Bio

Chet Nichols' Biography

Inspired by artists and songwriters like Tim Buckley, Don Henley, Jimmy Reed, The Beatles, Dylan, Clapton, Little Feat, BB King, Adele, The Rolling Stones, CSNY, The Eagles, The Byrds, Laura Allen, Joni Mitchell & many others, Chet has become an highly respected singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and producer. Classically trained at a very early age on piano, cello and vocals, he has had a very extraordinary music career.

Chet is an inductee in The Kansas Music Hall of Fame with Pat Metheny, Martina McBride, Melissa Etheridge, and others. He is a "songwriter's songwriter", whose uncanny skill of creating and combing vivid, poetic lyrics and unique music tracks will treat you to a totally engaging sonic journey.

HERE IS A LINK TO A GREAT ARTICLE:
https://www.psychedelicbabymag.com/2019/04/chet-nichols-interview.html

Chet Nichols is an award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, producer, recordist and multi-instrumentalist from the United States. He has toured extensively all over the USA and has lived in numerous cites including: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boulder, CO, Lawrence, KS, Kansas City, Oklahoma City and more. He has written over 2,000 songs/compositions and has produced 30+ CDs of original material.

Chet is in high demand to create, compose and produce for TV and film soundtracks, as well as placing songs with other artists.

Chet is also a published author and novel having penned two novels, "The Last Riders On Route 66" and "The Children Of Pentecost" and two books of poetry. He has also written numerous film and TV scripts and TV pilots.

His creative skills have also crossed over to work as an actor in front of the camera in commercials, feature films and television shows. He co-starred in "Payback", "Just Visiting", "The Lake House", "Good Burger" and others. He also co-starred in the television shows: "Home Improvement", "The Untouchables", "Unsolved Mysteries", "Early Edition", "Caroline In The City" and others. He has also starred in numerous plays across the USA including shows mounted at The Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, Mummers Theater in Oklahoma City, The Attic Theater in LA, to name a few.

He has also had a successful career in film, TV commercial film production as a creative director and producer in the major global ad agencies. Moreover, he has won numerous Clios, Gold Medals at the New York Film Production and Dallas Film Production Award Festivals, Webbys (for his web production work) and has managed numerous film production, special-effects companies, animation, music video, 3D production companies in LA, NY, Chicago, Toronto, Seattle, Germany and Tokyo.

Chet Nichols is a long-time, award-winning, American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, instrumental composer, producer, arranger and recording artist. Chet is also an award-winning creative director, media producer, designer and novelist. He makes a great hand-made margarita, bowl of buttered popcorn and award-winning chili.

When Chet began this new website, he wanted to create a unique web experience for his visitors. First, he wanted current music, news, reviews and insights available to the people visiting the site. At the same time, he wanted the site to be like a historical scrapbook with old pictures, stories and information. So, as the site progresses, more and more historical data, music, pictures and stories will be added to make this site more and more like a scrapbook. So, as the site grows and grows it will become vast and deep.

So, to those who are discovering Chet for the first time, we are happy to introduce people to him. He is a long-time ASCAP publisher, songwriter, composer and owner of Magic Garage Productions, Magic Garage Music and Magic Garage Records.

Chet has a very unique story....BUT.....then, again, he is a lot like singer-songwriters and composers world-wide (past-present-and-future), who are inspired by the world enough to create music, songs, stories, films, photographs of what they see and feel and share their inspirations with others. So, this site is not so much just about Chet, as it is about people around the world who are also artists "like" Chet. Also, this site is a conduit for Chet to share music and creative ideas.

Chet has produced almost 30 original music albums of singer-songwriter music in the jazz, folk, country, rock, blues, world, pop and acoustic musical genres. As an instrumental composer, he has produce several award-winning albums in the New Age, World, Jazz, Neo-Classical and Easy-Listening genres.

Chet is also a long-time award-winning film, video, special-effects and animation designer, creative director and executive producer. He has numerous nominations and has been awarded numerous Clios, Addys, Gold Medals at the New York International Film Festival, Houston Film Festival, USA Commercial Film Festival and other award events.

Chet is a vested and long-time Board Member on the SAG/AFTRA Global Nomination Committee for the SAG/AFTRA Awards for excellence in film, video, television, documentaries, and independent film creation, acting performances, production and creative conceptualization.

That said, we invite you to find a comfortable chair and sit back and enjoy Chet's great passion ...  writing, producing and performing great lyrics and music.

Select some high-quality head-phones and get ready to enjoy an interesting musical and sonic journey. Check out the ALBUM section of this site, where you can scroll through Chet's catalogue.

So, we hope you enjoy your visit and that you come back often to listen to more new music.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

Chet has an international following and has toured extensively and performed at coffee houses, listening clubs, large concert venues, major concert tours and college concert tours across the USA and Canada, as a featured performing artist and as an "opening act" for artists and bands., including:

CHET NICHOLS  

chet@chetnichols.net  ::  chet@me.com

http://www.chetnichols.net

http://chetnichols.bandcamp.com

MagicGarageMusic@protonmail.com

 

CONCERT & TOURING PERFORMANCES

 

B.B. King

Linda Ronstadt

Jethro Tull

Roger McGuinn (The Byrds)

Ian Anderson

Don Henley (Linda Ronstadt, Eagles)

Glenn Frey (Linda Ronstadt, Eagles)

Randy Meisner (Linda Ronstadt, Eagles)

Bernie Leadon (Linda Ronstadt, Eagles)

John Denver

Kenny Rogers & The First Edition

The Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia

Bob Weir

Phil Lesh

Bill Kreutzmann

Ron “Pigpen” McKernan

The Jefferson Airplane

Grace Slick

Jack Casady

Jorma Kaukonen

Spencer Dryden

Marty Balin

Paul Kantner

Janis Joplin

The Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

John McEuen

Jeff Hanna

Jimmie Fadden

Jimmy Ibbotson

POCO

Jimmy Messina (Poco, Loggins & Messina)

Timothy B. Schmidt (Poco, The Eagles)

Rusty Young (Poco)

Paul Cotton (Poco)

Richie Furay (Poco, Buffalo Springfield))

The Grateful Dead

John Lee Hooker

George Carlin

Steve Martin

Hot Tuna

Jack Casady

Jorma Kaukonen

Papa John Creach

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks

Dan Hicks

Maryanne Price

Sid Page

Naomi Ruth Eisenberg

Bob Scott

Jamie Leopold

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

John Dillion (Daredevils)

Randy Chowning (Daredevils)

Steve Cash (Daredevils)

Larry Lee (Daredevils)

Mike “Supe” Grande (Daredevils)

Buddy Brayfield (Daredevils)

The Guess Who

Burton Cummings

Randy Bachman

Garry Peterson

Kurt Winter

It’s A Beautiful Day

David LaFlemme

Linda LaFlemme

Patti Santos

Fred Weber

Mitchell Holman

Hal Wagenet

Pacific Gas & Electric

Jimmie Spheeris

Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen

Mary Travers (Peter, Paul & Mary) 

The Charlie Daniels Band

Country Joe McDonald & The Fish

The Grassroots

Creed Bratton

Rob Grill

P.F. Sloan

Steve Barri

Mason Profit

The Persuasions

Blue Oyster Cult 

Big Brother & The Holding Company

John Kahn

Mark Naftalin

Leonard Nimoy

Bolo Sette

Southern Comfort

Ian & Sylvia

Humble Pie

Modern Folk Quartet

Richard Pryor

KC Grits

Larry Knight

Ewing Street Times

Steve Goodman

John Prine

Biff Rose

The Mary Clayton Band

Bill Spears

Ted Anderson

Danny Cox

Aliotta Haynes & Jeremiah

Brewer & Shipley

The Chad Mitchell Trio …. and many more.

