Artist, Dreamer, Truth-seeker, Singer, Talker, Sharp-shooter, Explorer, Dancer, Roller-Coaster, Giver, Reciever, Scene-stealer....Introducing Chris Myers... KING WALL.OO
Did you ever meet someone and know instantly that life as you knew it was over? This was my experience with the artist we know and love as Chris Myers. I was skulking around the Millie Brown opening, waiting to overcome my initial shyness, when I was introduced to Chris. I don't remember the moment exactly, I just remember eye contact. Within the hour we were singing duets on the street and planning a lifetime of adventures. Of course what would synchronicity be if it hadn't turned out that we were living on the same street, had both been in bands, are both making wall art and are both dreamers of big dreams.
An interview for THE FOLLOW was bound to happen.
Chris talks a million miles an hour about a million crazy things, names and places that have your eyebrows in cartoon mode, that make you want to put him on the pile of just-another-LA-wannabe-telling-tall-stories, until you, 1) discover he lives in New York and 2) everything turns out to be true!
I soon find out that pinning him down to do anything is a feat. With this much energy and a tendency to make friends wherever he goes you have to surrender to a unique Chris Myers type flow.
We eventually get together at the local Los Feliz hang out Little Doms on the kind of gorgeous friday night that only LA delivers.
We are the first people there and settle into a booth for wine and talk. Who, what, why and where are all questions that need to be asked. So here goes......
5 or 6 hours later, 3 bottles of rose, a steak with salad, coconut cream pie, a blushing waitress, two strolls up the street, visits from several friends, much laughter, my top five tracks of all time on the playlist, and a full restaurant later and the things I have learned about Chris Myers are these.
He is allergic to cats, dogs and bananas, he spells well and frequently, he lives a life outside anyones box, he is having multiple conversations at once but is always on the ball ( follow along closely) he knows precisely where he is going, he has a multitude of friends who call constantly and love him deeply, he sings all the time, was a good student and a glee club star. He has a sister and two nieces, he once fell over said sister on stage at a performance of "Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat", he feels deeply and cries liberally, he has a master plan ( if you're lucky you might get to play a part), he comes from Indiana and spent time in Florida, he was signed to Sony with the boy band Fource (you can still google them), he walked away from potential fame in exchange for personal integrity, he laughs loudly and sees things clearly.
He has no feelings about being tall other than sometimes he bangs his head, he can make ridiculous faces and tells the craziest of stories, he loves roller coasters, used to design them, and will no doubt build one one day, he has conceived and is creating a broadway show (more later) he is going to wall.oo the world over, he has put himself in front of and subsequently overcome some of human natures worst traits, he knows humility and breathes creativity.
Chris myers sees signs everywhere and is currently being tormented or possibly protected by crows.
Our night ended the following morning. The Chateau Marmont played her part beautifully, new people were added to the cast and general mayhem reigned supreme.
Waking up and knowing that this interviewer hadn't got a single relatable thing I managed to pin him down a couple of days later to discuss what is actually going on in the artistic life of cdm113.
Part two of this interview takes place mostly in my car. There are errands to run and a computer to locate which means a pit stop in Laurel Canyon. Coffee and sandwiches at the famous canyon store provide the perfect back drop. A reminder of simpler times and lives lived without the anxiety of dropped calls.
TFC: Tell me everything. SOCIAL LIFE and wall.oo, lay it on me.
"SOCIAL LIFE: The Musical" feels like a very modern take on the digital age, a recognition of where it has taken us. Is this a second phase recognition?
CM: SOCIAL LIFE is a time capsule, a snapshot of where we are with technology right now. Right up to the moment the doors open we get to play with the format, almost in direct response to the moment-to-moment changes happening in the digital realm. Once we open, that's it, the frame is complete.
TFC: I've been talking about this a lot lately, the idea that just to function one has to have this and that gadget, this or that connection. It's fascinating. Sink or Swim. We are no longer sovereign, we have had that choice pretty much removed in the first world.
CM: I mean look at today, we could have done this interview where we were, stayed in the peace and quiet of Laurel Canyon, but I didn't have reception and just to avoid what I call tech anxiety and feel connected we had to switch locations. Technology goes beyond the hardware of the phone. It has become an emotional situation, another addictive state. "SOCIAL LIFE: The Musical" was my response to that. (His phone rings...)
TFC: It's so interesting. I mean you studied technology and navigate the digital with such ease, I am a little older so it entered my life a later, i envy you that. Do you love it?
CM: I love it and i hate it. It's definitely a push me pull me relationship. Personally I think we've gone too far, it's out of control and its only going further.
TFC: Have you read about transhumanism? I am in awe of the science and the potential applications are amazing.......
CM: .....Yesss, but in the wrong hands........
The opportunity for people to corrupt the technology is phenomenal and it always seems to end up in the wrong hands. We live in a James Bond Movie!
Its scary to me, like a modern day apocalypse. Criminals using surveillance information as a business tool! But, I wonder when we'll reach a point where apps are telling us what we want. We are becoming drones, our ability to choose from a natural place is being eroded. In the song "SOCIAL LIFE" the networks say, "We know where you've been. We know what you do. We know where you're going."
