3 quick questions . . .
with Chris Toppin
Chris Toppin is the feminine side of the relatively newly formed musical act Love Love. Love Love is a musical act founded in 2013.
Their premiere platter, the self-titled Love Love was just recently released. Love Love is the result of the particular partnering of two singer-songwriters—Chris Toppin (lead and backing vocals, acoustic and bass guitars) and Jefferson Davis Riordan (lead and backing vocals, acoustic and electric guitars and drums) whose music became an essential part of their personal lives and left them forever changed. Together with musician Darren Ray on lead guitar they are Love Love.
Here are the three questions asked of Toppin:
1. Can you describe the first paid gig you had and if so what did it feel like when you realized you wanted to do this for a living and were actually getting paid?
Toppin: My first paid gig was at the age of 26 as a bassist/vocalist for an all girl 80’s Boston band called The Ex-Girlfriends. Our drummer knew the Ramones and although we were just starting out, we were lucky enough to get to open for them. It was absolutely terrifying! I’d only been playing bass for a month. We barely had six songs. Needless to say we didn’t go over very well. They booed us off the stage (Boston is not very forgiving).
That experience taught me a lot and made me determined to be the best bass player I could be so I went to work studying and playing everyday. One year later we opened for the Ramones again and that time around we knew we were worthy of being there. I ended up a bassist for hire in Boston and played with many bands around Boston and even toured a bit. It felt great to have my hard work payoff and gain respect and admiration and even make a little money.
However, I soon realized that I really wanted to write my own songs. I took a year off to work on songwriting and then in the early 90’s put together a band called Fuzzy. We were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time and were signed to Tag/Atlantic records riding out the tail end of the Boston indie scene touring with The Lemonheads, Dinosaur Jr., Belly and Julianna Hatfield.
2. Do you think being a woman in the music industry helps or hurts you and why?
Toppin: Sure, there were times I’d felt I had to prove myself to others simply because I was a girl/woman. There’ve also been times that I felt I’d received unfair extra attention because I was a girl.
However, when all is said and done, what matters most is your dedication to being the best you can be, while remaining authentic, passionate and confident (or pretending to be even if you’re not feeling it – fake it till you make it). Because of that I’ve mostly felt respected and appreciated in this business.
3. What’s next?
Toppin: Well, Jefferson and I were originally tasked to write murder ballads when we’d first started working together two years ago. “Murderpedia” was the first song we worked on. However, we immediately fell madly in love so murder ballads became hard to come by. Songs were pouring out of both of us but mostly love songs for obvious reasons.
This whole record ended up being the story of our love and turmoil as it unfolded. It was a very magical but intense time and this record is very personal and special to me because of it.
While we’re still in love and writing love songs, we’re also revisiting our darker more passionate side to songwriting as we put together the next group of songs for our next recording. We’re booked at Q Division in Somerville Massachusetts starting January 2016. We have some special guests lined up to help us out in the studio and I can’t wait.
So there you have it, boys and girls, 3 quick answers from Chris Toppin of Love Love. Hopefully, you found these 3 quick questions entertaining and interesting.
My name is Phoenix and . . . that’s the bottom line.