Chris Baio

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Chris Baio
Flickr - moses namkung - Vampire Weekend-2.jpg
Chris Baio on December 11, 2009
Background information
Born (1984-10-29) October 29, 1984 (age 29)
Origin Bronxville, New York
Genres Worldbeat, Indie rock
Occupations Musician, DJ
Instruments Bass Guitar, Guitar, Backing Vocals, Piano, Synthesizers
Associated acts Vampire Weekend, Baio, Underrated

Christopher Baio (born October 29, 1984) is an American musician, best known for being the bassist for the New York City-based indie rock band Vampire Weekend.

Early life[edit]

Baio was turned on by music at an early age, purchasing his first album at the age of seven and going to his first concert, a live performance by the band Cracker, at the age of nine. Baio said that, as a child, he would go to sleep with Doolittle by Pixies playing.

Baio attended Columbia University in New York, majoring in Russian and Eurasian Regional studies and minoring in Math, finally graduating in May 2007. He served as College Rock Music Director of WBAR during his time at school.[1]

He is a second cousin of actor Scott Baio, who played Chachi Arcola on Happy Days and Charles on the hit 80s television program Charles in Charge.[2] In April 2013, Baio discovered that he is related to Steve Buscemi.[3]

Musical career[edit]

During high school, Baio was lead guitarist, song writer, and vocalist in a local Bronxville, NY band known as Underrated.[4]

Baio was in a country-influenced band called the Midnight Hours with Vampire Weekend's current drummer, Chris Tomson at Columbia University, where the rest of the Vampire Weekend band members were also attending.[5] Following the breakup of Midnight Hours, Baio was working as a DJ as a side job until Vampire Weekend was created. The band members got straight to rehearsing for their first gig, which was booked before the band had even started practicing.

A year after Baio graduated, Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut album was released. It peaked at number 15 on the UK Album Chart and number 17 on Billboard 200. Also one of the album's singles, "A-Punk" was voted the 4th best song of 2008 by Rolling Stone magazine in addition to being featured in the film Step Brothers with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, and the popular UK television series The Inbetweeners. On June 14, 2008 they played Central Park SummerStage in Manhattan, and a benefit for democracy in October.

In January 2010 Contra was released, the band's second album. It reached number one on the Billboard 200 and on January 9, 2010 the band appeared on MTV Unplugged. Then on March 6, 2010, the band appeared as the musical guests on Saturday Night Live; the second time the band had appeared on the show.[6]

Baio released his debut solo EP, "Sunburn," under his DJ name, Baio on May 21, 2012. Rolling Stone said, " A three-track set of undulating dance grooves that capture a vibe the bassist describes as 'hopeful melancholy,' it's the culmination of a hobby Baio took up half a decade ago as a student at Columbia University in New York." Baio drew a lot of inspiration from electronic and dance music and spent much of the past year on DJ'ing due to Vampire Weekend's light tour schedule, and he said, "I'd lock myself in my little office in my apartment with CDJs and a mixer and just practice mixing all day. I did that quite a bit while we were touring the last record and realized when we finished touring that I really wanted to pursue it." His first completed track was "Sunburn Modern," which was inspired by a "nasty, modern art"- looking sunburn he got from a trip to Mexico with his girlfriend.[7]

Musical influences[edit]

In an interview with the British newspaper column "Hugs and Kisses 23" Baio said, in reply to the question 'what his favorite album of all time was', "Queen, Classic Queen. I still like it. It could be Greatest Hits. It's the one with 'Bohemian Rhapsody' on it. They were selling it on MTV with an ad trailer featuring the guys from "Wayne's World" singing along to it in the car. I was maybe seven, and I was like, I really like that song, so I'll get that album."[8]

Vampire Weekend also used The Beatles as an influence saying to Columbia University's alumni journalist "they played extremely popular music but at the same time drew upon Eastern and Western sources. Whereas today, rock music has killed itself by being so white bread. We’re trying to mix sounds that are old and new and sounds that are Western and that are not Western. I think that’s our vibe.”[9] The band also has taken its style from a form of music called Afrobeat which is a mix between jazz, funk, and highlife, all cemented together by heavy traditional African influences.

Equipment[edit]

Baio's primary bass is an old hollow-body Kustom brand bass guitar in teal. He also is frequently seen using a Rickenbacker 4003 bass guitar and an Epiphone Jack Casady bass guitar

References[edit]

See also[edit]