Chuck Prophet | Photo by Karen Doolittle
Checking In With… Chuck Prophet
In times of crisis, it’s more important than ever to check in on your friends and loved ones. Here at XPN, we’re Checking In With our extended musical family to see how they’re holding up during the Coronavirus quarantine…and what music has kept them grounded. Today, Dan Reed chats with Chuck Prophet.
Singer-songwriter Chuck Prophet is in cheery spirits as he calls us from his San Francisco apartment. He’s staring out the window, and tells us he’s basking in the day’s beautiful weather. “It’s straight up California dreamin’.”
He has a new album, The Land That Time Forgot, out on Yep Roc. He tells us that “it’s very much a best of times worst of times kind of record,” which seems appropriate for a record released during a pandemic. As for how the quarantine has impacted him, he says “a lot of people don’t realize but musicians are kind of homebodies. The pause button doesn’t really bother me, what concerns me is how far we gotta go through this tunnel to see something on the other side.”
Oue Checking In conversation touches on topics ranging from the beauty of vinyl and the way “it slows you down,” fumbling your way through home repair, the career highlights of the band Foghat (who are British, and most definitely not from Ohio), and more. Hear it all, plus Chuck’s song picks, in the player below.
Favorite Song of All Time: “I Can Hear Music” by The Beach Boys
“Carl Wilson, just the sound of his voice, he sounds like he understands your pain. Also, this song snuck up on me. Over the last couple years, working on recordings, doing sessions, work on my own records, when you spend more and more time in the sausage factory and see how records are made these days, what you can do with software, tune vocals, it can make you cynical about the process of making records, and about new music. What I’ve really found is when you hear four voices singing together, there’s nothing like it, and the sound of those voices when they hit a big major cord, it hits me, there’s no explaining it.”
Song that Raises Your Spirits: “The Look of Love” by Dusty Springfield
“This is a record that every time I revamp my home entertainment system, or I replace a stylus, I find myself reach for that record, I can’t explain why. It’s so exquisite. Turn it up, let that breathy vocal fill up the room. It’s healing stuff!”
Song You’re Most Proud of Working On: “Nixonland” by Chuck Prophet
“We artists are always excited about our new stuff. And to the detriment I’m sure of the listener, many times. But this song, I love how it turned out, I love how conversational the players are. I co-wrote this with my friend Kurt, I shared stories with him of my childhood, and a dream I had about Richard Nixons’ first law office. … I started playing two chords back and forth, shouting things at the walls, he was shouting at the walls, we were finishing each other’s sentences. And then we finished that song, it went in the pile, and we were talking about where we were going to get lunch. It really asserted itself when it came time to make the record, I’m pleased with how it turned out.”