About Chris and Chasing La Bella Vita


Chris Ellis

Chris Ellis In Florence with a Friend

Welcome to Chasing La Bella Vita. “Bella Vita” means “Beautiful Life” in Italian.

If you already know me, you know that I spend a lot of time in Italy. I visited Rome when I was a teenager and I fell in love with that city.

Since then I have visited many other Italian cities and regions. The one thing that always  impresses me is the culture.

Italians are artists. They have perfected the art of living and it starts with they way they view each other and all the people of the world.

Everyone knows each other’s strengths and weaknesses but they just don’t care. Blemishes are overlooked and the person is loved for who they are, warts and all.

I loved it so much I bought a place there in a hilltop village overlooking the Mediterranean.

My first days in the village, with my wild, curly blond hair, white skin and blue eyes, I was welcomed into the village and have become one of them. Each time I return, kisses are rained down on me no matter how long I have been gone.

This has become my world view; that we all have our warts and we are all still infinitely loveable.

My site here is devoted to this concept and to helping people with ideas and actionable items to make their lives better and to ease the suffering in which we may find ourselves as we do our best to get by.

For those who know me well, you know that I have studied the works of L Ron Hubbard extensively and that his ideas have become a part of me.  Much of what I write has roots in his teachings. If you are interested in finding out more about life improvement you can go here for free online courses in such subjects as Communication, Parenting, How to Resolve Conflicts, How to Fix your Finances, How to Achieve your Goals and much more.  Click here for more information:


For those who are not interested, that is totally ok. We welcome everyone here.

I hope to entertain, educate and foster communication here. I am so happy you chose to visit!

Below is a list of the books I have written and links to get them as well as my bio as a musician and instructor. In addition to these, I am a guest blogger for Lifehack.org and have had several of my articles there reach in the thousands in terms of shares on social media. I have also written guest blogs for other life improvement sites including Dumb Little Man and you will see much more guest blogs popping up on other sites in the future.

I have authored several books. The first one is a collection of funny short stories entitled “Ode to Bad Plumbing and Other Serious Poems for the Modern Age” (http://www.amazon.com/Plumbing-Other-Serious-Poems-Modern-ebook/dp/B00A1QBT2Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385705196&sr=8-1&keywords=ode+to+bad+plumbing).

The other is a romantic story entitled “Chasing La Bella Vita”. Chasing La Bella Vita is also available as an eBook on both Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. My third book. “Love and Murder at Sheltering Pines” is also available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Love-Murder-at-Sheltering-Pines-ebook/dp/B00A93J8JC

And my newest book “Music Symbols Made Simple” is available here: .http://www.amazon.com/Music-Symbols-Made-Simple-Super-Simple-ebook/dp/B00IKWW62K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393083723&sr=8-1&keywords=music+symbols+made+simple

You can also order your paperback, spiral bound copy of Music Symbols Made Simple. It is bound so that it will stay open on your piano while you study and perform the exercises.

MSMS is designed and created to reawaken your desire to play and understand music. One gives up study if one doesn’t understand and MSMS  takes the accumulated misunderstandings off the subject so that you can move forward and enjoy everything that music brings to your life. it works! I have had several people say that after reading MSMS and doing the exercises, the desire to learn music returned and learning was a lot easier afterward.



I started singing when I was a teenager and took lessons from Bob Bernard in Palo Alto. He taught correct vocal technique and is a noted opera coach as well as a really fun guy.

He had me lunging around his house with various swords and props while singing lines in Italian. I had no idea what the lines meant and sometimes I wondered if Bob was just playing with me, but I had a blast and I learned a lot.

During that time, Bob was also working with Joan Baez, whose lesson was right after mine. I had the opportunity of watching her perform some Italian arias in master classes that Bob taught. Although this was over 20 years ago and since then I have sung in a lot of different venues and situations, I have never injured my voice thanks to Bob and his attention to the welfare and longevity of the vocal instruments as well as his attention to the beauty of the performance.

Shortly after that time, I started playing bass and took lessons with Myron Dove whom I still think is one of the premiere bassists on earth. Myron has toured with Santana and with Dave Meniketti of Y and T fame.

Subsequently I started playing bass with the Tearmagnets which featured two of my favorite people on earth. One of these people was Oliver Harris who was named as one of the “Unsung Guitar Heroes of the Bay Area” in the BAM Magazine poll of 1989.The Tearmagnets also featured Dennis Dove on drums and vocals (Dennis is Myron’s brother). Dennis is currently touring with his band Gumbo. Watch for him at the various festivals around the Bay Area.

With the Tearmagnets, I warmed up stages for the likes of:

In 1995, in the Haight Ashbury Free Press, my original song “Insanity” was awarded eighth in the Local Band Top 20, beating out Jerry Garcia who placed number 20. That same year, the Tearmagnets placed Second in the Battle of the Bands sponsored by Cheers in Sunnyvale. The competition was brutal but the other bands were really good. I was proud to have our band featured and fare so well in what turned out to be the South Bay event of the year.

Additionally, The Tearmagnets have been played on local radio stations including KSJO with Greg Stone, KSJS, KFJC and college radio stations in San Francisco and other parts of California. In the early 90’s The Tearmagnets were approached by music attorney Mickey Shapiro (Attorney for Fleetwood Mac).

