Chris McCarvill

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Chris McCarvill
Chris McCarvill profile.jpg
McCarvill in 2010
Background information
Birth name Christopher Lee McCarvill
Born (1971-10-03) October 3, 1971 (age 46)
Milford, Connecticut, U.S.
Genres Rock, metal, pop rock, progressive rock
Instruments Bass guitar, vocals, keyboards
Years active 1990-present
Labels Frontiers Records, Avalon Records, Mausoleum Records, Black Lotus Records, Klytus Records
Associated acts Dokken, House of Lords, Obsession, Eddie Ojeda, Jeff Scott Soto, The Samurai Cab Company, X Factor X

Christopher Lee McCarvill (born October 3, 1971) is an American musician best known as the touring and/or recording bass guitarist and backing vocalist with arena rock bands Dokken and House of Lords. He is well known for his energetic and technical virtuosity on the bass and his heartfelt vocal performances.


McCarvill was born and grew up in Milford, Connecticut. He began playing bass at age 12, his first instrument a Peavey Patriot bass guitar.

Upon graduation of High School, Chris attended and graduated the Musician’s Institute’s (MI) bass school (BIT) in Hollywood, California. He met songwriting partner and close friend Craig Polivka in Hollywood.

After graduating MI, McCarvill and Polivka met singer Jeff Scott Soto (ex Journey, Yngwie Malmsteen). Chris and Craig recorded and played several shows with Jeff and his band Slam in the early nineties. The band was short lived and the two returned to their native Connecticut.

In May 2011, Mr. McCarvill began teaching Bass at Route 1 Guitars in Milford, Connecticut.


Chris began doing session work in Boston as a bassist and also landed a full-time job as a graphic artist. He joined heavy metal band X Factor X, and continued to write with Polivka. During this time, Chris taught himself symphonic orchestration and developed his recording techniques, resulting in his renowned bass piece Demon Wheel.


Chris met vocalist Michael Vescera (Obsession, ex Loudness and Yngwie Malmsteen), and began recording bass on Mike’s solo material as well as new Obsession music. He also created album covers for several of Vescera’s releases. Other musicians Chris met through Vescera were: BJ Zampa (drums), Jimi Bell (guitar) and Robert Marcello (guitar). McCarvill met Twisted Sister guitarist Eddie Ojeda, and began recording and playing live with Eddie’s Band Of Steel with BJ Zampa and X Factor X vocalist Andre Vanchot. Chris was tapped by the Rockhouse Instructional Method Company to record a series of Instructional beginner DVDs and a “Slap and Pop” DVD. His bass DVD are top sellers worldwide. In addition to the heavier styles he is associated with, Chris began to develop a taste for recording punk inspired pop music, along with more progressive musical pieces.


Chris had a chance meeting with Soto in California. He subsequently toured Europe and South America with Soto’s solo band. Soon after, McCarvill became a member of House of Lords, and began recording and touring Europe with Connecticut natives James Christian, BJ Zampa and Jimi Bell. In 2008, McCarvill was introduced to Dokken by his long-time friend Jim Paidas of Paidas Management to act as touring bassist for the band on their summer run with Poison and Sebastian Bach on the “Live, Raw and Uncut” tour. BJ Zampa was added on drums halfway through the summer. At the end of this tour Chris and BJ formed the Samurai Cab Company, with McCarvill on lead vocals and bass guitar. Chris also recorded a “masterwork” with BJ Zampa on drums called “Venus Supercharger”.


McCarvill and Zampa continue to tour and/or record with House of Lords. The latest album, entitled Big Money, is expected to be released in September with an accompanying European tour to follow in mid-fall. There is no information yet as to which musicians will take part in it.

Obsession has begun recording and playing shows again, featuring Mike Vescera, BJ Zampa, Scott Boland and X Factor X guitarist John Bruno. Eddie Ojeda has begun recording new material with McCarvill, Zampa and Vanchot for an upcoming release.

In addition to performing cover songs, The Samurai Cab Company has started recording and performing original music featuring most of McCarvill’s songwriting over the past few years. Their debut self-titled EP was released in August 2010 and sold out in just three weeks. The 4 songs are still available as digital downloads through popular online services. The band has written and begun recording new original songs for a future full-length album. The Samurai Cab Company consists of Chris McCarvill, BJ Zampa, Chuck Beckman on guitar, and keyboardist Jeff Baryla.


Chris is married to Leah, whom he met when he was 12. They have one son, Alexander, born in 2001. They reside in Plymouth, Connecticut.


To make his playing more efficient, he built “ramps” for his basses. He had noticed BIT instructor Gary Willis’ idea of fitting a block of wood under the strings so the instrument felt like playing an upright bass. With Chris’ double jointed thumbs, he came up with his own solution of completely covering the pickup area with thin plastic, which he found, did not affect the sound. McCarvill has built and used his own ramps on almost all of his basses since 1990.

After his favorite bass (a magenta Ibanez RD707) was stolen from a car in Hollywood in 1993, Chris started modifying his next bass to fit all of his criteria. His new orange Ibanez RD707 ended up with a custom made neck, different pickups, electronics and hardware. Chris wore this bass out over the next ten years. As this bass began to age, McCarvill began designing his own bass from the ground up and built it with the help of friend and machine shop owner Mark Clapp. The result was his green 2005 Magbass which is still one of his main instruments. He also uses a red and black neck-through Charvel 3B that he customized and painted himself.


With Michael Vescera:

  • MVP: The Altar (2001)
  • Safe Haven (2002)

With Obsession:

  • Carnival of Lies (2006)
  • Order of Chaos (2012)

With House of Lords:

With Eddie Ojeda:

  • Axes 2 Axes (2004)
  • Untitled new album (2010)

With The Samurai Cab Company:

  • EP (2010)

With X Factor X:

  • X Factor X (1997)
  • KUVRS (2003)

With Chris Bickley

  • Tapestry of souls (2012)

In Maxx Explosion

  • Forever (2013)
  • Dirty Angels (2015)


External links[edit]