a double buchi

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Chris Case    a Double Buchi

Chris Case was born in New York and was raised in Bermuda and the Bahamas.  His family was in show business, traveling all over. They moved to the Bahamas when his father began working for Howard Hughes as manager of the Emerald Beach Hotel in Nassau.

The first-time Chris saw Bob Marley and the Wailers perform was at the Nassau Beach Hotel. They wore suits, had short hair, and were doing Smokey Robinson and the Temptations covers. Later, someone showed Chris a Bob Marley and the Wailers CD and they were all “dreaded out”. He could hardly believe it was the same group.

In the late 60s when the Bahamas gained independence, the politics changed immediately for non-Bahamians. With the changing political climate and potential of nationalization, Howard Hughes decided to pull out of the Bahamas. He took Chris’s father to Las Vegas to manage the Hughes hotel complex.

Chris was 14 when he started learning music. While in the Bahamas, he learned to play island music but when he moved west, he began playing more blues and rock. He went on the road for over ten years playing with various bands.  Chris worked his way back to the East Coast, playing in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida, and eventually landed in Daytona, living there between 1986-1990. He played guitar six nights a week, 3-4 sets each night at the Ocean Deck Lounge in the Windjammer Hotel. Playing with this band took its toll on Chris. He quit drinking in the early 90s. He said, “I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

While in Daytona, Case and Steve Mello played in the same band. Mello moved to Key West and would return to Daytona periodically to play. He and Steve became close friends and musical collaborators in Daytona. Case said Steve Mello was as close to a musical genius as possible. He referred to Steve as “A Musical Being”. Mello could play almost any instrument. He could start with an idea and write a song, with clever lyrics and great melody, in minutes that would take other musicians six months. He said it must have been frustrating for Steve playing with other musicians that were mere mortals.

Chris met his wife in 1990. She got a job in Key West to manage the Island Club and they moved in 1991. At that time, there were three main bands in town – The Survivors, Infinite Tolerance, and Bill Blue and the Nervous Guys. Soon after his arrival in Key West, Chris ran into Steve Mello on Duval Street. Steve invited Chris to play his first gig in Key West at the Islander Bar on Front Street (now Celtic Conch Public House).

Chris also loved playing the blues with Jersey Slim – he understood his “Jersey attitude”. For several years, they played in a band called Funky Beans. Jersey had his entire show scripted, tight, and it was great blues entertainment. The last time I spoke with Chris was when he called after Jersey Slim had passed in December 2022. We spoke at length about Jersey and his blues that Chris loved so much.

Chris and Caffeine Carl Wagoner were two of the best guitar players in town. They played together in a band called Double Buchi at Boston Billy’s Blues Club on Charles St. which was owned by Kevin Elliot. One memorable music event was a live recording of “Double Buchi” at Boston Billy’s. Dan Simpson recorded the show. The place went crazy. Carl and Chris had dueling guitar solos, playing all over the stage and on the bar. The more the crowd encouraged them, the wilder the music was played. On one song, Chris ended up leaning backwards until his head was in the bass drum. Chris and Carl thought they had blown the $3,000 recording of the show. Later at Dan’s studio, they were amazed how well the recording turned out.

Chris met JoAnne Michel in Key West when they were both in their 50s. They spent the next 22 years together, enjoying music and each other. Shortly after the COVID lockdown, they moved to Virginia in September 2020. Chris had suffered from Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) for years. On Thursday evening October 5, 2023, while lying on the sofa, he passed away peacefully. JoAnne found him and said it looked like he was taking a nap.

There will be a Celebration of Life for Chris Case at the Higgs Beach Pavilion on Saturday June 15, 2024 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM. Later that evening, there will be live music by his friends at Virgilio’s.


One Comment

  • Rachel Bhojwani says:

    I truly see where I get the other side of myself from. I really wish I would have found you sooner so that we could have had more time to meet. I am so very thankful for getting to talk with you the very few times I was so fortunate to. You have been living through me this whole entire time and I knew I got it from somewhere!!!….I truly am very thankful that I got a chance to speak with you and I am so very thankful for you and Jill and the rest of the family. Fly high my mysterious man…..You are shining bright. My brightest star!!!

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