Wasting Freedom

On September 11th, 2001, I was sixteen years old, and I watched our world change live on TV in my high school chemistry classroom. I lived in a very small town in rural Iowa. I hadn’t really ever seen much of the world. I didn’t really know what it meant, but everyone somehow knew that nothing would be the same. Since then, I’ve watched escapism completely overtake our culture. The march of growth has brought us a million ways to distract ourselves from reality. Netflix, Facebook, a world where we only see what we want and there’s a never-ending supply. Our attention spans get shorter and shorter, news is delivered in memes, and how many books sold are actually read? If it isn’t entertaining, we just switch it off, turn the channel. So it’s no surprise that a reality TV producer, a master of lowest common denominator amusement, is the President of the United States of America (insert crying emoji here).

This failure of society isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s everyone’s fault. It’s time to be better. Most of our current adult generations seem to be a lost cause, sadly. The majority of us are set in addiction to mediocre culture and denial of culpability for humanity’s problems. When I first sat down to write this, I concluded to myself that really the only hope is in our youth, but a few recent performances I gave led me to reconsider. I was reminded of the power of creative expression, I saw people come together around music. I saw empathy in those crowds, and love. The world is very dark right now, but people want to see. It only takes the tiniest bit of light. The truth is that it isn’t very hard to be a hero. Who among us will be artists? Who among us will take the time to read books and study the news* and the facts (alternative or otherwise) behind it? Who among us will embark on intellectual explorations to uncover original thoughts? Who among us will have the courage to share those ideas with the world? I really believe that it takes just a small minority of empowered thinkers and creators to subtly shift the world on a path toward justice. The truth is there, waiting to be seen, while the world sits in darkness, oblivious. Who among us will be a light? (No, the light of your smartphone screen doesn’t count.)

While I hold onto optimism for today (and boy can it be tough), I know that real, lasting hope is in our young people, the next generation of leaders, those who don’t remember where they were when those buildings fell. We need to educate our children to value critical thought, to really understand how government works, to have a deep comprehension of American and world history, and to read regularly**. Progressive values come naturally to people educated in this way. If the schools won't do it for us, then parents and community leaders, you need to do it on your own. And we all can vote for representatives who value science-based education and development of critical thinking skills, and protest the hell out of those who do not.

“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy.” - Maya Angelou

Modern liberal democracy as we know it expanded to world dominance in response to the Third Reich and the Holocaust, in which at least 6 million Jewish people were slaughtered (Don’t let Mr. Bannon erase that). Now we see that grand vision in a fight for its life. Is America à la Trump the new norm or the death rattle of the 20th century "good ol' boy"? (Check out Randy Newman's album Good Old Boys if you don't know what I'm talking about) I don’t know, though I am hoping for the latter. What I do know is this: Nationalism is a sickness. Globalism is the only possible future in which our planet doesn’t die, in which everyone on Spaceship Earth (thanks, Buckminster Fuller) works as one “crew” with a shared interest in our one set of resources and our one home. Humanity is only as good, only as strong, as our weakest and poorest. It’s a crime that we shut ourselves off in relative decadence while people starve and live in real terror.

The only possible future is one in which we all live equally, and if that means that we in the “First World” have to sacrifice some of our wasteful luxury, then so be it. The only other possibility is not a future, just a road to the end. This isn’t a complicated idea, but since I’m more of a songwriter than a speechwriter, here’s a new set of lyrics I wrote for Inauguration Day 2017 (not sure if/when I will release a recording):


Wasting Freedom

Two buildings fall, a September day

A country goes to war, someone’s gotta pay

I remember it well, I was sixteen

Watched it live in class, I think it was chemistry

I walked the streets that night of a dark little Iowa town

And I remember my friend saying “I guess everything is different now”

And I remember a couple days later, my brother left to join the fight

And I remember my mom crying herself to sleep that night

And I remember deciding that life it must go on

I went to college, I started a band, I wrote a whole lot of ok songs

Saw the world and fell in love about 13 or 14 times

15 years later, still nothing seems to rhyme

So I sit at my piano as the darkness closes in

Their words ringing in my head: “Don’t let the terror win”

