Will Chris Gaines ever return? A look at Garth Brooks' alter ego and rock music stint that was a hit with fans
Garth Brooks, at one point in his career, performed under the name of Chris Gaines to try his hand at a rock and alternative rock music
Garth Brooks' name is synonymous with country music. The singer-songwriter is known for his amalgamation of pop and rock elements into country music but, at one point in his career, Brooks performed under the name of Chris Gaines to try his hand at a more defined sound of rock and alternative rock music.
An attempt to move away from his country persona and sound, even though temporarily, Brooks' stint as Gaines, a rock singer with a completely different look and feel, proved to be successful and was a one-off treat for his fans. Let's take a look at how Chris Gaines came to be and what is happening with it now.
Origin of Chris Gaines
Chris Gaines, a fictional persona and alter ego of Garth Brooks to explore styles far removed from country music, was initially planned to feature in an un-materialized movie titled 'The Lamb'. Red Strokes Entertainment, Brooks' production company, and Paramount Pictures developed 'The Lamb' for Brooks to star in. 'The Lamb' was supposed to revolve around Chris Gaines, a fictional rock singer and his emotionally conflicted life as a famous musician.
As a promotional move, Brooks took on the identity of Gaines in the 1999 album 'Garth Brooks in … The Life of Chris Gaines'. The project, also the soundtrack to 'The Lamb', was to represent the greatest hits of Gaines' entire career. To promote the album's release, Brooks even appeared as host and musical guest on 'Saturday Night Live'.
Releases as Gaines
'The Life of Chris Gaines', released on September 28, 1999, peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200. The album sold over two million copies and spawned the hit single 'Lost in You' which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100; Brooks' first and, to date, only Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 single.
Other singles released from the album were 'It Don't Matter to the Sun', 'Right Now', and 'That's The Way I Remember It'. Even though the record sold more than two million copies, the sales were less than expected. No further developments in the production of the film brought the project to an indefinite hiatus. Soon, the Gaines character faded into obscurity.
Chris Gaines' tracks are not available on streaming platforms, but you can listen to Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover covering 'Lost in You' below.
Will Chris Gaines ever return?
On the 2020 Billboard Music Awards on October 14, Brooks performed a medley of hits and received the coveted Icon Award. When the hitmaker was asked straight up if he’s ever considered reissuing the Chris Gaines 'Greatest Hits' album, he said, "Trust me, it’s got a whole life of its own and it’s all coming. It won’t be anything predictable, I can guarantee you because that’s kind of what that character’s thought process was...If you know the greatest hits, they had to come from somewhere, if that tells you what’s coming.”
He also spoke about the Gaines persona in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment saying, "A lot of people misunderstood it, and my ribs are still sore from getting the sh*t kicked out of me for it."
Brooks also talked about why he wouldn't mind getting back to the character saying, "It was a really tough time for me, because of the fact that I saw for the first time that people can be focused on something way past the music. And that's never a good thing when the music takes a backseat. All of the sudden, you realize that the people who got it got it. And the people who never got it never picked it up. So that makes me feel good because I got to tell you, I'm surprised you brought this up, but everybody that ever does mention it to me says it's their favorite Garth Brooks album! I don't know how to take that!"