Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Anyone who really knows me knows that I'm a huge Beatles fan. My life as a musician and person was really shaped by their music and attitude that they brought to the world. I remain an avid fan to this day!
So when my friend Steve Lukather (Toto) who has been touring with Ringo and his All-Starr Band invited me to a show in St. Louis in October of 2014, I was thrilled. Steve was so gracious and kind to make a dream come true for me by intorducing me to Ringo. Ringo was really nice and witty... just as you would imagine him to be. He looked fantastic as well. I'll never be able to thank Steve enough for making that happen!
l to r: Steve Lukather, Rachel Chiaravalle, Ringo Starr, me and Gail Chiaravalle.
Check out this beautiful compliation album that features the song "Surrender", by Amy Holland McDonald and co-written by Amy, Bernie Chiaravalle and Jon Vezner. It was originally from the album "The Journey To Miracle River" which was produced by Bernie as well.
Download it on iTunes.
It’s hard to imagine the amount of dedication, commitment, focus and sheer energy it takes to complete a record when you’re touring the world as a lead guitarist for a popular artist, as well as producing yet another musical project. For Chiaravalle (pronounced (“shaira velley”) it simply comes down to passion. It’s not a matter of choice; it’s just creative necessity. Not that he doesn’t absolutely love the job he’s had with Michael McDonald for the past 27 years, it’s just that he has music he needs to make and artistic statements of his own to offer. And Chiaravalle has done that in a very complete way with "Hideaway Tales", his 6th record, on which he supplies all the vocals and plays all the instruments (with the exception of Dan Needham on drums on "Don't Know What You Want" and Vince Denham on sax for "Through Every Window").
Chiaravalle says it is his most personal effort yet. “I’ve always had people work with me, but as I developed this group of songs I had, it just felt right for the record to be doing it by myself. The songs are probably more introspective,” he explains. “I always admired Paul McCartney’s first album,” he says, referring to 1970’s McCartney. “I always thought it was heroic that he played all the instruments. That was my inspiration.”
The Beatles were his influence from the start, growing up in Marin County, CA. Their famous 1964 Ed Sullivan appearance prompted him to begin playing piano and drums at the age of nine. He remembers being absolutely voracious, learning his first guitar bar chord in the middle of the street. “It changed my life,” he recalls. After the formative bands and local gigs, Chiaravalle moved to L.A. in 1985 with a band by the name of Page One. Just as the group was disbanding, he met up with Ambrosia’s David Pack. “I sent him a tape,” Chiaravalle recalls. “And immediately we hit it off and began hanging out together and writing and playing songs.” At the same time, Pack was telling Michael McDonald about the guitarist. Chiaravalle auditioned for him and in1988, they began their playing and songwriting partnership.
In 1996, Chiaravalle released his first solo effort, Driven By Desire. Two years later, he relocated to Nashville and the following year he enjoyed a No.1 hit song, “Speak,” on the CHR charts. He also had a song called “Til I Hurt You” on Larry Carlton’s Fingertips, co-written with Carlton and McDonald, which sat on top of the NAC charts. Chiaravalle delivered his second album, Life As We Know It, in 2002, followed by Mystery Of Love in 2005. In 2008, Chiaravalle completed production on The Journey To Miracle River, an album for Amy Holland (McDonald), which had been several years in the making. Check it out at www.amyhollandmcdonald.com. He also co-wrote several songs and co-produced songs for Michael McDonald's Blue Obsession.
Hideaway Tales (available on CD Baby) took two years, with everything else going on in Chiaravalle’s life. Produced in his own studio, all of the lyrics were self-penned.
So while some people say, “I’ve had a busy week,” Chiaravalle says, “I’ve had a busy decade,” with a chuckle. “Seriously, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t make this music. I’m thankful that I still have the drive – and the ideas -- to do it. I do these records to re-charge myself, do these groups of songs, move on and write some more. I’m lucky to be able to do it,” says Chiaravalle, who, no surprise, already has a batch of new songs for the next one!
Steve Lukather, Rachel, Ringo, me and Gail - Oct 2014
With my lovely Mom - San Francisco, CA
Me and my Dad.
I rocked from a very early age!
My family in 1962 - San Rafael, CA
Christmas morning with my Roy Rodgers guitar.
With my buddy Mitch Hinard.
Dennis Spadini and I circa 1966.
Same night with Rob Mackey and me on drums.
My dear friend John Lovrien (on bass) - Novato, CA
Protest march 1971... I'm second from left with guitar.
Playing my 12 string ... circa 1966.
Gary Koehler and I at the Rennaissance Fair 1965.
Santa Venetia, CA 1966.
Logos 1974, Santa Rosa, CA.
Logos 1974 - Portland, OR.
Logos becomes Allies 1980.
With Page One... yes I have a cig for a prop! Stupid!
My first show with Michael McDonald - 1988.
Same show in Ventura, CA.
With the great Chuck Sabatino.
Playing Ipswich, England with Michael McDonald - 1990.
With the McD band 1993 sitting on the Star Club stage!
With McD band on the Tonight Show - 1993.
Sabatino Christmas party.
Hanging with the Paul McCartney band - Stockholm 1993.
Crossing Abbey Road with my wife Gail - 2010
With the great BB King!
With Amy and Mike McDonald.
Boz Scaggs, me, Vince Denham and Lanice Morrison.
McD band 2013.
Italian bus - photo by Chazz Frichtel.
Playing in Cork Ireland ... we played Beatle songs!
Playing a benefit in La Conchitas, CA.
With Robben Ford, Tom Scott, Mike McD and Nathan East.
With Dan Needham 2014.
Me, Mick Fleetwood and Lanice Morrison.
Me, Mike and Bill Gibson - 2014.
Drawing by Mike McDonald.
With Michael in Michagan - 2003.
Yep, with Jerry Lewis!
With my pal Steve Lukather.
Me, Sharon and Ozzy Ozborne and Mike McD.
With longtime friend David Pack.
My cuz Barbara got me this McCartney autograph!
With Peter Noone and Lanice Morrison.
With Phillip Phillips 2014, Washington DC.
Yep, with Pres. Bill Clinton 1998 with Raz Rassmusen.
Photo by Skyler Sims - 2014.
Soundstage TV show 2004.
With my brothers Bill and Brad 2013.
McD and Toto bands 2014... what a tour!
Brandon Fields, Luke, David Paich and me.
McD and Toto encore - 2013.
60 - 60