Sunday, July 20, 2008

Author Bio: Christopher Gutierrez - 2008

In the same fashion Do-It-Yourself punk bands have built their fan base for the past 30 years, Chicago author Christopher Gutierrez has carved his own niche into the literary world relying on that same aesthetic. In the span of three short years, Gutierrez has gone from sporadic zine publisher and part-time blogger to full-time writer and public speaker, self-releasing 3 books, a spoken word CD, a live DVD, several mini-books and fanzines all under the umbrella of The Deadxstop Publishing Company.

Since the release of his first book On the Upswing of Life, Love and Regret in 2005, Gutierrez has built a strong foundation of loyal readers garnering over 10,000 hits a day on his popular blog 'Askheychris.' The advocacy of his readership helped him sell two pressings of the book with no major distribution, land him a feature piece in the Chicago Reader and a sponsorship as in-house spoken word artist by on the Vans Warped Tour. His work ethic and online presence also earned him a position as a staff writer and guest blogger for popular social-networking site

June 2007 saw the release of his second book A Life Deliberate, a personal collection of memoirs as humorous and emotional as they are uplifting. Following the release, Gutierrez set off on a full US tour including dates in Canada and a stint in The UK spanning England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. These dates documented the beginning of what would become his third book, Notes from the Deep End: A Year in the Life of a Touring Author, a collection of journal entries spanning his initial tour dates following the release of A Life Deliberate, a Northeast tour with friends and fellow Chicago natives 2*Sweet and his speaking engagements at Rutgers University, The University of Massachusetts, The University of North Carolina and the University of East Anglica in England and many others. The Chicago date was filmed and released as the "Live from Chicago" DVD.

This past year has been a busy one for Gutierrez with no indication of slowing down. Notes from the Deep End was released in June and once again he immediately followed up the release with a full 6-week tour of the U.S. He has also been hosting his own three-hour online radio show through aptly titled This Deliberate Life and making plans for future visits overseas. Though he isn't a household name, Gutierrez continues to inspire thousands of people with an uplifting message and a DIY attitude.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Author Bio: Christopher Gutierrez - 2007

Though many are just discovering his work, Chicago native Christopher Gutierrez has been penning narratives for 12 years in his self-published fanzine, DeadxStop. Initially, the zine was little more than a forum to discuss and promote hardcore/punk bands, but as the years passed, the themes of love, loss, family and friendship became more prevalent and the zine more personal.

In 2003, Gutierrez took his do-it-yourself zine aesthetic to the Internet and began posting memoirs and opinions on his blog, "Askheychris." His unique voice, brutal honesty, sharp wit and endearing storytelling ability garnered instant readership. Continuous word of mouth expanded the blog to over 3,500 "friends" and countless unique anonymous visitors, making it one of the most widely read blogs on the popular site At the prompting (and petitioning) of readers, his vision of The DeadxStop Publishing Company expanded two years later with the release of his first book, a collection of memoirs and journal entries entitled On the Upswing of Life, Love and Regret. On the strength of a small, but loyal fanbase, the first pressing of 1100 sold out within six months. Word of mouth spread and landed Gutierrez a speaking engagement at Adams State College in Colorado, a sponsorship as in-house spoken word artist by on the Van's Warped Tour and a feature piece in the Chicago Reader.

November 2006 saw the release of his first spoken word CD, The Dirt of an Electric Boy. It is a 21-track collection of old journal entries and new statements on life in a decaying world. In the first week over one-third of the press was sold.

In early 2007, Gutierrez released Bulletproof Hearts: A Guide To A Deliberate Life, a minibook of self-penned words of wisdom, a precursor to the June 2007, release of his second book, A Life Deliberate, which has recently been re-released in a second pressing. In addition to releasing his second book, Gutierrez repackaged, reprinted, and re-released On The Upswing Of Life, Love, and Regret in a hard cover version which included additional stories and a Making Of CD.

With two books, a spoken word CD, and a successfully completed U.S. speaking tour under his belt, Gutierrez is poised to begin a second speaking tour across the U.S. this fall followed by speaking dates in Canada and the United Kingdom. 2007 certainly is shaping up to be an ambitious year for Gutierrez. Like always, integrity and passion will continue to outweigh the quest for money and status. And though his name is not on the top of the New York Times Best Seller List, if it ever ends up there, a punk rock, do-it-yourself ethic will be the reason.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Darker My Love - 2

Darker My Love
(Dangerbird Records)

On their aptly titled sophomore LP, 2, Los Angeles’ Darker My Love return with 11 new tracks of their heavily distorted, drugged out brand of neo-psychedelic rock. Staying true to form, 2 is full of great, riff oriented songs like the album opener “Northern Soul” and the up-tempo rager “Waves”, but the most stand outs moments are when they slow it down and bring the vocal interplay between guitarist Tim Presley and bassist Rob Barbato to the forefront. On tracks like “Two Ways Out” and “Even in your Lightest Days” the influence of 60’s vocal psych-pop groups comes through and adds a dynamic element previously uncharted on previous releases. As a whole, 2 is a more interesting and varied record than anything in Darker My Love’s discography, proving it’s possible to blend two different eras of psychedelia in such a seemless fashion.

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