Chris O’Brien

Local singer-songwriter Chris O’Brien stopped by for an in-studio performance and shared his humor and dance moves with the WERS staff. Before going on-air, the Harvard student and Western Mass native sat down for a little Q & A.

Q: What do you do to pass the time on tour? How do you keep yourself sane in your downtime?

A: I play a lot of pinball. I like pinball a lot, and you can always find it. The more you tour, the more friends you meet, so it gets a little less lonely. But it can get pretty lonely out there. All these gadgets– phones and computers and stuff — can be real handy when you’ve got a lot of downtime

Q: Would you consider yourself a pinball wizard?

A: Yeah, definitely. No, I’m far from it. But I’m aspiring.

Q: So while you’ve been touring, you see a lot of places. Which city or region of the country surprised you or wasn’t quite what you were expecting?

A: That’s a good question. A couple places, actually. Texas… coming from Mass, I didn’t think that I would enjoy Texas, and it’s one of my favorite places. And in a similar vein, Alabama. Birmingham, Alabama is one of the greatest cities you can go to. It’s a complete blast, and the people are wonderful, and I just never would have expected that.

Q: You’ve played a couple festivals. What’s your experience been like with that?

A: I love playing outdoors in the sun. When you tour, you do a lot of playing in the winter and driving through snow and playing in dark bars. And when you get the opportunity to play in the middle of the day in the sun with everybody out there throwing Frisbees, it’s pretty awesome.

Q: How would you describe the Boston music scene, and how might you compare it with other scenes?

A: You can’t really compare it. I mean, Austin might be a good comparison, there’s a lot of great songwriters down there. There’s some great songwriters in New York and Philadelphia and such, but Boston is really special. And not only in the community of songwriters but in the clubs. Club Passim and some of the other places– Johnny D’s, the Paradise. There are some really great places to play, and that’s not true everywhere. There are good cities and there are cities with good songwriters, but there aren’t always the right venues, so we definitely have that.

Q: Which artists would you collaborate with in your wildest dreams?

A: I would say… well, wildest dreams, I guess you gotta throw in Bob Dylan and James Taylor, Paul Simon. Paul Simon would be wildest dreams, for sure.

Q: Which show or festival would you time travel to or give your kidney to have seen?

A: Oh, man. Well, I’d love to see some of the early Newport Folk Festivals. I’ve been going to Newport Folk Festival for many years, and I’ve seen some amazing festivals, but some of the pictures of the early, early festivals look pretty incredible. So I would definitely have to say that.

By  Sarah Ruggiero

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