How many aspiring musicians launch a musical career at age eight by having the legendary B.B. King invite them on stage at a sold out concert in Cleveland, drape the strap of his beloved, world-famous “Lucille” over the little boy’s head and shoulders, and let the awe-struck, starry-eyed lad start jamming with the Bobby Blue Bland? One: Chad Ely – a child prodigy who began picking, plucking, and playing his parents’ guitars when he was 5 years old. Inspired, he says, when he was still in the womb and his mom pressed her guitar against her belly and strummed the weeks and months away until baby Chad finally arrived.
In the decades since, Chad has enjoyed a whirlwind musical career that included performing, touring, writing, collaborating, teaching,recording, and producing. He “turned pro” at 14, playing lead guitar for locally popular bands such as Mean Idea, Fortunate Sons, and, later, Petie Wheatstroh. During those teen years, he also taught music at the Fine Arts School in Conneaut, Ohio, and – get a grip on your hard drive! -- taught Computer Technology, Basic Programming Language and Hexi-decimal Programming Language at Back-to-Basics School in nearby Madison. The teaching ended as Petie Wheatstroh began to take off when Chad was in his early 20’s. He credits his success with the band to styles and techniques he earlier learned from Glenn Schwartz, an original member of the James Gang. Among Schwartz’s other famous students: Joe Walsh. Playing a mix of cover songs and originals, Petie Wheatstroh mainly toured the East Coast from Cleveland to Florida, where the band had a surprisingly large and loyal fan base. They recorded five studio albums and one live album which Chad, a recording engineer, mixed and produced himself before the band ended its career in 2000.
During those same years, he helped form Dok Rok Records, a recording studio in Euclid, Ohio, where he produced more than 300 albums, working with such artists as Collin Dussault, The Emperors of Swing, and his personal favorite and hero, the late Robert Lockwood Jr. He was also expanding his interests and expertise by branching out into graphics, photography, and videography, and began producing DVD’s, television programming, and webcasts.
Chad’s career took a dramatic turn in 2002 when his creative skills caught the attention of consumer crusader Ralph Nader who hired Chad to handle videography and multimedia for his various advocacy efforts. About a year later, Chad was hired by Democratic Presidential candidate and then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich as National Director of Multimedia, traveling the country, documenting the campaign, producing videos, and getting to meet and get to know many of his own musical favorites and Hollywood stars, including Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Rait, and, his first “mentor,” B.B. King. When Kucinich ended his campaign in 2004, Chad was immediately retained for a similar position by the Democratic Presidential nominee, then-U.S. Sen. John Kerry, who currently serves as the U.S. Secretary of State. The walls in Chad’s home, his office, and his studio are plastered with photos of him with the elite of the entertainment and political worlds.
Throughout that political detour and a continuing career as head of Ely Multimedia, though, he never lost his love for music and would jam with friends and local bands whenever he had the time.
Early in 2013, after re-uniting with long-time friend Jimmy Maguire, the pair decided to launch a new musical venture: Chad Ely and The Explosion, a ten-piece band with a horn section and four vocalists, performing mostly original songs with music and lyrics by Jimmy in collaboration with Chad. Back on the stage again, Chad brings a raw, sometimes frenetic, and always wildly entertaining energy to the group’s performances.
Website design, video production, webcasts, social networking, television and radio commercials, documentaries, animations and graphics and musical theming, corporate branding, data base and email management, marketing outreach, sales, and shopping carts on the World Wide Web..
It's not rocket science! Or is it?
If you're not sure, you might want to get in touch with Chad Ely.
He's seen it all - from the studios of Hollywood to the halls of Congress. Done it all - videographer, engineer, editor, executive producer, graphic designer, photographer, website developer and webmaster, stage manager, composer, and recording artist. Along the way, he even invented and patented cutting edge technologies and techniques so widely in use today. He's also made a lot of friends in the dizzying circles of famous celebrities, national political figures, and corporate leaders; but his actual client list is as exclusive as it is confidential.
Chad calls himself a Multimedia Director. Those who have had the rare good fortune to work with him would be more inclined to use the word Wizard.
Early on, he was something of a musical child prodigy, performing on stage at age eight with BB King and other Blues legends. In high school, his intense interest in emerging computer technologies launched him on path that led to certification to teach the subject at a local school when he was only sixteen.
