Chuck E Weiss

With the re-release of The Other Side of Town on Select Records, people can be re-introduce, re-member or simply rejoice in nine songs that are meaningful and important. He grew up in Denver, Colorado, where his parents owned a record store (Record Center). Through his parents, and by spending time at the local blues bar Ebbett’s Field, he met Lightnin’ Hopkins. Mr. Hopkins was impressed with his drum playing and took him on tour, where Weiss had the opportunity to play with Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Roger Miller, Dr. John, and other great musicians. Weiss released “Extremely Cool” in 1999, featuring extensive collaboration with Tom Waits, who co-produced the album for his longtime acquaintance (they met in 1972 at Ebbett’s Field, where Weiss played in the house band) and appears on at least two tracks. The style is heavily reminiscent of Waits, both in composition and vocal approach. Either could have influenced the other. “Old Souls and Wolf Tickets” was released in early 2002, perhaps less reminiscent of Tom Waits and more redolent of Delta blues acts decades older. Weiss’s music includes strains of every rhythmic style from nursery rhymes to zydeco. Weiss was the subject of Rickie Lee Jones’s hit “Chuck E.’s in Love” from her 1979 debut album, in which she claims “Chuck E.” is in love with “the little girl who’s singing this song” (Jones says the song was fictional). At the time Jones was linked romantically to Tom Waits. All three lived at the time at the Tropicana Hotel in Los Angeles, in the middle of a fertile musical scene including Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, and the one and only Mister Frank Zappa and others. Weiss has also played with legendary bassist Willie Dixon, who was quoted on the original packaging of “Extremely Cool” (“Ain’t ya got ears son? That little Jew boy with the big old head be one of the best musicians in this town, this country even.”) “Down the Road a Piece,” from “Old Souls & Wolf Tickets,” is a 1970 recording of the two playing together. Chuck E. Weiss has been associated with Los Angeles and Southern California for years, saying he does not like to travel by airplane. Weiss played 11 years of Mondays at a club called the Central before it fell on hard times. Weiss and his friend Johnny Depp (who executive produced the first track on “Extremely Cool”) were instrumental in resuscitating it as the Viper Room, which became immediately trendy when River Phoenix died there in 1993. “Extremely Cool” makes reference to Canter’s Kibitz Room, a small nightclub in a larger diner in Los Angeles’s Fairfax District, where Weiss has also played habitually. His regular band is called The G-d Damn Liars.


Bookmark the permalink.

About grnarrow

Setlist Architect/Art Scene Checker-Outer/Sound Feeler

Leave a Reply