Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous?

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See a preview of this Truly CA episode.

An upstate New York teenager heads to California to play rock and roll. Twenty years and twelve albums later he continues to play small clubs and is little known outside pockets of devoted fans around the world. Why do some artists garner mass adulation while others remain cult heroes?

Critically acclaimed for his musical talent and known for his charismatic and uncompromising personality, singer/songwriter and guitarist Chris von Sneidern (CVS) is a long-time fixture of San Francisco's independent music scene. CVS performed in bands in the '80s and '90s including local favorites: Flying Color, The Sneeches and John Wesley Harding's band, The Radical Gentlemen.

The film follows CVS for four years, capturing candid and funny interviews and engaging performances. The film doesn't shy away from the poignant questions of offstage life, as CVS confronts middle age and attempts to reconcile his current station with the grand visions he and others continue to hold for him.

In interviews and small club performances filmed in San Francisco, Seattle, New York and Montana, the film is complimented with personal conversations with fellow musicians (including John Wesley Harding and Peter Straus -- formerly of The Dwarves), music critics, producers and family. San Francisco Chronicle's Joel Selvin provides insights into the particular crisis faced by local musicians and artists brought about by the dot-com era, and its lasting effect on the local music scene.


At its core, Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous? is the story of the passionate search for artistic freedom and success, and the challenge posed by the inevitable disparity between our dreams and life's reality.