It’s just another Inauguration Day, but this time I really see

Those words they said about terrorists, well, this is what they mean

Because they win with every bullet we decide to fire

Mistrust is coming up the lane, and the fear is creeping higher

And it doesn’t really matter now, who fired the first shot

The world is full of real poor folk and a shot is all they got

They did it 100 years ago and it started those great big wars

And the wars led to horror, and then to relief, and the world said no more

But people forget so easily, or maybe we just don’t care

History books are hard to read when there’s fake news to share

If we can read the signs but don’t, we’re not illiterate, we’re worse

We willfully play a part in the casting of the curse

And it’ll all come down just a-crashing amidst calls of “Kingdom Come!”

All because we spent our lives

Wasting freedom


If you waste something enough, eventually it’s gone

Those history books we never read will say wasted freedom

But no one ever wrote them, ‘cuz there was no one left to read

The whole world’s just towers now stretching as high as I can see

Everyone has got their own, we’re all trying to reach God

God is shivering in the cold, it seems a shot is all he’s got

And this song right here, it was never heard

Except for in the tune of the last blackbird

Who in his final moments learned

That even he was

Wasting freedom


And the greatest movie ever made is called “Wasting Freedom”

And they even made a video game called “Wasting Freedom”

And the toys have been a real big hit for “Wasting Freedom”

And they’re gonna make a sequel to it, called “Wasting Freedom 2”

And I hear there’s gonna be a spin-off show called “Wasting Freedom”

And hell, why not? even a Broadway musical called “Wasting Freedom”

And nobody ever seems to know that we’re Wasting Freedom


*Regarding news sources: I think the most consistently neutral are probably Associated Press and Reuters

**Can you tell I’m obsessed with people reading? Read anything, people! It allows for self-reflection, it slows one down, it exposes one to other perspectives, and hell, it makes people better at spelling and grammar!


This week I’ve got a few fun new things for ya:

  • My podcast Conquered 4 Life returns with a discussion on songwriting with my producer Patrick Tape Fleming, a great songwriter in his own right. Listen:
  • Cover of Bob Dylan’s “Just Like A Woman” and Tom Waits' "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You" over on my Patreon page, check it out (this is also a really easy and super nice way to support me and to keep the tunes rolling on!): https://www.patreon.com/ctconquered
  • Some new songs for my 100 Conquered Songs project, one in which I attempt 90’s Leonard Cohen vibes, cheesy drums and all, one based heavily on Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain!, one going for a Lou Reed vibe and another throwing back to some Nat King Cole styles. Can you guess which is which? Listen here.
  • The music video for the song "Everybody Rains" is going to be featured on a new Iowa Public Television show called "The Film Lounge". Filmmaker Bruce James Bales and I talk about the making of the video in that, as well. Details here.
  • As always, I am constantly updating my upcoming shows list. Check out performance dates here.

If you want a very funny take on "freedom" and pretty much all of the world's ills, listen to comedian David Cross' album It's Not FunnyLots of people always tell me I bear resemblance to him, by the way. I totally agree.

Oh, and here's a video of a performance I gave last year in New York City in which I elaborate on equality a bit more, um, intimately.

And another video from Milwaukee featuring a couple new songs along with a performance of "I Guess My Heart's Out Of Tune Again". Enjoy.




P.S. All opinions expressed here are totally my own and are non-sourced. They are not truth, just opinion. I didn’t even fact-check anything. I suppose I’m taking a cue from the White House on that one.





New Album Available Now for Pre-Order + Everything Ya Missed

So I know I haven't posted to this blog is over 3 months, and its not because of lack of shit to post about. Since my last post on January 6 I've played shows all over Germany and Italy (well documented on my Instagram), hit up SxSW, and already gotten going back in the States with shows around the MidWest. I've also released an EP (order on iTunes here), and two music videos, one via Consequence of Sound and one via Billboard.com. It's a bit much for me to try to recap everything that's gone down in these past 3 months, and you probably don't really care, so I'll stick to what really matters now: my new album.

