A Born Entertainer
By his own admission, Chad Renfrow was born with a love of performing. His forays into wrestling, and film making are a testament to the fact that he’s a guy who can’t help but entertain. Just have a chat with Chad on Social Media (that’s where I got to know him), and you’ll find he’s an entertainer online as well. Having been through some pretty tough times over the last few years, Renfrow has come out of the dark, and is now embarking on a new journey. Chad is adding rock star to his resume.
Since late May, Renfrow and some close buddies have been travelling around a small part of America, stopping in to bars to perform his own version of karaoke. Sometimes travelling up to three or four hours away from home, just for a gig, Chad goes out to “hit these people in the face with music and power”. During a regular performance, he’ll adopt one of two looks, depending upon which set he’s performing on the night. His gritty, groovy Rob Zombie style accompanies his Rob Zombie set, and it sees Renfrow kitted out in a shredded metal get-up. The second style that Renfrow adopts is a Starchild costume, which accompanies his KISS set list, is based upon legendary KISS rocker, Paul Stanley. As you’d imagine, the Starchild style fits in with the glam look that KISS created.
What should you expect if you catch Chad Renfrow live? Whilst the man himself has categorised what he does as a kind of karaoke, don’t expect that you’ll be subjected to the regular version of it – drunken amateur performers who beat the hell out of whatever they choose to attempt to sing. With Renfrow, you’ll get an in-your-face experience reminiscent of a full on concert. You’ll be privy to a dynamic performance that has Renfrow running back and forth across the stage, microphone stand in hand, fully costume-clad, a set of six to ten songs, and you’ll be expected to participate. Chad is eager to get the audience joining in by clapping, jumping around, and singing the lyrics with him. “I treat it like it’s a show at the world’s most famous arena – Madison Square Garden – every single time I’m out there.” Flyers containing all of Chad’s Social Media profiles are distributed at the end of every show, so if you want to keep in touch with him, you’re only a click away. Once the show is done, you’ll have an opportunity to get up close and personal with the man, as he likes to kick back after the show with the occasional post-performance partying. It’s a formula that has worked time and time again in many cities and at many venues.
Earlier this year, Renfrow took the opportunity to meet one of his heroes backstage at a concert. “Rob Zombie actually approved of my latest music video to his song ‘Rock & Roll (In A Black Hole)’ and had a lot of encouraging tips on film making and editing. As far as film making goes, it’s still a passion of mine and something I will focus on from time to time.”
With his new music video for ‘We’re An American Band’ recently released to signify his transition into music, I sat down with Chad, across the oceans, to talk about this new journey.
Describe your performance style. What should people expect when they go to see you perform? “My performance style is aggressively intense for most of it. I will drag the mic stand around with me from one side of the stage to the other and you’ll see a lot of head banging, my arms and legs putting out some kind of groovy you’ve never seen before. I treat every night out there like it’s a sold out crowd of 93 000. I feed off the energy of the crowd, even if it’s only a crowd of 93. It doesn’t take much and I’m all over the stage or out in the middle of the crowd rocking out with everyone.
Your previous work in entertainment has focussed on short films, web shows, and music video clips. What led you to channel your creative energies into performing rock music? “Honestly, I’ve always wanted to do it. Haven’t we all at one point or another? (Laughs) I didn’t think I would ever get around to actually doing it. I got to meet a very talented rock star in late 2013 and that’s where the itch began. Hanging backstage with Rob Zombie at his show this past May and seeing the showmanship, the passion of the crowd front row . . . I finally turned to my friend, who is now my music manager and said let’s get out there and do this sh*t!”
Aside from the obvious reason of being a fan, why have you chosen to perform sets based around Rob Zombie, and KISS? What about this music appeals to you? “It’s the energy behind the their songs. KISS & RZ (Rob Zombie) shows are very energetic and just a huge punch to your face from the get go. I stick with the RZ base mostly ‘cause you know that’s just going to be a wild f****n night and people are gonna discover some songs of his that kick-ass, but don’t have such mainstream exposure. The KISS/Starchild sings about love & rock ‘n’ roll. He’s an extension I bring to the experience if I feel he can get over in a certain city.
