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This is from 2012, almost 10 years ago…. Alex (keys) has passed on, Tim (vocals) moved to New England, and Pat is in the Orlando area… Tom (guitar) and I (drums) still live here. I’m currently playing with a local band (Seventyseven77.com), and thinking we might get the Yes tribute back together some time to honor our missing keyboard master….
It is with sorrow that we share with you the loss of one of the most accomplished keyboard technicians to share the planet. After more than a month in the hospital, Alex succumbed to illness and passed away early this week. Those of us that had the great privilege of playing with Alex, counting him as a friend, and those who had the privilege of hearing his skilled renditions of many flavors of progressive rock feel his loss deeply. Rest in peace, Alex. We’ll miss you.
Here is his impressive bio:
Alex Chigos – Keyboards
Born in Germany, while a toddler Alex enjoyed listening to a series of LPs called Classics For Children that featured the music of great composers such as Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Grieg, Prokofiev and others along with a narrator who would tell the story of Peter And The Wolf, Sheherazade, The Hall Of The Mountain King and others. He fell deeply in love with classical music. At age 3, Alex walked over to the Steinway grand piano and played Mozart’s Minuet. After visiting the birthplace of Wolfgang Mozart in Salzburg, Austria, Mozart became Alex’s childhood hero.
After moving to the US as a child, through frequent trips to music stores whenever and whereever possible, Alex was drawn to electric organs which were evolving the abilities to play sounds that realistically recreated orchestral instruments and percussion including a magnificant Hammond organ with attached chimes, pipes and drums in a New York music store.
In elementary school Alex took up the violin which he played, with lessons, for 2 years before putting it down forever and moving his focus to the organ. Alex began taking organ lessons at age 10. His instructor urged him to switch to piano, saying his talent was wasted on the organ, but something about being able to create complex sounds and instruments on the organ had gripped him and he continued his lessons for another year and a half. At age 11, Alex joined a neighborhood band as the organist and the youngest member and within a year was playing at dances, parties, amusement parks and bars and getting paid for it. Playing the music of The Doors, Deep Purple, Iron Butterfly, Steppinwolf, Spirit and other progressive leaning music mixed in with The Rolling Stones, The Animals etc., Alex soon developed a reputation in his area as a strong keyboard player who targetted the most challenging and interesting music of the time.
Also at age 11, a friend introduced Alex to the music of The Mothers Of Invention in the form of the album Freak Out. It was love at first sight as Alex followed the music of The Mothers and Frank Zappa enthusiastically from that point forward.
Around the same time, Switched On Bach (Walter Carlos), Silver Apples Of the Moon (Morton Subotnick), The Minotaur (Dick Hyman) all were capturing Alex’s attention with the instruments being huge modular synthesizers costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Alex was fascinated with this music but, due to the unreachability of the instruments, there was little opportunity to play them.
Then it happened.
Trilogy, by Emerson Lake And Palmer, a band his brother had spoken of but he had never heard, was released. Alex bought the album and listened, immersed through headphones. Keith Emerson’s organ and piano work was unlike anything he had ever heard, but the synthesizers hit him “like the hot kiss on the end of a wet fist”. He realized then and there that one way or another, he must have a synthesizer.
There was no Internet or Google in the 1960s, but after researching his options he discovered a company called PAIA electronics that made a modular synthesizer kit that cost less than $ 200.
When it arrived, it consisted of empty printed circuit boards, bags of resisters, capacitors, transistors, potentiometers, transformers, connectors some flat metal panels and several pieces of wood. The synthesizer was comprised of several modules including A Power Supply, Voltage Controlled Oscillators, Filters, Amplifiers, Envelope Generators, and more. Alex built the synthesizer one module at a time, carefully soldering each part onto the circuit boards, attaching the front panel connectors and finally attaching the circuit board to the front panel.
As each module was complete, he and a friend who was an electronics prodigy with a full lab, connected the finished module to the power supply, an amplified speaker and an oscilloscope and explored the various functions and capabilities of the module thoroughly. Finally the primative little synthesizer was complete. Woefully inadequate for live performance, the little PAIA never found its way onto the stage, but the education he received from it was invaluable. He had found his instrument, the synthesizer!
