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Sons of Champlin

w/ Former Chicago member Bill Champlin

Funk Rock

Sat, Mar 12 Sat, Mar 12
7:30pm 9:30pm

The Sons of Champlin are a popular rock act that first gained attention thanks to their involvement during the late 1960s San Francisco scene.

Led by Bill Champlin, who later joined the band Chicago, they are considered the most R&B-influenced band of the scene.

In 1968, the Sons of Champlin signed with Capitol Records, releasing Loosen Up Naturally in January 1969.

Two more Capitol albums followed, The Sons and Follow Your Heart. In 1970, the band broke up and Bill Champlin moved to Santa Cruz, where he joined Moby Grape guitarist Jerry Miller in a short-lived project called The Rhythm Dukes.

The Sons reformed in 1971 as a five-piece band with Bill Vitt on drums and David Schallock on bass. Briefly, the group went by the name Yogi Phlegm, as which they played one of the last concerts at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West on June 30, 1971.

In 1972 James Preston replaced Bill Vitt on drums, and the band once again went by the name Sons of Champlin.

After recording their 1972 Columbia album, Welcome to the Dance, as a five piece, The Sons once again added a horn section, which included Mark Isham, now a film scorer and composer, on trumpet and synthesizer.

In 1975, The Sons recorded The Sons of Champlin in their own studio, and released it on their own label, Goldmine Records. This was purchased and re-released by Ariola America. The next two albums, Circle Filled With Love and Loving is Why, were also released on Ariola.

In 1977, the Sons of Champlin played what many assumed to be their last gig at the Kirkwood Meadows ski resort.

The Sons released seven albums between 1969 and 1977, including Loosen Up Naturally, Welcome to the Dance, and Circle Filled With Love. The albums were generally well-reviewed, but were low sellers. In 1977, Champlin went solo, recording Single (1978) and Runaway (1981), before joining Chicago in 1981.

On November 25, 1985, the Sons reunited for the first time in a surprise appearance at the Fillmore in San Francisco on a bill with Huey Lewis and the News, KBC Band and a reunited Country Joe and the Fish.

The reunion comprised Champlin, Terry Haggerty, Geoffrey Palmer, Tim Cain, David Schallock and James Preston with Huey Lewis and the News drummer Bill Gibson sitting in as well as the Freaky Executives Horn Section, who provided the brass.

The 1985 show proved to be a one-off as Champlin returned to his regular gig with Chicago. But in 1997, the Sons got together again for a series of reunion gigs, then recorded and released their first live CD in 1998. In 2002, Champlin said it was, “too good not to continue,” and the Sons have since put out several new CDs, Hip L’il Dreams and Secret among them (they have also remastered much of their back catalogue).

To date, Champlin appears with original members Palmer, Schallock, and Preston. Guitarist Carmen Grillo has replaced Haggerty, and Tower of Power alumnus Mic Gillette handles trumpet, trombone, and tuba parts. The Sons generally feature guest artists on alto and tenor saxophone.

* Seminal San Francisco band that was more souful than other bands in the scene.

* Bill Champlin has written hits like “After The Love Has Gone” and “Turn Your Love Around.”

* Known for great live show.

“Since the late ‘60s, Bill Champlin has been marrying clear-eyed soul with virtuosic rock in his fabled San Francisco band, Sons of Champlin. At ground zero for the creative explosion that produced the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and many others, the Sons possessed the same hippie inquisitiveness but delivered with James Brown-like tightness.” – Relix Magazine

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