Chuck Prophet

Of course I went to the Chuck Prophet show last night! The inner compass always directs one to true north. I forgot the camera but there were definitely some highlights:

  • Snowing outside, so small crowd, not that smoky, pretty chill.
  • Just Chuck and Stephanie (last show he introduced her as “the woman who rules my house with an iron fist”), acoustic. Very intimate, chill; perfect for last night.
  • I had been totally flaking on picking up some of his CD’s, meaning to since the last time I saw him play, so last night was a great chance to pick up a few, and skip the middlemen. I’ve got his latest in the player right now. Amazing. I do recommend. At the same time, not being yet too familiar with his songs, I can testify that they totally stand up and entertain live, without the help of prior hearing (you’d be surprised how much music couldn’t pass this test, most of you probably mostly see bands you’ve been listening to in the stereo or on the radio…the true test is to be totally enraptured with live music you’ve never heard before).
  • During the very first song, I was standing just inside the door still because I was waiting for a friend (who never made it out for the snow), it was just Chuck on stage at that point, I actually had the thought this guy is one of the most truly authentic artists of this country. I meant it then and I mean it now. This guy is one of the very few. A very real person telling remarkable stories.
  • The dude can freaking play. Just him and an acoustic guitar last night and he made that thing sing. Really amazing skills. Last show I was swept up in the full band and the antics and all…which of course I love; but last night, stripped down, the musicianship was apparent and awe-inspiring.
  • Good stories. I wish he’d talk more from stage, but there is a thin line between leaving us wanting more and talking too much, and he probably understands where that line is more than anyone. Great story about somebody giving a 15 clam Starbucks gift card to Sheryl Crow. After the story: I’m a fan of Starbucks. It’s comforting, when you’re on the road, to know that there is someplace besides McDonalds that is always the same. Same temperature. Same everything. Is that sad? Maybe a little bit.
  • Hanging out afterwards. Here’s the coolest part. After picking up my CD’s from Stephanie, who was immediately so cool and down to earth (and I dare say hot!–more so in person than in pictures, something I consider indicative of a true beauty and aura; Miriam is the same way, pictures can’t do the true level of beauty justice) even within the context of such a short and relatively commercial transaction. But then I kind of moseyed over to Chuck, who was sitting on the other side of the stage with maybe two other guys standing there talking to him. He signed a couple of my CD’s, and before I knew it I was telling him how I’m moving to Sarajevo and oh he has a friend in Sarajevo he should connect me with.

What?! Yeah, totally. It was so not like a rock star who just played the show and is now signing your CD’s for you. It was so like somebody just introduced us at a party and said hey you guys would get along. He’s a really genuine person. The actual context was something like this: Are you going to play around here again before May or do you play in Europe at all? Yeah, we play in Europe all the time. How far east do you guys go? Heh heh. Guy next to me: “How far east are you talking? Heh heh.” Why? Where are you going? (aside: rock stars don’t ask questions of normal people. not even non-rock-stary-rock-stars.) Sarajevo. Oh yeah? I know this guy… and on he went. The conversation eventually moved on to Phil Spector (you can imagine the other fans around me were not too interested in Sarajevo) …And he didn’t just shoot her once like “oh my god.” He shot her four times! and other things, but I once again had that same thought…one of the truly authentic artists…and because of that, he is one of the most important artists…

I ended up talking to Stephanie a little bit more, asking if they’d heard of Paste Magazine (of course they had, they’re on pastemusic.com). I said that I wrote for a book, and the publisher of that mag also wrote for the book, and I was looking to inquire about doing some writing for them; and I would of course love to write about Chuck. She had me talk to Chuck, and he was totally into it. Got his card, his phone number and email address right here in front of me. I fell asleep dreaming of hanging out with him, chatting over some grub in some indiscriminate and yet wholly American haunt.

This morning I’m constructing the angle for the piece in my head, and have to email Paste and see if I get anywhere with my “hey we worked on the same project” cred.