 

RECORDING/STUDIOS BIO …

 

Bill Bradley (Universal)

Stephen Barncard (David Crosby)

Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones)

Henry Lewie (Joni Mitchell)

Zakir Hussain (Ravi Shankar)

Fuzzy John Oxendine (Sons of Champlain)

Laura Allen (Laura Allen)

Buddy Cage (New Riders Of The Purple Sage)

Spencer Dryden (The Jefferson Airplane)

Dave Garabaldi (Tower of Power)

Pete Sears (The Jefferson Airplane)

John Kahn (Jerry Garcia, Mike Bloomfield)

Nick Gravenities (Big Brother, Paul Butterfield)

Sal Marquez (The "New" Tonight Show Band)

The New Riders Of The Purple Sage

Jack Shroer (Van Morrison)

Don Preston (Wings)

Steve Sperry (Flame)

Aliotta Haynes & Jeremiah

Dick Mark, Sr. (Dick Marx & Associates)

Brewer & Shipley, “Archive Live” Album … and many others

 

CONTACT: MagicGarageMusic@protonmail.com

 

Induction In The Kansas Music Hall Of Fame

Chet Nichols' Induction Into The Kansas Music Hall Of Fame

MUSIC | Kansas Music Hall of Fame
Star News Services
 
The Kansas Music Hall of Fame will honor 12 bands, performers and songwriters at its fourth annual induction ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday at Liberty Hall in Lawrence. General admission tickets cost $35. Doors open at 6 p.m.
Among the honorees: jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, who just played a sold-out show in Lee’s Summit.
 
Six of the inductees will perform: Beth Scalet; Friar Tuck & the Monks; the Soul Express; Chet Nichols; Garry Mac & the Mac Truque; and the Classmen. The full list of inductees with bios, courtesy of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame:
 
Ann Brewer & the Flames, Baldwin.
One of the first female vocalists and bandleaders to affect the rock ’n’ roll music scene in Kansas, Ann was equally at ease singing rockabilly or covering the latest James Brown hit. She later moved to Las Vegas, where she found success until damage to her vocal cords ended her singing career. She now lives in California.
The Classmen, Kansas City
The harmonies of this group led by the Dimmel brothers made them local favorites in Kansas City and across the Midwest. Their old records bring big bucks these days online from collectors around the world. Their song “Graduation Goodbye” still gets radio airplay each spring.
Big Al Downing, Coffeyville
In a career that stretched from the late ’50s until he died in 2005, Big Al had hits on the pop, soul, disco and country charts.
The Fabulous Four, Kansas City
A band best remembered for their vocal harmonies, they played in Kansas City clubs and beyond from the early ’60s until just a few months ago.
Friar Tuck & the Monks, Dodge City
Out of the Western plains, this band moved to Emporia at one point and found the same success it had enjoyed at home. The band was popular at dances all across Kansas.
Garry Mac & the Mac Truque, Kansas City
This popular rhythm and blues band released an album on Capitol Records back in 1969, which featured a hot horn section and the searing hot lead vocals of Dani Gregory. Some of the guys are still playing.
Pat Metheny, Kansas City
When he played a Wichita jazz festival as a 14-year-old, he surprised a lot of people. He’s no longer a surprise but one of the top jazz guitarists in the world. Metheny has won 17 Grammys in categories from rock to New Age.
Chet Nichols, Lawrence
This singer-songwriter, who eventually went home to Chicago, was a part of the Good Karma stable of acts in Kansas City, touring with Brewer & Shipley, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Danny Cox, before recording his first album for Kama Sutra Records. Since then he has continued to record, written a novel and acted in many movies and TV shows.
Beth Scalet, Ottawa
This folk and blues singer moved first to Lawrence, then to Kansas City, building a solid reputation for her songwriting and crystal-clear vocals. She has cut back on her live performing in recent years but continues to write and record.
The Soul Express, Hays
One of the best of the many horn bands in Kansas back in the 1960s, this band was at the top of the heap in Hays. They toured extensively and always drew large crowds. Several veterans of the band continue to perform across the country.
Directors Award: Lou & Betty Blasco, Kansas City
This couple was a big part of the Kansas City music scene for many years, with a music publishing company and a record label, and as songwriters. “My Happiness” was written by Betty Blasco and Borney Bergentine in 1933 and became one of the most popular songs in the country in 1948. Several other acts hit the charts with it that year, and Connie Francis took it to No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 1959. It’s also recognized as the very first song ever recorded by Elvis Presley in 1953.
Bob Hapgood Award: Bill Post, Geuda Springs
Songwriter Bill Post is the first winner of this award, named for the 2006 Hall of Fame inductee and founding member of the Hall of Fame board of directors, who died last year. Post’s career began during World War II, when he entertained troops in India and Burma before starting his own publishing firm in Los Angeles. He and his first wife, Doree, wrote and recorded many songs for several major labels, and more than 100 of their songs have been recorded by other artists. Connie Stevens had a huge hit with their song “Sixteen Reasons” in 1960. “Song for Young Love” was a hit for the Lettermen the same year. Eddie Cochran recorded “Weekend,” and Country Music Hall of Famer Don Robertson recorded “Life Goes On.” After Doree’s death in 1961, Bill returned to Kansas, where he continued to write and record. His farm near Arkansas City has been turned into a musical museum that has drawn thousands of visitors.


 
 
Lawrence Journal World Article
March 21, 2008
By Jon Niccum
 
 
Hall pass - Kansas Music Hall of Fame inducts latest class
 
Upcoming Event
2008 Kansas Music Hall of Fame Induction
 
* When: Saturday, March 22, 2008, 7 p.m.
* Where: Liberty Hall, 644 Mass., Lawrence
* Cost: $35
 
 
Bill Lee remembers the first time he ever saw live music played in Lawrence.
 
During the mid-1960s, the freshman student at Kansas University stepped into a club and crossed paths with Ann Brewer and the Flames.
 
“Ann was dancing on a table at The Village Green at the corner of 23rd and Naismith streets,” Lee recalls. “She was this little gal with a beehive doing James Brown songs. I was in love.”
 
More than 40 years later, Lee will be reuniting with his musical “love” at the 2008 Kansas Music Hall of Fame ceremony. Lee is president and founder of the organization, which has selected Brewer and the Flames (of Baldwin City) as an inductee into its fourth class of honored musicians.
 
“I thought last year was a wide spectrum, but this year is definitely an interesting mix. We’ve got two singer-songwriters, a couple of horn bands, a jazz guitarist, a pop group and more,” Lee says.
 
