Once upon a time in the faraway land of Clarion, Pennsylvania, there lived a young woman named Beverly. On October 17, 1971 Beverly gave birth to a handsome baby boy who she named Christopher Alan Kirkpatrick. Chris’ dad left when Chris was only a little over a year old so Chris grew up with his mama in a humble little dwelling, and eventually four younger sisters, where they were very poor. In fact, sometimes they didn’t know where their next meal would come from. And, once he lived with friends because his family didn’t have a house to live in at all. Little Chris even worked on a farm as a child to help his mama provide for her family. And when he was sixteen he worked at a grocery store. But after Chris graduated from Dalton High School in Dalton, Ohio, the family packed up and moved to Orlando, Florida.
There were many opportunities for Chris in Florida. He came from a very talented, musical family and used his own musical talent to his advantage and got a job at Universal Studios singing in a doo-wop group called The Hollywood Hi-Tones.In 1995, while Chris was working at Universal Studios, he met the big bad wolf, Lou Pearlman. Lou was forming a pop group called the Backstreet Boys and Chris wanted to be a part of the group but didn’t make it. So, with Lou’s help he set out to form his own group. He found four other guys and when the five of them sang together it was like the stars aligned and it was all meant to be and that was the beginning of *NSYNC. But we all know that story.
Now, the story some not-so-die-hards may not know about Chris is that we die-hards can date pictures of Chris by hairstyles. If we start around the time he graduated from high school you’ll see the elusive “mullet”. In the beginning of *NSYNC there was the pretty boy, slicked down, almost bowl-cut style, as seen in the picture from the Hollywood Hi-Tones days. Then we had the dreads phase. We didn’t get to see the whole head full of dreads very frequently though because they were often covered by a bandana. And that brings us to the “pineapple” style, or braids with white yarn-like stuff weaved into it. I’m almost positive Chris said something once about getting into a fight with his grandma’s knitting needles and apparently, they won. Next, we had my second favorite, the short, spiky look accompanied by a little bit of hair on his chinny-chin-chin. And for a while there were reddish-purple highlights and even chin horns! Chris had this look for a long time; through No Strings Attached and Celebrity and their accompanying tours. After the “break” *NSYNC took in 2001 Chris went through a short period where he donned a mohawk but it wasn’t long that he was back to short and spiky. And now my personal favorite… in 2005 when Chris started working on his solo career he had grown his hair into long, dark, natural (and might I mention sexy) curls, which he often wore back in a bandana. But in 2006 the curls were lost and Chris went back to short and spiky which he still has today.
Okay, enough talk about cosmetology. In 2001 *NSYNC went on an “indefinite hiatus” and fans were left hanging, wanting more. JC, Justin, Lance and Joey all went on to do their own things and stay in the spotlight. Chris went into hiding, turning to partying, drinking and drugs to fill the void that had been so long filled by being on stage and living with four other guys. He talked about his experience in an appearance on the Tyra Banks show in 2007. “I went through some tough times…everyone was doing their own thing… and I kinda was like well, I always wanted to do my own thing and I’ve got a studio and I sat down in the studio and I really missed the guys and I started getting really depressed and I started falling on drugs, drinking, a lot of really bad stuff.” Tyra asked Chris how he was handing those issues and he said “I kinda searched myself and I knew I was having problems, kinda slapped me in the face. I have really good friends around me that aren’t afraid to say ‘hey you’re stupid,” you know, “what are you doin to yourself”.
Luckily for us, Chris found his way out of what we die-hards have been known to call his cave and really did start doing his own thing. Chris worked on his clothing line, FuMan Skeeto for a while. His line was available in Bloomingdale’s as well as a few other stores in the US and Canada but the company is now defunct. Recently, fans did get a little excited for a while when a rumor started that it was starting up again and a website was created for the company but the website now says “shutting down” so apparently it didn’t work out this time either. Between 2002 and 2005 Chris gave his voice to a cartoon character called Chip Skylark on the Nickelodeon show The Fairly Odd Parents.
In December 2004, 2005 and 2007 he made appearances at Pittsburgh Steelers Football games to perform the National Anthem. Chris has played numerous golf tournaments for charity in the last several years, such as the Jason Taylor Celebrity Golf Classic, DJ Irie weekend and the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Pro-Am as well as a few celebrity poker tournaments.
While Chris was spending so much time “giving back” VH1 wanted to try to give some past “boy-banders” back their careers. Chris hosted the cast and crew and allowed the filming to take place at his house in Orlando between December 2006 and February 2007. The show, named Mission:Manband, took four guys from successful boy bands in the 90’s and tried to create a new career for them as a group. The band, named Sureshot, consisted of Chris, Bryan Abrams from Color Me Badd, Rich Cronin from LFO and Jeff Timmons from 98 Degrees. They recorded several songs, performed two shows and made a viral video for online to try to make the band a success but it didn’t really catch on. But, we want to see Chris make it on his own with his own band anyway.
