Musician since age 10

The Baltimore Sun

Chris Huntington

Chief executive officer and professional musician

Head-On Entertainment; the Crawdaddies

Salary --$58,000

Age --40

Years on the job --24

How he got started --Both parents are musicians, so Huntington went into music, as well. His first performance on stage came when he was about 10 years old, and he has been playing ever since. His first job as a professional musician came at age 16, when he signed a contract and went on tour with the Simpletons. He studied music at the University of New Hampshire and the Peabody Institute.

When he moved to Baltimore, Huntington began playing guitar and singing with the Crawdaddies, a local rock and zydeco band. He started Head-On Entertainment in 1997, originally to better represent and manage the Crawdaddies, and then transitioned into managing other bands, producing music and booking concerts.

Typical day --He spends about 40 hours a week running Head-On Entertainment and another 40 hours as a professional musician. Through the management company, he represents 10 bands. He also books concert venues, including outdoor summer series at the Avenue at White Marsh and Woodhall Wine Cellars. He works from his home office in Baltimore, which includes a recording studio, and while performing on the road he uses his laptop and cell phone to conduct business.

As a manager, Huntington is usually making phone calls, completing computer work, networking and attending production meetings. He also creates original music for movies and radio and television commercials. He is working on a television pilot to be seen on cable.

Work with the Crawdaddies finds him playing all over the country, especially during summer.

The good --"The fact I'm able to play music and make a living at it."

The bad --"The business end of it."

First big break --Toured as part of the production staff with the national band R.E.M. during the Life's Rich Pageant tour.

Most recently --Huntington just got back from touring for two weeks with national artist Kicksville. "Traveling is the fun part of it. I love to see different places and meet different people. It can be stressful, but mostly fun."

Naming his company Head-On --In 1987, Huntington fell asleep at the wheel of his car and was in a head-on collision at 65 mph. He punctured a lung, broke several ribs and had to be resuscitated in the ambulance. The accident left him in a coma for a month and $30,000 in debt with medical bills. He later moved to Baltimore, where he found steady work as a musician. Ten years later, he named his new company after the experience.

Philosophy on the job --"It has to come from the heart. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't feel like it was what I was really meant to do."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

Special to The Sun

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