Hero's influence is clear in Prophet's new release
Chuck Prophet says Alex Chilton wowed him in the `80s.
Chuck Prophet recalls the first time he met Alex Chilton, the enigmatic singer and guitarist late of the Box Tops and Big Star. It was 1986 and Chilton was sharing a bill with Prophet's then band Green On Red.
"I can remember the `72 Buick he pulled into the parking lot with, and he put his amp on stage and took his shirt off and put it in the back of his amp and pulled his gig shirt out and clicked his heels four times, and bang! He was in," Prophet says by phone from New York. "I just thought he was it. I don't know who my heroes were at the time, but at that moment, it was Alex. I wanted to be Alex."
More than 20 years later, Chilton's influence has bubbled to the surface in a big way on Prophet's latest solo release, "Soap and Water" (Yep Roc), which showcases Prophet's skills as a singer and songwriter, with coloring from years of listening to Chilton's soulful power-pop tunes.
"Alex is a really great guitarist, and he's also a great blues singer, R&B singer, in the same way that, say, Mose Allison is one of my favorite blues singers," Prophet says.
The same description applies to Prophet, who has wandered through solo albums, writing projects and addiction recovery in the course of his 20-year solo career
"I spent a year goofing off and trying to do other things, thinking maybe I wasn't going to make another record," he says. But a sudden songwriting jag changed his mind, and he soon found himself with 35 songs to winnow into a record.