Born in Easington, County Durham, Brass began his career as a schoolboy at Ipswich Town before progressing through the youth system at Burnley as a trainee, where he turned professional in 1993. A year later, Chris Brass captained the Burnley “A” team as it won the Lancashire League. In need of first team experience, he joined Torquay United on loan in October 1994, playing seven league games in a two-month loan spell.
Brass returned to Burnley, making his debut for The Clarets, as a substitute, at Portsmouth in January 1995. The following season he, again, struggled to claim a regular place, but in the 1996–97 season established himself in the centre of the Burnley defence and he remained there for the next three seasons, though occasionally played out of position by manager Chris Waddle.
By March 1998, such was the turmoil that The Clarets found themselves in, Brass was their longest serving player and yet he was still only 22 years old. In that summer, former Bury manager Stan Ternent replaced Waddle and made Brass captain, but he struggled to keep his form and found himself out of the first team.
Chris eventually went on a one-month loan to Halifax Town, in September 2000, but after the loan was completed, Halifax could not afford a transfer fee and he returned to the Burnley reserves, before joining York City on a free transfer in March 2001. He had played 134 league games for Burnley, scoring once, ironically against York City.
Brass was immediately installed as captain at Bootham Crescent and, on 4th June 2003, aged only 27, he was appointed as York's player-manager. Although his first season in charge began well, York failed to win any of their final 20 league games and they were relegated to the Football Conference. Sadly, for the Minstermen, results were not much better in the Conference and Brass was sacked as manager in November 2004.
He remained at York as a player and, after suffering a serious ligament injury, he joined Harrogate Town, on loan, in September 2005 in an attempt to regain match-fitness. He finished the loan with 11 appearances before joining Southport, again, on loan, in November 2005, and his stay with the Sandgrounders was extended by another month until January 2006. He returned to York in January after making five appearances and, on 12 January, was released by the club after a settlement was reached over the remainder of his contract.
Chris began his long association with the Shakers when he joined the club on a contract until the end of the 2005–06 season on 17th January. Perhaps, his most (in)famous moment in a Bury shirt came when he scored a notable own goal, when attempting an overhead clearance in a game against Darlington, kicking the ball into his own face and subsequently the net. Brass also received a broken nose to add to the humiliation. This incident was voted the number one incident in magazine FourFourTwo's "It shouldn't happen to a footballer".
He signed a new one-year contract with Bury, in June 2006, but found himself released at the end of the 2006–07 season, but was asked to return to pre-season training to prove his fitness before a decision could be made on his future.
Brass was appointed as Bury's Centre of Excellence manager on 6th July 2007, before combining this role with playing for Hyde United, after signing in July 2007 following a successful trial. He became Bury's caretaker manager on 15 January 2008, following the sacking of Chris Casper, and remained in post until the appointment of Alan Knill on 4 February 2008.
Brass left Hyde having made 62 appearances after being appointed assistant manager to Alan Knill in January 2009. When Alan Knill was appointed Scunthorpe United manager, in March 2011, Brass followed him as assistant manager. After Knill was dismissed by Scunthorpe United he followed Knill to Torquay United where Knill was appointed as manager on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Knill and Brass ensured Torquay United's Football League safety. He was appointed on a permanent basis, along with Knill, following the end of the season. In December 2013, Bury appointed Brass as assistant manager, to work alongside manager David Flitcroft and a change in role was to follow, in June 2015, when Brass was appointed Head of Football Operations.
Following the dismissal of David Flitcroft, in November 2016, Chris Brass was, once again, handed the caretaker manager role, alongside Ryan Kidd, and the pair started the process of rebuilding the Shakers to secure League One survival.
The sudden appearance of Lee Clark in February 2017 saw Brass installed as first team coach under Lee Clark and he remains a key figure in the Gigg Lane hierarchy.