He's a multi-millionaire, a music industry pioneer, business tycoon and co-founder of one of the most important record labels in history. And though Chris Wright's name probably doesn't ring a bell to you, acts like Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, The Specials and Billy Idol, who owe much of their careers to his label Chrysalis Records, probably do. Wright started the label in 1969 with business partner Terry Ellis (Chris + Ellis= Chrysalis, get it?) and grew it into an empire that provided a portal for dozens of British acts to tour and record in the US in the 70s. In the 80s, he was responsible for launching the careers of American bands like Blondie and Huey Lewis and the News. In1991, he sold the label rights to EMI. Of course, Wright went on to do other things outside the music industry, own soccer and ruby teams as well as a fistful of radio stations and production companies.
Courtesy of Chris Wright
He charts his life story in his recently-released autobiography, One Way or Another, in which he details growing up poor on the eastern coastline of England to becoming a full-blown entertainment mogul with plenty of sex, drugs and rock-n-roll along the way. It's rock history through the lens of a top executive who learned on the job and stuck to his music tastes and ethics--almost to a fault (he famously signed Billy Idol after passing on a record deal with Sex Pistols not once, but twice!). His memoirs bare a unique perspective on some of our most beloved rock gods--one that's unflinching, honest and overall pretty memorable. We spent some time with Wright discussing his book, and his involvement with some of the biggest artists in the world.