It was the summer of 1970 when I first met Chris Poland. I was going to summer school at the State University College at Fredonia, N.Y. and was spending the summer teaching guitar at a local music store in Dunkirk, NY, where Chris lived and grew up with his family. I could tell very soon that Chris was a gifted musician. He always learned all the music I had him listen to each week and was always hungry for more! One of the incredible things about Chris was the way he had to play the guitar. While in high school, Chris was the victim of a useless high school prank and was shoved through a plate glass door, severing many tendons in his left hand. Although the surgery to repair the damage was miraculously successful, Chris never was able to bend the last joint on his index finger of his left hand, thereby making bar chords and other techniques involving the index finger extremely difficult to play. In spite of that injury, Chris developed a technique and style which, to this day, is distinctive, original, and eminently identifiable once you hear him play. I was playing with a band called Welkin in the local area and Chris came to hear us play often. I didn't know at the time that, when I left Welkin years later, that Chris would replace me in that band. In fact, it was August 1977 when Chris joined Welkin and really began to grow in leaps and bounds as a musician. He would spend hours listening to old Welkin tapes, studying the music and arrangements and eventually adding his unique style to each of the songs he played with Welkin. Much of his style today can be traced to that period of his playing. After Welkin, Chris moved to California in the early "80's and eventually ended up with Megadeth. He played on two albums with them and, through a misunderstanding between him and Dave Mustaine, was "let go" and went on to pursue a solo career. Chris had, by now, gotten control of a drug habit and was finally "clean" after a tough battle. He subsequently released a heavy metal album of definitive metal guitar music called Return to Metalopolis. Chris played all instruments on this cd, except drums, which were handled by brother Mark. His next musical adventure was in the vocalist-fronted band Damn the Machine, again with his brother Mark on drums. They put out one cd and even though they broke up, maintain a cult following today, who hope the band will reunite and record another album. He next moved on to form other vocal-fronted projects with Mumbo's Brain, but the most notable is the work done with Carol McArthur. There were other small projects during these years, which kept Chris growing musically and gave him the opportunity to work with many talented musicians, like rapper Ice-T. I finally got back in touch with Chris after discovering his website (done by Rich Chavez as a tribute to Chris). I found out that he was now performing with the band Ohm, a power fusion/rock trio out of L.A. Ohm is somewhat reminiscent of perhaps where Cream would be today, had they stayed together. Meanwhile, Chris has put together an incredible cd of some of his best playing to date titled, Chasing the Sun. This is Chris's best work and really defines his style as definitely distinctive and original. After hearing Chasing the Sun, you could take a blindfold test and pick Chris out from the plethora of "Guitar Gods" out there; he's that good! Currently, Chris is working on getting his own recording studio together to record Ohm in L.A. Chris is one of the most totally devoted musicians I have ever had the pleasure to know and he is on the verge of exploding into greatness any second now! Listen for him, you won't believe your ears!
-Max Maxfield (Chrisí first guitar teacher from Dunkirk, NY)