Dads We Love: Chris Conte
Let’s talk a bit about your background.
I grew up in Brooklyn and then moved to Queens, NY. I always loved film and music, and was into bands my whole life. In the beginning, the bands were mostly progressive rock, like Rush and Led Zepplin. A few guys in my neighborhood and I got together and we formed our first band, Chapter 11. We did an album and also we did a video for MTV Basement Tapes for the song, “It’s A Possibility.”
The band went their separate ways, and in 1994, I formed another band called Unloved. Our CD, Listening Room, sold-out in stores. Unloved was like Police meets Sade, with a heavier groove in the background. And then the band broke up.
What’s up with bands breaking up? It’s like bad marriages.
Guys start having families, and it’s hard to keep it going. After Unloved broke up, I went into instrumental music, which I love.
We should mention the beautiful music that you created for Celebrity Parents.
Well, we met because our kids go to the same school. You were looking for music for the site, and I thought of something peaceful and tranquil, and then you said you wanted something with a sexy edge.
That’s right. [laughs]
I play drums, too, so I put it all together. I got on the keyboard and then I came up with the theme and the latin background. It came out really smooth and nice.
I LOVE it, and it's gotten an amazing response from our readers! It’s in two places on the site; on the homepage and your other song was used as an intro to the CelebriTV segment.
It was fun doing it, and it’s great that it’s doing so well. That you liked it meant the most to me.
Awww. Now, in addition to your music, you are also working as a screenwriter.
My friend Adam was a childhood star. About nine years ago, we dove into live comedy by creating ACTV, the world’s smallest comedy group. [laughs] We would do about 40-50 sketches in an hour. I was doing production as well as the writing for the shows. We appeared everywhere from NY Comedy Club to Gotham Comedy Club.
That’s a frenetic pace for a one hour show.
It was. You’d do a sketch, lights off, lights on, but it was amazing. We also wrote our first screenplay, "Don Barry". It’s about a young Jewish boy with strict parents, who has an infatuation of being a gangster. It’s set in the 1990’s in Larchmont. I also wrote the screenplay for "Miracle on 134th Street"; it’s an urban story.
Chris, you have three kids, you play in cover bands, and you’re writing. How do you find time for it all?
My children and family always come first. When I was playing in bands, I never dreamed that I would have the opportunity to have a family like this. I would be out on the road, playing gigs, until 5:00 AM. I was blessed beyond belief when I met my wife Cathleen. I met her through my music because she was a sound engineer.
Today, whatever little time I have left, I squeeze in my music. But I also do my music with my kids because it nourishes them. My daughter Olivia has a keyboard, and my son Chayse has an electronic drum set. Even the baby, Gennalina, has a harmonica! I really believe listening to music and being in a creative environment helps them out in school. After a long day, as soon as I turn the key in the door, I hear, “Daddy! Daddy!” And it makes it all worth it.