Chris Dreja

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Chris Dreja
Yardbirds-1785.jpg
Chris Dreja (right) and Ben King, Basingstoke 2008
Background information
Birth nameChristopher Walenty Dreja
Born (1945-11-11) 11 November 1945 (age 73)
Surbiton, Surrey, England
GenresBlues rock, rock
InstrumentsGuitar, bass, keyboards
Years active1963–2013
Associated actsThe Yardbirds, Box of Frogs

Christopher Walenty Dreja[1] (born 11 November 1945 in Surbiton, Surrey)[2][3] is an English musician, best known as the rhythm guitarist and bassist for The Yardbirds.

Early life[edit]

His father was of Polish descent. Dreja was born in Surbiton, and raised in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey,[2] his brother Stefan Dreja chanced to meet Top Topham, and introduced Topham to his brother.[2] Topham and Dreja were influenced by folk/blues guitarist Gerry Lochran; he influenced them to switch from acoustic to electric guitars according to Greg Russo in his book The Yardbirds: The Ultimate Rave-Up, they made their debut with electric guitars at concert with Duster Bennett and a young Jimmy Page.[2]

The Yardbirds[edit]

Dreja and Topham became core members of the Metropolitan (or Metropolis) Blues Quartet. During the space of a year Keith Relf, Jim McCarty, and Paul Samwell-Smith joined the group which became the Yardbirds; the 15-year-old Topham left the group when the band went professional but Dreja continued on to play rhythm guitar with musicians such as Eric Clapton and later Jeff Beck.[2]

Dreja changed from rhythm to bass guitar following the departure of the original bassist, Paul Samwell-Smith. Dreja co-authored many Yardbirds group compositions, especially those on the album Roger the Engineer.[2]

After the group broke up, Page offered Dreja the position of bassist in a new band he was forming (later to become Led Zeppelin).[citation needed] Dreja declined in order to pursue a profession in photography, he photographed Led Zeppelin for the back cover of their debut album.[2]

Dreja played in the Yardbirds spin-off band Box of Frogs in the 1980s, and had been part of the Yardbirds' reformation from 1992 to 2013.

In 2002, The Yardbirds re-emerged and a new album, Birdland, was released.[2]

Dreja suffered a series of strokes in 2012/2013 and had not performed with The Yardbirds since mid-2012. In July 2013 it was announced that he had officially left the band for medical reasons and was replaced by original lead guitarist Top Topham.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://repertoire.bmi.com/Catalog.aspx?detail=writerid&page=1&fromrow=1&torow=25&keyid=95339&subid=0
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Unterberger, Richie (11 November 1945). "biography by Richie Unterberger & Bruce Eder". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  3. ^ http://search.findmypast.co.uk/results/world-records/england-and-wales-births-1837-2006?firstname=christopher%20&lastname=dreja
  4. ^ "Topham Replaces Dreja in Yardbirds | Vintage Guitar® magazine". Vintageguitar.com. 10 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.