Originally from Los Angeles County California, Chris Cooley began to show an interest in becoming a musician at the age of 2. He requested an old college days tennis racket from the storage closet and began playing it like a guitar while attempting to sing songs from his Wiggles VHS tape and an old PBS Fleetwood Mac VHS tape that he had found on the book shelf. An old full size right handed Signet acoustic guitar by Selmer was placed over the arm of the couch. Chris Cooley would slide under it and strum for hours, he would only take breaks to eat and sleep. The steel strings tore up his finger tips on both hands and he then had to play with bandaids on his fingers.
Chris Cooleys' first sentence at 2 yrs old was: "Get me a little guitar"
And Chris Cooleys' 2nd sentence was: "Did you get me a little guitar?"
The pressure was on and the search for a little guitar 1st took us to a Radio Shack in the Brea Mall. Upon asking a nice young lady whether she had any little guitars available, she expalined that their store only had pianos, So off we went toward home and while getting on the freeway from the back seat came Chris Cooleys' 3rd and longest sentence ever " We should'nt go the the piano store looking for guitars because they don't have any." That hit a nerve and turned us around at the next freeway exit.
Chris Cooley was on a mission of passion and the next stop was Mo's Fullerton Music Center in Fullerton California where at the age of 2, Chris Cooley landed a 1/2 size Dean Playmate guitar and music lessons with Larry. Chris Cooley seemed to know that the weekly Friday lessons that he just landed insured that he would return to this great big music store often. He took that right handed little guitar and with a gleem in his eye began to pound out and hum along, in to an available microphone, one of the Fleetwood Mac songs that he had so diligently been practicing on the full sized Signet guitar. Chris Cooley played that little Dean Playmate guitar upside down and lefthanded and when we decided to have Steve filp the strings, Chris Cooleydid not understand that he was going to have to give up the guitar he worked so hard to get. He did not really have any con- cept of time so one week to get the strings flipped meant nothing to him, nor did the word left handed. To Chris the guitar was just fine. So in order not tramatize the little guy we bought a small right handed Montana nylon string guitar to hold him over until the Dean was finished. As Chris Cooley strummed and hummed that little Dean guitar Ms Moe said that she was getting goose bumps and to wait there for her. She returned with Larry which taught music at the Mos Fullerton Music Center. I told Larry that Chris Cooley knew his alphabet as Larry watched from a distance Larry said that he would take Chris for lessons, but no guarantees. It was not long until Chris Cooley knew the names of the strings and had memorized the notes up a few strings on the fret board, began to strum up and down, learned some Fleetwood Mac picking patterns and could play some notes and sing Old Mic Donald and Bad To The Bone. All things happen for a reason. My old friends Lee and Les Keno were going to be attending a PBS Event in Los Angeles so I went to the event and won a bid on a basket in the silent auction which consisted of several items one of which was a VHS tape of The Rolling Stones Concert 'Bridges To Babalon'. Well Chris saw the tape and studied it for months and months. Someone now had gifted him a book piano which he played with two guitars slung around his back like one of the performers on on Eric Claptons Guitar Festival dvd which I pickup for Chris from a friend that worked for Tower Records. Chris Cooley played guitar and sang with the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD for 90 days solid, he only took breaks to eat and sleep. We began to tell him that he needed to take some breaks from playing his guitar and singing. Then one day he all of a sudden he stopped playing with his favorite toy (his guitar) and he became very concerned. At this point we realized what we had done, we had taken away his favorite toy and he did'nt understand why he could not do what he loved and enjoyed. He did'nt touch the guitar for 2 weeks. We never made that mistake again. We now were realizing that Chris Cooley was jazzed when he was around music and would make every stop into a performance. We had to take his guitar everywhere we went. He played for people at the post office, at the bank, at the beach and at Sam Ash and the Guitar Center. At the misic stores he would play the drums and piano, as he shopped for a microphone, amp and electric guitar. One day while at Sam Ash in Los Angeles California Chris Cooley began to play several different types of percussion hand drums along with an older gentleman, a worker at the store found a pair of 12 inch drum sticks and gave them to Chris Cooley before we left. When we got home chris began to stand in front of the couch and use the cushions and the arm of the couch as his drum set. He stood and played drums as long as he could stand up. You could tell that his feet hurt, but he could not sit and play because everything was the wrong height. I took one of his wooden Ikea chairs and cut the legs short enough to allow his feet to touch the floor when he was sitting and drumming. He then drummed to his Fleetwood Mac VHS one half of the day and played guitar for the other 1/2 of the day. We liked to stop and eat at the Hard Rock Cafe on the way home and Chris would ask for his guitar and would stand on a small balcony section used as a stage and play his Little Dean guitar along with whatever music video was playing at the time. During visits to Laguna Beach Chris Cooley would play guitar with everyone he saw playing on the streets. While at the Fashion Island Open Air Mall in Newport beach Chris spotted Lao Tizer playing in the middle of the central walk way on a 4ft high stage. Chris Cooley sat down at a table out in front of the stage and asked me if he could play guitar with him. I told Chris Cooley that during Loa's next break he would have to ask permission. Lao was playing some awesome music on a piano. Sure enough Chris Cooleywent up to the front of the stage which he was not even tall enough to see over and yelled to Lao "can I play guitar with you"? Amazingly Loa said yes you can get your guitar and come up the stairs on the side of the stage.To be continued. Chris Cooleys' story is on going and will continue to be updated as time permits, please go to the about tab and the other tabs above, for more on Chris and please remember to check back for updates.
Please see Chris Cooleys' original music lesson book from 2004 below: