Christopher Mark Freeman was born in August, 1961, in Seattle, WA. Throughout his early years, he learned to play a variety of instruments, including piano, cornet and recorder, as well as singing in every school choir he could. In Junior High, he was part of a statewide final as a tenor.
His musical interests were confined to the Beatles (his sisters were huge fans) and whatever was on AM radio. In 1972, he was introduced to FM radio and this led to interest in individual artists. Alice Cooper and Elton John were early favorites.
At the age of 14 in 1975, he saw KISS on Midnight Special and the sound and spectacle changed his life. He realized that being a musician was what he really wanted to do and he picked up an acoustic guitar that had been collecting dust in the garage.
By 16, he was out on his own (his parents kicked him out) and in his first band, Relic (named after the Pink Floyd album). By this point, he had switched to bass—there were far too many guitarists around and being a bassist assured him a place in a band. This loose group of high school friends jammed in their basement and played shows in the backyard and living room.
By 1980, Chris’ musical aspirations had outgrown his buddies, so he quit the band and searched for other like-minded musicians. He began his recording career by playing bass in the studio with eastside metal band Perennial, and other bands that would form, record and break up. These bands included Little Wing who opened for a cover band at Lake Hills Roller Rink called The Mob (who later changed their name to Queensryche).
The groups may not have lasted long but the connections did, and by 1982, he found himself in his first big band, Attachments. The band self-released an EP in 1983, a single in 1984, and a full-length LP in 1985, as well as adding a track (“Do You Hear What I Hear?”) to a local Christmas compilation, Christmas in the Northwest, Volume I, benefiting the Seattle Children’s Orthopedic Hospital. This compilation CD is still available today.
Among the producers Attachments worked with were Terry Gottleib (Heart), Rob Perkins (Heart, Steve Miller) and Terry Date (Soundgarden, White Zombie, Limp Bizkit). Chris got a major education in how to make and promote records. The band broke up at the end of 1985, but their vinyl can still be found occasionally in used record stores throughout Seattle.
He also began working as Assistant Manager for the Duplication Department of Muzak, where he hired locals like Bruce Pavitt (Sub Pop founder), Mark Arm (Mudhoney) and Tad, among many others. He recognized the benefits of the loose environment and welcomed all musicians who needed a steady income. A few years later, this became a breeding ground for what was to become a major music movement in Seattle.
Frustrated and bored with his hometown and the lack of like-minded musicians or a cohesive music scene (most of the bigger bands in Seattle had broken up or left town by 1986), he left for San Francisco in 1987. He played with a few groups around town, met with Red House Painters (he found them too gloomy for his sunny personality), and briefly hooked up with the keyboard player for Spinal Tap and a former guitarist for the Nuns in Model Citizenz.
At the age of 28, he decided that fate was not on his side and he gave up looking to music to provide him with a career, instead changing his focus to only do music that would make him happy. He then also began a formal career as a video editor for Wells Fargo Bank, later using these talents to make videos for his bands—some of which ended up on MTV.
Recording with friends and reviving careers for other local bands (like the colorful Enrique) gave him a sense of fulfillment and enjoyment that he hadn’t had before. He also started to produce other bands, later making two records for SF scene-makers Blue Period (whose lead singer later founded the mashup club, Bootie).
In 1991, he discovered an ad in the SF Weekly that stopped him in his tracks. The ad was looking for “gay musicians into the Ramones, Buzzcocks and early Beatles.” Not having crossed paths with any other musician in over a decade who identified themselves as gay, he thought he might be the only one! Through the ad he met Jon Ginoli, who gave him a demo tape of a new project called Pansy Division, and by November he joined. The rest is history. http://www.pansydivision.com
After being told while in Attachments that he would have no career if he “came out,” and after being told that no one over 30 can ever have a career in music, Pansy Division broke the rules, since all members at the time were gay and over 30.
Chris moved to LA in 2001 after the dotcom rise and fall had left SF a mess of high rents and no good part-time jobs, joining the migration of artists who were all moving elsewhere. In LA, he kept on producing, making records for I Am Loved and Kelly Mantle.
He also put himself through film school, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Film/TV Editing. He graduated Magna Cum Laude with a 3.98 GPA and was inducted into the Laurel Society, class of 2007. While in school, he made 4 short films, 2 music videos and a feature-length documentary on Pansy Division that premiered in London, and went on to be screened at 34 different film festivals worldwide and won Audience Favorite in Chicago.
When Pansy Division is on hiatus, Chris continues to play bass whenever he can. He played with the Gay Gay’s (an all-gay tribute to the Go Go’s, who had the honor of playing Jane Wiedlin’s aftershow party for the last Go Go’s show), the Donnies (an all-gay tribute to the Donnas), Boynanarama (an all-gay tribute to Bananarama), and more.
When several of the musicians in the Gay Gay’s decided they wanted to continue to play together, GayC/DC was born. When they could not find a singer willing to go all out, Chris told the band he would audition. The rest fell into place. The band has grown to be a favorite in LA, drawing crowds of all types and winning them over with their humorous swagger. Members of this band are also working on an all-original project, MARY, which will be debuting in 2018.
While music is fun and all, a living must be made, and Chris has had a substantial career in Federal Student Aid, working for a number of colleges in the Financial Aid office, as well as an auditor. He currently works at Gnomon, a school for visual effects and animation as Director of Financial Aid.
Chris lives happily with his husband Buck (a world-renowned scuba diver and instructor) in the Silver Lake area of LA.
One of the scariest moments of my life. You can even see the fear when I look right into the camera! I'm SO afraid of heights ... but I wanted to conquer my fear. Probably won't do it again. Probably won't have hair like this again either!
I always wanted to sky dive, so for my 2007 college graduation, I gave myself one of the most thrilling experiences I've ever had in one of my most favorite places!
From 1977 to 1993, I kept a list of the concerts I was going to.
I stopped when Pansy Division started to tour because the number of bands I was seeing had doubled.
Click below to see the list