Music, however, remained a passion and a livelihood. And, he began branching out and building on that stage by working with other musical artists, some in his own recording studio, to produce their work, design graphics, do photography, and produce videos. In 1998, he formed Dok Rok, Inc. and began attracting media attention outside the music industry as he produced hundreds of albums, as well as TV programs and Internet webcasts. In 2001, Chad stepped away from Dok Rok and stepped up to a whole new level by establishing ELY MULTIMEDIA.
Among his first major clients: Ralph Nader, for whom he produced promotional videos and DVD's on issues and matters of national interest and importance.
Then, in 2003, he met a rising star on the national political scene, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who was considering a run for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Inspired by the Congressman's political message and by the opportunity to apply his talents to a stage with a national and international audience, he joined the campaign, and in 2004, he was named National Director of Multimedia for the Kucinich Presidential campaign.
In that position, Chad was part of the traveling entourage that accompanied the candidate from town to town and event to event all across the country. Sometimes alone, sometimes with videographers and producers working under his direction, Chad was responsible for filming, editing, mixing, and providing video and audio coverage of the campaign to TV and radio networks and local stations from coast to coast, culminating with extensive work at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004.
It was during that Presidential campaign that Chad considerably widened his circle of contacts to include national political leaders and entertainment industry celebrities.
It was also during that campaign that technological inspiration struck again: While in a small twin-engine prop plane flying over New Mexico, he was mulling over the technical and logistical challenges - sometimes nightmares of producing and distributing video footage on a day to day, sometimes hour to hour basis, to news-hungry broadcast outlets that might not have the resources of the major news networks to staff political campaigns.
With the germ of an idea, and the sophisticated technical and production background to make it grow, Chad devised a new Internet-based technology that could transmit broadcast-quality video directly into the production and editing studios of television stations and networks anywhere, anytime, without the laborious, expensive, and time-consuming process of first producing and then shipping videotapes. It was the beginning of a new era in video communication, and the beginning of a new venture - Digital Newsreel.
He took a hiatus from the company in 2007 to re-join Congressman Kucinich in his second Presidential campaign, where he directed even more ambitious multimedia projects than in the 2004 effort: Live webcasts of candidate appearances and important public forums at relatively remote locales where major news organizations chose not to travel. A weekly video newscast, produced under his direction, providing in depth coverage of the campaign and available to millions of people on the campaign's website.
Major redesigns of the campaign website for the purposes of functionality, navigation, appearance, and content management. Innovative application and modification of available technologies to provide up-to-the-minute news, videos, and information on the campaign website. A major initiative to utilize and capitalize on Internet-based social networks and to take advantage of every information-propagation system from RSS feeds and ning to YouTube. And, he played a crucial role in customizing and applying all of those systems and technologies to create a national fundraising apparatus that set records for financial support.
As an innovator, as a hands-on director and manager, as a consultant and advisor to public and private sector clients, and as an intensely solution-oriented professional who relishes challenges, Chad Ely continues to set new standards in a field -- and a world -- that is being reshaped every hour of every day.
His is an ever-evolving way of looking at things, and a relentlessly applied commitment to make those things work and to get the job done. And those who have become part of the Ely Multimedia Group share the same commitment.
Here's Chad ... and a couple more of the people he's worked with.
My Most Unforgettable Character
I grew up in a household which subscribed to the Readers Digest. It was my father’s reading material of choice for his “morning constitutional.” My favorite feature was a column titled “My Most Unforgettable Character“, located towards the back of the magazine. The series presented reader-submitted pen portraits of the good and the odd, largely unknown or unsung individuals who had left a lasting impression. If I had to choose, I would say that my most unforgettable character is Chad Ely.
Who else do I know who has played guitar onstage with B. B. King, produced hundreds of albums, websites and videos for politicians, rock stars, show biz celebrities, and corporate leaders, and started his own custom guitar company? He’s worked on three presidential campaigns, holds the patent on ground-breaking Internet technology, and saved the United Nations from being hacked. He once built a computer that runs while totally submerged in vegetable oil, on half the electricity and at twice the speed as a regular computer. Unbelievable but true - and written up in Mother Jones Magazine! And that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
The walls of his office are adorned with photos of his famous clients, usually shaking his hand or standing with their arm around him, everyone smiling broadly. There he is with Steven Tyler, B. B. King, Melissa Etheridge, Michael Douglas, Janeane Garofalo, Joaquin Phoenix, Danny Glover, Deirdre Hall, movie producer James Cromwell, talk show hosts Phil Donahue and Jerry Springer, Dennis Kucinich, John Glenn, Senator Sherrod Brown, and a host of others. And over in the corner, hangs a framed letter of thanks and appreciation for his excellent work from none other than the United Nations.
