Biography

Chris Layton

Chris Layton

"The template in my life had been Stevie," he says, "whose beliefs and values, and the way he felt about music, were so strong that he was like a dog on a bone. And I felt that about Malford. I had only known him for a few weeks, but there was just something that I sensed about him: I immediately trusted that his head was in the right place, he had a good spirit, and he was somebody who really cared about his music, and I loved the way he sang, and here we are." - Chris Layton

Chris "Whipper" Layton was born on 16th November 1955 in Corpus Christi, Texas. During his childhood, Chris lived in Mathis, Texas, a small community where his father owned a car dealership.

After hearing Chubby Checker's version of "The Twist", he became fascinated with playing the drums. Chris moved back to Corpus Christi and acquired his first drum set at the age of 13. He graduated from W.B. Ray High School, where he was part of the school band.

He recalled that it was "pretty formal instruction", saying: "I had to learn how to read music and play with a group of people. When I got into high school, I actually stopped playing for a while. I got into surfing and hung out at the beach a lot."

After attending Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Chris moved to Austin on 18th December, 1975, joining the band Greezy Wheels.

Chris's roommate, sax player Joe Sublett, recalls how Chris met Stevie Ray Vaughan:

"After Stevie said he needed a drummer, I had been playing a lot of Texas blues and Chicago blues records for Chris. We had figured out a way to get the headphones from the living room to the back room where Chris had his drums set up. He was playing along with these records and Stevie walked in the house and Chris had the headphones on. He tapped Chris on the shoulder and said, 'I'll give you a try if you'll play what I want' or something to that effect."

Chris was a great student and learned to play that stuff really well and quickly. It was a situation where if Stevie wanted him to play a certain way, he'd sit down and show him.

On 10th September 1978, Chris joined Stevie and Double Trouble, who had taken the name from a song by Otis Rush. After Tommy Shannon replaced Jackie Newhouse in 1981, Double Trouble performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 1982, the first unsigned band to do so.

Chris would continue to record and perform with Stevie and Double Trouble until Stevie's death. He said of his death: "Stevie meant everything to me musically. His death was the worst thing that ever happened to me."

Following his death, Chris and Tommy formed the Arc Angels, with guitarists Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton. In 1994, they formed Storyville with David Holt, David Grissom and singer Malford Milligan.

Chris and Tommy played on the 1994 album "Something Inside of Me" by Little Jimmy King. Chris appeared with Tommy in a tribute to Stevie broadcast on Austin City Limits in 1995.

In 2001 Chris and Tommy released an album under the Double Trouble name, "Been a Long Time". The album featured many special guests such as Dr. John and Willie Nelson.

In 2003, Chris formed Grady with leader Gordie (aka Grady) Johnson and has worked with many other artists including Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Johnson, and Susan Tedeschi.

In late 2014 and early 2015, Chris was inducted into the Musician's Hall of Fame, Austin City Limits, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, all as a part of Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble.

Chris is currently the drummer for the Kenny Wayne Shepherd band.

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