ChrisChrisChris is a different kind of band: front man Chris Decatur is live onstage in San Diego while the other performers beam in from different locales. Bassist Chris Capri and drummer Chris Hardy are transmitting their performance live via satellite from Austin to a television onstage with Decatur, while synth player Sabado Domingo and rhythm guitarist Lic Brockley are transmitting live from Las Vegas.
"Really, it's just mobile Internet" says Chris Decatur on his website, "a two-way satellite broadband connection, using nothing larger than your basic pizza dish for transmission and reception. One dish in Austin, another in Vegas, a third [here], all tied together by a patented algorithm to remove latency. 'Latency' is the inevitable delay introduced by long-distance transmissions, digital or otherwise. Bits can only move at the speed of light, and bouncing a signal off a satellite takes a moment."
The trickiest part of this high-tech performance setup? "Making sure the satellite feed doesn't skip," says Decatur. "It looks terrible when your band skips because of a bad connection. I'm the only one the audience sees live: guitar and vocals. I don't think anyone out there has this kind of problem but us. It's also hard, because the guys [in the other cities] can't hear me. They just play to each other. So if I mess up onstage, they're none the wiser. But we're working on that one."
His first musical instrument was a Casio PT-87 mini-keyboard. "I gave [it] to Sabado," says Decatur. "It was just collecting dust under my bed, and it's one of those things I just kept and never knew why. Sabado grew up in Cuba playing keys and thought it was the coolest thing when he saw the keys could be electric! I remember being seven years old, spending countless hours on it, writing songs that were even worse than what I write today. I thought I was the coolest. My poor mom was put through hell. No wonder she drinks whenever she hears a Moog."
Decatur describes a recurring nightmare. "I definitely have bad dreams about Kenny Loggins coming to our shows and just sitting in the audience, giving that headshake of disapproval. Then Messina would show up at his side -- with a gun -- and slowly twist a silencer onto the tip of it while wearing these old '80s-style, Day-Glo-lined BMX biker gloves that we all thought were cool back in the day and take me out with two in the chest and one in the head. The crowd would scatter and scream. Loggins and Messina would stand, silent, still, and unshaken. All the while, in the background the band would continue playing on the TV."
-- "Lists," 5-4-06