Sean Penn once cooked him a steak dinner. He hung out with Willie Nelson for awhile, producing the first video and website for Willie’s bio-fuel company, Bio Willie. His work on this venture prompted the Red-headed Stranger to ask Chad for his autograph! He spent a day at Shirley MacLaine’s house in New Mexico, discussing her interest in a business partnership. After reviewing Chad’s architecture for Digital Newsreel (for which he holds the patent), Roger Ales, CEO of Fox News, told him as they stood in his Times Square office, “Someday I’ll be working for you!”
Chad is an imposing figure, standing 6 foot three and weighing in at around 250 pounds. He is loud, boisterous, tells a great story and has the best belly laugh I ever heard. His rough exterior hides a sentimental heart, and his slow and deliberate demeanor belies a lightning-quick mind that is razor sharp. The tales he tells are unbelievable, but they all turn out to be true. He is humble, yet self-promoting at the same time. He is somewhat of a conundrum, an enigma.
Chad acquired his affinity for music naturally. Growing up, music was a part of daily life in the Ely household. His maternal grandmother was a ragtime piano player. His mother played acoustic guitar and his dad was lead guitarist in a series of blues bands. He started playing guitar at the age of five. A few years later, he attended a B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland concert with his family, sitting right down front. The two legendary blues men couldn’t help but notice little eight-year old Chad in the audience playing air guitar with much panache and pulled him onstage for a duet.
Years later, a client wanted Chad to create their website, an offer he turned down as he was busy with other projects. The client persisted, offering him anything he wanted to do the job, and Chad set his price at one of B.B. King’s priceless guitars, autographed for his dad, thinking it was a bargain that could not possibly be met. About a month later, an authentic arch backed Super Lucille with a diamond dust job was delivered to the door, autographed by the King of Blues himself, and he found himself in the employ of the American Monetary Institute.
Chad followed his rock and roll dreams as a young man, and then branched out into recording and multimedia. He worked closely over a period of ten years with Robert Lockwood Jr., the blues icon from Cleveland who notoriously did not like “white boys in suits.” Although it took awhile to win him over, the two developed a close bond. Chad recorded him, created his website, and not long before his death, Lockwood’s wife brought her husband’s unpublished works to him for safe-keeping. Chad went one step better, mixing and mastering the entire repertoire, and assembling his life story for the Library of Congress. Lockwood passed in 2006 at the age of 91, and at his funeral, Chad presented his widow Mary with her husband’s legacy, preserved for posterity in the Congressional Record of the United States.
Chad’s involvement in the presidential campaigns of Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, and John Kerry took him to every major city in the United States, rubbing elbows with a lot of famous people along the way. His most memorable moment of working with Kucinich took place during the 2008 campaign, when he was in charge of two offices in downtown Cleveland. It was hard building morale for the candidate’s second run for president, after his concession to John Kerry the first time around in 2004. After all, it was a little like David taking on Goliath.
The task of creating passion for the project among the supporters fell to Chad, who rose to the occasion with a unique approach. He put on a disc of “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra and cranked the volume. Then he jumped up on his desk and started dancing. Next to follow suit was Kucinich’s wife Elizabeth, a gorgeous redhead from England, and within minutes the entire office of about thirty people were on their feet, dancing on their desks to ELO. That got the ball rolling!
Chad loves a challenge, and when confronted with a problem, he always finds a way to get the job done. While on the campaign trail with Kucinich, he was faced with the logistical nightmare of distributing video footage to news-hungry broadcast outlets on a day-to-day basis. While flying over New Mexico in a twin-engine prop plane, he pondered the issues at hand, and the seed of an idea was born, leading to the development of innovative technology capable of transferring editable footage to networks and affiliates via the internet - a patent he shares with Kucinich.