In addition to Brewer and the Flames, 2008 honorees include:
 
• The Classmen (Kansas City)
 
• Big Al Downing (Coffeyville)
 
• The Fabulous Four (Kansas City)
 
• Friar Tuck and the Monks (Dodge City/Emporia)
 
• Garry Mac and the Mac Truque (Kansas City)
 
• Pat Metheny (Kansas City)
 
• Chet Nichols (Lawrence)
 
• Beth Scalet (Ottawa)
 
• The Soul Express (Hays)
 
• Directors Award: Lou and Betty Blasco (Kansas City)
 
• Bob Hapgood Award: Bill Post (Geuda Springs)
 
The induction ceremony will take place Saturday at Liberty Hall, 644 Mass.
 
Dancing on the tables is optional — and not necessarily improbable. Singer Ann Brewer, since renamed Ann Crosta, now makes her living as a dancer and choreographer in California.
 
“Ann Brewer and the Flames started in the basement next to Liberty Hall in 1962. It was called The Catacombs, and we played every Friday and Saturday night,” Crosta says.
 
“We were unique in that there were no other female singers doing rock and roll at that time, and also we played really good dance music.”
 
The group toured throughout the Midwest during the Beatlemania era. But a chance meeting with Jimmy O’Neill, host of the primetime musical variety show “Shindig!,” lured the band to a steady gig at Las Vegas’ Thunderbird Hotel. From there, the ensemble shuffled its lineup and moved to Los Angeles, with Crosta continuing to front the act until 1973.
 
“Unfortunately I suffered an injury to my vocal cords (related to a mugging) that ultimately ended my professional singing career. However, 24 years ago, I met Tom Potts, who was a disc jockey and dance instructor, and I’ve been teaching dance classes with him,” says Crosta, who has worked professionally with Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers.
 
“I feel truly blessed that I’ve been given the opportunity to stay in the music business that I love so much. Music has been and will always be my life.”
 
Nichols’ bag
 
Crosta is not the only connection Lee has to the talent being honored by the Kansas Music Hall of Fame.
 
Inductee Chet Nichols used to live upstairs from Lee in a house at 1016 Ohio when the pair attended KU.
 
“Chet was the heartthrob of Murphy Hall during that era when he was a student. He’d hang around with his 12-string guitar, and the girls would all swoon over him. So there was this parade of women up the stairs,” Lee remembers.
 
Guitarist/Pianist/Slide Guitar Specialist Nichols grew more nationally well-known through his association with other Good Karma Productions artists The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Brewer & Shipley and Danny Cox.
 
“I was an oddity because I was a solo singer-songwriter,” Nichols says. “So many of the acts at that time were horn bands ... but there were also some interesting experimental bands and a number of great cover bands. I was dedicated to creating and performing what was in my soul, which were very unique songs, unique melodies and unique guitar tunings ... and fortunately, the people in Lawrence really embraced my music.”
 
Nichols eventually moved to Los Angeles and put out a solo disc on Karma Sutra Records. This led to tours with artists such as The Jefferson Airplane, John Denver and Linda Ronstadt.
 
Though Karma Sutra folded in 1976, Nichols remained dedicated to music, later expanding his repertoire to include acting and writing.
 
“I started working as a live-action, animation and special-effects producer. I commuted between L.A. and Chicago for years. I have also written several novels, a couple books of poetry, worked as an actor in commercials, feature films, TV shows and the stage — which I really love. I am also producing a lot of healing and meditative instrumental work,” he says.
 
“As long as I am alive, I will be creating.”
 
Mac attack
 
Relocating from Kansas to California is a link shared by many of the 2008 inductees.
 
For Garry Mac, leader and guitarist of Garry Mac and the Mac Truque, being based in the K.C. area didn’t prove to be an initial hindrance.
 
“When I first started (in the late 1950s), it was time when you could make a recording and get it on the radio. A lot of local groups did,” Mac says.
 
His high-energy R&B band became popular enough to court the interest of Capitol Records, who released a single called “Along Came Love” in 1967. This led to marquee gigs opening for fellow Capitol act The Beach Boys.
 
The group began spending more of its professional time in Los Angeles, eventually recording an album live at the Ambassador Hotel within the same year Robert Kennedy was assassinated there. Mac’s full-length debut came out in 1969.
 
“The band was very successful. We traveled a lot. We had a lot of good times on the road,” Mac says. “But we should have been writing more songs instead of just doing covers.”
 
Ultimately, Capitol dropped the band in 1971.
 
“We were in Hawaii when we got the word they had released us. It was kind of bittersweet,” he says.
 
Mac spent many years thereafter as a booking agent in Kansas City. And he continues to perform live with his latest act The Atlantic Express.
 
As for being honored by the hall, the 64-year-old bandleader admits, “It makes me feel old.”
 
Concrete hall
 
Although the Kansas Music Hall of Fame is still lacking a location that will serve as its permanent venue, Lee believes that shouldn’t hinder the mission of the organization.
 
“We’re not even worried about it. The topic comes up from time to time. We wouldn’t have a lot to put in it — our memorabilia collection was lost in the (Boardwalk Apartments fire) — so what’s the rush? It took Iowa 10 years to get their hall.”
 
Lee says it’s even less of a concern for the hall to try and find enough deserving artists from Kansas to honor.
 
“I was figuring out a list one day of people we haven’t inducted yet. I decided to just limit the list to people who I could identify that have recorded for a national label. There were over 100. Now that goes back 75 years. But that shouldn’t matter,” Lee explains.
 
“People like Count Basie is an obvious marquee name that deserves to be in the hall of fame. Charlie Parker, too. I’m in no particular hurry to induct them because I’d rather induct people who are still alive and can perform for us. I’d rather get them in while they’re still alive than wait until they’re gone.”
 
Kansas songwriter Bill Post will be honored with the inaugural Bob Hapgood Award. Post wrote hits for artists such as Connie Stevens and Eddie Cochran.

 



BACK TO ROCKVILLE

The Music Blog of The Kansas City Star
 
Kansas Hall of Fame to honor Metheny, 11 others
 
The Kansas Music Hall of Fame will honor 12 bands, performers and songwriters at its fourth annual induction ceremony on March 22 at Liberty Hall in Lawrence. General admission tickets are $35. Doors open at 6 p.m. Among the honorees: jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.
 
Six of the inductees will perform: Beth Scalet; Friar Tuck & the Monks; the Soul Express, Chet Nichols, Garry Mac & the Mac Truque; and the Classmen. The full list of inductees with bios, courtesy of the Kansas Music Hall of Fame:
 
Ann Brewer & The Flames, Baldwin
 
One of the first female vocalists and band leaders to affect the rock and roll music scene in Kansas, Ann was equally at ease singing rockabilly or covering the latest James Brown hit. She later moved to Las Vegas, where she found success until damage to her vocal chords ended her singing career. She now lives in California.
 
The Classmen, Kansas City
 
The harmonies of this group led by the Dimmel brothers made them local favorites in Kansas City and across the Midwest. Their old records bring big bucks these days online from collectors around the world. Their song “Graduation Goodbye” still gets radio airplay each spring.
 
