Christopher Gilbert Pérez is a popular American musician, songwriter, author and guitarist. He was the lead guitarist for the band ‘Selena y Los Dinos.’ Chris is also famous for appearing in the television movie ‘Selena ¡vive!’ (2005). He has also appeared in a short documentary titled ‘Making of Selena: 10 Years Later’ (2007), which was based on the murder of his wife Selena Quintanilla-Perez. He is also famous for appearing in the television documentary movie ‘¡Mi Gente! My People!’ (1999). He became a member of Shelly Lares’ band in 1986 and became famous for his amazing guitar skills. He caught the attention of A. B. Quintanilla who was looking for a new lead guitarist for the Tejano band ‘Selena y Los Dinos.’ Perez joined the band in 1988 and continued to perform with the band till 1995. Perez went on to make a mark in the field of music and is considered one of the ace guitarists. He won the ‘Best Latin/Alternative Performance’ at the 2000 ‘Grammy Awards.’
Childhood & Early Life
Christopher Gilbert Perez was born on 14 August 1969, in San Antonio, Texas, USA, to Gilbert Perez and Carmen Medina. His father was a computer programmer. Chris is of Mexican-American ancestry. When he was 4 years old, his parents divorced, and his mother remarried in 1978.
His mother supported him as he learned to play the French horn during his middle school days. She also allowed him to become part of the school band. At the time, there was a common misconception about rock and roll music being a bad influence on youth. Hence, his mother opposed his decision to learn electric guitar. However, he was so passionate about it that he learned and started playing electric guitar.
He was a fan of rock bands, such as ‘Motley Crue,’ ‘Van Halen,’ ‘Def Leppard,’ ‘Scorpions,’ and ‘Kiss.’ He also admired musicians like Ozzy Osbourne and Ricky Martin. Many of his guitar solos are inspired by American-Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana.
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In order to build his career, Chris moved out of his home at the age of 17. He shared his father’s apartment and started working in a library. Chris was asked by Tony Lares to join his Cousin Shelly Lares’ band in 1986. Although Chris was not interested in Shelly’s Tejano music (various forms of folk and popular music), he joined the band as it paid him better than his library work.
When Tony left the band, Chris became the musical director of the band. He also co-wrote three songs for Shelly’s debut album in 1998. His guitar skills were loved and admired by his fans and band members alike.
Chris was next approached by bassist A. B. Quintanilla III of the ‘Selena y Los Dinos’ band to join them. He joined the band in 1989 as the sounds used by ‘Los Dinos’ were more ‘sophisticated and hip.’ The band released many popular albums like ‘Entre a Mi Mundo’ (1992), ‘Amor Prohibido’ (1994), and ‘Dreaming of You’ (1995).
Later, he also performed as the lead guitarist for ‘Kumbia Kings’ (2003- 2006) and A. B. Quintanilla (2001-2008).
In 2008, Chris formed a band called ‘Chris Perez Band’ with Garza, Rudy Martinez, Joe Odeja, and Jesse Esquivel. The band was signed to ‘Hollywood Records’ and their debut album ‘Resurrection’ was recorded at ‘Henson Studio.’ The album, which released on 18 May 1999, housed songs, such as ‘Best I Can,’ ‘Another Day,’ and ‘Solo Tu.’ It went on to win the ‘Grammy Award’ for ‘Best Latin, Rock, Urban or Alternative’ album. However, the band disbanded after releasing their second album ‘Una Nocha Mas.’
In 2010, Chris collaborated with Puerto Rican singer Angel Ferrer to form a band called ‘Chris Perez Project.’ They then released an album titled ‘Todo es Diferente.’ In 2012, he went on to publish his book ‘To Selena With Love.’
In 1992, the police arrested Chris for driving under the influence and speeding. Chris, at the time, was accompanied by his cousins and friends. When the police had a verbal fight with his cousin, Chris came to his aid. After the fight, the police handcuffed Chris and his cousin. However, the police had to set them free as they could not prove that they were involved in a high-speed chase.
Some months after his arrest, Chris booked a room in a hotel with two of his band members. They got so intoxicated that they started wrestling in the hotel room. Later, Chris left the room in a disheveled state. Subsequently, Chris and the two band members were fired from the band ‘Selena y Los Dinos’ and Quintanilla forbade Selena from seeing Chris.
Personal Life & Legacy
Chris and Selena started dating during a trip to Mexico. Subsequently, they expressed their love for each other at a ‘Pizza Hut’ restaurant. Though Selena’s mother approved their courtship, Selena’s father was against their relationship. Later, Quintanilla Jr. fired Chris from the band. Selena and Chris eloped to Nueces County, Texas, in 1992.
In an unfortunate incident, Selena was murdered by her own boutique employee named Yolanda Saldivar. Yolanda tried to commit suicide, but was caught by the police. She was later sentenced to life imprisonment.
As Selena was an amazing singer who had released blockbuster albums, George W. Bush declared Selena’s birthday as ‘Selena Day’ in Texas.
For several years, Chris did not have any other relationship and remained a widower. He met Venessa Villanueva in 1998 and they both fell in love with each other almost instantly. They got married in 2001 and were blessed with two children, daughter Cassie and son Noah. Chris frequently posts pictures of his children on social media.
Chris’ marriage with Venessa did not last long as the couple got separated in 2008. Chris’ severe drinking problem and drug use was cited as the reason for divorce. After the separation, Chris had to give up all his assets to Vanessa as alimony.
As of 2019, Chris Perez’s estimated net-worth is around $1.2 million.
He published a limited edition EP titled ‘Chris Perej Project’ through his website. He also went on to record a full-length album, which was produced by Emilio at the ‘Alamodome.’
Chris has performed at the ‘Festival People En Espanol,’ featuring Demi Lovato, ‘3BallMTY,’ and ‘Wisin & Yandel’ among several other musicians.
His favorite genres of music are rock, Latin rock, cumbia, Tejano, and heavy metal.