In so much as one straight Jew from New Jersey can love a straight non-Jewish man from the wrong side of Stockton, California, I love Chris Isaak.
Chris's debut album "Silvertone" came out in 1985 just before I started at Rolling Stone, and it was a stunner recalling rock's more romantic past but somehow retaining the shock of the new too. Here was a brand new rock & roll star that the original rock & roller might recognize one of their own. Sure, it didn't hurt that Chris -- like his beloved Elvis Presley or Ricky Nelson -- looked almost as beautiful as he sang. Still, with all that shining talent and obvious star power, Chris still didn't really breakthrough in America until a wildly atmospheric song called "Wicked Game" from his 1989 album "Heart Shaped World" became a major left-field smash in 1991 with a little help from David Lynch, and later Herb Ritz and Helena Christensen for a famous video that made the beach a much hotter place to be.
That's right around the time that I first met Chris and discovered to my initial chagrin that this good-looking bastard was not just a pretty face (albeit with a busted nose from boxing) but also an incredibly funny, smart and nice guy with a great attitude and a serious work ethic. Later the world-- and least then small sliver of the world that got Showtime -- discovered just how funny he could be on The Chris Isaak Show, a wonderfully offbeat gem of a show that in the early 21st Century felt like sort of like Ozzie and Harriet Meets Seinfeld And Jam Together. Read more