Interview: Christopher Beaulieu

There are so many cool things about this week’s Expert, Christopher Beaulieu. He has the two of the cutest dogs in the world, he surfs and he calls Vancouver, Canada home. In the interview he answers the hardest question in 3eb Land- “What’s your favorite song?” And he does it 7 times- once for each album/EP. Thank you, Chris, for being a sport and playing travel guide to your truly awesome hometown!

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

How did you discover the band’s music?

Christopher Beaulieu: Well, back in ’97 I was 21, and most of my friends were into the Seattle grunge scene that was still going strong. I, however, never really vibed on it and tended to prefer a different sound. Actually, INXS had been my favorite band for years and, sadly, Michael Hutchence died in November of that same year. (I saw what I understand to be their second last show together here, in Vancouver, in late October of that year). Around the same time S/T had just been released and, like many of us, I couldn’t get that ‘doo doo doo’ out of my head nor that track off repeat. Little did I know that I would come to the love the variety of sounds that the band had...there always seemed to a song that would match any mood, and I had never heard such immersive lyrics that just seemed to connect with a lot of things that I was going through at the time. I was a bit younger than Stephan and thought that he was a lyrical genius and just the raddest guy ever.

The band has released 5 albums and 2 EP’s. What’s your favorite song off each?

C’mon Bella... favorite one song from each album, you know that’s impossible lol! But OK I’ll try... MOTORCYCLE DRIVE BY (Self-Titled) DEEP INSIDE OF YOU (Blue) COMPANY (Out of the Vein) WATER LANDING (Ursa Major) EVERYTHING IS EASY (Dopamine) WHY CAN’T YOU BE (Red Star) ISN’T IT PRETTY (We Are Drugs)

...that was even harder than I thought. You’re mean Bella LOL! My faves seems to evolve almost weekly but that’s what I got right now... I think. Wait, I have to put Alright Caroline in there somehow...

Over the years, how many shows have you been to and which was your favorite?

I’ve been lucky enough to see the boys four times. Twice in Seattle, once in Vegas and my favorite show which was outdoors at Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington. It was a warm July evening in 2015 and the crowd was very engaged. Such an amazing vibe. Dashboard Confessional opened and set a great tone for an unforgettable night.

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

What are the top 3 songs you hope they play and why?

YES, I’m far more excited about it than a 41-year-old man should ever get. LOL. The band gets precious little exposure up north, so I sometimes felt I’ve been waving the 3eb flag on my own up here. BUT our Nov.9th show at the Commodore sold out in less than a day. I’m stoked about that! I’ve heard that Stephan loves Vancouver and I so hope they feel the love returned from the crowd that night... I really hope to hear Water Landing, Slow Motion and Alright Caroline, because I’ve never heard them live. It’s gonna be epic regardless.

The band brings their bikes on tour. I know they’re playing at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver. For the band, and any US fans that might be going to the show, what’s the ideal bike route to see the sights around the venue?

CB: Be sure to include best lunch spot! The Commodore is going to be amazing. It’s an old concert hall built in 1929 that has a famously bouncy floor- still, to this day. So the crowd can really get into it. I’ve seen shows there and it’s an unreal atmosphere. For sure there’s a lot to see and do in VanCity and bikes are a great way to do it. I would suggest checking out Yaletown and the old Gastown districts. Also riding the SeaWall is fun and our beaches are great- see Kits and Jericho. Stanley Park is amazing too. I’ll do my best to keep the rain away that day. Lots of culture and great restaurants here and, with so much local fresh fish available, we have awesome sushi. Although I’d suggest hitting Cactus Club or the Flying Pig for their fresh, eclectic menus that have something for everyone.

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

I know you’re a surfer like Stephan…so, best place to surf in Vancouver?

Though we do have nice beaches, Vancouver itself has no real surf breaks so we love to SUP [stand up paddling] around the city and suburbs where the water is calm. For surf, the water is pretty cold up here, but Tofino, on Vancouver Island, is the best local spot. I usually head south to Oregon, Cali and Hawaii in search of warmer waves.

Update. In between the time Chris submitted this and now, he attended the Vancouver show. So he submitted some pictures and talks about the show. (So lucky to be able to see the band and be in Vancouver!!!)

The Vancouver show at the Commodore was all I could have hoped for and more! Such a small, intimate venue with a capacity of only a 1000 in the heart of the city. “This is a tiny little show for us, feels like a basement party,” as Stephan put it. I am so happy to have experienced this show in my hometown at “one of the smallest shows we’ve ever played”.

I ended up bringing a good friend of mine who had a vague knowledge of the band’s catalogue but left a true fan in the making. I also ran into some acquaintances and old co-workers who I had no idea had mad love for the band. Both of which just added to the magic of the night for me personally.

The band was almost a half hour late coming on due the techs having some issues getting some of the gear locked in. Very understandable, seeing as it was Joe Pepper’s unexpected debut on stage with the band. This only served to heighten our collective expectation with chants of “Third Eye Blind, Third Eye Blind” ringing throughout, followed by a deafening roar once they finally did hit the stage with Losing a Whole Year.

I had gotten setup early beside the rails, close to some of the photographers and literally could have high fived the night’s hero, Mr. Joe Pepper, who sounded great filing in for Kryz. A truly surreal moment in time. I’ve never seen the band from such a close vantage point and couldn’t resist getting a few snaps of my own.

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

Stephan interrupted ‘Semi Charmed’ to thank the crowd for its enthusiasm, and to mention that “it’s been way, way, way too long Vancouver” and “we’re from just down the coast, this feels like home”, to which the crowd almost blew the lid off the Commodore Ballroom.

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

He then went on recount the story of Kryz’s fall in Billings two nights prior and how the band thought that it was the end of the tour. “No more Vancouver for you,” he chuckled. “That is, until Joe Pepper stepped up and said ‘yo I can play the gig’”. “So, Vancouver, it is a $&@ing miracle that we are here tonight... so let’s have a good time”. Another roar. I was pretty stoked on the set list as a whole...

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu

“In that moment I so wish I’d brought my SLR camera but wasn’t about to let anything bring me down.” Courtesy: Christopher Beaulieu