Big Al Downing, Coffeyville
 
In a career that stretched from the late '50s until he died in 2005, Big Al had hits on the pop, soul, disco and country charts.
 
The Fabulous Four, Kansas City
 
A band best remembered for their vocal harmonies, they played in Kansas City clubs and beyond from the early '60s until just a few months ago.
 
Friar Tuck & The Monks, Dodge City
 
Out of the Western plains, this band moved to Emporia at one point and found the same success they had enjoyed at home. The band was popular at dances all across Kansas.
 
Garry Mac & The Mac Truque, Kansas City
 
This popular rhythm and blues band released an album on Capitol Records back in 1969, which featured a hot horn section and the searing hot lead vocals of Dani Gregory. Some of the guys are still playing.
 
Pat Metheny, Kansas City
 
When he played a Wichita jazz festival as a 14-year-old, he surprised a lot of people. He’s no longer a surprise, but one of the top jazz guitarists in the world. Metheny has won 17 Grammys in categories from rock to New Age.
 
Chet Nichols, Lawrence
 
This singer-songwriter, who eventually went home to Chicago, was a part of the Good Karma stable of acts in Kansas City, touring with Brewer & Shipley, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Danny Cox, before recording his first album for Kama Sutra Records. Since then he has continued to record, written a novel and acted in many movies and TV shows. Chet’s music continues to rack up awards and good reviews.
 
Beth Scalet, Ottawa
 
This folk and blues singer moved first to Lawrence, then to Kansas City, building a solid reputation for her songwriting and crystal clear vocals. She has cut back on her live performing in recent years but continues to write and record.
 
The Soul Express, Hays
 
One of the best of the many horn bands in Kansas back in the 1960s, this band was at the top of the heap in Hays. They toured extensively and always drew large crowds. Several veterans of the band continue to perform across the country.
 
Directors Award: Lou & Betty Blasco, Kansas City
 
This couple was a big part of the Kansas City music scene for many years, with a music publishing company, a record label, and as songwriters. “My Happiness” was written by Betty Blasco and Borney Bergentine in 1933 and became one of the most popular songs in the country in 1948, the biggest hit was by Jon and Sondra Steele; the Pied Pipers, Ella Fitzgerald and the Marlin Sisters also hit the charts with it that year. It’s been revived a number of times since. Connie Francis got to No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 1959, and it’s recognized as the very first song ever recorded by Elvis Presley in 1953.
 
Bob Hapgood Award: Bill Post, Geuda Springs
 
The first winner of this award, named for 2006 Hall of Fame inductee and founding member of the Hall of Fame board of directors, who died last year, is songwriter Bill Post. Post’s career began during World War II where he entertained troops in India and Burma before starting his own publishing firm in Los Angeles. He and his first wife, Doree, wrote and recorded many songs for several major labels and more than 100 of their songs have been recorded by other artists.
 
Connie Stevens had a huge hit with “Sixteen Reasons” in 1960. “Song For Young Love” was a hit for the Lettermen the same year. Early rocker Eddie Cochran recorded “Weekend,” and Country Music Hall of Famer Don Robertson record “Life Goes On.”
 
After Doree’s death in 1961, Bill returned to Kansas where he continued to write and record. His farm near Arkansas City has been turned into a musical museum that’s been visited by thousands."

CONTACT: MagicGarageMusic@protonmail.com


Please feel free to hang-out and listen to any of Chet's album and to contact Chet.
Or you can add your info to his mailing list or send any comments or questions his way.


PLEASE NOTE: This is a current and evolving site, as well as being a fun and
informative "historical" site about an influential, independent, American composer,
musician and singer-songwriter, Chet Nichols.

So, we are always looking for and seeking any and all old posters or photos
from Chet's shows.

If you have any, please let us know. We would be happy to provide you with
a nice collection of Chet's music of your choice in exchange for any reviews,
photos or posters you can provide.


Contact Us:
MagicGarageMusic@protonmail.com

Website Designed and Produced by Chet Nichols for
Magic Garage Productions, Magic Garage Music (ASCAP) 
and Magic Garage Records.   All Rights Reserved.

ARTICLE FROM "VINYL ANTIQUITY"

VINYL ANTIQUITY

 

Friday, March 1, 2013  by Blake Mitchner

Chet Nichols Is On The Time Loop Of Your Mind- Here's One For You Freaky Folk Prog Fans!

 

In America and really worldwide in the early to late 70s the solo artist or if you like "Singer Songwriter" came into his or her own with classic releases by the likes of Emmit Rhodes, Carole King, Todd Rundgren, and lesser known masterful artists like Pete Dello and Clifford T. Ward who himself is only lesser known a bit in America. Now there didn't have to be a whole band it could be one person with a whole lot to say and a great melodic sense. If you take away the valuable content and the great melodic or creative sense you end up with some of the worst rubbish ever, but in my mind at least the vast array of early 70s solo artists could come up with some really brilliant and interesting results.

 

Chet Nichols Gets Deserved Respect From Paul Major And From Me 

     

    Chet Nichols probably got signed to Kama Sutra not because he was a later west coast San Francisco progressive folk psych mastermind who came up by himself with a full band sound on his one album TIME LOOP, but probably because Kama Sutra thought his eccentricities would be overlooked for the very pleasant and inventive voice he has. Far removed from James Taylor, Jim Croce, Leonard Cohen and the like Chet's music is more comparable to British pastoral on-the-edge folk psych progressive acts like Nick Drake, Northwind and their lead vocalist Brian Young and Dog That Bit People's John Caswell. 

    Back in the beginning with Paul Major we didn't agree on everything and certainly he always had a weakness for the inept, but he loved and hopefully still loves great British records and that may be just one reason why he raved about Chet Nichols ages later championing his album TIME LOOP as a work of stunning somewhat strange folk psych.

    When I first heard Nichols in 2002 I was very impressed by the album, but I couldn't believe despite the sparse nature that this was all one guy. Hearing him again now I can say that my opinion hasn't changed. That means something. Paul was onto something that really had merit with Chet Nichols and its a shame that some other dealers don't share his views on the album and have unjustly slammed it. Well to each his own pleasures and prejudices and I'd say this album belongs in every collection in my opinion.

     I recently heard what is supposed to be the big monster on Kama Sutra to most dealers/collectors Hackamore Brick's ONE KISS LEADS TO ANOTHER and what a piece of garbage! I actually got both records from the same record store on the same day and ONE KISS went right out the door with Chet securing a permanent home in my collection. Hackamore Brick sound nothing like The Velvet Underground who they are claimed to be just like. That could have been a good thing since for the most part I hate Velvet Underground and most other experimental New York noise groups like The Godz for instance- I'll admit they were hugely talented revolutionaries, but myself if I'm gonna go out there I prefer something more like Earth Opera. 

    Hackamore Brick is a bad plain country rock record with a few other ideas thrown in that go nowhere and the whole album sounds like the band were in a comatose or just plain sloppy and lazy mindset when they made the album. Don't waste your time and your dough. To get back to Chet Nichols his album TIME LOOP really is special, but it doesn't get enough praise for how brilliant and creatively inventive it is. Initially the album was $50 to $75 and worth it and now the price fluctuates all the time and proves that the price of an album means nothing. I picked this up for $25 mint in the shrink and it is musically even beyond $50 or $75 it's priceless. So now let me give you the lowdown. Are you ready and steady to here my latest rant!? Hold on coz a here it comes!