TFC: Do you have an answer?
CM: Disconnect. Wake up. That's the theme of the show. I'm not expecting people to throw away their phones and shut down their computers...but find a balance, observe your habits, take back your autonomy.
TFC: How do you see that happening with "SOCIAL LIFE"?
CM: My vision for the actual show experience, while beautiful and entertaining, will be such a sensory overload that the audience cant help but want to "turn off" Hopefully it will promote a conversation beyond "where shall we go for dinner?"
Growing up I saw so many shows, the ones that made the deepest impression were the ones that had a message that went beyond the theatre walls. With SOCIAL LIFE my desire and the desire of our protagonist is to create a better place. He sees the damage being done but flips the script and uses the same tools, in this case technology, to promote love and bring back humanity.
TFC: Its so nice to hear someone of your generation, a generation raised with technology, talking this way. Recognizing that there is potential harm there...
CM: There is so much harm. I am overwhelmed by the amount of messages I get in a day. I'd never want to stop the amount of love coming at me, but oftentimes I feel like its coming AT me, as if Im constantly fielding people, putting more and more of myself out there. It's draining, There's a song in the show called Drowning that describes that. It robs me of my time and motivation to actually create.
TFC: I think that is the most harmful aspect. We get so caught up with "having to" respond, to be online, send this email or that text that we forget to create, we run out of time to realize dreams.
What started as time saving ideas has actually turned us into procrastinators.
TFC: Was SOCIAL LIFE your concept?
CM: Yeah. I had an idea, or a plot for an idea, or an idea for a plot of an idea! I knew what I wanted to achieve. Now that idea has developed into a family, a group of people all working towards a shared goal. Ricky Dunlop, Jeremiah Rosenthal, Shawn Kent, Mindy Cooper, Alex Kantor, Jeffery Saver, John Miceli, Stephanie Klapper, CJ La Roche, and Iris Gordon-Rossi are my creative family.
This is our fourth year in development, it has been and continues to be a labour of love. Everybody has heart in this project and we are being guided by some very good forces.
TFC: Is the protaganist in the story you?
CM: Its definitely a take on my life but social media didn't really appear until later. I was in the middle of a record deal with Sony when Facebook and social media started to take hold.
TFC: So, from Sony to Broadway?
CM: There wasn't any creative freedom in the boy band which is what propelled me to write the show. It was a way for me to present my creative mind in a medium that no one would expect. So, I came to NY and in three years built an amazing team and an amazing show.
TFC: Going back to the ideas surrounding SOCIAL LIFE.....
In the show the grandmother asks the son why he puts all his information out there. It reminded me of the documentary "Generation Like", did you see it?
CM: I didn't
TFC: There's a girl in the film who devotes all her time to building armies of followers, hours and hours of time spent in isolation gathering virtual friends just to be rewarded with virtual gifts.
CM: Let's send her a Furbie!!
CM: The concept of having followers and/or likes and making that our focus seems crazy to me. In the show we play with this idea, an army of people behind you but they are all ghosts.
TFC: There's something very sinister about the machinery that is creating these armies of uber-fans, enticing them to do all their free promotion, Preying, if you will, on our addiction to celebrity and the promise of basking for a moment in that glow.
CM: The day will come when we'll need rehab for people who can't disconnect.
Imagine if we all used that time to create something instead...
TFC: The idea that there is no substance behind fame and no concrete foundation for it is crazy, How do we sustain that?
CM: Welcome to my first experience with fame. I was 19 years old, touring in a boy band. It was exciting but I was surrounded all the time. Fans mean well but they just take whatever they can get without knowing why they want it. It's impossible to explain what that does to you as an artist. I appreciated the support but in the end I just didn't like people knowing that much about me.
TFC: Sounds like the exception to the rule. The fact that you knew yourself well enough at 19 to know that wasn't real and wasn't enough. It's a refreshing change.
But, knowing you for a short while and hearing the material for the show it's clear that you will enjoy success with this, and fame no doubt, how will you handle it now?
CM: Focusing on the work, staying one step ahead, never becoming complacent, always learning, always reaching, always creating
There's also a clear philanthropic vision behind the show and wall.oo, I want to create artistic opportunities for other people, that's the goal.
This life journey is an arc and you can ride the arc for a very long time. Decisions I made years ago are still playing themselves out. I choose ascension, There's no one involved with anything I'm doing that doesn't elevate me in some way. We lift each other up.
I've never done Broadway before, never written a show before but I've attracted the right people and recognise that this is a sacred process.
TFC: So how does Wall.oo come into it?
CM: wall.oo came along in a moment of pure inspiration. It's about finding ambassadors, connecting dots, finding like minded creatives and putting art out there with a positive message and enjoying the process. It's about not getting lost in the glow, recognizing what's really important.
Wall.oo is the physical manifestation of the show, it's all related, all tied together, by the concept and a desire to inspire change.
It's about creating something beautiful and surprising. Using all the most modern tools available to me to shift current paradigms.
After all The Struggle is Real.