Isto (Lumber-Jack Isto), AKA: Chris White: Web-Videos

While searching around the internet, scouting for interesting spots to visit in New York City, I came across a wooly mammoth of a man with a penchant for guitar and a knack for the absurd. His stark comic stylings remind me so much of a few of our PaisleyMembers that I decided he must be included within the binary confines of our blog.

Isto, AKA Christopher White (a popular name it seems), was at one point a blogger, subway busker, nerdy high school student, and chronic lyric misinterpreter. Musing upon one particular The Beach Boys hit, Isto writes:

When I heard God Only Knows for the first time, I thought the lyrics to part of it were “You never deet’n doo dah dit; I’ll make you so sure about it” and I thought those lrics were brilliant, and I was glad to hear musicians throwing that sort of nonsense into their songs.

Despite maturing enough to find the true meanings behind his favorite songs, Isto remains enamored by music, philosophy, and bananas. Today he is a full-time musician and teacher to those who request his tutelage. After paging through his Bandcamp site, devoted mainly to older work (03-08), I’m perplexed that someone could craft so many beautifully intricate yet comically trite “novelty” songs. Isto is, at once, the melding of Rafi, They Might Be Giants, Dr. Gasp, and Animal from The Muppet Show. He obsessively and articulately works out each minute musical influence throughout his entire life on his website, citing books, teachers, and songs, even at one point referencing wikipedia’s “Finger” entry. Clearly his philosophy of attempting to “extract knowledge and wisdom from every mind [he meets]” has aided his deeply inquisitive nature, while his ad hoc musical manifests fall closer to the opinion that “college is great, but libraries are free”.

Isto has piles and piles of talent. More than that though, he has an immense love for creating music, and it is becoming clearer to me (as I listen to/read more of his work) that he seems to just be in love with everything. Below are a few of the notes he has on his website, buried off the main page, the first of which those of us at the PaisleyBlog agree with wholeheartedly:

It seems to me that there are two different kinds of musical educations one can have: A) the kind in which one learns to look down on and dislike more and more kinds of music, and have more “refined” taste, and B) the kind in which one learns to like more and more kinds of music until one eventually loves everything, and learns from everything one encounters. I think that the latter path is definitely preferable to the former, and I like to think that I am on in, thanks in no small part to all the great teachers I have had. 

How lucky you are to be alive to see color, and to hear music, and to live and love and to laugh and to cry, and feel ecstasy and pain, and to grow and to learn, and to eat and smell flowers and to watch sunsets and to write poems and to run marathons…  

Jump up and down and thank your feet and legs and muscles and parents, and grandparents, and ancestors and everything that has happened throughout history that allows you the pleasure of jumping up and down. Life is a celebration. Talk to the trees, worship the wind. Build a sandcastle to the moon.

So yes, dear readers, everyone on earth who has a beard is indeed a hippie. I highly recommend poking around his websites and vast youtube video collections.

And now you know.


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2 thoughts on “Isto (Lumber-Jack Isto), AKA: Chris White: Web-Videos

  1. I should have never shaved my beard… 🙁

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  2. “The Happy Song” – Perhaps one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long-long while.

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