When the United Nations was hacked, and three different IT teams from around the world were unsuccessful at fixing the problem, a meeting was called in New York City. In attendance was a former co-worker of Chad’s now employed by the U.N. who had a sudden brainstorm – she said, “You know, I once worked with this guy …… he might just be the one who could help us out.” She gave Chad a call at his home in Ohio. He asked for 24 hours to contemplate the situation and after thinking on it overnight, he came up with a solution the very next day. The U.N. showed their appreciation with a generous stipend and a certificate of appreciation, and it was the beginning of a long and ongoing professional relationship.
Chad is modest about the pro bono work he has done – but the list is long. He created websites for Purple Hearts Homes, a public charity comprised of union workers who donate their time to build homes for disabled vets, and for Roc 4 Vets, an organization which sponsors concerts to raise money for suicide prevention among our veterans. Another worthy cause he contributes his skills to is the American Association of Caregiving Youth, a group dedicated to finding homes for displaced youth in Florida. His only criteria for taking on a client: “I can tell you one thing – I only work for the good guys. I’ve never worked for a bad guy!”
This unlikely hero may have an unconventional way of doing business, but it has gained him the respect and trust of some pretty high rollers. His uncanny ability to “think outside the box” has left a lasting impression on a slew of satisfied customers and colleagues, from the halls of government to the glitz of Hollywood to the corporate offices of NYC.
Chad is well aware that his larger-than-life persona has a tendency to leave some folks scratching their head, not knowing just what to make of him. Once during the Dennis Kucinich presidential campaign, his good friend and colleague, Andy Juniewicz, (while pleading his case to a panel of political big-wigs who were put off by his gregarious personality) described him as “crudely eccentric”. That about says it all – and Chad takes it as the supreme compliment!
He calls himself a multimedia director, but you can’t really put a label on Chad Ely. He’s the man of many hats – he looks like a classic rock and roller, plays guitar like he is channeling God, and has a mind like a steel trap when it comes to computer technology. In his words: “Most people think I’m a radical left-winger, but there is a little bit of everybody in me“.
This small town guy from Madison, Ohio has accomplished things most of us can only dream of. He’s led a somewhat charmed life, with a heavy dose of serendipity thrown in. He attributes his success to more than just hard work and dedication. His mother, Annice, was part Cherokee Indian, and Chad holds dear the belief that the hand of fate can be guided by the spirit world – our loved ones in the afterlife putting us in the right place at the right time.
It’s been an extraordinary journey. In the words of the Grateful Dead: “It’s been a long, strange trip”, and it ain’t over yet!
This is the story of a man who has accomplished what many of us could only imagine. He says, he's just been lucky. If you are fortunate to know him, you will soon realize, if you haven't already, that what he posesses is more than just luck; what he posesses is a true gift. Many of you know him, or at least know of him. What you don't know is his story. A story that needs to be told for you, for him, for his angelic wife and beautiful daughters, and the rest of his family.
Chad Emery Ely was born in Lake East Hospital on June 9, 1970. The proud parents, Annice and Bill, brought their first born home to Madison, Ohio. It was there they raised Chad and his three younger sisters - April, Daisy and Candy. Music was always a part of their lives. Annice was a flamenco guitarist and Bill, played lead guitar. Chad was five years old when he started to play guitar. He says, "It actually started when I was still in the belly. My mamma would lay the guitar on her belly and play for me. My dad has always loved the blues; he later played in the band Pig Iron.
During the seventies, his Aunt Elaine worked for a company that provided refreshments for the Front Row Theater. When Chad was eight years old, she was able to get tickets for B.B. King & Bobby Blue Bland. As the Ely family sat in the audience, Bland noticed Chad motioning the guitar licks, "playing" along with the two blues legends. Bobby brought the young boy on stage and B.B. King placed his guitar over top of him with the strap still around King's back, and let Chad play. There he was, this 8- year-old boy from Madison, Ohio playing Lucille for a sold out crowd, and King could see that Chad "felt it"! Chad says, "I can still feel that moment, it was just magical."
He began his education in the local public school system and stayed until his I.Q. was tested in the ninth grade. His score was one of the highest ever in the school system. The school board had to step in to make sure this prodigy had what he needed to continue his education properly. Board President, Bob Gardner hired Dr. Louis Morris, WWII aircraft designer to tutor Chad as he finished high school. Chad graduated with a 4.0 GPA.
