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Why Christopher the Conquered is 'Giving Up on Rock & Roll'

Trapper Schoepp

Musician Christopher the Conquered, also known as Christopher Ford, is giving up on rock & roll. Well, kind of. 

The Iowa musician was just in Milwaukee to play a concert ahead of the release of his new album, called I'm Giving Up on Rock & RollThe album has already generated a lot of buzz and got a huge advance plug on the internet by musician Ryan Adams, and enjoyed an even bigger bump from the subreddit /r/Music

Credit Christopher the Conquered

Still, the name of the album (and the title track), is a bit daunting. Christopher the Conquered runs the risk of turning parody into prophecy, a fact that hasn't gone unnoticed. 

"My producer, he came over when I got the pallet of the first run of vinyl delivered, and he goes, 'There's nothing like having your entire living room and dining room full of a thousand LPs of a record with your face on the cover that says, I'm Giving Up on Rock & Roll, to put things into perspective,'" says Christopher. "He's like, 'You know you have to sell these, right?'"

Why Christopher the Conquered is 'Giving Up on Rock & Roll'
Christopher the Conquered playing, "I'm Giving Up on Rock & Roll."

While his style might remind you of rock legends like Freddie Mercury or David Bowie, he grew up listening to mostly Disney soundtracks and Christian ska music. And although his musical tastes have expanded to include a myriad of artists beyond Timon and Pumba, the Disney catalogue continues to influence him. "The theatrical sort of element in that music is very present in what I do," says Ford. 

His song, I'm Not That Famous Yet, incorporates these theatrical themes with lyrics that candidly describe the thoughts that run through his head during concerts and musings on his future as an artist. 

"The song is not about being famous or not, it's about how you always want more than where you are and so it doesn't really matter," he says.

The day the Iowa musician visited the Lake Effect performance studio was a dark one for the music world. The day Prince died. The stunning news inspired him to record a version of the song Nothing Compares 2 U, written by Prince. 

Why Christopher the Conquered is 'Giving Up on Rock & Roll'
Christopher the Conquered playing, "Nothing Compares 2 U."

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Joy Powers joined WUWM January 2016 as producer for Lake Effect. Most recently, she was a director and producer for The Afternoon Shift, on WBEZ-fm, Chicago Public Radio.