New Chuck Prophet album draws on 30 years in S.F.
Chuck Prophet's new album, "Temple Beautiful," is an earnest if not entirely factually accurate tribute to his adopted hometown of San Francisco. The former Green on Red front man sings about well-known characters, places and events that have shaped his life here for 30 years. He'll celebrate its release with a March 30 gig at one of his favorite venues, the Great American Music Hall. Prophet is also offering a handful of fans the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride with the Temple Beautiful San Francisco Bus Tour on Tuesday (sign up at www.yeproc.com), the album's release date, with KGO DJ Peter Finch as guide. We talked to Prophet, 48, at his home in the Castro.
Q: Who came up with the great idea of promoting "Temple Beautiful" with a bus tour?
A: My label Yep Roc wanted to do a record- release party at a club or something. I said, "Guys, this isn't my first record. I can't do that. It's like a third wedding." So we came up with the bus idea. I thought, even if we did the N-Judah line, that would take us from the Willie Mays statue to the beach. But they said, no, we'll get you your own bus.
Q: So what kind of stuff are you going to show people?
A: We're going to take people by the liquor store where Janis Joplin bought her first bottle of Southern Comfort. When the store ran out of its stock of Southern Comfort, Janis squatted on the floor in protest and pretended to urinate on the carpet until they got her one.
Q: Did you get that information from Wikipedia?
A: Everything about this record has been Google free. There's a lot of stuff where we took the myth over the truth.
Q: You mean how the Red House Painters wrote a song about "Grace Cathedral Park" when it's actually called Huntington Park?
A: Yeah. We're going to drive by Grace Cathedral and say that it was the Grateful Dead's house. There's a thing on the album about Castro Halloween where I sing that two people got shot and killed. Everyone tells me that actually nine people were injured. I need to get a fact checker next time.
Q: So you're basically just going to mislead people?
A: Not really. It's kind of a love letter to San Francisco. It's not always pretty. Things just flowed. It's a place where everybody comes from somewhere else. It's 7 miles long and there are probably 27 different San Franciscos that overlap.
Chuck Prophet: 8 p.m. March 30. $18. Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., S.F (415) 885-0750. http://www.gamh. com.