Invercargill musician Chris Chilton is glad his weekends are booking up with gigs again after Covid-19 prevented them.
After supporting arts and music in Southland for more than 30 years, musician Chris Chilton has no intentions of slowing down.
He is proud to play a part of the arts and entertainment scene in Southland and to now be recognised for it.
Chilton is to be made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music and journalism in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
When Chilton first received the news, he couldn’t get his head around it.
* A Southland band with a heart of gold
* Hall of Fame honours for three southern musicians
* The renaissance of Invercargill’s music scene
“I thought it was a wind up … it was a huge shock.”
He has been involved with music and journalism in the region since the 1980s.
Chilton’s band Triple Shot, like many other southern groups, took an involuntary hiatus for about a year while Covid-19 lockdowns forced the closure of places they would play.
But now the trio are back to doing what they love with gigs booked nearly every weekend.
“Post-Covid the bookings have come back in. It’s great to be back at it, it was horrible having a year off.”
But music isn’t the only thing occupying his time. Chilton is also helping to edit a book for his cousin Peter Chilton, which is due to come out soon.
The book, What’s the Name of your Band?, tells the true story of Invercargill band Airstrike’s foray into the music scene and how they almost made it big.
“They were so close to cracking it, the rubbed shoulders with big bands. They almost had it made.”
Chilton has served on the committee of the Southland Musicians’ Club for more than 20 years as secretary and currently as vice president, mentoring and promoting up-and-coming musicians through articles for The Southland Times. He is also a Life Member of the club.
He was a journalist for 35 years, using his platform to create wider interest in the arts and giving insights into local community issues.
Chilton wrote the narration of the Southland 1990 Show, which celebrated 150 years of New Zealand music and featured more than 300 performers, including himself.
He edited the history of the Southland Musicians Club – 45 South.
Currently, he is a committee member of the Southland Music Hall of Fame, in which he was inducted into in 2016.
Chilton had been chairperson of the Southland Entertainment Awards for seven years until its 30-year celebration in 2017, and he chaired the committee that re-distributed Southland band Pretty Wicked Head’s album New Age Savage both nationally and internationally.
In the early 2000s, Chilton led the Where There’s Smoke campaign that addressed Southland’s poor safety record and distributed smoke alarms to the community through the Invercargill Licensing Trust.
The campaign earned him a Qantas New Zealand Award (now Voyager Media Awards) in 2002.