Christmas is coming early when Chris Isaak heads to the Ridgefield Playhouse
From rockabilly rebel to moody crooner, Chris Isaak has captivated audiences with his sound ranging from the bluesy “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing” to the renowned hit about heartbreak, “Wicked Game.” The Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter will launch his holiday tour at the Ridgefield Playhouse on Nov. 26 in a show that features his hit songs as well as holiday music.
Andrea Valluzzo: What will your set list for this show be like?
Chris Isaak: Even if it’s a Christmas show, people still want to hear “Wicked Game” and “Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing” and stuff like that. I try to play what I think people will want to hear and on this show, I get to throw in Christmas songs. Because I made a Christmas album, I have a few of my own Christmas songs that I do but I try to throw in some classics too.
AV: What’s your favorite holiday song to perform?
CI: When we do a Christmas show, sometimes I do a song with Kenny [drummer Kenny Dale Johnson] where he sings harmony on “Pretty Paper.” It’s a pretty song and I always have fun singing that song.
AV: Favorite Christmas memory from your childhood?
CI: That’s really tough because my family was very tight but we had a lot of great Christmases. I remember being a kid and we were broke but we had a Christmas tree that we made. We went to a place trimming Christmas trees and they were throwing out the branches. We took all the branches they threw away and took a 2-by-4, drilled holes in it and stuck branches in it. And we made our Christmas tree out of that because we didn’t have the money to buy a tree.
AV: To what do you attribute your longevity in music?
CI: Perseverance and hard work. I always look at people like John Lennon or Paul McCartney. Those guys were lucky, they had so much talent that they were going to be huge. I think I have some ability at what I do. I’m sure there are people more talented but I work hard at it. I love what I do. I’ve been lucky. I’ve had the same guys in my band for about 35 years now. We love our audience, we love our job. When we get on stage, we have fun and I never see the show as work. The work is driving there or flying there. The show is the fun part.
AV: You joined Lana Del Ray at the Hollywood Bowl last month for a duet of “Wicked Game.” When did you know you had a hit with that song?
CI: I remember when we were playing it live. It wasn’t a hit yet and we didn’t have a video yet. I noticed the crowd would be very quiet and listen to that song like they really paid attention. We recorded it, put it out there and it caught on. The record company never wanted to put out a video or promote that song. It just took off on its own and then we did make a video. I had worked like three or four days shooting the video in Hawaii and then had to fly to Europe to play. Two or three days later, they had already edited the video and put it out. I was walking down the hall of the hotel and on TV in every room, I could hear that song coming out.
AV: That must have been surreal!
CI: It was surreal. You are walking down a hall in Copenhagen and you hear “the world was on fire’ in every room.