Talking with the Night Surfer: An Interview with Chuck Prophet

A well thought out interview, Hal, nicely done, though you shoulda asked him about Donovan.  Liked your question about how it works with Yep Roc, the answer was interesting since we hear so often that albums are anachronisms these days.  Am really looking forward to the new record and seeing Chuck again in November.  His next uninteresting record will be his first.

I'm a big fan of Chucks, and a big fan of Alejandro Escovedo's, but I'm not much a fan of their collaborations.  On paper that combination of guys makes perfect sense, but to my ears each are much more interesting individually.  I loved what Chuck did with Kelly Willis.  Or maybe I just love Kelly Willis' voice that much, but that I thought was a really good mix of talents.


Thanks Hal for a wonderful interview with one of my favorite living musicians. I can't wait for the new release and I agree with Jack that he has yet to release an uniteresting record. Unfortunaely I couldn't listen to the new songs you posted bercause I only go here at work since I hardly ever turn on my computer at home. What I can't figure out is why a man of Mr. Phophet's many talents as singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer isn't more well-known. You would think that "Rolling Stone" magazine would review all of his albums and inform its readers of his tours but as far as I can tell they've never even mentioned him. I was intrigued by his collaborations with Tonio K. Too bad none of it has been released as I suspect I'd like it better than Chuck seemed to. 

Nice interview!  I heard some of the new tunes the last time Chuck and the band rolled through D.C. and I really enjoyed them.  He knows how to play a great rock and roll show!


Bet the string section had a few Red Bulls before trying to keep up with Chuck. 

Just waiting for the movie brother. Should be great!


"What I can't figure out is why a man of Mr. Phophet's many talents as singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer isn't more well-known. " - Dennis


Having been a fan for a long while now, this has always baffled me as well. Certainly not the first musical artist that you can say this about, but it still seems odd to me given that his music is very accessible and his performances are not to be missed. In talking with him after shows, he seems like a really nice and humble guy too. It's too bad that Chuck hasn't benefited more commercially from his amazing skills, but until he does, we as fans can reap the benefits of seeing his intimate and engaging performances in smaller rooms in our respective towns. I know I always do my part to spread the word about Mr.Prophet as I've brought folks that were turned into brand new CP fans at each of his last several KC performances.


Thanks ND for posting this interview.




That's always the dilemma/paradox: Why isn't this artist more famous? Damn, I enjoy seeing him/her in an intimate venue!

I caught Jon Dee Graham, Chip Robinson and Mike June in a small club in Chapel Hill for $5 last month.  About 25 people listening, another 25 chattering to each other at the back of the bar totally oblivious to the great show they were missing.

Saw Peter Case the same week with a "crowd" of maybe 70?

I saw Chuck play a short set of Night Surfer songs in front of 100 fans (free sponsored by YepRoc) and then he said "Okay, that's enough. Let's socialize". And he did, he walked through the bar chatting with fans. I asked him if he was up for an interview and he said "Sure. Let's do it".


Thanks for posting this Hal. Pretty funny playing "Pinball Wizard" to the tune of "Fulsome Prison Blues" (I couldn't watch the whole video here at work so don't know if it changes at some point.) It reminded me of some group (Roger and the Goosebumps maybe) who recorded "Stairway to Heaven" to the tune of the theme song to "Gilligan's Island." But Led Zepplin was not amused and sued so I doubt it is available anymore.

For more interesting comments on Chuck Prophet one should check-out Harrisonaphotos posting of Chuck Prophet live at Jumping Hot Club in Newcastle on 10/22/14.

There was also the Dash Rip Rock (from New Orleans) song "Stairway to Freebird", a crowd pleaser at concerts!  I think it was the music from "Stairway to heaven" and lyrics from "Freebird" (though I might have that backwards)

Chuck is as musically creative as anyone I can  think of, and is consistently so.  Wilco, who I neither love nor hate, has a reputation for being creative.  Tweedy is no slouch but he ain't Chuck.  I don't get why Wilco and Chuck's positions aren't reversed in terms of popularity, selling tickets and making money. I would guess Chuck gets proper critical acclaim.  I was glad to see a nice spread in last Thursday's Chicago Tribune about Chuck, an almost full page picture on the cover of the A&E section along with a long interview.  Here's a link:

Saw Blues Traveler play a pretty good show at the Tower Theater in Philly during '91-92 and at one point they played the opening notes to Stairway, then John Popper started singing Free Bird.  The audience groaned because they seemed like the just kind of jam band guys who'd play it with a straight face.  Then Popper burst out laughing and said "just kidding", which got a big laugh of relief.  That was the only time I'd ever heard the two songs combined until Bill's mention of Dash Rip Rock's Stairway to Freebird.  I wonder who dreamt up that combo first.  I did think Jefferson Starship came up with a good song title with Stairway To Cleveland", though nobody is combining it with anything.


I'd like to read the interview but I don't want to subscribe online to the Chicago Tribune. Bummer! 

Nice job, Hal. I love Chuck's music but love his approach even more. He's so down-to-earth and seemingly doesn't take anything too seriously. It's about making the music he enjoys(with a great band behind him in The Mission Express). I've been spinning "Night Surfer" at least once a week since its release. He is in town next week and I will be catching him for the second time. If you haven't seen it already, check out his appearance on Live from Daryl's House(Daryl Hall). I think you get to see alot of what's great about Chuck. He's ultra-cool.

Damn, Paul, thanks for the tip about the Live from Daryl's appearance. Didn't know he was on the show. Kudos to Daryl Hall for including him.


Edit: Had to go way back in the archives for that one...Episode 7 and not even filmed at Daryl's House , but actually recorded in Austin during SXSW. Watching right now, thanks again, Paul!

You bet, Steve. I love how enamored Daryl is with "You Did" at the end of the song.