I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll drops on May 13th. Watch the album trailer below.

You can pre-order now on vinyl or cd on Amazon, digital on iTunes, or the deluxe edition right here on my website.

I also just posted a new episode of my podcast Conquered 4 Life, so if you are interested in the details behind everything that goes into making a record like mine, listen to that! We get deep into the business and all the self-doubt and self-loathing it fosters. Pretty fun. Subscribe on iTunes or listen right here on this site.

PEACE xOxO christopher


New EP Available for Pre-Order Now + Win a Private CtC Show

Hi, friends! A quick update from me. I’ve just arrived in Germany to start a bunch of shows in Europe, 10 weeks to be exact! Follow me on Instagram (@ctconquered) for loads of photos to come.

Mainly, I wanna tell you about a new EP I am releasing on January 29th, called I’m Not That Famous Yet. It features songs from my forthcoming album I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll as well as brand new exclusive recordings! You can pre-order it now on iTunes and get a song immediately, or order it from Maximum Ames Records and get unlimited access to stream the full concert film of me supporting iconic singer-songwriter Leon Russell at the century-old Englert Theatre in Iowa City, Iowa, on October 10, 2015. This film was produced by Deft and is available exclusively through this offer.

On a related note, I am giving away a private show to someone who helps me spread the word about the new EP. Hit this link now for all the details. I’m really excited to share my new music with you, I hope you dig it! That giveaway is part of the 12 Days of Christopher, which is now wrapping up, but if you hit up my Facebook page you can find some cool new stuff, including a cover I did of Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'" with a bunch of special guests! It's also on my Soundcloud.

Also, I’ve just posted a new episode of the Conquered 4 Life podcast, which features me and co-host Chris “The Genie” Biagini talking our adventures in life and art. This is the only place you can hear a new track from my forthcoming album! Subscribe on iTunes or listen here.

Oh, speaking of podcasts, I just uncovered this episode of a podcast called Fairly Local where they say really nice things about my music and my new single "I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll!" 

Photo by Jacob Boll at The Hideout in Chicago.

Photo by Jacob Boll at The Hideout in Chicago.

Ok, last thing: big props to everyone who came out to my residency at The Slowdown in Omaha for the month of December! Some of you made it to all five shows, you are very cool, I think! Much love to the crew at Omaha Dispatch for calling my vocals "exceptional" and my "song prowess, transcendental."



New 7" + Videos + Europe Tour + More

Hi, friends!

It has been far too long since I’ve given y’all an update here, but it’s for good reasons…namely, I’ve been playing a whole lot of shows! And hell, that’s why I exist, so that’s good, right? Anyway, as the year ends, I figure it’s time to go over everything that’s been going down since September.

My new dance party 7"

My new dance party 7"

First of all, I’ve officially released a live album and a new 7” record, which features tunes from the I’m Giving Up On Rock & Roll sessions at Ardent Studios that didn’t make the album cut, but are still plenty stellar! You can order both of those in my store.

I also recently got some fun thoughts from folks around the country, including Washington D.C.'s Brightest Young Things, which said “There is something deeply off about everything that’s happening here and I’m 100% sold.“

If you care what anyone else who's not you is saying, hit this.

So yeah, I've been on tour, and recently I've gotten to play shows with Leon Russell, Martin Sexton, Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear, and Andrew Bird! Here's a few photos:

Me & Andrew Bird. Cool! Thanks, Andrew :)

Me & Andrew Bird. Cool! Thanks, Andrew :)

Opening for Leon Russell at Englert Theatre in Iowa City. Whoa! Leon is a hero of mine.

Opening for Leon Russell at Englert Theatre in Iowa City. Whoa! Leon is a hero of mine.

Also, I recorded a couple songs at Treehouse Studios in Chicago for Consequence of Sound, and they even filmed the suckers! Here's me singing Bob Dylan with a dash of Jackson 5.

