Happy to Share the Stage
February 24, 2023
Chris Evil & The Taints, Blood Moons, Sick Pills, and his current lineup, Blood Feeder…
WRITTEN BY: Sean McCarthy
With a perpetual evolution of inspirations and a swirling confluence of bandmates, Chris Guaraldi has been writing and performing music with his guitar since his debut on the local music scene in 2001. Guaraldi’s bands have morphed and overlapped throughout the years, based on his passions and partners, an ongoing project that has resulted in four different outfits – Chris Evil & The Taints, Blood Moons, Sick Pills, and his current lineup, Blood Feeder.
But Guaraldi is happy to share the stage with others. In addition to a cache of sonic comrades, he has hosted Open Mics in the South Coast area since 2008 at a variety of establishments, stopping only for a brief time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m thrilled by performing music, it’s somewhere between a joy and a compulsion,” he says. “Music is very exciting to me. I love playing it, even if it affects my health sometimes.”
Known to many by his stage name “Chris Evil,” Guaraldi moved to the area from New Hampshire in 1996, attending UMass Dartmouth for Graphic Design. He jammed with some friends from school, but his first public performance was fronting Chris Evil & The Taints at an Open Mic at the New Wave Café in New Bedford in March of 2001. That show inspired Guaraldi with a love of performing music and an affinity for Open Mics that would last to this day – passions he has no intention of curbing.
After the hardcore punk rock of Chris Evil & The Taints, Guaraldi fused his interest in country music and garage rock to inspire his next project, Blood Moons – a name he took from the movie “The Seventh Sign,” about the Apocalypse. Six years later, Guaraldi continued his creative growth with the band Sick Pills, a three-piece lineup that had him inspired by the 1980s college rock of bands like My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain.
It would be his most prolific streak of songwriting as the band released an album every year for the next seven years. But Guaraldi would return to his heavier punk rock roots with Blood Feeder – a name that was inspired by his work at a local pest control company.
“I go through moods with my songwriting,” he says. “I’ll write minor-key country songs on my acoustic guitar and then some power pop songs like Cheap Trick. I’ve always liked hardcore punk like Dead Kennedys and Black Flag, but I also like garage punk like New Bomb Turks and Devil Dogs.” Guaraldi claims to have recorded more than a hundred songs in his career and estimates that he has written approximately 300.
“I write lyrics after I write the music, the lyrics reflect the tone of the music and where it takes me,” he says. “I may write a darker riff, something punky, or a poppy riff and the song grows from that. I write what I’m in the mood for. I may just pick up my acoustic or plug into my computer and set up a drum beat.”
“I’ve become a better writer, but I haven’t evolved very much thematically,” he says. “I write about relationships, drinking to deal with depression brought on by relationships, and a little political stuff, but that gets dated quickly.”
Guaraldi has standards for the people he makes music with.
“I have to be friends with the guys in my band,” he says. “I want like-mindedness, people who get what I’m going for. There has to be a certain level of competency and some professionalism. It’s not fun to have hired guns, people I don’t want to hang out with. There are a lot of mercenaries who are just interested in making money.
“I have a day job to make money, I don’t need a band for that,” he says. “Music is fun for me, and I like the idea of making something. I couldn’t NOT play music.”
And since 2008, Guaraldi has been inviting area musicians to showcase their talents at local Open Mic nights. Inspired by the events at the New Wave Café, hosted by brothers Tom Poitras and Ron Poitras, he began hosting his own nights at the Bridge Street Station in Fairhaven, two years before it changed ownership and became Rasputin’s. From there, Guaraldi took to the Pour Farm Tavern in downtown New Bedford where he hosted them beginning in early 2010. When COVID took hold the Open Mics were halted, but this February of 2023 he was able to relaunch them at The Dipper Café in New Bedford.
“Open Mics are a great way to be introduced to other musicians,” he says. “I’ve met a lot of talented people I wouldn’t have known otherwise. It’s refreshing to meet younger musicians who are not as cranky and jaded as some of my contemporaries. I’m a nurturer so I welcome anybody and encourage everybody. This area needs an open mic, they’re very important.
“If music is in you it can be an addiction.”
New Bedford, Massachusetts
This In-Focus Article is funded in part with a grant from the New Bedford Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
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