Q&A with Greek drummer & educator Chris Koutsouris - Groove is all that matters, make it funky and keep roll

"Music is stronger than laws, governments and military forces. Speaks to your heart and it’s a beautiful way affecting people to peace, equality, harmony of the soul, away from anything that can harm your peace of mind."

Chris Koutsouris: Rock, Beat & United

Chris Koutsouris was born in 1960 Thessaloniki, Greece and started play drums at 1974, practicing with a Carmine Appice book-method. Soon he joined the band MAYAS with mates from town George Stampolis, Lazaros Stergiadis and Jo Jortzakis. After a short pass from 69, a band created from Chris Vatseris he played with Apriori, another historic band from Salonica. He travelled all over Europe - London, Paris, Amsterdam as well Canada and US attending seminars and playing Music wih as many possible. As a member of Alexandros Perros and The Lone Stars recorded 4 albums. Did an album with Terry Papadinas, that can be heard in the documentary film T4TROUBLE and the Self Admiration Society a film by Dimitris Athiridis.               (Photo: Chris Koutsouris)

He also recorded the Song "Ti kosmos einai aytos". Started play with MPLE in 2002 and eversince Tours with them. He teaches drums in the music school SYMFONIA. Other bands he played were Fake, Kinky, Cover girls. Since 2018, he plays with The Aska Band, a group of friends and also make his own music.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

Since I was 14, listening to all the greats (Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, Led Zeppelin etc.) I found out that something different was going on in the world of Rock n Roll than the conservative one. The magic was there, long hair, loud music, festivals, peace and freedom against the men in the suits calculating in offices and their loyals try to make a world without beauty and interest. So, it was a turning point, you had to make a decision. Which way to go? Did not want to work in a bank, not join the army but grab a pair of drumsticks and bang all day the pillows listening to the favorites! Then came the day I could go at Reading Festival 1975 and that was the final strike. I knew what I wanted to do in my life, no doubt about it!

How do you describe your sound and music philosophy? what touched (emotionally) you from the drums?

This attitude (be against things) came down to the music I loved. It was and still is, let’s play tied as a bounce of wild horses, one listening the other, united and strong, this band philosophy always there! The sound of the skins plus the cymbals were giving me the chills and when play them drums the only thing compares to this is making love. I’ve always been into play and serve the song, dot overdoing things. Groove is all that matters, make it funky as J.B. used to say!

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, tours and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

There are many funny and sad, good and bad memories that I like to share with you. We were returning from a gig when I got a call from my wife Christine, telling me she was pregnant to our son Haris and was a moment that I will never forget! Another gig we were ready to play, and the call came that the father of a bandmate died so it was very uncomfortable to do this gig and then run with the Van back home! Many times, we had to play with tears in our eyes because of the loss someone had. I went to the funeral of my mother in Athens and I had some serious problems with my back and at the same night we had to play at Kyttaro Live Club. This is something that happened to all of us from time to time! Of course, in the other hand we had some incredible fun playin and drinkin! The guitarist after a big load of alcohol passed out and we were searching for him all night long . Finally, there he was sleeping under a tree!!

"Never change what you want to do. Believe it and follow it, don t expect to be accepted by everyone. The ones who love your work are enough even they are few. Eat your heart out every time you perform and let it flow!" (Chris Koutsouris / Redphoto Studio Photography)

What do you miss most nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

The most important thing in Rock Music is people playing together. Musicians who are friends and they rehearse together, have fun together, go out have a drink together. spending time to know each other! This is how it started, and this is how it should be in the future! One thing me and my bandmates enjoy is doing long jam sessions in front of people. Let’s not forget that bands like The Who and Grateful Dead were doing long jams, Allman Brothers did, every serious band were and still doin this.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I wish that the system of Music Business would stop promoting trash and meaningless stuff and start listen to real music that comes from sentimental artists and not from productive machines.

Make an account of the case of Blues Rock in Greece. Which is the most interesting period in local scene?

It started well in the late 60s, it grew up in the 70s and never lost its way , no matter that always have been Underground .

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in the music paths?

Never change what you want to do. Believe it and follow it, don t expect to be accepted by everyone. The ones who love your work are enough even they are few. Eat your heart out every time you perform and let it flow!

What is the impact of music on the socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?

Music is stronger than laws, governments and military forces. Speaks to your heart and it’s a beautiful way affecting people to peace, equality, harmony of the soul, away from anything that can harm your peace of mind.

"The most important thing in Rock Music is people playing together. Musicians who are friends and they rehearse together, have fun together, go out have a drink together. spending time to know each other! This is how it started, and this is how it should be in the future! One thing me and my bandmates enjoy is doing long jam sessions in front of people. Let’s not forget that bands like The Who and Grateful Dead were doing long jams, Allman Brothers did, every serious band were and still doin this."

(Photo: Chris Koutsouris)

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

Any of the 3 days in Woodstock, I believe it was the ultimate experience!

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