Christian Adams (b. 1968, Chicago, IL) is an American author and musician, and currently the sole proprietor of Black Sunshine Media. After periods of time in Chicago, San Francisco, and Taipei, Taiwan, Adams now lives in Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.
An award-winning writer, editor, songwriter, composer, engineer, producer and instrumentalist, Adams has been active in the arts since an early age. He began playing drums at age seven, performing in jazz, concert and marching bands. He began teaching himself guitar and piano at the age of 12.
In the early 1980s, Adams wrote a youth-oriented column in his local newspaper, Darien Progress (IL); he later wrote the music section of his high school newspaper. He briefly attended a state college before dropping out to pursue writing and music.
Over the course of three decades (1985-2015), Adams formed a series of bands in Chicago and San Francisco (Brain Kiss, Whitey, Golden Tones, Henry Miller Sextet, Aztec Hearts, and most recently, Prominent Frogmen), released a number of recordings (see Discography). Each group received mixed reception from independent music scenes.
Adams is proficient on guitar, bass, keyboards and drums. He received significant training in music theory, but is mainly self-taught.
Throughout the 1990s, Adams wrote music-related articles, interviews and reviews for several Chicago publications, including Tail Spins, Subnation, and Velocity Magazine. In 1997, Adams withdrew from writing about music to focus his attention on making music in Golden Tones, a semi-legendary progressive art rock trio, whose lone recording, a two-disc quasi-concept album, The Portable Thruster and Hyperspace Companion Kit (1999; out of print) became a minor indie cult classic.
In early 1999, Adams left Chicago for San Francisco, and resumed his education. He received a B.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University in 2003. He returned to writing sporadically – hosting a personal weblog and publishing reviews and articles in a number of local and regional magazines (usually under a pseudonym).
In 2008, Adams relocated to Taipei, Taiwan, where he served as the head writer and editor of Learnbook Taiwan, an educational publishing company, until December 2018. Following an amicable split from Learnbook, Adams returned to full-time freelance writing. His work has been featured by Listen & Learn USA, Travel in Taiwan Magazine, and Guitar Control (Argentina).
Adams’ first work of non-fiction, The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin, was published by International Publications Media Group: New York, in 2012. He also publishes his own work on Black Sunshine Media. He has several works-in-progress, including a short story collection, A Musical Education: Stories in the Key Of All Right, and a travel memoir, That’s a Lot of Climbing to See a Fucking Statue.
WORK AND LIFE EXPERIENCE
- During the course of his life, Adams has pursued several careers outside of music, and worked a litany of jobs including but not limited to:
Barback, barista, bartender, busboy, carpenter’s apprentice, delivery driver, doorman, dishwasher, entertainer, ESL teacher (Taiwan, 2008), file clerk, food runner, garde manger, general construction laborer, general manager of small Italian bistro (S.F., 2007), grocery clerk, guitar teacher, fry cook, hardware salesman, housesitter, janitor, landscaper, landscape designer, maintenance man, office temp, manager of a coffee shop, parking lot attendant, personal assistant, phone clerk (Chicago Board of Trade), prep cook, publisher’s intern, retail clerk, runner (Commodities Trading Floor, CBOT), quasi-sommelier, sound engineer, substitute high school English teacher (Half Moon Bay, CA, 2003), telemarketer/recruiter, tour guide, valet, waiter, and last but not least, window washer.
Adams has traveled extensively throughout North America and South East Asia. He speaks passable Mandarin Chinese and can almost hold a conversation in Spanish.
After 40-plus years as a “confirmed bachelor,” Adams married Janice (Nilo) Adams on March 5, 2011. They have a son: Henry Gabriel (b. 2012). The family resides in Makati City, Philippines. As a consequence of his publishing career, Adams commutes between Taipei and Metro Manila.
SELECTED LIST OF PUBLISHED WORKS AND WRITING CREDITS
The Lazy Bastard Guide to Mandarin, 2012, International Publications Media Group: New York (ISBN: 9781625399519; ASIN: B00AAJS2JC) Ebook, print on demand; 2nd edition paperback due Summer 2014
Subtitled: An Abridged Corpse of Axioms, Vocabulary, and Their Purported Meanings, this irreverent take on language in the modern age is based on the author’s experience “learning” Mandarin Chinese by way of total immersion. Loosely satirizing the context and structure of a pocket-sized phrase book, Adams describes a world in which a firm grasp of the lingua franca is not only unnecessary – it’s counter-productive.
- ESL Materials
Numerous TOEIC, TOEFL GRE, SAT, GEPT Model Tests, 2008-present
Illustrated Stories for Children
Buddy Bright, 2010 (ISBN: 9789862310403
Conrad Careless, 2010 (ISBN: 97898623105400
Glenda Glutton, 2010 (ISBN: 9789862310533)
Popular works on Black Sunshine Media
- Essays, Articles and Interviews
“The Accidental Diarist,” 2012
“Robert Plant Didn’t Ruin For Anybody,” 2012; revision 2016
Only in Taiwan Series, 2012-present
Petrology Series, 2012-present
- Recent Articles on Black Sunshine Media
“100 Greatest Rock Songs of All-Time…More or Less“, February 4, 2015
“BSM Joints: Frank ‘n Hank – Low Budget Libations in Koreatown”, June 22, 2014
“The Takeaway Monday Morning Mood Reset: Bill Burr and the Philadelphia Incident” [NSFW], June 16, 2014
“The Johnny Cash Show’s Top 20+ Guest Performances”, May 15, 2014
Albums and EPs
Brain Kiss (self-titled EP), 1991, Big Jaw Records
Brain Kiss, Ride in Style, 1993; unreleased
Brain Kiss, (S/T), 1994, Crank Records Chicago
Whitey, How You Do, 1995, Crank Records Chicago
Golden Tones, The Portable Thruster and Hyperspace Companion Kit, 1998, Capricorn Fetish (reissued 2013, Black Sunshine Media)
Henry Miller Sextet, Start the Insanity Now, 1999, The Sweet Science
Henry Miller Sextet, II, 2000, Locker Beef Records
Henry Miller Sextet, Metal Never Made a Friend, 2002, Locker Beef Records
Henry Miller Sextet, Achieve Through Failure, 2004, Locker Beef Records
Henry Miller Sextet, Swan Song EP, 2006; reissued 2014, Black Sunshine Media
Aztec Hearts, Dying For You to Hear This, 2005, Black Sunshine Media
Aztec Hearts, Bigger Brighter Faster Worse, 2009, Black Sunshine Media
Aztec Hearts, In the Spirit of Almost, 2014, Black Sunshine Media
Prominent Frogmen, Victory is Ours Forever, 2016, Black Sunshine Media
Prominent Frogmen, Motorcycle Stunts Gone Horribly Wrong, 2016, Black Sunshine Media
7” Singles and Compilations
Brain Kiss, “Any Sucker b/w/ “Retrograde”, 1992, Big Jaw Records
Brain Kiss, “Any Sucker”, 1993, March Records
Brain Kiss, “Feeding the Birds Full-Time”, 1993, Q101 compilation
Brain Kiss, “Sincerity”, 1994, Q101 compilation
Whitey, “High-Speed Fly-By” b/w “James Jordan”, 1995, Crank Records Chicago
Golden Tones, “Rise Up”, 1998, Spin College Radio Sampler