We had the good fortune of connecting with Christopher Tait and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christopher, what role has risk played in your life or career?
From the beginning of my career as a musician, to my now-ninth year of sobriety, taking risks has been a big part of the journey. It has always been scary making big leaps, but those big leaps have always been the most rewarding sea change-moments. I remember the group (Electric Six) being in Glasgow in early 2003, and our mgmt announcing the upcoming year’s worth of dates. We were #2 in the charts at the time, and it became clear the next year would be spent on the road. Our singer saw me troubled in front of the gig and said “It’s a big commitment, I understand if you need time to think it through.” I was terrified, but we spent the next two years on tour, and I don’t regret a minute of it. Likewise, my sobriety was a big risk because I couldn’t imagine a world where I was a touring musician (or a human being in general, really) that could no longer use alcohol to cope with my issues. My sobriety led me to working with others in a treatment center, which led me to forming Passenger – a non-profit based in Detroit that helps others deal with recovery on the road.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve been a professional musician/performer (keyboardist with Detroit’s Electric Six) since 2002, and director at Passenger Recovery in Detroit since 2016. E6 is that rare breed of band that has a frontman with no ego. He (Dick Valentine) is a pretty eccentric character onstage, but wants everything to be as easy and efficient as possible otherwise. We found success during a time when Liam Lynch and The Darkness were cutting their teeth, had a few wacky hits early on, and have managed to build an impressive cult-following over the years. But I don’t believe we’d still be together without his prowess and buoyancy. Passenger is a small recovery-based org that helps touring musicians find support while in Detroit. Touring can be difficult for someone attempting sobriety, and finding help in unfamiliar metropolitan areas can sometimes add anxiety to an already stressful daily schedule for those on the road. We provide transportation to meetings in town, an online meeting-finder, and a weekly online 12-step group for those on tour or working remotely in the industry.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If I was in Detroit? Cliff Bells Jazz Club, Belle Isle Park, and Hamtramck Disneyland. If I was in LA? Bliss Art House Cafe, The Culver Hotel, Top Round on the corner of Olympic and La Brea. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my wife Holly, and my sponsor Geoff. Geoff has shown me (through the AA program) that wisdom can come from almost any direction. Everything from the Big Book to the Book of Joy has informed my recovery process, and he’s spent a lot of time with me working through childhood trauma. The deeper I dig, the deeper the healing process has been. Likewise, Holly has shown me how to feel empathy and kindness for others; That I can go back to enjoying being me even as a musician, instead of being driven by ego. There was a lot of “pride in my uniform”, both as a musician and an active addict/alcoholic. I’m grateful to both of these people for enriching my life and pushing me to be better.
CT1 – Salwan Georges E61 – Mark Wright