Next up, I finish my residency at The Slowdown in Omaha (every Wednesday of this month, tickets here), then I head to Europe for 9 weeks of shows! When I get back in the spring, my new album will come out. I promise.

Me & The Genie doing research for  Conquered 4 Life  at Uncle Buck's Fishbowl.

Me & The Genie doing research for Conquered 4 Life at Uncle Buck's Fishbowl.

My podcast, Conquered 4 Life, is also still running strong…if you want the in-depth scoop on everything I think about everything, you can catch up here, or subscribe on iTunes.

Last thing: Someone recently sent me this video, which is a beautiful profile of a music lover in Iowa City who just happens to like my music. My album The Fate of A Good Man ends up making a notable appearance.


On My Final Day Music Video Debuts Via Consequence of Sound + Billboard Magazine Feature + Opening for Leon Russell & Tour + Conquered 4 Life + Lots of Other Videos

Consequence of Sound was super super nice enough to debut my new music video for the song "On My Final Day", which is on my forthcoming studio album I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll. Here's the full CoS article. Pre-order the album here and get tons of rad extras, including a song written just for you!

In other news, Billboard Magazine was sweet to me and wrote this piece about my album, Ryan Adams, and Reddit and how those three things fit together.

If you wanna learn a bit more about everything that's been going on since Reddit helped me reach a ton of people (thanks, internet!), you can get the dirt on the newest episode of my podcast Conquered 4 Life. Subscribe on iTunes or check it out here. You can also stream via Soundcloud below.

Also, don't forget that I'm heading out on tour later this month, heading south from Iowa to Texas, across through Louisiana and up to Tennessee then around the Midwest! I'm also opening for Leon Russell in there! Holy hell, that makes me so excited to think about. Dates here. I'll be promoting my new live album A Passing Melody which you can pre-order here.

Here's 3 new live videos for ya if you need some convincing to come see a show!

That last video there comes with a really nice article by Hear Nebraska, read it here.

Ok, that's it. Oh, except for my Spotify playlist! Follow it, it rules! And follow my artist profile, too, yeah?



New Music Video + Pre-Order My Studio Album + The Mountain Goats Article + Fall Tour Dates + Conquered 4 Life Ep. 9

Lots of rad stuff happening in the last week, starting with the first of five videos for my forthcoming album I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll. This one is for the song "What's the Name of the Town?" and my goal was to make at least one video my mom would like, so this one's for her! Watch it below or check out what PureVolume.com had to say about it here.


If you haven't seen this yet, I am currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to make a two-minute movie musical to accompany another song from the album. One of the perks is my new studio album, on either vinyl, cd or digital! Also, this counts as an official pre-order so you will get loads of awesome stuff, including a song written personally for you by me. That's right, I'm going to write a song for every single person who pre-orders my album (well, the first 365...if we get more than that I might faint). Also, you can be in the video, or you can get a puppet (puppet face below)! Damn. YES. Please support the campaign here.


We also have a new episode of Conquered 4 Life ready for y'all, you can listen below, or better yet subscribe on iTunes (and please review/rate it positively!), or you can dig into the hardcore shit right here on my website. iTunes is best, though. In this episode, we talk about the immediate effect of the "Ryan Adams bump", which is pretty interesting (well, to me, at least), naming your band, and more! Check it! (Note: this was recorded before all of this Reddit business, we'll discuss that on the next episode.)



Regarding the Reddit thing: Last week, I wrote about how Ryan Adams posted about my music to a bunch of followers, which was very nice of him. Actually, it was incredibly fucking awesome of him. I thought it'd be interesting to quantify the effect of his share, and I just posted the results on Reddit. It kinda blew up, which was supremely unexpected. Check it out here! I will share more about this next week!


