With his sexy good looks, swoon-worthy voice and packed catalogue of hits that includes “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing,” “Somebody’s Crying” and “Wicked Game,” Chris Isaak exudes crooner cool.
Isaak, 59, will perform with his band, Silvertone, on Saturday at Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, marking his third concert on the Central Coast in recent years. (He previously played the Avila Beach Golf Resort in 2003 and 2010.)
Local favorites Joe Koenig & The Homewreckers will open the show.
Over the course of three decades, Isaak has earned two Grammy Award nominations and released 11 studio albums — including 2011’s “Beyond the Sun,” which pays tribute to Sun Records artists Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison, among others.
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Isaak has also carved out a successful side career as an actor, talk show host and reality TV personality. His screen credits include “Friends,” “The Informers,” “Married to the Mob” and “Silence of the Lambs,” as well as the offbeat Showtime sitcom “The Chris Isaak Show.”
Isaak wasn’t available for an interview with The Tribune by press time. Consider, instead, these fun tidbits about the Stockton native.
His “Wicked Game” video shoot wasn’t as sexy as it looked.
Director David Lynch put Isaak’s music on the map when he used an instrumental version of “Wicked Game” on the soundtrack of his 1990 movie “Wild at Heart.” But it was Herb Ritts’ “Wicked Game” music video – which featured the singer-songwriter and supermodel Helena Christensen sensually tumbling in the sand — cemented Isaak’s status as a rock ‘n’ roll heartthrob.
That shoot on Hawaii’s windswept Puna coastline may have seemed romantic, Isaak told the Roll and Roll Hall of Fame in March, but the reality was anything but.
“They were throwing buckets of cold seawater on us to keep us wet,” he recalled.
“[Christensen] was freezing. I mean she was just shivering. When I'm holding her close to me, a lot of times I was just holding her, feeling like, ‘You poor thing, hold on to me — you'd be warm at least.’”
His good looks come courtesy of boxing gloves.
Stare long enough at Isaak, and you might notice a distinctive notch in his nose.
As the performer told The Tribune in 2003, his college career as an amateur light heavyweight boxer left him with seven broken noses, prompting surgeons to suggest taking professional measures to repair his battered proboscis.
“They wanted to take cartilage out of my ear and put it in my nose, and I said, ‘No, I don’t think so. This is the way I look — that’s it,’” he recalled. (The one-time pugilist insists, however, that he’s never been knocked out.)
He’s happy to spruce up with a snazzy suit.
In addition to being Hollywood handsome, Isaak prides himself on his collection of embroidered, sequined and mirror-spangled concert suits, which are custom made by Jaime Custom Tailor and Western Wear in Los Angeles.
“I like dressing up, but not because I’m so special. It’s because I’m not so special, so they’d better know that I’m in the band. If I dress up they’ll say ‘He’s definitely in the band,’” Isaak told the Modesto Bee in 2014.
His suits are so slick, in fact, that they once caught the eye of then-President George W. Bush.
“I saw him beckoning me. … And I was like what? He can’t be talking to me. He is the president of the whole fricking world. But he said, ‘Hey, Chris, I love your suit. Where’d you get your suit?’” Isaak said.
He’ll risk death for a good wave.
Like Eddie Vedder, Jason Mraz and Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Isaak is a certified surfing musician. The San Francisco resident, whose 1996 album “Baja Sessions” was inspired by a surf trip, has been known to ply the massive waves at Mavericks with big wave surfer Mark “Doc” Renneker.
Once, however, he went out alone – and nearly drowned.
“I’m paddling out, and I got hit by a double. One big wave hit me and held me down. And then as I got to the top, before I could take a breath, the next one came and pushed me down,” he recalled in a 2011 interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“I remember blood coming out of my mouth, because I bit my cheek so hard trying not to breath underwater. I almost died for sure.”
He’s a big deal Down Under.
Aussies love Isaak.
What else could explain the triple-platinum record sales in Australia for his 1995 album “Forever Blue,” or the popularity of the tour that inspired his 2008 album “Live in Australia”? Or his frequent appearances on Australian television?
Isaak is currently a judge on the reality competition “The X Factor Australia” — along with “Australian Idol” winner Guy Sebastian, Australian pop star Dannii Minogue and English pop rocker James Blunt of “You’re Beautiful” fame.
"I know it’s a show with a history of articulate intelligent judges, and I know they wanted to change that up so they called me," Isaac explained in a tongue-in-cheek statement released by the show’s producer.
7 p.m. Saturday
Vina Robles Amphitheatre, 3800 Mill Road in Paso Robles
$45 to $70
227-4812 or www.vinaroblesamphitheatre.com