Sunday, August 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Sons of Champlin bring their funky rock sound to Napa

By
From page B1 | November 30, 2012 |

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

FAIRFIELD — Renowned R&B/rock band The Sons of Champlin began its musical journey in the mid-1960s and while commercial success eluded them, they enjoyed a cult following that remains to this day.

The band’s namesake, singer/keyboardist/guitarist and Grammy-winning songwriter Bill Champlin later went on to success with the group Chicago. He recently answered some questions via telephone in advance of his band’s Dec. 7 gig in Napa.

Why the name Sons of Champlin?

I was married really early on and had a kid so the other guys made fun of me as “Father Champlin” and the name stuck. If I’d known it would follow us around the rest of our lives, I would’ve probably called us something different, but what the heck?

The Sons were pioneers of that rock band with the funky horns sound, correct?

We started out as a pop band. Tim Cain was one of the guys who started the band with me in 1965 and he is one of the most awesome tenor sax players I’ve ever heard. We lost a trumpet player before our first album and made up for it with the saxes, which made for a neat sound. I think the minute you put the trumpets in, you start losing the Hammond (B-3 organ) and that was always a real centerpiece of our band.

You guys played everywhere back in the day – I found a newspaper column from 1973 where you played in Fairfield to help save the Armijo Auditorium. Sadly, it was torn down.

Well, we tried! (laughs) Pepsi and Bay Area radio station KFRC used to sponsor Battle of the Bands and we would judge them and play a set and we went to nearly every high school in the Bay Area. To this day, I still get people who say, “You came to my high school when I was a kid!”

Was it hard joining an established band like Chicago?

Actually, I joined them when they were on one of their lower ebbs. I hung with them for a good long time and sang some big hits for them. “Hard Habit to Break” was me and Peter (Cetera) singing and later on I sang “Look Away,” “I Don’t Wanna Live Without Your Love” and others.

As a songwriter, do you write songs with others in mind?

“After the Love is Gone” I wrote for me, but Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire heard it and they took it off my album and put it on theirs. He really wanted two or three other songs from my album and I didn’t give them to him. I have been kicking myself for that decision for quite a few years. My solo album didn’t do that well, but their “I AM” album just passed 9 million sales a while back. We built “Turn Your Love Around,” which was a Grammy winner, around George Benson’s singing.

Sons fans love the band, but you are not household names.

We connected with a lot of people, but somebody asked me why our career was so spotty. I said it’s because when opportunity knocked, we answered the phone! (laughs) We missed our opportunities and it’s our own damn fault, I guess. Still, when you mention the Sons and someone says, “They’re great!” that is success.

What are your career goals now?

At this point in the game, unless it’s a good room and it looks like we can really have fun and get along with the promoters, we’re not going to play it. The last time we played it was a private party and I think there are still some notes and chords floating around that room. It was like playing the Houston Astrodome. I’ve never been to the Uptown but I’ve heard it is beautiful and the sound is impeccable. I am really looking forward to playing with this configuration of the Sons in a really nice venue.

We’ve got Tim Cain back in the band and it’s like having a cool breeze swing through the house on a hot day. I hadn’t worked with him in 35 years and we got together and it was like we had been working together all along. Any true Sons fan when they hear Tim Cain is back will say, “Whoa! I have to check this out!”

Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at getthelowdown@sbcglobal.net

 

Sons of Champlin

  • 8 p.m. Dec. 7
  • Special Guest: Tim Hockenberry Trio
  • The Uptown Theatre, 1350 Third St., Napa
  • 259-0123
  • www.uptowntheatrenapa.com
  • www.sonsofchamplin.com
Tony Wade

Tony Wade

Tony Wade is the slightly older yet infinitely more handsome brother of long-time DR columnist Kelvin Wade
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 2 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • lennyDecember 01, 2012 - 10:07 pm

    if i had the dough i'd fly in from kauai for the sons. i don't know how many times i cut school to go see them play around the city, but they remain one of my all-time faves. so glad the ariola years finally came out on cd. buy it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Tim ChafeeDecember 02, 2012 - 9:02 am

    I have been listen to Sons and Bill Champlin for 43 years or so. Perhaps I am somewhat myopic. However, the talent he has and the talent he has surrounded himself with is unmatchable.To start a list would take me at least a month or two to complete.I would be remiss if I did not mention the versatility. Rock, Country , Blues , Jazz, etc., it is all there among Sons of Champlin and there incarnations.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Nurse-family program helps moms, moms-to-be

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Garamendi ranks 6th on DC paper’s franking list

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Area service members promote, graduate

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: C4

Fairfield payments to golf courses expected to drop

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

Suisun City police log: Aug. 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A6

 
.

US / World

Angels use 8 pitchers to beat A’s 2-0, extend lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
.

Opinion

Thanks to Tomato Alley volunteers

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
No justice, peace without effort

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Faison identified location properly

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A10

 
.

Living

1 God, 2 faiths, a marriage

By The Associated Press | From Page: D2

 
Utah approves winery in town with polygamous sect

By The Associated Press | From Page: D2

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: C5

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

Wilder memoir to give gritty view of prairie life

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

 
Publisher acquires Robin Williams biography

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

Amazon starts selling physical books in Brazil

By The Associated Press | From Page: D6

 
.

Sports

Prep football preview: Vacaville still team to beat in MEL

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Gordon says Stewart could run strong in Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Peavy takes no-hitter into 8th of Giants’ 3-1 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Suzann Pettersen tied for Portland Classic lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Bob Tway shoots 63 for share of Calgary lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
With heavy heart, Kuchar hovers around the lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Isner loses to Kohlschreiber in US Open 3rd round; Serena advances

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Bocce Federation League results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B3

Bouhanni wins 8th Vuelta stage, Valverde leads

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Fighter War Machine extradited on assault charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3, 1 Comment

Timberwolves have record week after trading Love

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Schumacher wins Traxxas Nitro Shootout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kevin Harvick dominates to win Atlanta Nationwide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
No. 11 Stanford routs UC Davis 45-0 in opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5 | Gallery

College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Raiders cut Little, Ross to get to 53

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Champ Bailey, Michael Sam among NFL cuts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Jonathan Martin makes 49ers’ 53-man roster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

US dominates Finland 114-55 in basketball worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Ferguson fallout: A call for police ‘body cams’

By The Associated Press | From Page: C1

 
Earthquake insurance shunned by vast majority of Californians

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C1

Startups offer banking for smartphone users

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
.

Obituaries

Lois C. Clark

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Hazel Gertrude Wamsley

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jerry Lee Trammell

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

 
.

Comics