Pop crooner Chris Isaak's songs are pretty much a reflection of his life.
"I think I always try to write about my own life," Isaak said in a recent email to the Herald.
"If I was a genius like John Lennon or Dwight Yoakam, I could probably just write now and then and have plenty of great stuff. But I'm one of those guys who has to show up for practice early and stay after everybody else has gone home."
His songs might come from his personal experiences but the stories are universal.
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"I don't think anybody wants to hear what I am up to or feeling about," he said. "But when you write about your own life and you tell the truth, then it ends up you write about everybody."
At least that's what he shoots for when there's a song in his soul longing to be written down.
Some of his hits include Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing; Somebody's Crying and Wicked Game. His Wicked Game album climbed to No. 6 on the Billboard pop charts. He has earned two Grammy nominations, and besides music, he occasionally dabbles in films as an actor.
Riverfront Concerts will bring Isaak to the Tri-Cities for an outdoor concert Aug. 5 in Columbia Park. Gates opens at 5:30 p.m. Showtime is at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 general admission, $65 for preferred seats and $100 for the VIP section. The event is open only to those 21 and older. Tickets are available at www.riverfrontconcerts.com.
Isaak, 55, might have a reputation for being a romantic singer/songwriter, but he's also pragmatic with a dry sense of humor.
"I am a romantic in some ways. I never forget someone if I fall in love," he said. "I don't just move on easily."
But he's also very comfortable in his own skin.
"It sounds odd, I guess, but sometimes when I'm out on tour I find myself walking," he said. "I have walked through a graveyard and being surrounded by all those ended stories it really makes you feel how short and precious this spinning dream is."
He admits he's a bit forgetful and there is a definite reclusive side to his nature, which has kept him single.
"I forget all sorts of birthdays, important anniversaries and seldom go out to fancy restaurants if given a choice," Isaak said. "I can also be as pragmatic as a frontier judge, so I will stick with romantic in some ways.
"I never got into drugs or drinking or smoking. I liked working out and hanging with my friends and playing guitar. I guess I never got married because women are incredible judges of character."
When it comes to music, however, Isaak makes it clear he doesn't take his job for granted.
"Every show I play is an audition," he said. "If I'm good, then people will come back to see me the next time I'm around. So I work hard to keep the job."
And even though many entertainers get road weary while touring, Isaak takes it all in stride and loves the idea of what he will do next.
"I love the bus rides, the singing, the band talking on the bus, the live shows, everything," he said. He also loves watching old movies in the back of his tour bus at 3 a.m.
"But I guess the thing I love most is being on the stage," he said. "It took me 25 years to get this band and I love being up there and singing with them. They are really such good musicians; it's like driving a Cadillac down a smooth stretch of road."
Another fun part of his show, he added, are the wild costumes he and his bandmates wear.
"We dress up in wild stage clothes that Liberace would have turned down as too loud," he quipped. "We have a piano that catches fire, a 20-foot inflatable pin-up girl and I even have a 35-pound mirror-covered suit I wear.
"I love what I do. And it's even more fun if I can make people have a good time."
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org