In April 2008 Chris dipped his toes into the pool of country music and signed on to do the CMT show Gone Country 2. This time it was a contest and there was a recording contract at stake with John Rich originally from the band Lonestar and the current country group Big and Rich. Chris didn’t win the show but he did write and perform a song called “That’ll Get Ya By”. Some of us were hoping we might be able to hear the song on an album by Chris but when Trevor Rosen, who co-wrote the song with Chris, was asked about it he said “John Rich just cut it on an act he’s producing, so hopefully we’ll hear it out there soon!” So, it sounds like we might have to settle for another act having a hit with that one. But that’s okay because we’re used to hearing Chris on other bands’ projects. He often has artists at his house using his studio and he even contributes vocals on some of their songs. He can be heard in National Product’s song “Love Me”, Blake Lewis’ song “She’s Makin’ Me Lose It” and Khamelien’s song “More Love” and I’m sure there are more that I can’t think of right now and that I don’t even know of, but if you know of some make sure you tell us at kirkpatrick.nu! And we love hearing Chris’ voice no matter where it is but we’re getting closer to being able to have a solo album by Chris Kirkpatrick.
Finally Chris has a band of which he is the front-man. No more back-up! What started out as the band Ohno performed at the April Fools Ball in Dallas, Texas in 2004 but not long after that however, the band changed members and its name. With a new line-up, the new band started its musical adventure in December 2005 by performing at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood, CA. Ernie Longoria, Dave Carreiro and Mike Bosch join Chris on stage as the group Nigels 11. Nigels 11 have only performed a few shows, the most recent being at the Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital 20th Anniversary Block Party in September. While Chris has been making appearance after appearance at golf tournaments, fundraisers and (ever the party boy) clubs and bars, Nigels 11 has been working on their first album. The group just finished, and fans are not-so-patiently awaiting the release of “Clandestine Operation” which will be “COMING REAL SOON”, according to Nigels 11’s Twitter.
While we wait for the album to be released we fans will have to be content with listening to Chris on XL106.7 radio station in Orlando, where he guest co-hosts the morning show with Johnny and Jayde on some Fridays. And thanks to modern technology, we can be friends with Chris, and the other guys in Nigels 11 for that matter, on Facebook, MySpace and we can “follow” them on Twitter, keeping us in touch and feeling like we’re really their friends. We can also get our doses of Chris seeing him at different events that benefit charities like his Chris Kirkpatrick Foundation.
From the CKF website: “The Chris Kirkpatrick Foundation has been established to enhance the lives of underprivileged children throughout the United States. Our focus will be creating life changing opportunities geared toward enhancing the lives of children thru health care, educational and developmental programs. “CKF changing lives one dream at a time…” In 2008 Chris came up with a new event to raise money for his foundation; the Mask Care Aid Bash and Halloween Spooktacular.
The bash is a night for people to have a great time, bid on items in a silent auction, taste great food, fine wine and dancing in the company of some celebrity guests like Chris and fellow *NSYNC member, Joey Fatone…party like a rock star! But a mask is mandatory! The Halloween Spooktacular is a night just for the kids who mean the most to Chris. He decorates for Halloween and buys underprivileged kids costumes and has the best Halloween party they’ve ever experienced.
Another popular trend in fundraising for the CKF lately has been celebrity bartending. Chris has made a few appearances as guest celebrity bartender in the last half of 2009, where he has even created his own cocktails. And Joey doesn’t only support Chris’ foundation. Chris supports Joey’s as well. In fact, all the guys still stay in touch and can be seen together on occasion.
Chris attends Joey’s Fatone Family Foundation event at Howl At The Moon in Orlando every year and Chris was spotted in the audience when Joey and Lance were on Dancing With The Stars in their respective seasons. JC had a hand in the Nigels 11 album we’re all waiting for and Chris has been to both of Justin’s Shriners Hospitals for Children Pro-Am golf tournaments, in 2008 and 2009. So, maybe there is a chance that someday *NSYNC will reunite and give the fans who are still hanging on to the dream of seeing the group perform just one more time together that opportunity. But, until that day I think we’re pretty happy watching Chris come out of the background into the spotlight, and be the handsome, sexy, successful, giving-hearted, tattooed rocker boy we all know is in there just waiting to emerge and take over the world.
“…and remember, when you open a box of cereal go right for the prize…don’t even wait for it to fall into the bowl!” – Stephanie
(Credits to kirkpatrick.nu, Nigels 11 Street Team and Rochelle Elsberry for pictures.)