By age eleven Chong was playing guitar, chiefly country-and-western music. Soon, he was introduced to rhythm and blues, became a professional musician, and quit school. He formed one of Western Canada's earliest rhythm and blues bands, the Shades, but was eventually requested by the police to leave town after a particularly rowdy gig, according to his account. Chong and the Shades then left for the closest metropolis, Vancouver, where Chong bought a club, the Elegant Parlour, and played guitar and sang in the house band, a Motown band named Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, briefly featuring a very young Jimi Hendrix . Among his compositions for the group were "Does Your Mama Know About Me", which hit #29 on the United States pop chart and #5 on the US R&B chart.
In the late 1980s, Chong became a naturalized citizen of the United States.