Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mr. West... By Himself He's So Impressed

No it’s not Kanye West but a true Rock-N-Roller, Frequency TV’s, Chris West. For those of you who are unfamiliar; when Chris West enters the TV Department office I greet him with a line from Kanye West’s song, GoodMorning. “Wake up, Mr. West, Mr. West, Mr. Fresh, Mr. by-his-self-he-so-impressed." Knowing that Chris’ love for music has been a driving force behind the success of many of the courses he has taught in the Television Department, I had to know when the music bug first bit him. He recalls ‘the summer of 1980’, when most of our students where mere thoughts. Thumbing through his sister’s vinyl he discovered THEE album, Van Halen. After only three minutes of listening, Chris recognized what his lifes' work had to embody, pure rock. His first musical composition was called "The House." Unfortunately his work disappeared no thanks to his older brother. Chris honed his artistic craft of guitar playing over the years and to this day plays in bands and writes music. "Music is my shrink. My therapy." Chris told me. He has written over 100 songs(now that's a lot of therapy.)

At some point everyone has that one Superstar they look to for, shall we say, guidance. Mr. West described his superstar hero as book smart, street smart, business smart and level headed... the incomparable David Lee Roth, the lead singer for Van Halen. When I asked Chris did he consider DLR to be his hero he said that instead of a hero he created a hero-room equipped with a revolving door. DLR has been apart of the hero-room several times and is currently debuting. After Chris read Roth's book, Crazy From The Heart he saw DLR in a totally different light. In the 80's and 90's you could find Chris rocking a pair of parachute pants, maybe even metallic-silver pants, a funky bandana or maybe even a scarf- the imagery... WOW! Regardless of what others may think of him, Chris much like DLR is honest and sincere. You may not always like what either of them has to say (or wear) but you can bet it is from the heart. More recently, Chris’ sister Julie has been added to the 'hero-room'. Less than a year ago she lost her husband and has had to pick up the pieces for her family; working maintaining their home and trying to get through the rough patches. He expressed how strong yet fragile she is but she still manages to get through it. Chris said, “I don't know if I could cope the way she has."

This Rock-n-Roll husband and father describes himself as a chronic multi-tasker and admits people even yell at him about it. But his response is, "it's just the way I roll." His mantra is that life goes on no matter and that life is full of individual events and responsibilities that we all must attend to. One of his many responsibilities is teaching an entry-level Televison Production class. Each semester brings a new conglomerate of artists usually with zero TV experience. What he finds astounding is watching their creative process unfold from a place of "we should" to "we did". And by week fifteen that same group will have created, produced and engineered a thirty minute television production. The understanding of and the pride in their work are reason enough for Mr. West to keep coming back.


...Chris can draw. Not just your average stick figure, but he has that "Oh my Gosh, you draw too?" type of talent.
...He has a workshop where he has crafted a toy box, a bar and a doghouse.
...Chris will be teaching Directing & Production: Special Projects in the Fall Semester. Seats are limited and their going fast!

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