Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
CM: I’m a rock keyboardist with over 30 years of stage and studio experience. I’ve performed and recorded with many great artists and bands over the years. I’m currently the music director for Ted Poley, the voice of Danger Danger and I also play keys for Ted Poley Band, Tokyo Motor Fist, Steve Brown and The ELO Tribute Show (a Tribute to Jeff Lynne’s ELO and Jeff Lynne produced artists).
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – ie Where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc…
CM: I grew up in a small town in Northern Virginia called Vienna. My grandmother was a very successful piano teacher, organist and church choir director in a small town in Iowa. At an early age, I was sent to take piano lessons from a woman in my neighborhood. Not long after, I became involved in church choir, and school band. I studied the trombone for many years including a summer at Interlochen and a year at Florida State University. I came home after a year and was recruited by a local rock band to play keyboards.
PD: Who and What inspires you to make music both in terms of musical and other influences. What do you like to write about in your songs?
CM: My first inspiration was Jonathan Cain from Journey. The first rock song I learned to play by ear was “Don’t Stop Believin”. I was in middle school. Later on I discovered the other greats like Rick Wakeman from Yes and of course Keith Emerson, Jon Lord, Don Airey and others. I really grew up listening to everything on the radio in the 70s and 80’s. I had many diverse influences. Toto, Foreigner, The Police, Journey, Billy Idol, Ratt, Bon Jovi, Dokken, Kansas, Whitesnake, and later on, Winger, Trixter and Danger Danger.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
CM: I most enjoy playing live shows in front of big crowds. I’m more interested in being a keyboardist in a band than doing my own music. I have co-authored songs for other bands and records, and I still do a reasonable amount of studio keyboard tracking for other artists, but what I enjoy most is that pure energy of being on stage performing music to a big audience.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
CM: 2 Things. 1, Performing at the M3 Festival with Tokyo Motor Fist in 2021 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I grew up with that venue watching my musical heroes perform in the summers. To play there myself many years later was a real dream come true. Second, becoming Ted Poley’s Keyboardist and Music Director and performing with him in both his solo band and Tokyo Motor fist on the 2022 Monsters of Rock Cruise. Those events are the biggest milestones of my music career thus far.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the days of home studios. How is that going?
CM: Well, to be honest, being able to work out of your home is a natural progression of the internet. It’s also allowed me to take on studio clients without having to travel great distances to be on site at a big studio. We have to accept that the future won’t stand still. Technology will continue to bring about this type of artist who starts at home. The tools are all there. Why would we expect anything else?
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours. Any performances coming up?
CM: I perform with an ELO Tribute band that will be doing several road dates this summer in different states. I promote that band through digital billboard, print ads, and social media. The other groups I perform with are promoted by their management companies. I’ll be out on the road with the ELO Band in June and July. Ted’s band is in the process of putting together more shows.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like spotify?
CM: This was inevitable with the evolution of internet technology. It was a matter of time before the tech industry created this medium. The concern is that the music industry didn’t get out in front of it until it was too late. Spotify pays artists $0.00437 per stream. That means they’re making less than 5.00 for every 1000 streams of their song.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
CM: Don’t Stop Believin’ from Journey. It’s sold more than 7 million copies.
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
CM:I’d like to see old school vinyl record albums make a bigger comeback. Vinyl Records. I know they’ve made a small comeback but not on the level they were at in the 70’s and 80’s along with hi-fi stereo systems. There was something very magical about those days of going to record stores and buying a new record. It was tangible. iTunes lives on your phone, spotify doesn’t even do that. Those streams are just that. Digital dust.
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
CM: I’m always working on studio tracks for different clients. Right now I’m starting a recording project with my best friend Mike Horseman a great friend and singer, who lives in the Tampa Area, we’re going to remake some of the old classics. Everything from Motown through the 80’s.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
CM: I’m on Facebook: Facebook.com/eastcoast.keyboardist. My merch is available at https://chrismccoymusic.wixsite.com/website
I’m also on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/chrismccoymusic/