Chris Isaak’s Holiday Tour in Grass Valley |

Chris Isaak’s Holiday Tour in Grass Valley

Hollie Grimaldi Flores
Special to Prospector


WHO: The Center for the Arts OnTheGo Presents

WHAT: Chris Isaak: Holiday Tour 2018

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 255 South Auburn St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: Reserved seating $42 to $97. Tickets available at The Center for the Arts Box Office or by calling 530-274-8384; BriarPatch Food Coop — 530-272-5333; Tickets online at

INFO: Visit for more information

Chris Isaak, like many of us, is thinking about fire victims this week.

His keyboard player lives in the Butte County area, but was spared the devastation, while other friends who live in Southern California are still hoping the wind will continue to blow in their favor.

“Come on rain,” Isaak said, as he prepares to bring his Holiday Tour to Grass Valley.

The Stockton, Calif., native will be at the Grass Valley Veterans Memorial arena this Friday, bringing his holiday show as part of the Center OnTheGo series.

Isaak said the show will include a set of songs people expect to hear, like the wildly successful “Wicked Game,” “Forever Blue,” and “Baby Did A Bad, Bad Thing” but will also include some holiday favorites.

“I don’t ice skate and I don’t ride in on a reindeer, but I will throw in ‘Blue Christmas’ and ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,’” Isaak said. “I love doing the Christmas songs!”

Isaak said he has recorded a Christmas album and has written some new songs that mix nicely with traditional tunes, “To me, it’s a big deal. I really like doing it.”

He said he may even have Santa Claus on stage, who will jump around and wiggle to the tunes.

A true performer

Now based out of Nashville, Tennessee, the singer (and acclaimed actor) says his favorite thing, by far, is the time he spends performing.

Isaak promises an evening anyone will enjoy — even those not familiar with his music.

“There will be people who know every song and sometimes they bring a friend who does not know any song and I want them to have fun too. Of course, I play the music I am known for, but I will also throw in Johnny Cash ‘Ring of Fire’ or a Roy Orbison tune like ‘Pretty Woman’ so that even the guy who got dragged in will be able to hear something he likes! If you do not hear what you came to hear, holler it out and chances are you will be hearing it.”

Isaak is a self-described anomaly in the music business in that he was never part of the party crowd.

“I don’t drink, I never got high in my life,” he said. “People have this image of musicians, but I grew up broke and when I got any money, I was not going to waste it on booze. I was getting a sandwich.”

Fame is not taken for granted.

“I am never not writing,” he said. “It used to be me singing into a cassette recorder but now it is on my phone. I will get a lyric or melody in my head and I just record it on my phone. I’ve got about 150 pieces of songs on my phone and then I put them together. I am always working on my next one.”

‘No sign of slowing down’

With a career that spans four decades including a dozen albums, appearances in over 30 film and television roles, and his own highly acclaimed television show (“The Chris Isaak Show” 2001-2004), he shows no sign of slowing down.

“I love it completely,” he said. “I talked to my piano player yesterday and said, ‘we are so lucky.’ I see people who are just not happy doing what they do. They got a job somewhere, but every hour is like dragging a rock.

“For me, I am literally looking forward to playing. I am excited. I am dying to get playing. Our band is a group of guys who are saying ‘Oh boy, we get to play!’ I picked the right job. I love being in show business. I love writing. I love playing and I love touring with my band.”

Isaak spends more time living out of a suitcase than he does at his home. His affection for what he does is obvious from the moment he steps on stage. He is known for his wardrobe — “I have flashy clothes,” he said. “I have clothes Liberace turned down.” — and his tendency to get into the audience while he plays.

“We like to get off the stage and into the crowd and sometimes people get out of the crowd and onto the stage,” Isaak said. “I pride myself on having a tight band and putting on a great show. I love to dress up and I start on time.”

If the show starts late, you can be sure it is not because of Chris Isaak.

“We’ll wait if people need time to get to their seats, but believe me, I am always dressed an hour before the show,” he said. “I am ready to go on. I literally can’t wait to entertain you.”

Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at

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