Chad became a professional musician at the age of 14, later playing lead guitar with Mean Idea, The Fortunate Sons, and Petie Wheatstroh. During this time he also taught music at the Fine Arts School in Conneaut. At age 16, he was teaching Computer Technology, Basic Programming Language and Hexidecimal Programming Language at Back to Basics School in Madison. (These classes were not offered in colleges at that time.) The teaching ended as Petie Wheatstroh took off. Playing a mix of cover songs and originals, the band mainly toured the east coast from Cleveland to Florida, with extensive tours in Florida where they had a notably larger fan base. Their most popular song was co-written by Chad and Hank Hess of the Elm St. Blues Band. The band ended their career together after recording 5 studio albums and 1 live album, Chad, also being a recording engineer, mixed and produced the albums himself. He gave up performing professionally in 2002, but continued with audio engineer, Dale Eden at Dok Rok Records in Euclid. Incidentally, the name Dok Rok had nothing to do with rock-n-roll. Dale was nicknamed Doc Sheet Rock because he was known as the best drywaller in Cleveland. During his time at the studio, Chad personally produced over 300 albums, working for such artists as Colin Dussault, The Emperors of Swing, and his personal favorite, Robert Lockwood Jr.
One evening within the music era of his life, Chad, while stopped at a BP station Mentor met Debbie Fuerst. He asked her for a date, and the two enjoyed an evening together the next night at Gatsby's. The very next day he proposed marriage - and she accepted! "It was like the hand of God came down and gave her to me." and he adds, "But I think she got the short end of the stick."
Debbie and Chad married on Oct. 22, 1999. They honeymooned in Florida. The first night, they had dinner in the hotel restaurant as a band played. Much to their surprise, the band began to play one of Chad's songs. As they played "Three Long Day's" Chad approached the stage. The lead vocalist leaned over and said "This ain't no jam man!" but the lead player recognized him, immediatley invited him up and handed him a guitar. "It was just crazy, I thought for sure it was a set-up, Debbie, or one of my friends put 'em up to it, but no. Everyone swears no."
Chad continued in the production business for a few more years. Then tragedy struck the family as his mother fought cancer, then lost her battle in 2002. "Three days after my mamma died, everything changed for me." "Now my mamma was a special lady, and I feel it was her that helped along, I firmly believe she was guiding me."
Three days after she died, his friend Stutz Bearcat invited him to attend a Ralph Nader speach at Bowling Green. They went to hand out leaflets and party a bit. Chad took his video camera for fun, hoping to get footage of some silly college antics. Just before the speech was to begin, someone sabotaged the sound system. The scramble was on to get audio feed to the TV stations . Chad was able to save the day. His camera was the only one with its own microphone. The crew asked for his frequency and they were able to feed Chad's audio to the stations. Democracy Rising then hired Chad as Ralph Nader's personal videographer. He traveled all over with Nader; then in 2003 while doing a video in Washington D.C., word was out that Dennis Kucinich needed someone to fly to Cleveland to tape him. Chad said, "Well, I'm going to Cleveland.", and he got the job. Again with Stutz, they went back to Cleveland - and the same thing happened! The PA system at Cleveland City Hall went out. And again, being the only one with good audio, Chad saves the day! After that, the Kucinich team wanted to hire him. Campaign Manager, Dot Maver appointed him National Director of Media.Chad handled all media output to networks and affiliates for the 2004 campaign.
After Dennis Kucinich conceded candidacy to John Kerry, a floor was cleared in Detroit's Cobo Hall for a meeting between Kucinich, Kerry, Ely and Andy Juniewicz, National Communications Director/ Sr. Policy Advisory. One of Kucinich's stipulations was that Kerry hire Chad. Then Chad did video for Kerry's campaign until the end. Now, the ball was really rolling forward in politics, as well as Chad trying to have a ball with the Secret Service with his boisterous personality. However, "Let me tell you, they (Secret Service) have no sense of humor, nor do the pilots. These guys are ALL business!", said Ely.
