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Music

Chris Pérez, Selena’s Husband, Faces His Past and Looks Forward, Musically

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Photo: CHRISTINE CASTAÑO, License: N/A

CHRISTINE CASTAÑO

¿Quién es más macho? Mayor Julián Castro, Chris Pérez and Councilman Diego Bernal


“Divorce is a pain in the ass,” he said, “especially when people try to start drama with you. But fortunately there’s peace now.”

Even through the marriage, life was confusing and he couldn’t get his solo career going. In 2002 he finally found help—A.B. Quintanilla, Selena’s brother, was the ear he needed.

“We were in the studio working on [Kumbia Kings’] Cuatro and I had a heart-to-heart talk with him,” he said. “He told me, ‘Yeah, [a music career] can be overwhelming at times. Why don’t you take a break and play with me on the road for a while? I’ll take care of you, I’ll pay you well. I miss you.’”

It was the beginning of a road to recovery that led to him finally tackling the Selena issue head-on with 2012’s To Selena, with Love. Even though he says he kept a lot of memories for himself, the book is candid enough in a classy way.

“I wanted to put some stuff out there but at the same time I didn’t want to perpetuate crazy visions people have of some of those characters,” he said. “And I love those guys [the Quintanilla family]. They’re family.”

In 2010 he formed the Chris Pérez Project, a band with Puerto Rican Ángel Ferrer as the lead singer. They released the single “Todo es Diferente” in 2011 and a limited edition, self-titled five-track collector’s EP in December 2012. It is a guitar-heavy power pop album that only a couple of thousand die-hard fans have.

“If you hear the EP, [it’s] like balls-out rock and roll,” he said. “Guitar, bass, vocals. That’s it. As down home as you’re going to get. But I actually wanted people to have something to go with the music, and that’s why we didn’t release it digitally. I was a fan of that as a kid, I would peel the plastic off and pull the poster out. I’m not kidding, I’m a fan of the smell of vinyl.”

In 2012, he got together with producer Emilio Estefan Jr. to record songs for an album that, according to Pérez manager Carlos Miranda, will be released next year. Pérez said it’ll be a mix of both his and Estefan’s sound.

“What I like about Emilio is that, from the very beginning, he told me, ‘If you don't like something, we won’t do it,’” Pérez said. “I felt like he was opening up his toolbox and letting me use everything that was in there.”

Besides producing, Estefan himself will play on some of the tracks.

“I wanted to play some Latin percussion on a couple of my songs, and he said, ‘Sure, do you want me to play it?’ And I was like, ‘Dude! If there’s going to be a percussion player, it’s going to be you!’ [Estefan] understands the name of the band is Chris Pérez Project. The guitars are more in-your-face than any band that has a lead singer as the vocal point. With Shakira or Paulina [Rubio], the mixes are geared towards their vocals, because you’re selling them. With us, the guitars are boosted up more, and we’re not being shy about it either. People who heard those tracks tell me they sound like a mix of Stone Temple Pilots, Lenny Kravitz [and] Red Hot Chili Peppers.”

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