NEPA Scene Staff

Rock crooner Chris Isaak does a ‘Bad Bad Thing’ at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Aug. 16

Rock crooner Chris Isaak does a ‘Bad Bad Thing’ at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Aug. 16
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From a press release:

It was announced today that multi-platinum singer, songwriter, and actor Chris Isaak, known for hits like “Wicked Game,” “Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing,” and “Somebody’s Crying,” will perform at Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe on Thursday, Aug. 16 at 8 p.m.

Tickets, which are $43 for regular reserved seating and $53 for premium reserved seating, go on sale this Friday, June 1 at 10 a.m. and will be available at and all Ticketmaster outlets, the Penn’s Peak box office (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe), and Roadies Restaurant and Bar (325 Maury Rd., Jim Thorpe). Penn’s Peak box office and Roadies Restaurant ticket sales are walk-up only; no phone orders.

In the course of Chris Isaak’s career, he has released 12 extraordinary albums, been nominated for two Grammy Awards, acted in several motion pictures, and starred in his own critically acclaimed TV series. His legendary shows with his longtime band Silvertone have entertained 10s of thousands of people for over three decades. Even his hair has its own fan club.

This highly praised, platinum-selling artist has many different musical personas: the rockabilly rebel (“Dancin’,” “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing,” “Speak of the Devil”), the brokenhearted crooner (“Wicked Game,” “Somebody’s Crying”), and the breezy acoustic storyteller (“San Francisco Days,” “Two Hearts”). Noted director David Lynch used “Wicked Game,” a spare, moody ballad from Isaak’s third album, “Heart Shaped World,” in the film “Wild at Heart.” The song went Top 10 in 1991, and the video, a steamy Herb Ritts-directed clip featuring the singer rolling around on the beach with a topless Helena Christensen, made Isaak a star.

“‘Wicked Game’ really put us out there,” he says. “We were on the road at the time and got to ditch our van and get into a bus. For the first time in years, we got some sleep!”

Another significant hit was the south-of-the-border-flavored ballad “Somebody’s Crying” from 1995’s “Forever Blue” (both the single and album were nominated for Grammys in 1996).

“I wrote that song in a closet,” Isaak says. “I had just broken up with someone and hadn’t been out of the house much. A friend of mine was having a party and, as soon as I arrived, I realized I didn’t want to be there. The house had this big walk-in closet in the hallway, so I went in, shut the door, and sat down underneath the coats. There was a guitar leaning against the wall in the back. I started tuning it up and wrote ‘Somebody’s Crying.'”

Then there’s the swaggering, bluesy rocker “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing” (also from “Forever Blue”), which can be heard in Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film “Eyes Wide Shut” starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The director asked Kidman what music she wanted to rehearse the movie’s striptease scene to.

“Nicole had been listening to the track and brought it in to run through for her rehearsal,” Isaak recalls. “Stanley said, ‘I love it,’ and put it in the film. I owe Nicole Kidman a full body massage.”

For Isaak, first comes the song. And for “First Comes the Night,” his latest album released in 2015, the gifted musician and bandleader brought a bumper crop of strong and intriguing songs from which to choose.

“There was no mission for this album other than to follow the songs,” Isaak explains and, in terms of songwriting, the floodgates really opened this time. “My last release was ‘Beyond the Sun’ – my tribute to Sun Records with a lot of covers – so this time around I had a lot of new material that I was thrilled to record. My manager always tells me, ‘We need more songs.’ This time, even she realized she’s creating a songwriting monster and had to beg me to stop.”

“First Comes the Night” fittingly represents a number of firsts for Chris Isaak, who signed on to become a judge on “The X Factor Australia.” Of his television gig, Isaak explains, “I love Australia, and if you’re going to look for stars, I can’t think of a more beautiful place on Earth to start looking.” As for “First Comes the Night,” this is the first time that Isaak has written and recorded so much in Nashville, Tennessee, a change in location he explored partly upon the suggestion of his friend Stevie Nicks.

Isaak did more co-writing than usual, including working with some of the town’s talented songwriters. Before long, he fell in love with the tremendous musical energy of Nashville.

For Isaak, continuing to write and record is one of his best and least twisted ideas. “People who love music still get excited for a great new song or a performance that connects,” he explains. “Making this album wasn’t a contractual obligation – it was a thrill and a privilege to be making music with so many great people. I know the business is tough and some people say it’s not a time to make records now, but I’m hooked. I love music so much.”

Speaking about the longevity of his career, he leaves off, “You know, I’ve never tried to jump on a trend, and I’ve never had to jump off of one. I try to do what feels right for each song. So I never have to go, ‘Well, no more disco for me.'”