 

Spinning On The TIME LOOP ("Beetles Are Coming") With Chet Nichols An Extraordinarily Great Record ... https://www.chetnichols.net/cd-beetles-are-coming

     

Chet Nichols only used other musicians on one track on his TIME LOOP album and that is the title track with an appearance on piano from the late and brilliant Nicky Hopkins. The title track is a great song, but much more commercial than the rest of the amazing record. Tracks like "Electra," "Tell Me What The Count Is" and the bizarre short closing bit of madness "Quasar Sleeper" are all vocals and instruments by Nichols himself. Even when it is just a sparse backing of acoustic guitar and weird vocal effects somehow this album is far from folky in the bad way and much more roomy, much more progressive. I mean the kind of progressive that was going on in the UK at the time and I apologize for my slandering of Britain in one of my last blogs. 

 

I shouldn't let stupid people put me off my favorite country although I think England is really in a bad state of decline now like much of the world. The songs tend to be a bit longer on here than on Dog That Bit People and a bit shorter than some of Northwind's, but both bands with their freaky mellow progressive psychedelic laced sound would be good comparisons especially Northwind. There's a subtle moodiness here and some subtly dark moments that might even bring to mind some of the eccentric ramblings of the aforementioned Earth Opera's Peter Rowan. Unlike Rowan Chet Nichols had a voice that would have been commercially marketable had he not been a really progressive writer and singer with grand ideas and strong leanings towards freaked out wasted psychedelia.

       "Electra" begins the album and is a strong percussive number with soaring vocals and a captivating sound to it that sounds half California half England. The half California half England vibe comes up a lot. It's a shame Paul Major and I have been so long out of touch. I'd like to think that Paul will see this and be glad because Paul is a great guy and I'm sad to no longer be in communication with him. "Electra" has some very out there lyrics and a nice balance between acoustic and electric instrumentation with a nod to the past decade of the 60s and what the counterculture could produce in terms of brilliant music. Stoned looking Chet is definitely not a square guy- in fact you could say he's pretty strange and definitely someone who would defy authority.

   "Water Sand Castles" delves into a nautical mood that is very pastoral and pleasant with excellent vocals from Chet and some great musical creativity flowing from this brilliant man. He is very different from Todd Rundgren because he is coming from a completely different background and a completely different part of the country. Todd started out in a band. They were called Nazz and they were a great band, but Todd abandoned his Angophile phase before his solo career and became the East Coast's foremost pop/progressive/weirdness purveyor before he went completely narcissistic and crazy. I love Todd Rundgren, but I prefer Chet Nichols. Chet has going for him that he only did one album. He has going for him the UK meets San Fran vibe of songs like "Water Sand Castles" with its oceanic sweetness, the environmentally concerned thought provoking beautiful folk pop of "Who Stole The Ivy" and the stark acoustic guitar and voice intensity of "Lonely Woman." Every song on this album tries something new.

   There's a lot going on and a lot of pleasure to be had if you have an open mind. "Who Stole The Ivy" would have fit perfectly on an album from 1967 or 1968, but it is updated a little here to sound more of the early 70s era. Most of the songs on TIME LOOP were written between 1968 and 1970, but the album was recorded in 1972 and came out then. A sure sign that it was the 70s and not the utopian 60s is the lyrically violent musically crazed closing track on Side One "The Ballad Of Diamond Joe" about a guy who kills 3 guys with a saw and then gets hunted down and killed by the protagonist which is of course Chet's character. 

    This kind of old West gone mad vibe was so popular in the early 70s, but it speaks of something that is as dark as the lyric Chet wrote. Altamont had happened (To Hell with the Hell's Angels says I!) and so had Kent State. The 60s were in retreat and getting further and further from the dream of a beautiful world as the 70s went on. There were still places and still dreams of places where there was a more relaxed and open life, but society and authority were closing in leading to paranoia and disillusionment. 

    Side One of this album covers the ground from the hopes of the 60s right on through to the turning back on the world "We've Got To Just Make It Alone" vibe of the 70s. Strangely, it isn't a sad album. In fact, you may like me have a sense of joy or relief even when you hear this.

     Side Two begins with "(Spinning On The) Time Loop" a really catchy commercial number and the only track to use session players including Nicky Hopkins the late keyboard genius who helped out The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. "(Spinning On The) Time Loop" isn't like anything else on the record and it works instead of sounding like something hastily thrown together to fill up space. 

      "Tell Me What The Count Is" goes right back into the UK and California gone twisted folk psych progressive vibes with insightful wary lyrics and a real sense of intensity. Nichols does a lot by working by himself. The least full sounding track is the title track with the full backing of session players and something like "Tell Me What The Count Is" speaks a lot for the true eccentric solo artist who does it all ably by himself. 

    I, personally, would probably not sound half as good attempting something like this. I love Chet's voice it is so warm and crystal clear yet so quietly intense. He has that gift for sounding real and human that Brian Young in Northwind and John Caswell in Dog That Bit People have. He gives you the facts. He sings from the heart not the intellect.

      "The Offing" is a very pleasant song with a nautical theme again like "Water Sand Castles" and a really beautifully wasted vocal sound that drifts along just like the sea he is talking about. The lyrics are very pastoral and the sound is very warm and honest with a magical vibe about it that the whole album has. By contrast "The Beetles Are Coming" is a put down character study of someone who has no real personality and is just a loser trying to string other people along into his or her shallow selfish life.

    I know the type well. The hangers on had become even more stale and annoying than they were in the beginning as the 1960s dream was really getting far from view and it was the beginning of a bad period of people pretending to live in that kind of counterculture way who were just as conformist as those they said they despised. I turned my back on most of the friends I had when I was at my height of Hippy-in-my-own-way because of all the fake people who were fucking my life around with their narrow beliefs and drug abuse. 

    I still have a lot of counterculture-alike beliefs and believe in living my life with a love for nature and other people and an open mind, but it gets harder and harder. "The Beetles Are Coming" nails it. Chet Nichols isn't as pissed off as Bob Dylan's pissed off lyrics, but he certainly lets whoever this was written for know that they are a loser. 

    Even when Nichols is at his most intense he remains more gentle than overbearing although he isn't at all fragile sounding in the way that someone like the brilliant much lamented Clifford T. Ward was/is/will stay. Clifford T. Ward is far from Chet Nichols in the kind of music he produced during his all-too-brief life. Clifford was more British pop at its most melancholic and refined. He wrote sad and tear jerking songs and he wrote a few happy ones too, but Clifford was so British sounding and England oriented that there can't really be an American Clifford T. Ward without the word "Americana" coming into play. There is a little Americana here and there on TIME LOOP, but Chet Nichols is looking toward the UK and then he sends you off into outer space with the crazy mind-blowing psychedelic strangeness of "Quasar Sleeper" which is more just strange sounds than a song.