Later, he bought a MicroMoog which he did use on stage, but alas, it was stolen off the stage at a gig. He subsequently acquired an Oberheim 8 Voice Modular Synthesizer, one of the classic huge synthesizers of the 70s and 80s.
Parallel with Alex’s foray into Progressive Rock, he discovered Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever and Weather Report, along with other Jazz/Rock Fusion groups and artists including Jan Hammer, who, along with Patrick Moraz and Ravi Shankar, helped complete Alex’s musical influences and styles.
Alex played keyboards in various dance bands, but eventually decided that the music business was not for him, and after completing computer programming classes began his “straight” job as a software developer, still never missing an opportunity to jam or play on stage as a guest. Eventually he joined a South Florida Pink Floyd Tribute band with whom he played for a little over a year. Finally, he found a newly formed Yes tribute band, Sound Chaser, with whom he played for years.
As performed last month at the Boca Black Box Center for the Performing Arts…
A great show can happen… and it did, at the Black Box in Boca Raton a few weeks ago! Here’s a snippet (more to come):
Sound Chaser will be doing their first Palm Beach county show Friday, June 24 at Boca Black Box Center for the Arts. Come hear this two hour show and hear us perform the Close to the Edge album as well as 90125 songs and songs from Fragile and other Yes albums! Tickets are still available and it’s a great venue and easily accessible off the Florida Turnpike (just a minute west of the Glades Road exit). Don’t miss this rare appearance! Click here for more info!
From the SOAR Press Release:
The Society of Art Rock (SOAR) is an organization of progressive rock music enthusiasts and artists. The primary goal of the South Florida branch (SF-SOAR) is to promote and advance the education of the musical form called Art Rock or Progressive Rock. We need you to help build a community with a powerful presence to attract artists to the area, and persuade club and theater owners and promoters to book more art rock events.
Sound Chaser is without peer in the authenticity of sound and equipment from Yes’ classic and 90125 era. The incredible musicianship should be expected given the credentials of the band…
Opening the show at 7pm is Marbin, an all instrumental jazz-rock band that plays fast and hits hard.
Tickets for this event are only $15 and available at the link provided or purchase them in person at the Terra Fermata main bar or at the door on the night of the show. Doors @ 6pm. 21+
We made a brief but memorable appearance at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton Monday night.
We’ve eulogized Chris Squire in our social presence on Facebook and Twitter, but omitted adding a post to our web page. Here we go…
It’s no small feat to perform in a tribute band that covers some of the most intricate and interesting music in the classic rock genre. How much more difficult was it to be the incredibly gifted anchor that guided the band Yes through over 4 decades of different players and vocalists in every other part of the band, innovating all the way? Chris Squire was that anchor.
We have lost a great artist that defined a style of bass playing married to incredible vocals that is unrivaled in rock music. No one had used the bass as a driving lead instrument in rock before Chris. No one had utilized so many ways to shape the bass sound — bass pedals, stereo effects, wahwah, the infamous B:AssMaster — all together like Chris. And no one could sing the intricate harmonies and lead vocals, all while playing those incredible bass lines, like Chris.
The interaction of bass and drums between Chris, Bill Bruford and Alan White seemed almost psychic (at least when we try to reproduce the synergy they demonstrated playing live).
He is sorely missed; we, the members of Sound Chaser, consider it a privileged to have listened to him time and time again, and (for some of us) to have met him and shared time with him.
For our earlier thoughts and posts about Chris you can visit our Facebook page.
We’ve put together a Kickstarter campaign so YOU can pledge in turn for getting tickets or other rewards! There’s NO obligation unless the campaign is fully funded ($4000, equivalent to 200 tickets sold) so we need you to step up and pledge.
We have lots of fans telling us they’re dying to hear us, but most venue owners don’t want to take a chance on a Yes tribute band. WE NEED YOUR HELP! Kickstarter allows us to pre-sell a show and we can then guarantee a full house to a venue. BUT WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
Kickstarter won’t charge your card until the campaign has run AND we’ve met our goal. So CLICK HERE to visit our Kickstarter page and make your pledge.
Then, when we’re fully funded we can lock down our venue and date (likely early June). HELP KEEP PROG ALIVE! LOCALLY!