He invited us to go to LA and record in Madonna’s personal studio. At that time, the engineer on the project was Dave Poulliot who had won a Grammy for his work on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack (Cuts from that project are on the Tearmagnets, Tribunal CD available at CDbaby.com) At that same time, we were approached by people at Restless Records to do a showcase. We had to decline due to other commitments.

In the last several years I have returned to my classical music roots. I play cello,  violin and sing at weddings and other events. I sing whenever and wherever I can. Don’t be surprised to find me singing on a street corner. I love busking and try to do it whenever I can.

My newest work is an modern opera based on a story by gothic horror novelist Frank E. Bittinger who wrote the libretto. It is called The Haunting of Haven Mercado. Stay tuned for details about where and when it is being performed. It is going to be wonderful.

I am also working on a mystery thriller called “The Queen” which chronicles a young archeologist’s quest to find the stolen amulet that will allow her Queen, who has been trapped in her mummified body for thousands of years, to make her way through the afterlife and up to the heavens where her pharaoh sons are waiting. It is filled with intrigue, secret passageways, evil societies, supernatural occurrences and wild divergent personality types. Frank has weighed in with several plot twists and has a profound knowledge of mummification techniques and everything Egyptian.

Frank is an author of great merit and a great friend and partner. Frank’s novels are as addictive as Peanut Butter MnM’s and you can find his work here. My favorite so far is Angels of the Mourning Light. But Rhaven House is a very close second and in fact, they are all fabulous. You will love Frank’s story telling and his imagery.

Chris and Andy

Chris and Andy

Currently I am living in San Jose, Ca. and Santa Domenica Talao, Italy. I have two wonderful boys, a great husband who is always game for any crackpot scheme I can come up with and a generously proportioned Chihuahua named Little who features prominently in a lot of my writing. Little’s wise counsel has gotten me out of too many scrapes to count. He is the tether that holds me in check when I tend to go off in all directions.

So that is me! Write me and tell me about you!

XO Chris

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10 thoughts on “About Chris and Chasing La Bella Vita

  1. Hi Chris. I just read your blog post on lifehack about 17 reasons to play music (or something like that). It was really good. I found it via Facebook after it was shared by Guy Kawasaki. My question is about your statement that musicians can’t take their minds off of what they are playing while performing. I happen to be a jazz pianist and my teachers swear that they don’t think about anything while they perform. I was wondering if you could comment on this. Thanks.

    • Hi Bill,
      Yours is a very insightful comment. Thanks for leaving it. Actually both statements, I consider are correct. Jazz is a different way of performing than playing classical music or reading lines of notes on a page. In jazz you improvise and your teachers probably do not think of anything in particular but their minds are on what they are doing. They are basically taking information from what they know of the music, the other band members and even the audience at times to create and play on the fly. If they were thinking about what they had for lunch for example, they would not be effective. They may still be able to perform the mechanics of the pieces but they would be automatic and therefore, not art.

      In reading classical music, unless you have it memorized, if you start thinking about something other than keeping yourself in the moment and reading and playing, you will end up in a ditch.The phrase, “keeping your mind on something” is a bit of a misnomer too. The trick is really getting your mind out of the way of you and your communication with your audience. I hope that makes sense.
      Thanks for your comment Bill! That was a good one!
      XO Chris

  2. Love your blog Chris! Just curious are you a practicing scientologist? A good friend of mine in Pittsburgh used to handle Clarence Clemons financial affairs. If you knew anything at all about the poor guy, he did a lousy job in that department. Great guy – lousy businessman.


    • Hi Greg,
      I only knew Clarence slightly. I met him when we opened for him and a mutual friend was playing bass in his band. I was just so impressed at how much gentle love emanated from the guy. He was really tall and when I was talking to him he was wearing a big caftan and a lot of feathers in his ears for earrings, a really beautiful outfit that expressed who he was. I was sad because I had to rush home to a sick baby and could not stay for his set. He was so gracious about it and when I stuck my hand out to shake, it disappeared in his giant hand. What a lovely person and a great musician and songwriter. He is very much missed.
      Thanks for your comment.
      XO Chris

  3. I just finished reading 30 thing to know before 30, on life hack. I so disagree with 20. Not all people are sane. It sounds to me like what you have written is everyone with a mental illness is someone to stay away from. Way to plop people into a category. Not all people with mental illnesses are scary, dangerous, criminals, or people to stay away from. Actually, many, many of us are perfectly normal on the outside and mentally, due to medications. Others internalize there illness. They hate themselves, they beat themselves up in their mind, question everything they say, everything that they do. They are trapped in a mind of constant second guessing. These people need friends too. They are usually loyal, caring people because they know how wonderful it is to have a friend.

    • He Jennie, I am sorry if I gave you that impression. There is mental illness and mental illness. You and I can agree that there are many people who suffer from trauma related mental sequelae. This does not make them bad. I don’t know too many people who have not been traumatized and come out of it without effect. What has to be looked at is the way a person dramatizes their illness. There are some people who are sociopaths and dramatize it by tearing people down, injuring and even killing others. People with mental illness have generally been injured in some way below their level of consciousness. These people should be helped as long as they want help. The ones I advocate avoiding are people who are mentally ill and dramatize it by injuring those around them. These people should be avoided and if they are not willing to change, should be shunned for the protection of themselves and those around them. Sorry if it seem harsh but I have seen people chewed up and spit out by sociopaths. It is not pretty and those around them need protection. Does that clarify enough? If not, you can write back.

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