This must be how it feels...


Lisa | Nearly uninterrupted Klaine, StarKid, Darren Criss | Fanfiction | Spoilers | CrissColfer zone | Location: Narnia | Tumblr age: Geriatric | I don't multiship but this is a Hate Free Zone ~ No ship wars, ship whatever you want and let others do the same

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Chuck Criss on Darren’s Success

He also feels fortunate watching Darren’s success. “I always knew he would be a great entertainer. He was born to do it. I flew home from college to see him perform in Fiddler on the Roof at SI, where he played Tevya, and I was blown away. Within a few short years, he played a lead on Broadway. It was incredible seeing his face that large on a Times Square poster for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. We have always rooted for each other and always will.”

Both Criss brothers have benefited from each other’s success stories. “We definitely get some crossover people who find out about Freelance Whales through Darren. Most 13-year-old fans who have posters of Darren in their rooms might not listen to our music, but he serves as a bridge for them to listen to something new, and that’s great for them and great for us.”

Chuck adds that he and his bandmates “collectively tease Darren, given all of his success. Sometimes it’s just funny. We have all known him long before his fame, and he has been a big fan of our group since day one. If I worked as a plumber, I know Darren would be plugging my company in Rolling Stone magazine. He’s that kind of guy.”  

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<Full Article>

One episode of the TV show Glee featured the character Blaine, played by Darren Criss ’05, in a tumultuous relationship with his on- screen brother.

Chuck Criss ’03, Darren’s real-life brother and a member of the successful indie rock group Freelance Whales, was a little disappointed in that show.

“I was hoping that the character playing Darren’s brother would be more of a jerk. It was so funny because their on-screen relationship is completely opposite to how we are.”

The Criss brothers not only get along well as siblings, but they also collaborate musically. They recently recorded a cover of Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” for a CD to benefit Amnesty International.

“Darren and I were both introduced to Amnesty International when we were students at SI, and we both loved the chance to help out that organization,” said Chuck.

Freelance Whales is also capitalizing on their popularity to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The group recently released an EP featuring eight songs, requesting a sliding scale of donations, from $5 to $50, for those who download the group’s music.

Most people know the band from its first CD, Weathervanes, released in 2009, and from its song “Generator ^ First Floor,” used by Twitter for an online ad campaign, which generated a million hits on its first day. “That was our first unofficial music video,” said Chuck.

The group’s songs have also been used by Chevy to promote the Volt, by the TV show Location and for a Starbucks commercial. Other songs made it onto One Tree Hill, Grey’s Anatomy, Covert Affairs and the Australian show Offspring.

The group has come a long way since it formed by way of a Craigslist ad, from busking in Manhattan subways to playing major festivals throughout the world, including Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park and the Coachella Music Festival in Indio, Calif.

Chuck started playing his first musical instrument as a sophomore at SI after seeing a bluegrass band play at a record store on West Portal Avenue. He bought a banjo, taught himself to play, and began picking up other instruments just as Darren was learning to play guitar.

Chuck and Darren, along with Liam McInerney ’03 and Mike Bieringer ’03, formed the band Highly Illogical – based on an oft-repeated line by Star Trek’s Spock – and performed at a talent show in Wiegand Theatre.

Both in high school and at Trinity College in Connecticut, Chuck grew in his appreciation of jazz. Following graduation, he briefly moved home, where he realized that he wanted to pursue music as a career. “It seemed like New York was the place to do it, as the city is saturated with aspiring musicians.”

After moving East in 2008 and finding a job at an advertising agency, Criss posted an ad on Craigslist looking for other musicians to form a band. That’s when he noticed a number of other musicians who posted similar ads. “It’s one of my few success stories with Craiglist, aside from getting a great couch,” said Criss.

Criss’s bandmates include Doris Cellar, Judah Dadone, Jacob Hyman and Kevin Read, and each plays a number of instruments that include the harmonium, banjo, glockenspiel, synthesizer, guitar, bass, drums and waterphone. The group’s name, Criss added, comes from the freelance nature of their music and the New York music scene.

One website describes the group’s sound as combining “interlocking rhythmic patterns, lush textural layering and an engaged group- vocal energy.”

“It’s hard to label our music,” said Criss. “It’s definitely pop, but with a little more sonic experimentation. The closest I can come is ‘folk-electro’ with rural and folky sounds combined with electronic textures.”

The group began promoting itself by playing in Manhattan subways, with their girlfriends passing out fliers to promote their shows in small clubs. “People started paying attention to us as they walked by, and then they invited us to play weddings and house parties.”

At one party, they caught the attention of a music producer, and soon they were signed to Mom & Pop Records, which later brought in French Kiss Records to promote Weathervanes as well as the group’s second CD, due for release this August.

The group found critical acclaim both for its CD and for its performances. Freelance Whales first toured with the indie band Fanfarlo and, later, with groups such as Bear in Heaven and Cymbals Eat Guitars.

The group toured in England, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Holland and Canada. They performed at South by Southwest and have been praised by NPR on its show All Songs Considered.

Criss is happy that he can support himself with his income from Freelance Whales and no longer needs to rely on his advertising job. “I was laid off during the start of the recession, and our group was signed a month later, so it worked out nicely, except I never had the chance to perform an ‘I quit’ victory dance at work. I’m just blessed to do what I love for a living while making my home in Manhattan, within walking distance of the Natural History Museum.”

He also feels fortunate watching Darren’s success. “I always knew he would be a great entertainer. He was born to do it. I flew home from college to see him perform in Fiddler on the Roof at SI, where he played Tevya, and I was blown away. Within a few short years, he played a lead on Broadway. It was incredible seeing his face that large on a Times Square poster for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. We have always rooted for each other and always will.”

Both Criss brothers have benefited from each other’s success stories. “We definitely get some crossover people who find out about Freelance Whales through Darren. Most 13-year-old fans who have posters of Darren in their rooms might not listen to our music, but he serves as a bridge for them to listen to something new, and that’s great for them and great for us.”

Chuck adds that he and his bandmates “collectively tease Darren, given all of his success. Sometimes it’s just funny. We have all known him long before his fame, and he has been a big fan of our group since day one. If I worked as a plumber, I know Darren would be plugging my company in Rolling Stone magazine. He’s that kind of guy.”  


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    "Chuck and Darren, along with Liam McInerney ’03 and Mike Bieringer ’03, formed the band Highly Illogical – based on an...
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    I don’t have a sibling, but seeing the bond Chuck and Darren have makes me want one. They’re each other’s biggest fans,...
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