Charlie Naebeck – The Musician

Above photo: Charlie Naebeck rehearsing with Almost Famous. Photographer Unknown.

Charlie Naebeck started with a dream to be a rock musician at age 13 when his parents bought him his first Sears catalog guitar he played until the paint flaked off.

At age 16 his Grandmother helped him to get one of his first real guitars which was a Jackson PS2 Performer in fire red with a flame top pattern, and he picked up a small Peavey 10-watt amplifier on a family trip to Canada in Toronto from a music dealer that he eyed when his parents were talking about if they were going to see the Phantom of the Opera or not with every ounce of his allowance that he had in his pockets saved for the trip.

His Dad taught him music avidly at age 10 after getting laid off from work in the General Motors factories, so Charlie rode around with his Dad in his Dad’s old pickup truck helping on handyman jobs to support the family while cutting his teeth on the likes of Aerosmith “Pump”, AC/DC “Razor’s Edge”, and Guns N’ Roses “Appetite for Destruction”. When he got his first real guitar at age 16, he decided to take songwriting seriously. He produced a demo of 10 songs on a disc called “Things that Happen” which may have demo tapes on cassette floating around in various locations when he used to send them to friends that he met online in the early days of the internet around 1995 through the post office.

Above image: Original Charlie Naebeck demo disc of “Things that Happen” under his moniker “Riffraff”.

His demo would lead him to meet other local musicians in the Greater Detroit area and quickly drew him recognition by the age of 18 from a label called Lava that inked a development deal.

That deal did not last long as a little-known band by the name of Matchbox 20 was on the same label and the label dumped everyone but MB20 for their first album to skyrocket.

Charlie went through several attempts to form his band including reconnecting with former high school musicians to form HeLlBeNt which was a ska/punk experiment in a former friend’s basement that lasted for a week and jamming with a group of gentlemen that called themselves the Schizophrenic Children in his first attempts at playing metal music.

He would end up connecting with David Yu through a flyer posted on a bulletin board in Ann Arbor Michigan at Herb David Guitar Studio and the two decided to jam.

David brought fellow University of Michigan student Ben D. who played guitar and sang.

Charlie switched to bass as his third instrument at the time after already having experience in guitar, and piano/organ.

The trio formed the band Almost Famous in the early months of the year 2000 just months before Cameron Crow released the movie ironically by the same name about rock stars. The band played pop/punk and incorporated the sounds of singers/songwriters similar to the styles of reggae and Guster.

They would record and tour for approximately three years while producing an album called “The Upstairs Chronicles” which was recorded in Naebeck’s upstairs spare bedroom in his home where they rehearsed at the time.

Naebeck in white on camera right recording with Ben D. in the early 2000s at Solid Sound Studios in Ann Arbor, MI for overdub sessions.
Above image: Almost Famous “The Upstairs Chronicles” Listen on Spotify Now.

Due to an ever-revolving door of drummers, Ben D. and David decided to focus on finishing school at the University of Michigan, while Naebeck was left without a project and stuck in a day job doing technical support.

After much frustration, Charlie decided to write and record his debut solo album “Remembering the Moments” and release it in 2004. Ben D. and David Yu sat in as guest musicians at the release in a local coffee shop.

“Remembering the Moments” by Charlie Naebeck. Listen on Spotify Now.

Aside from a handful of coffee shops, Naebeck’s performance dreams were dashed again shortly thereafter when things failed to take off.

Naebeck hung up his music dreams professionally for many years while focusing on other creative endeavors like his photography and art until 2017 when he released his third photography book titled “Kinetic” to which he dropped an album by the same name everywhere that music is available. At this point Naebeck was looking to enhance the viewing of his photographs with the experience of the music, so there was no need to perform live, but he was already working for the likes of Live Nation and photographing real rock stars on New York’s Lower East Side nightly.

“Kinetic” by Charlie Naebeck. Listen on Spotify Now.

In 2022 after finding himself relocated in Colombia with his family, he released a single called “Take Seven” which was an instrumental guitar track that he had recorded in his apartment in NYC in Hell’s Kitchen which he was proud of. The track got some play time, but still never the stadium performances that Naebeck dreamed of.

“Take Seven (Live)” by Charlie Naebeck. Listen on Spotify Now.

Now, in 2024, Naebeck is revisiting music once again with the idea to have music enhance experiences and is writing instrumental pieces under the name Chillnoir M.

“Luminous Shadows Vol. 1” by Chillnoir M (Charlie). Listen on Spotify Now.

He has dropped two singles, and one new album called “Luminous Shadows Vol. 1” available on Spotify and where music is sold.

He has also gone from where he started with his Dad in his Dad’s old truck listening to his heroes to meeting them all and photographing them on the very stages that he dreamed of.