Chris Risola

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Chris Risola
Born Stamford, Connecticut, United States
Genres Hard Rock
Jazz Fusion
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1985-Present
Associated acts Steelheart

Chris Risola is an American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the original lead guitarist for the glam metal band Steelheart. He is sometimes mis-credited as Chris Rizola.

Risola first started playing guitar at age 13. In High School he studied music theory and formed numerous bands[citation needed]. He also began to take lessons from Linc Chamberland[citation needed].

In 1981 Risola was playing lead guitar with his band consisting of Jimmie Ward on bass and Jack Wilkinson on drums, they then started auditioning singers, eventually hiring 15-year-old Mike Matijevic[citation needed]. The result was "RAMPAGE" which was soon changed to "RED ALERT".


In 1989 the band consisting of members Chris Risola, Ward, and Matijevic added new drummer John Fowler and rhythm guitarist Frank DiCostanzo to the band.[1] They were signed to MCA Records in 1990 and the name of the band was then changed to "STEELHEART"; Chris played on the first two Steelheart albums, Steelheart and Tangled In Reins. His solos focused on hard blues, rock, speed, tapping and harmonies with rhythm guitarist Frank DiCostanzo.

Steelheart released their self-titled debut album in 1990. It sold 33,000 albums on its first day in Japan alone, and quickly hit platinum status[citation needed]. The ballad “She’s Gone” hit #1 on the International Charts, staying there for 17 weeks[citation needed]. The second single “I’ll Never Let You Go (Angel Eyes)” reached #14 on the billboard charts[citation needed]. The album reached #40 on the billboard charts[citation needed].

Steelheart’s next effort, “Tangled In Reins” was a much more mixed combination than the debut, with songs like “Sticky Side Up” to ballads such as “Mama Don’t You Cry”. Also, the song, “Steelheart”, featured Matijevic hitting his highest note of the three albums. The ballad "Mama Don't You Cry" charted #1 in many East Asian Countries including Hong Kong[citation needed], prompting their Asian tour in September, 1992. Nearing the end of the “Tangled in Reins” tour, Slaughter asked Steelheart to perform one last show in Denver, Colorado[citation needed]. While performing, “Dancing in the Fire” from the “Tangled in Reins” album, Matijevic decided to climb a lighting truss, which was improperly secured[citation needed]. Matijevic tried to evade the fall of the massive rig, but without success. An injured Mike walked off stage that night but would never again front the band in its original form.

After a 13-year hiatus Risola rejoined Steelheart, joined by Mike Humbert on drums, along with Rev Jones on Bass. In 2006 the band did the "Just A Taste" tour[citation needed]. In 2007 and 2008 Steelheart played the Rocklahoma festivals, and 2009 brought the "Good 2B Alive" tour[citation needed].

Risola has taught guitar and music theory to such well known acts as Grammy Nominated musician "Moby"[citation needed], and Grammy winning guitarist Paul Nelson of the "Johnny Winter Band"[citation needed].


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