Ok - I am going on tour this fall. By myself! Please come be my friend. Here are all my dates from now through that tour, with some more shows to be added soon (links to tickets are here):

  • 8/14 - Cedar Falls, IA - The Octopus

  • 8/15 - Dubuque, IA - The Busted Lift

  • 8/20 - Omaha, NE - The Slowdown

  • 8/21 - Lincoln, NE - Knickerbockers

  • 8/22 - Waterloo, IA - Cedar Valley Pridefest

  • 8/22 - Waterloo, IA - CV PrideFest After Party at The Wedge

  • 9/04 - Minneapolis, MN - 331 Club

  • 9/18 - Indianola, IA - Simpson College

  • 9/19 - Kirksville, MO - Aquadome Presents

  • 9/24 - Winona, MN - Ed's No Name Bar

  • 9/26 - Des Moines, IA - Live Album Release Show at Salisbury Hous

  • 9/29 - Oklahoma City, OK - The Blue Note

  • 9/30 - Denton, TX - J&J's Pizza

  • 10/01 - Austin, TX - Hole In The Wall

  • 10/02 - Lafayette, LA - Artmosphere

  • 10/04 - Nashville, TN - City Winery

  • 10/05 - Athens, GA - Flicker Theatre

  • 10/07 - St. Louis, MO - Foam

  • 10/09 - Secret Show (Stay Tuned!) - Milwaukee, WI

  • 10/10 - Chicago, IL - Tonic Room

  • 10/15 - Columbia, MO - The Bridge


Next up: The Mountain Goats. One of my favorite musical artists. I wrote a very personal article about their album All Hail West Texas for Chicago-based Music. Defined. I'm really proud of it. You should read it.


Ack, so much to share. Here's an update to my weekly Spotify playlist, which starts with "Earth Angel" so you cannot go wrong!!!

Follow the playlist here and follow my artist profile here (that would really help me, by the way). Oh, by the way, thanks to everyone who is following me...we broke 250 so we can verify that shit! More badassery to come soon.



Love from Ryan Adams & Vice + My First IndieGoGo Campaign + QRO Mag Feature

I have never met Ryan Adams, but he's obviously an incredible rock and roller and he got his hands on an advance copy of my forthcoming album I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll. I'm not giving up on his album Rock N Roll, though. It was super nice of him to shout out the disc on his Twitter and Instagram feeds. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram! And listen to the first single from the album below:


I also got some love from Vice.com's Noisey today, along with 9 other great Iowa artists! The truth is there's 90 more great ones not mentioned here! Come to Iowa! Let's be friends! Read the full article here!


Ok, today is an important day because I've just launched my first ever crowdfunding campaign! I am working to make a 2-minute movie musical to accompany one of my new songs, "Everybody Rains", which is featured on my forthcoming studio album I'm Giving Up On Rock & Roll. Perks include copies of the album, the opportunity to be in the video, and a badass custom made puppet! Support the campaign now, if you can, or share it with others! Click here. It ends in one month.


Last month, I played a really fun fest in my hometown of Des Moines, Iowa called 80/35. QRO Mag was there and took some nice photos, check 'em out here!

And, as I do every week, I've updated my Spotify playlist. This is a big one! Everything from Shania Twain and Ariana Grande to Disney songs and Ween! Follow the playlist here, follow my artist profile here, and start listening to good music now!


I am real close to announcing a ton of shows for the fall, too. Stay tuned!



Sounds of Des Moines Feature + New Live Recording

My friend Stefan Fresk made a really nice video about me and my music for his series "Sounds of Des Moines". Check it out above, and watch more of his videos here.

Also, I just posted another track from my forthcoming experimental live album A Passing Melody. It's a recording of the song "I'll Stop Loving You", which originally appeared on my album You're Gonna Glow In the Dark. This version is way better, because it is performed on piano (which I actually know how to play) rather than guitar, and because Kyle Gowin plays a mind-blowing saxophone solo on it. Listen below, then pre-order the record here (it comes with loads of rad stuff!).

Lastly, I've updated my Spotify playlist with some incredible tune-age. Hit that shit. And also, do me a heavy and follow my artist profile (don't hold back).

peace and love, ringo style!


