up, turned sideways, went through. Got to the garage, squatted down to my dad’s tool box. After about five minutes I found the wire cutters. I’m glad my mom didn’t walk in see me with a guitar stuck to my face, one hand on the guitar the other working the wire cutters.
JC: Any teeth loosened in this experience?
CA: Just my pride. Told myself I’d never try that again. Then it happened again two days later. This time I had wire cutters in my room. *laughs*
JC: How long did it take you to master playing the guitar with your teeth? Let me rephrase that, how many more attempts ended in you getting your braces stuck?
CA: Guess about five more times. But I kept the wire cutters in my room. *laughs*
JC: What action would you take if ever a ravenous goonch attempted to attack you?
CA: First I’d scream like a little girl and run, cause them goonches can be very vicious. The have sharp teeth.
JC: Is there anything else, as a musician, you’d like to accomplish?
CA: I’d like to write songs again… that someone else hasn’t already written. *laughs*
To see Chris and The Retroholics in all their glory, visit their webpage for a schedule of upcoming performances.
Photo nicked from the band’s MySpace page.