Auckland’s Chris Cope has few regrets about turning his back on the high life with one of New Zealand’s top chart bands.
As guitarist with rockers eight, he enjoyed a roller-coaster ride that spawned a gold-selling album Moving and the 2004 hit single No Way To Decide.
Cope played to thousands of fans with the group at the Big Day Out festival and supported international music heavyweights such as Creed and Incubus.
He quit in 2005 to concentrate on his own music.
And the Queenstown-bound singer-songwriter says he’s never been happier.
“Eight did really well in NZ and I suppose we were expected to go on to have success overseas,” Cope says.
“At times, I do miss the camaraderie we had as a band and because it wasn’t my group, all I really had to do was turn up, plug in my guitar and enjoy myself.
“But at the back of my mind I always knew I’d go out on my own and eventually I just left.”
While plotting a solo career, Cope spent two years living and working in the United Kingdom.
He shifted to London after landing a dream job as personal assistant to one of his old mates, Kiwi pop star Daniel Bedingfield, famous for chart-topping worldwide hits like Gotta Get Thru This and If You’re Not The One.
“Daniel used to be fan of eight and when I left the band he asked if I’d like to help him out,” Cope says.
“I was to make sure he got to where he was supposed to be, deal with his management and accountants and drive him around both in the UK and America.
“I also used to act as a bit of a minder for him when he’d jump into the crowd at his gigs – basically, I had to make sure he got back to the stage in one piece.
“He’s a pretty full-on guy,” Cope says.
Since shifting back to Auckland two years ago, Cope has been busy with his own music.
His 2009 debut EP The Way It Looks was well-received by nationwide radio and he plans a new single later this year.
In Queenstown for two solo shows at the Dux this weekend, Cope will also appear with popular resort muso Marc Hamilton at Pub on Wharf tonight.
“Marc and I go back a bit,” Cope says.
“While I’m here we also aim to do some writing together.”