Race & Rock n Roll on Conquered 4 Life + More Upcoming Shows + Badass Spotify Playlist (You're Welcome) + Snapchat, Yo

Hey, friends!

So first up, we've got a new episode of my podcast Conquered 4 Life for you today. The episode is called "Thanks For All the Great Music, Racism!" I'm really excited to share it with you because it's the first episode in which we've had a guest. Our guest is MarKaus, a Des Moines via Atlanta rapper, who graces us with his very personal perspective on what it means to be an African-American black artist working in music today. We get pretty intimate on some topics, including the sensitivities of interracial relationships and the reality of the divide between cultures and communities that exists in all aspects of society, including the art world. Check it out below, or click here to listen/download and get links to all the stuff we talk about, or better yet, subscribe on iTunes!

In other news, I have a truly great update to my ongoing Spotify Playlist this week. I've made some really beautiful musical discoveries lately, like Kate Tempest and Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment (a la Chance the Rapper), and those plus a bunch of raunchy rock and roll, soul, and more are loaded up here. Give it a spin, follow the playlist, follow my artist profile, and let's win the war on shitty living together!

Ok, because I'm sad and lonely, I've just added another social media outlet through which I can pretend to have friends! So add me on Snapchat! It's ConqueredSnaps. I'll post intimate footage of things you may or may not want to see.

And a few reminders and other tidbits:

80/35 + Smithsonian Folkways Article + Upcoming Shows

Photo by Patrick Fuerstenau

Photo by Patrick Fuerstenau

Well shit, we just had a fantastic time at 80/35 music festival in our hometown of Des Moines on Saturday! We formed the greatest backup choir ever in the history of pop music (get the shirt here) and generally just got nasty with loads of new friends! Here's a vid of that choir just killing it (thanks, Dylan Boyle):

Plus, it was just the third show with our new guitarist Andrew Raes, who slayed so hard it led Chicago blog Music-Defined to say: 

"these dudes can play. Especially the lead guitarist, who was ripping off solos like a hustler playing three-card Monte." -Full Review and Pics Here

The show is decently summed up by this run of tweets (thanks, lovers):

Here's a few other pics (more to come soon!):

Those photos are by (from L-R, top to bottom) Lucas Moser (Aim for Saturn Photography), Joe Lawler (Juice Magazine), Bobby Nalean, Phil Thomson (80/35), Patrick Tape Fleming, Dylan Boyle.

There's also a video of me covering David Ackles and Bob Dylan in a post-show solo set for Iowa Public Radio right here.

Ok, moving on: I wrote an article for Smithsonian Folkways Magazine! Seriously, my nerd levels are bubbling over. It's called I Want the Signals, Not the Static: Tuning In To Traditional Music, and I guess I'm really proud of it. Haha, it's crazy to me that I even got to do this. Anyway, it's about the challenges musical artists face in communicating a unique perspective through the haze of music marketing. It also features some amazing Smithsonian music embedded for ya and really nice photos of me at home, in Italy, and more, all by my friends! I have to give major props to my editor Joan Hua at Smithsonian for helping me finish it! It started as a pretty big mess. Thanks, Joan! Read it here.

In other news, I've updated my weekly playlist! It rages pretty good. Follow the playlist and please totally follow my artist profile, too!

Ok, shit, there is so much going on this week. A few final reminders:

  • I've got more shows coming up soon, including in Iowa City and Chicago. Dates here.
  • You can pre-order my new live album right now (do it and get a bad ass fine art portrait of yourself!). Click here.
  • You can order tickets to the live album release show now. It'll take place on a million-dollar piano at Salisbury House in Des Moines, Iowa. Tickets are limited. Order here.
  • I have a really cool podcast. It's called Conquered 4 Life. It's about art and life and stuff. Listen to it! My friend Eddie Fieg (who is a fantastic graphic designer and illustrator) designed the logo and also just stayed with me all weekend and gave me a copy of his first book, which he just published! Love ya, Eddie.

And of course, plenty of love for all the rest of you.