New to the Hood: Percussionist Chris Paquette



Percussionist Chris Paquette and I met recently during a photoshoot for the new recording studio On The Moon owned by Blah Blah Blah bassist Stico von Drake. Stico and I have been friends for a long time so luckily I trusted him when he told me he was sending a neighbor of mine that I did not yet know to pick me up for the photoshoot. Little did I know that I was about to meet one of the most bad ass percussionists in Pilsen!


Chris Paquettte

Chris Paquette moved to Chicago from the Twin Cities in 2001 and lived in the UK Village/ Humbolt Park area until recently moving to Pilsen. Drawn to our neck of the woods for the low rent and strong art community I am proud to call to this guy my neighbor and not just because we have the same initials. The first thing you notice about Chris other than the fact that he's a "ginger" is that he has one of the most laid back personalities you'll ever met. Other than being cool with picking up some random girl (moi) and giving me a ride to the photoshoot there was never a moment of awkward silence during our commute. We clicked instantly and jammed all the way to Beecher, IL (wherever the hell that is/was)  to his amazing music collection and talked about music, life and of course Pilsen.

Paquette's Various Noisemakers

I met up with Chris again to interview him for La Princesa de Pilsen at his vintage rehabbed Pilsen apartment. Paquette's place is a music lover's heaven and is jammed packed with drums and noise makers galore! The 27 year old drummer has a drum list that includes surdos, congas, djembes, timbales, djun djuns, bodhran and a gorgeous Nigerian udu. Contrary to popular belief however, his first instrument was actually the alto saxaphone. His mom sings in a gospel choir back in Minneapolis so he orginally began playing drums with her church choir.


Chris Paquette


In high school Chris began learning percussion from Marocs "Chico" Perez and then later moved to Chicago to study at Colombia and his career took off from there. Agent-free Paquette is a true testiment to what an independent artist can accomplish making 100% of his income from being a musician.  He attributes his success to "handing out millions of business cards"

 Chris Paquetter, Playing at the Chopin theater March 18th!


I asked Chris why he chose to move to Pilsen and he immediately replied "The hustle! I like to see people working hard to do what they love. I also like the abundance of Mexican culture and the strong sense of community. It's really great to be around other working artists and musicians."

Paquette  recently appeared on WGN Tv backing up the popular 90's group Brownstone . He has also worked with artists such as such as The Manhattan Project, Zzaje, The BSTC (Back Stone Theatre Collective), The Chicago Afro Beat Project, Anthony Hamilton, Willie Pickens,  Obi Soulstar, Yaw, Khari Lemuel, Koku Gonza,Animate Objects, Dizu Plaajtes (Curator of traditional African music at Cape Town University), Frank Catalano, Glenn Lewis, Eric Roberson, Estelle, Roy Ayers Chico DeBarge, George Clinton, Jdavey, Res, Chrisette Michelle, Yazarah, JDavey, Eric Roberson, Anthony David, Dilated Peoples, Kindred Family Soul and the list just goes on and on.

I deeply encourage everyone to check out at least one of Chris' upcoming shows. He will be playing with 5th World at Red Kiva on March 17th, with Obi SoulStar on Mach 18th at the Chopin Theater and Frank Catalano every Wednesday night at the Green Mill for FREE! Find out more information at :

Also check out some of my favorite Youtube videos of Chris playing drums!

Lucky for you he is now offering classes and workshops so you can contact him at .    


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  • Artists, authentic culture AND music? Definitely going to visit this neighborhood soon. Thanks for the insight!

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