Throughout his career as a musician and actor, Chris Isaak has carved out a unique niche in American popular culture.
As a musician, Chris' sly sense of humor and raw charisma have colored the popular songs he's written over the years – and he's written some classics – from moody ballads like "Wicked Game", to rockers like "Baby Did A Bad Bad Thing". This talent has translated into a wall full of platinum albums and a loyal audience who back his shows, knowing they'll be treated to great songs, an inspired performance, and always a few surprises.
As an actor, Chris has graduated from cameos to leading roles in films and mini-series. Now as the star of the SHOWTIME backstage series, The Chris Isaak Show, he's brought together the two parts of his career into a brilliant and entertaining whole.
Chris, the youngest of three brothers, grew up in a working class neighborhood in Stockton, California. From an early age, he was a fan of a wide variety of mus music. After attending the University of the Pacific, he spent a year in Japan, studying, working part-time at a movie studio, and doing a little amateur boxing on the side. He didn't really consider a career in music until he was 20 and living in Tokyo. Inspired by Elvis Presley's Sun Sessions, Chris decided to try his hand at singing.
He started out solo, working the club circuit in San Francisco, and soon formed an early version of his band Silvertone. The group was spotted by a producer (Erik Jacobsen) and offered a deal by Warner Brothers. Chris' first two records, 1985's Silvertone and 1987's Chris Isaak, earned critical acclaim and made fans of Madonna, John Fogerty, and Rickie Lee Jones, among other celebrities.
Simultaneously, Chris was making waves outside of the music industry. He appeared in fashion spreads in magazines such as Elle and Esquire, and director Jonathan Demme cast him as "The Killer Clown" in his 1988 film, Married to the Mob. Chris also appeared in Let's Get Lost, Bruce Weber's 1988 documentary about jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker.
In 1989, Chris scored his breakout single "Wicked Game". The song, a ballad that was featured on the double platinum album Heart Shaped World, was an international smash and was supported by a steamy video that featured Chris in a dreamy embrace with supermodel Helena Christensen.
As he toured the world in support of Heart Shaped World, Chris' acting career was starting to take off. He earned a supporting role in Jonathan Demme's Oscar-winning Silence of the Lambs, and co-starred in David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, Bernardo Bertolucci's Little Buddha. He appeared in films such as Tom Hanks' That Thing You Do, Alison Anders' Grace of My Heart, and, most recently, in director James Rowe's Blue Ridge Fall. On Television, he appeared in two episodes of the acclaimed cable mini-series From the Earth to the Moon, working with Hanks and Sally Field. He guest-starred on the hit series Friends, and he also developed a part-time gig as a roving correspondent for The Tonight Show, trading quips with Jay Leno from locations such as the Kentucky Derby and the Grammy Awards.
Music, however, remains Chris' first love, a love that audiences around the world have come to share. The rootsy sounds of early albums such as 1985's Silvertone and 1987's Chris Isaak were followed in the 1990s by a string of exceptional albums, including 1993's cool and classic San Francisco Days; 1995's dramatic, sexy Forever Blue; 1996's Baja Sessions, which he describes as "an acoustic beach album", and 1998's Speak of the Devil, an adventurous collection that showed Chris' experimental side while showcasing his ability to craft classic songs.
After completing the first season of The Chris Isaak Show, Chris returned to the recording studio with Silvertone to make his first studio album in three years. Always Got Tonight is scheduled to be in stores in February 2002 with the single from the CD, "Let Me Down Easy", coming out in January, simultaneous to the premiere of the show's much anticipated second season.