     This is a wonderful album. There's not a track I'd take off or a thing I would change. Everything is so tasteful and so good and Chet has so much talent that I'm glad he is back performing, writing, and playing again with new interest in his music making him smile I'm sure. Nichols never could have made it on a pop/bubblegum label like Kama Sutra and it's unfortunate that back in 1972 his album went largely unnoticed, but I'd like to help out by my rave review here and Chet if you read this drop me a comment and I'll be overjoyed. I will be overjoyed if people go out and buy this record after reading this as it is definitely a masterpiece and a very, very special work of musical art.

 

Blake

 

https://www.chetnichols.net/cd-beetles-are-coming

 

 

ARTICLE FROM "PSYCHEDELIC BABY" MAGAZINE

Where and when did you grow up?

I grew up in Evanston and Wilmette, Illinois, USA. Both villages are shoreline suburbs North of Chicago, Illinois. So, my early years were growing up in the 1950’s after WW II. My father was an opera and radio singer in the 1930’s, 1940’s and early 1950’s. He was also the lead cantor in the St. Mary’s Catholic Choir in Evanston, Illinois. They were the most respected church choir in the Chicago area and it was filled with the best singers and musicians in the area. My dad met my mother, Mary Frances Wright, in the church choir and love blossomed. My parents were great singers and musicians and our house was always filled with music. Mom sang to me all the time and my dad used to walk around the house with me in his arms, singing all kinds of music. He taught me how to sing and memorize songs, poetry and “The Night Before Christmas”.

Needless to say, our house was filled with music ... all the time. I had 2 brothers and a sister and we were all raised with a love and interest in music. My brother, Daniel, was a very gifted singer, writer and musician.

Dad was on the radio singing back in those days, which was a big deal, because all the shows were live. Still, to support the family, dad worked as a dog warden and motorcycle patrolman. He eventually got a job as a photographer with The Chicago Tribune and became a respected photographer in Chicago.

Right after I was born, my dad and mom decided to change our last name to Nichols, so I became Chester Nichols, Jr. My father passed away from a heart ailment in 1955 and left my mother to raise 4 VERY creative and inquisitive children by herself. This was 1955 and it was very hard on her, but she had a very strong religious faith, spiritual convictions and a devout commitment to love and care for her children. She needed it because her kids were very active. She also prayed the rosary every day. As I grew older, I always had the feeling that a lot of angels were hanging around to protect us.

Was music a big part of your family life?

Yes, as mentioned, it was a common trait that weaved through our family, with mom and dad being singers, our love for music was part of our daily family life. We listened to the radio and 78 rpm records, mostly opera and classical. We didn’t have a TV until later. And at one point my mom bough a Grundig radio and phonograph and we started by 45 rpm records and LPs. We all learned to play the piano and other instruments and we could all sing…

Of course, my parents surrounded themselves with musicians, singers and artists and the house was filled with parties where people sang and played the piano and other instruments. My Aunt Elaine was an amazing pianist and could play everything from classical, to jazz, to ragtime blues. She opened my eyes to what a piano could do.

When did you begin playing music?

As a kid, my musical skills were spotted and nurtured by the nun at school who ran all the music programs. My grade school was very dedicated to music. This nun heard me sing in a first grade choir gathering where we sang common songs and patriotic songs of the day. One day, she asked me to stay behind and help her straighten-up the choir room. Then she asked me to help her take some sheet music up to the sprawling attic above the school. Up there, she had a Wollensak reel-to-reel tape machine and a microphone and she asked if I would like to record myself singing a children’s song we had learned, “Bounce The Little Rubber Ball”. I agreed and that was the first time I ever recorded my voice. I was 6 years old.

What was your first instrument?

My music teacher, Sister Bernadelle, formally introduced me to the piano lessons at age 6, although, because of my family, I already knew a bit about the piano. I loved (love) the piano and quickly progressed with my skills. Within 2 months, she introduced me to the cello and I quickly displayed prodigy-like skills on it. I competed in many piano and cello competitions and never lost a competition and was always a member of the top orchestras.

At the age of 12, I bought my first guitar in Tijuana, Mexico during a shopping trip with my cousins and my Uncle Jack. I negotiated the price down from $35.00 to $8.35. That was the beginning of my love affair with the guitar even though I only knew 3 chords at that time. I really wanted a guitar because my older brother had a friend who he would sing with and they both played guitar and banjo.

“I was very much what you might call an “outside-loner-acid-psychedelic-folk” artist.”

Who were your major influences?

Aside from my mom and dad, my older brother, Dan, was a big influence on me. As I mentioned, he had schoolmate who he would play with and sing as part of a duo. They basically played folk songs, but I remember loving to sit and watch them sing and play. My brother played banjo and guitar.

Of course, with my classical musical training, I loved classical music and studied the great composers. I still do.

But, from outside my family influences, I enjoyed the popular artists of the time: Danny & The Juniors, Richie Valens, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and others. But, I found that I was really drawn to the blues. I loved Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Robert Johnson and many others. Most of the early albums I bought were by the blues artists. They had a huge influence in my music, especially, when we started “bands” as pre-teen agers. The blues was easy to play to and jam to. Some of my biggest thrills were when I opened shows for and toured with BB King, John Lee Hocker, Mary Clayton, The Persuasions and Otis Span.

Aside from these influences, in 1960’s, I was introduced to The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, The Zombies, The Hollies and that whole basket of popular rock and pop bands of the day. It was an amazing time to be growing up as a young musician.

Still, there was a soloist streak that was brewing in me and I was VERY MUCH drawn to the amazing troubadour, singer-songwriters of the day. Gordon Lightfoot, Phil Ochs, Dylan, Donovan, Joni Mitchell, Tim Buckley, Tim Harden, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Richie Havens, Ian & Sylvia and others. Then, in the mid and late 60’s when I was band-less and going to college at Kansas University, I really focused on these artists and my solo, singer-songwriter career. I was very much what you might call an “outside-loner-acid-psychedelic-folk” artist. 

Much of what I wrote back then was also influence by the great poets, British romantic poets, physics, math and Greek Mythology that I was studying.

Just beyond those earlier years, I also had a deep respect and interest in Eric Clapton, Blake Sheldon, Lowell George & Little Feat, Don Henley, John Mayer, Sara Bareilles, John Mayall, Sonny Lindreth, Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Gary Baker, Timothy B. Schmidt, Steely Dan and many, many other groups and writers.

I am really drawn to other singer-songwriters and I love jazz singers, too.

Did the local music scene influence you or inspire you to play music?

Sure did. Growing up in Chicago and being from a musical family, we had a steady stream of musicians going in and out of the house. We used to call our house, “The 2501 Club” (our street address), because of all the parties and music being played there. For example, Mike Bloomfield, who went on to fame and fortune as one of the premier blues guitarists with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and others, was one of the “regulars” in our “2501 Basement Review”. It got to a point where, between my older brothers who all had bands and I, that we had to “book the basement” for practices and parties.

My first job singing in front of people with my guitar happened in a local ice cream parlor where I worked as a busboy and dishwasher. I convinced the owner to let me perform for the Sunday afternoon crowd. After each show, I would put on my apron and go back to cleaning tables and washing dishes. The owner balked at first, but I wrote a special song for the gig and I played it for him. He loved it, and I got the approval to perform. He gave me an extra $10 for doing 2 sets. By the way, that song was a bluesy song entitled, “I’m The Ice Cream Man” which went on to become a fan-favorite with my audiences. I was still in grade school at that time.