You’ve met Paul Stanley, Rob Zombie, and John 5. What did you take away from each performer? “Just how humbled and passionate they all are. I have been around dozens and dozens of celebrities over the years and I will admit I was “finally” a little star struck meeting all three of them, but I still played it cool! (Laughs) I also learned to give everything you can to the people paying attention to your dreams. You can sing a song to 15 000 people, and they will all sing it back for 15 000 different reasons, so make it count!”
On average, how many shows do you play per month? “Anywhere from 6 to sometimes 10 shows a month.”
Where can folks go to see you perform? “We go all over, and I mean, all over! The best place to have a heads up is on my Twitter. We give out locations when inquired.”
If people want to connect with you via Social Media, what are your preferred sites and usernames? “Your best route to connect with me is via Twitter – @ChaddyRenfrow.
I also have a Facebook page I post from, but two other people have access and post from it as well: Chaddy Renfrow/Team Bring IT and Instagram: Chad_Renfrow (This link will take you to the desktop Instagram page to view on your computer. If you have Instagram, just search for Chad_Renfrow in the app.)
You have Halloween shows planned; can you let us in on any secrets that the shows might hold? “I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve to shock-rock a lot of people! There might be a few living dead zombie girls on stage with me, lots of skulls, skeletons, a specific masked maniac from Haddonfield (Michael Myers from the movie franchise, Halloween), loads of candy, and maybe a lil Gene Simmons touch of red, if anyone gets my drift.”
Are you going to stick to covers, or will you be producing your own original songs as well? “For now, I will stick to covers. I have written about six songs so far, but at the same time, I’m still finding out exactly who it is I want to be on stage and what I want to put across. So, I’m just rocking out with songs people know and love. I feel I’m coming into my own groove slowly.
How is the formation of the band coming along? Do you have any band members that you can introduce us to? “Just a lead singer named Chaddy, at this point. But it’s something I have started networking about and hopefully, will get a band formed somewhere in 2015.”
Favourite song? “ ‘Love Gun’ – KISS.”
Favourite songs to perform live? “It’s a tie between ‘More Human Than Human’ by Rob Zombie and ‘We’re An American Band’ by Grand Funk Railroad.”
Do you have plans to release any further music videos? If so, what songs are you likely to produce clips for? “ ‘Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga’ is the name of the next music video. It’s going to be a challenge to get the ideas in my head into this music video, but I had a vision for it the first time I heard it. It’s due out early November.
What is it about performing live that appeals to you? “I’ve hardcore craved the adrenaline rush of crowds since my early days as a wrestler. The live atmosphere is something else. You can’t get that on production sets. The connection you can form with an audience in the moment, getting them to clap and scream back lyrics, the many shots of whiskey, the mighty fine ladies you meet along the way, and the foolish decisions you make afterward . . . God bless rock and roll. (Laughs)”
Do you have a favourite venue to perform that perhaps you’d like to give a shout-out to? “All have been really amazing. The Dublin pub in Dayton, Ohio was one of the best nights I won’t forget anytime soon!”
What does a typical performance day entail for you? “If I’m performing hours away we will reserve a hotel room for the night. Pick up my favourite bottle of whiskey (Fireball), get some coolers together, and hit the road. Travel. Arrive at the hotel. Get our room lined out. I’ll get dressed. My onstage attire is completely custom & designed by me, so it always gets attention out and about. Then we’ll head out. I’ll usually arrive not too far off from my stage time, take a few shots before I hit the stage, and then I’m ready to go. Sometimes I’ll have full sets and at other bars I might have to take turns with other artists. It all depends. But when I get out there, I rock’ em, and I try to make an impression.”
What do you think the future holds for you? Where are you heading? “I honestly have no idea, and I really don’t care. I’m me. There’s no telling where I’m headed. I decided a little while back to stop looking for tomorrow and live each day to the fullest. If I become a household name with anything, that will be one hell of a ride. If I don’t, I won’t lose sleep over it. I have passion in this venture. Getting a band together is in my driver’s seat sights right now. We’ll just see where it takes me!”
If you’re in the States, or heading over any time soon, hit up Chad’s Social Media profiles to check out where and when you can see him perform. The links to Chad’s profiles in this post are clickable, so do stop by and have a chat with him.