About Chris


Christopher John Hayes was born November 24, 1957 in Great Lakes, Illinois. He got his first guitar when he was nine years old, and he took whatever lessons he could – from folk to jazz (he is now a self-confessed jazz freak). He quickly became so proficient with the guitar that he started teaching it. At 18,he was pursuing his first love, jazz guitar, when he joined keyboard legend Merl Saunders, for an album on Fantasy Records, ( “You Can Leave Your Hat On”) and a tour of the East Coast.

In 1977, along with Merl’s son Tony, and Sly Stone drummer Jimmy Strasburg, they formed a band with saxophone masters David Liebman,(Miles Davis, Elvin Jones) and Pee Wee Ellis,(James Brown) called “The Ellis Liebman Band”.They recorded an album on A and M, and did some touring. It was here that Chris was playing the music that he really loved. After a short stint with Mark Isham, he played on Van Morrison’s “Beautiful Vision” album, then on to Europe to back-up the world famous blues singer Esther Phillips.

When he returned to San Francisco, he looked around for a new band to play with, and he heard that Huey Lewis was on the look-out for a guitarist. He tried out for the position, and although he still had a lot to learn about rock and roll , he became a member of the band.

Chris comes from a very musical family. His sister, Bonnie Hayes, is a celebrated Bay Area singer and band leader. His brother, Kevin Hayes, who sometimes works with Bonnie too, plays drums with the “Robert Cray Band.” These aren’t the only Hayes siblings, Chris is the oldest male of seven children! The youngest, Jonathan, plays guitar, produces, and writes songs in LA. They have collaborated on Chris’ latest project, still in production.

As well as playing guitar in the band and singing background vocals, he is also an established rock songwriter, penning three #1 hits, (Power of Love, I Want a New Drug, Workin’ for a Livin’, Stuck With You, to name a few) often putting Huey’s lyrics to music, and was arguably the band’s most prolific creative force.He was nominated for an Academy Award for writing “Power of Love” which was the title track in ” Back to the Future”. In 2008, Garth Brooks covered “Workin’ for a Livin”, which went to # 19 on the country charts.

Outside the band his interests include golf, fly fishing, and playing the piano, his favorite movie is “The Maltese Falcon”, and his favorite movie stars are Humphrey Bogart and Johnny Depp. He has two sons and a daughter and is currently living in Wine Country (Sonoma County, California) with wife Cheree.