Once, while on tour with Kucinich, there was a problem getting media to the networks. One day, while flying over New Mexico in a Twin Engine Turbo Prep plane, Chad came up with the idea of sending B-roll to networks and affiliates via FTP (file transfer protocol). This idea set up the launch of Digital Newsreel, to make available editable footage to the networks via FTP. To do sync satellite footage to B-roll was available in 2004 at about $500 per 15 minutes. With Chad's method it could be done for about $50. Distribution by his method was going strong with work from such clients as The NY Mets, WKYC, NBC affiliates, Winterhaven, The Cleveland Auto Show, Link TV and HBO Films when they needed a documentary from England transferred to New York City for editing. Everything was haulted when Dennis Kucinich decided to run again in 2007, and it was back to the campaign trail.
Alright, let's catch up. Chad is now 37 years old. He has played guitar for a sold out crowd with B.B. King, taught music, taught computer technology, was a professional musician, production engineer, videographer, worked on 3 Presidential campaigns, invented Digital Newsreel, and became a husband and father. Wow! Not bad for a kid from Madison Ohio.
Chad the inventor, assisted the Kucinich camp in 2002 with energy efficient computers. Chad was among the first in the world to build a computer totally submerged in vegetable oil. These computers run on half the electricity, run twice as fast, and are totally silent. He actually came up with the idea a few years prior to building one.
He's filmed Michael Douglas, Melissa Etheridge, B.B.King, Bonnie Rait, Steven Tyler and the Doobie Brothers, Danny Glover, John Glenn, and Janeane Garofalo, just to name a few. Sean Penn cooked a steak dinner for him while in California, and he spent a couple of days at Shirley MacClaine's place in New Mexico when she was interested in partnership with Digital Newsreel.
He was at the forefront with Willie Nelson with the developement of his bio-fuel company, Bio Willie. Chad did his first videos and website, impressing Willie so much that he asked Chad for HIS autograph, and that moment happens to be on video. After reviewing Chad's Digital Newsreel architecture, CEO of Fox News, Roger Ales told Chad as they stood in his Time Square office, "Someday I'll be working for you!"
Chad says, "I've had a very exciting life, and alot of stories to tell, but my two favorites are getting the best birthday present ever for my dad, and leaving a legacy for Robert Lockwood Jr."
While on a congressional campaign with Kucinich, Chad met Steve Zarlenga, he wanted to hire Chad to develop his website for The American Monetary Institute. Chad refused because he had just been so busy with other projects and looking forward to being home with his family. After several phone calls from Steve trying to talk him into it and offering him anything he wanted, Chad made him an outrageous offer, thinking it would be an impossible quest.
He told him to get him one of B.B. King's guitars and have him autograph it for his dad. Chad never gave it another thought. Then about a month later, this priceless arch backed Super Lucille with a diamond dust paint job showed up at his door, leaving Chad speechless and now employed by Zarlenga. "I'll never forget when I gave it to my dad, with him being a blues guitarist for decades, and giving him a gift like that, makes everything worth it, the joy it gave me is undescribable."
Chad worked with Robert Lockwood Jr. for 10 years, on many projects from recording to the web. "Anyone who knew him, knows he did not like 'white boys in suits'. He was very leery of them, for his whole life. He just did not trust them, and in the beginning, we had are ups and downs, too." Ultimately, the two worked very well together. They had a mutual respect for each other, and became dear friends. Robert passed away in November, 2006. A few days before he died, his wife Mary brought to Chad all of his unpublished works for safe keeping. In his dying days, giving up the prejudice, the only person he trusted was this "white boy in a suit." Upon his death, Chad contacted Dennis Kucinich; he wanted to get Robert in the Congressional Record of the United States. Dennis worked with his team to build and preserve his story for future generations. They made it happen, and at his funeral, Chad personally presented to Mary Lockwood her husband's legacy in the Congressional Record of the United States of America.
Chad was then busy for a few months mixing and producing Lockwood's unpublished repertoire, with the help of John Walsh of Cleveland. The end result was three albums, mixed and ready to be produced. He handed over to Mary, the only copies in existance. "He was like a grandfather to me. I loved that man so much."
He's worked with world leaders and Hollywood icons and could have lived anywhere in America, but Chad chose to live here. He wanted to come back to his roots.
"I want to raise my daughter's here. These are good people here, it was a great place for me to grow up. What's most important to me, is being home with my wife and my daughters, Annice and Emma. I love them so much, and it does my heart good to play with them on the beach."
Currently Chad is running his company, Ely Multimedia, still working with the "big wigs" yet giving local folks the same attention. He offers similiar services at affordable prices because he wants to give back to his community. His crew consists of people from around the world, including Great Britain, Manilla, LA, Florida and Philadelphia.