Once I got to high school, I excelled with my musical studies and was highly sought after for the elite choir groups. Around that time, I started a duo with a friend, Kyle Ahrberg, and we sang folk songs at high school events. I also sang and played with a folk-bluegrass trio and I was also part of a couple jam bands.

Very quickly, I became very serious about songwriting and having a really good band and started a group, “The Chosen Few”, with a friend, Phil Hagenah. We brought in various guys to play and sing with us and quickly, we had found the right combination of guys who were great musicians and singers. We used to play all the clubs in the area and played a mix of popular covers. But, what set us apart from other bands was that we did 50% originals that I had written. The audiences liked my originals more that many of the cover songs. (NOTE: These old songs have been re-recorded, up-dated and released as the album, “The Ice Cream Man Review”.)

Were you part of any bands before your debut LP?

As mentioned, I had a couple bands in high school, with “The Chosen Few”, being the cream of the crop. We played for 4 years together (1963-1967), but the band disbanded after our first year in college, as the distances between colleges was too much, plus our drummer was drafted into the army as the Viet Nam war was heating up. This band and my band mates are very dear and important to me because they helped to nurture my songwriting, singing and musicianship.

We recorded one demo tape together with many of my original songs on it. Later on, I was able to have the tape salvaged and used those tracks as guides to re-record them 40 years later as the album, “The Ice Cream Man Review”. I was inspired to do this as a gift to a VERY dear friend who was dying from ALS.

He was withering quickly. I asked him if I could do anything for him and he said, “I want to hear your old songs one more time”. So, I stopped work on the album I was working on and dove into recording those songs for him. It was a race against the clock. But, I finished the record and drove over to give it to him. By that time, he could barely speak or lift his hands up. I put the CD in his hand and saw him squeeze it. That was the last time I saw him.

What was the first song you ever composed?

I wrote and copyrighted my first song right after getting my first guitar. It was a 50’s cheesy, do-wap ballad entitled, “Lonely Rich Boy”. I still have the original demo acetate of that song. Today, it seems very corny to listen to, but it sure fit into what was being written and sung back-in-the-day; lots of teenage angst.

What are some of your strongest memories from recording Time Loopback n 1972?

The events and processes that led to “Time Loop” being recorded were downright magical. It is a long story, but so much of it was intertwined with an on-going friendship with Stephen Barncard at the time.

While I was in college, I also sang as a session singer on national TV and radio commercials. During this time, I was introduced to Dick Marx, who was the premier commercial producer in the country. He loved my weird, quirky and poetic singer-songwriter efforts and he signed me to a record contract. I produced an album for him, “The Dreams Of Here”. It never really went anywhere, so we both agreed to part company and stayed friends. Dick, by the way, was Richard Marx’s dad. I still have an acetate of that record which contained some of the very early versions of some of the songs that were recorded for “Time Loop”.

Anyway, Stephen Barncard was a DJ in Kansas City, MO. His handle was, “The Night Freak”, because he had a late-night radio show. He had heard me play at a club, “The Vanguard”, in Kansas City, and then sought me out and invited my to do an interview and perform “live” on his show. We quickly became friends and I played his show on a regular basis. It was a call-in show, so we got a lot of weird late-night callers who were listening in.

Stephen eventually left KC and went to work in some studios in LA and eventually landed at Wally Heider’s studio in San Francisco which was VERY quickly becoming the “Musical Mecca Recording Studio” in San Francisco where all the major Bay Area bands and musicians were recording. It was an amazing time and an amazing studio.

In the meantime, I had joined a management and booking agency in Kansas City, Good Karma Productions, which handled local and national artists’ booking and management needs. Thru Good Karma, I was introduced to Neil Bogart and Kama Sutra who wanted to sign me to a record deal. We set up an initial recording session at Wally Heider’s in San Francisco with Nick Gravenites (Big Brother, Electric Flag…etc.) taking on the mantel of producing the project. I drove out to San Francisco to record with him, but he was back-logged and behind schedule because Janis Joplin and Big Brother & The Holding Company’s project was dragging behind schedule. So, Nick said I’d have to plop down at a hotel and wait till his schedule opened up. Needless to say, I was very disappointed because I was really looking forward to working with Nick and I was jacked-up about finally getting into the studio to start recording.

So, I found a beach hotel and settled in and called one of the few people I knew in San Francisco, Stephen Barncard. Oddly enough, he was working as part of the engineering crew at Wally Heider’s!
We met up and he invited me to go into the studio late at night, as after-hours, the place was pretty quiet. We headed into the studio and it took probably 5 minutes before I was playing and singing in front of a mic and Stephen was working the studio board. It was one of the best times I have ever had in the studio making music.

Well, it didn’t take but a couple weeks of following this schedule, and we had cranked out the initial tracks to, “Time Loop”. Stephen (I called him Steve back then) basically handled the recording and we shared producing duties because it was just the two of us working together. I did the singing, arranging and played all the instruments. It was a very synergistic event for the two of us working as a team. Stephen was eventually tapped as the Executive Producer of the album.

I took the tapes back to Kansas City and played them for the folks at Good Karma. They were impressed and somewhat stunned by the unique quality of the minimalistic and unique arrangements. They forwarded the tapes to Neil Bogart at Kama Sutra in New York. Neil had a great ear and appreciated what I was trying to do with my music, but he insisted that he didn’t “hear” a single on the album. I lobbied hard that “Electra” was that song (and it turned out to be the first song to get a lot of airplay). Neil and his guys disagreed and wanted another song. So, I sat down and, inspired by all the twists and turns of the whole process I was going through, wrote, “(Spinning On The) Time Loop”. I sent a simple piano/vocal demo to Neil and they agreed it was what they wanted to hear. It was a very catchy, rock ‘n’ roll tune with a psychedelic theme to it.

So, I went back to Wally Heider’s in San Francisco and recorded, “(Spinning On The) Time Loop”. Neil insisted that Nick Gravenites produce the track, which was cool with me because I wanted to work with Nick. Stephen Barncard was the engineer. My studio band consisted of some killer musicians. Nicky Hopkins (Rolling Stones) played piano, Dave Garabaldi (Tower Of Power) played drums and Peter Sears (The Jefferson Airplane and more) played bass.

On the other hand, “(Spinning On The) Time Loop” had a very different sound and vibe to it, but I loved the song, the message and the cats I was working with. After all, I grew up playing in several bands and I enjoyed the opportunity to do it again. Stephen, on the other hand, was not as excited about doing the track, but it was a song required in order to get the record company to get on-board with the album 100%. It also, strayed a wee bit from the sound of the rest of the tracks on the album, but it’s a great song and I still think Nicky Hopkins’ piano work and solo is one of the best rock ‘n’ roll piano efforts ever.

In essence, Stephen and I produced the album as an independent production and Kama Sutra paid us for it. When Kama Sutra signed me to a deal, it was for 5 albums. Unfortunately, that never came about because Viewlex bought Buddah/Kama Sutra and wanted to change the direction of record label. 

