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Stephanie and Chuck

A Conversation with Chuck Prophet (continued)

PM: I love the new record, Soap And Water. Like every one you cut, I think it's the best one. And on this one you enlisted the services of my friend Brad Jones from Nashville to come play bass and co-produce. How did you hook up with him, and how did that go?

CP: I'm not sure when I first met Brad, but over time we talked about working together. He's just a perfect complement to my manic energies--a pretty cool, calm, and collected, and very Midwestern, no-nonsense kinda guy. And I tend to be a little more emotionally all over the place; I think we complement each other.

PM: Yeah.

CP: He's one of the smartest guys I've ever worked with.

PM: He's a very bright, really solid cat, yeah. And he can really play. We were doing these Puremusic shows at this little theater in town here right after that record was done, doing two or three little combos on the stage at night and shooting video, and all that stuff. And he did a show with this mutual friend of ours from New York called Jennifer Jackson. I don't know if you know her.

CP: Oh, yeah, sure.

PM: And for Brad, he played quite a lot of notes [laughs] but it was really beautiful. I mean, it was very kind of orchestral and stuff. And after the show he said, "Frank, man, I'm sorry, I just got off doing this record with Chuck Prophet, and it was very appropriate that I be very elemental, and really support him and not play too much, and just be really solid on the bottom. And you know, I just got done with that, and tonight I just played every note I knew like three times, and I think I'm all over that video tape." I said, "Well, it sounded great."


PM: I never heard him talk like that before.

Chuck Prophet

Was that a [Fender Telecaster] Squire I saw you playing when you were at the Mercy Lounge?

CP: Oh, yeah.

PM: Is that your normal axe?

CP: Yeah.  

PM: The cheap-os, yeah.

CP: Bought that guitar brand new in 1984 at Whittier Music on Whittier Boulevard, and it cost $150.

PM: [laughs] That was a damn good sound you were getting out of that Squire.

CP: I'm not the one that's playing it, it's just a lucky guitar. And I think if everybody had one of those, I'd be pumping gas.

not pumping gas

PM: [laughs] Ever spend much time around Subway Guitars in Berkeley?

CP: Oh, yeah.

PM: I always liked that shop, and Fat Dog. I figured that might be more than familiar to you.

CP: Yeah, definitely.

Stephanie and the boys

PM: It was really nice not only to meet you, but briefly--very briefly to meet Stephanie Finch. She sounded great on the record, as she always does. Maybe you'd tell the readers just a little about her. She's been your partner so long now.

CP: Well, one time I was singing many years ago, when I first met Stephanie, we were playing music together in this loose-knit group of people. And I was singing, and she started singing along. And I said, "What are you doing with your voice?" She said, "I'm singing." I said, "I know, but what's that thing?" She goes, "Oh, that's harmony." I'm like, "Well, that's cool."

PM: [cracking up]

CP: So I've been with her ever since.

PM: I sure like that CD Hotel San Jose. Is she going to do another one like that in the future, or--

CP: Well, we were just talking about that. We're always hoping to get back in the studio and do a bigger project.

PM: Yeah, that was really good. I'd like to see another one of those. [more about Stephanie here]

Stephanie Finch

I read in the Chronicle article just now that you've been coming to Nashville on and off, writing with some people, that you got the good Cindy Thompson cut with Kim Richey and stuff. Have you been writing with other people here?

CP: Well, I've written with a lot of people in Nashville. Kim Richey is just one of those people that I was lucky enough to perform the miracle with.

PM: She's really something. [see our interview with Kim]

CP: I've written with Dan Penn over the years. We've done a couple things here and there.

PM: Bill Lloyd, have you ever--

CP: And Angelo.

PM: Oh, Angelo, yeah. [Whom we've written about in connection with Kings of Leon.]

CP: And I've had a lot of blind dates that didn't go anywhere.

PM: Right.

CP: But that's okay, too.

PM: Yeah, right, it's all good.

CP: I dig Nashville. I mean, I enjoy it because I've lived in San Francisco so long. San Francisco is a place where people come to reinvent themselves. And Nashville is a place where people go that are sort of in music business recovery.


CP: Everybody's got a past, is that I'm trying to say. Everybody in Nashville has got a past.

PM: Yeah, that makes sense to me. That definitely speaks to why I came here, for sure.

So how about that long-time collaborator of yours, klipshutz, or Kurt Lipschutz?

CP: Well, Kurt and I were kind of hot and heavy for a few years in the '90s. He's just a great idea guy, he's just a great wordsmith. He can come up with these... He's one of those people that whenever we would talk or get together, it would just be electric, like touching two wires together.

PM: Wow.

CP: So yeah, we definitely wrote a lot of songs, and a lot of my favorite songs, and a lot of songs that I'm most proud of.

PM: He had a couple of good ones with you and this record. I sure like "Doubter Out Of Jesus."

CP: Yeah.

PM: That's got a good spot in the set. [Don't miss our live video of that one, after the interview.]

And "I Can Feel Your Heartbeat," another good song.

CP: Yeah.   continue


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