Chad is the "go to guy" for any project, says Andy Juniewicz. They have worked on political campaigns together as well as web design. "Chad has an acceptionally rare level of versatility; the music, I.T., web and video. He is incredibly hard working. With the campaigns, we'd be working in 3 different time zones, sometimes 5 or 6, I've seen him work all night, with little or no sleep. He has never, ever faultered with not just work, high quality work. Chad is the most amazing professional I've ever worked with. Technically and technologically, he's a genius. Chad is my close personal friend. Beyond that, he is a professional colleage whom I would trust and entrust with anything. There is no one else in this nation that I would rather work with - political, corporate, non-profit, government, etc.- than Chad Ely."
A new adventure on the horizon, literally!:
On June 2, Chad rose above the clouds in a helicopter with its door removed, pushing the limit with video camera in hand. The object was to get aerial footage of area land for sale, and the surrounding area. "I've done it before in planes, but not a helicopter, that was fun. I'll definitely do it again!"
If someone told you that Chad Ely is a multimedia producer based in Cleveland, Ohio who heads his own company, Ely Multimedia, you'd probably think that sounds pretty straightforward.
But scratch the surface and you'll find several more Chad Elys lurking underneath that reveal how multifaceted he is. He's also a musician. And a guitar maker. And a computer whiz. And an inventor. And a political consultant. He looks like your typical shaggy-haired, beer-drinking rock dude,but... His range of clients demonstrates how you can't easily put a label on Ely. Ely Multimedia works for actors and politicians, musicians, martial arts experts and international corporations, as well as organizations ranging from the Monetary Institute to Purple Hearts Homes, which builds homes for veterans.
Ely began his multifaceted career as both a musician and a computer geek. As a teenager, he taught music — and computer programming. By the time he was in his mid-teens he was following the rock 'n' roll dream, playing guitar for a series bands that gigged regularly locally. But he really committed himself to music in the mid-late'90s with a number of different bands where he toured the east coast and the Great Lakes region steadily and released six albums during their time together. Ely produced, engineered and mixed some of those albums, which prepared him for his next act. When the band ran its course, he started Dok Rok Records, a recording studio in Cleveland. There he produced more than 300 albums by jazz, blues and rock artists. During that time he became close with internationally celebrated, Cleveland-based blues legend Robert Lockwood Jr. He created Lockwood's website and assembled his life story for the Library of Congress. And when Lockwood passed in 2006 at the age of 91, his widow brought his tapes to Ely to be assembled and mastered.
Meanwhile, Ely was sharpening his skills in graphics, photography, videography, and website development. So he was well positioned when a friend took him to a Ralph Nader rally in 2002. The friend was tight with the Nader campaign, and Ely was pressed into service making video. Impressed with his work, Nader hired Ely to do videography and multimedia for him throughout 2002-2003.
Within a year, another maverick politician took notice of Ely. Dennis Kucinich hired him to be his National Director of Media, traveling the country, documenting the campaign, and producing web content. In that capacity he met and worked with Willie Nelson with whom he worked on a diesel fuel project. When Kucinich ended his campaign in 2004, Ely continued to work for the congressman while jumping on the campaign trail doing videography for John Kerry. He stayed with Kucinich through 2009 creating ads and other material for his 2008 presidential campaign as well. That includes a weekly web campaign update for which they interviewed such personalities as Sean Penn, Gore Vidal and Willie Nelson.
Always an innovator, Ely never stopped looking for new ways to get things done. He developed an idea for a computer submerged in vegetable oil. In 2004, he discovered a way to transfer editable HD video via the internet, a patent he shared with Kucinich. Together they formed a company called Digital Newsreel to market the process to clients, which included the New York Mets, the Cleveland Indians, HBO films, LinkTV, and NBC.
Following his tenure with Kucinich, he devoted himself full-time to Chad Ely Multimedia to continue his work in cutting-edge website development and marketing. But Ely isn't the kind of guy who stays in his box. He recently launched a custom guitar company, working with some of the top handcraft guitar makers around. And he's still making music. Check out his latest music video on chadelyband.com! Would you expect anything different from someone who performed on stage with B.B. King before he was in his teens and had a father/son relationship with Lockwood, the man who learned guitar from Robert Johnson himself?