Neil Bogart resisted them from day-one and eventually went off to start Casablanca Records. He wanted to take me with him but, because of the friction between them, Viewlex would not release me from my contract. So, in essence I was frozen and not allowed to record. It is an all-too-common story and can mean the death of a career for an artist. But, the worst part is that it starts to block the flow an artist develops when they get into a groove of writing and recording.

Stephen and I embarked on a second album which Neil had approved, “Waving Prairie”. But, we were half-way through the album and Viewlex put it on hold…and that was…that. The battles between Neil and Viewlex heated up and I was stuck in limbo….. and quite honestly, I felt my career was dead at that moment.

Still, after a long, long journey, we had finally finished, “Time Loop”, and people were really blown away by it. What I am most happy about it that after ALL these years, people are still discovering the album and embracing it and others I have produced.

Stephen went on to fame and fortune with many A-List artists, but “Time Loop”, was near and dear to him and, of course, me.

Back in 2014, he floated the idea by me to re-visit, “Time Loop”, and to re-mix, convert and re-master the record to bring it up to current recording standards, which we did. 

It was hard because he was in San Francisco and I was in Chicago, but we got it done. There were some nice surprises that popped up when Stephen actually cracked open those old 2” masters with some better takes popping up and forgotten tracks appearing.

In order to differentiate the new “version”, which is far superior from a sonic perspective and with some upgraded tracks, from the original “Time Loop”, we felt the album needed to receive a new title. We settled on, “Beatles Are Coming” (https://www.chetnichols.net/cd-beetles-are-coming). So, if you want to hear the best sonic version, seek that album out. 

(http://www.chetnichols.net or http://chetnichols.bandcamp.com.)

Finally, one last magic story that I want to share. When I started out writing this songs and working on “Time Loop”, I wanted to pay tribute to the other artists who inspired me when I was writing the songs: Joni Mitchell, Tim Buckley, Dylan, Donovan, Tim Harden and others. So, these and others were always in the back of my mind as I recorded the album.

So, once the album was approved and we were able to schedule to have the album mastered, Stephen Barncard, chose Artisian Studios in LA. So, we packed up the tapes and flew to LA and went to Artisian and the album was mastered. Afterwards, we decided to go to The Troubadour on Santa Monica Blvd to have a celebratory glass or two of adult beverages before we flew back to San Francisco.

I was sitting in a side-room off the bar where I had spent several nights waiting my turn to go play a show at The Troubadour. So, this time I was by myself relaxing when Joni Mitchell walked in. I was a bit stunned. 

Then she looked at me and asked if I could exchange some US coins for her Canadian coins so she could buy some cigarettes, so I gave her the change and bought the pack for her (I still have those Canadian quarters). Then she went back into the bar where she was with her manager and friends. BUT, she returned and shook my hand and thanked me for being “so nice”.

I often wonder how my career would have turned out, if I had just settled in and moved to LA and joined the group of singer-songwriters who were making waves in LA. I do know, it would have been much different.

What’s the songwriting process like?

This is an excellent question, as I have several processes that I follow. First of all, I NEVER edit a song when I am writing it. I might have 5 or more verses, a few choruses and a few bridges…I then edit the song as I put the music to it. Then, again, the song may come to me in its finished form. And a lot of times the music comes first and inspires the lyric…so I keep “all the doors open”, so to speak.

I get a lot of inspiration from dreams and/or from those times right before I fall asleep or when I am just waking up. I have a new album I am working on, “Twilight Journals”, which is filled with these “dream inspired songs”. It is shaping up to being a powerful collection of songs.

I have been keeping writing journals handy and always ready since I was 16, so I have a large library of this writing and song journals. I will write down phrases, titles, whatever comes to mind, all the time. I am religious about taking the time to write everything down. I also carry Field Notes writing books in my back pocket with me and will use them to jot down ideas, lyrics, music notations and concepts. I don’t write these ideas to remember them LATER, I do it to remember them NOW, as I have learned that when I say to myself, “Oh, I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it later”…I can’t AND don’t remember it like I wanted to at the moment the idea landed in my brain.

Key thing is I NEVER get in the way of “the flow”. I have never had, nor WILL ever have, “Writer’s Block”. In fact, I help people who have it…get over it. It all has to do with the flow of energy, to not editing while you are creating and thinking in a zero-axis mental state.

Finally, a lot of time, I will just be doodling on the piano or guitar and a idea explodes from the music. One of my most successful songs, “I Was Dreaming”, is a great example of this process in action. I love that song.

Anyway, I am basically a songwriting machine and can write a song-a-day, then, again, maybe one a week or one a month. At the same time, I can be working on multiple songs at the same time.  Because of my ability to do this and my proficiency playing many instruments, my  dream has been to be able to be in a studio every day. It is still a goal I shoot for.

So, if anyone out there needs a song and has a live project, let me know…. I am willing to listen.

Time Loop, is filled with songs about “change” and the changes in life that we all go through.”

Was there a certain concept behind it?

I don’t know that a specific concept defined, “Time Loop”, but the common theme of the songs is “change”. Also, the concepts on the album were more of a convergence of individual tracks that defined the album. I probably had 40 tracks to choose from when it came time to recording the album and we had to shrink that down to 10; that on top of the fact that I was writing new songs every day, every week and every month. So, it was a very organic and fluid process that added to the excitement of the project.

Still, “Time Loop”, is filled with songs about “change” and the changes in life that we all go through. These changes are perhaps personified by the ticking of a clock, the motion of the waves, the subtle shift of the landscapes, the changes of the seasons and the rising wave of changes taking place in America during the 60’s and 70’s. The song, “The Beetles Are Coming”, is (was) a song about prophetic changes in the changes in American society, the American psyche, American spirituality and more.

“Time Loop” was a “coming out party” for my prophetic ponderings, as I am much more of a spiritual being having a human experience. These days in America, this very important aspect to each of our “human experiences”, has been drowned out by the over-powering clamor of our political state of affairs and the non-stop drum beat of politics and I think it as a dangerous wall that is stopping us from growing in a deep and profoundly spiritual way. The song, “The Beetles Are Coming” is a great example of this, as it is a warning and a guide to what was and is about to happen in our day-to-day lives.

On the other hand, my second album, “Waving Prairie”, was inspired by my love of traveling and touring around the country and meeting new people, as well as having influences from the great romantic poets and of all of the changes going on within a variety of levels in America at that time.

Then, you have one of my newest albums, “Hollywood Altars”, which is about the entertainment and media business in Hollywood, which is a cultural distraction to what should be our spiritual goals. This album sings about the dreams and disappointments of people who strive to succeed in the Hollywood media scene, so often with the best intentions, only to be gobbled up by the under-belly and vice pulsating through the veins of Hollywood and its tributaries.

In the end, I seem to go back to so many of the songs on “Time Loop”, as guides and testimonies about the changing world around me.

“I wrote this song at a very unique time in my life. I was in the middle of a hitch-hiking trip between Oklahoma and LA down the Old Route 66 and was staying in a beach hotel in Huntington Beach, CA.”

Would you share your insight on the albums’ tracks?

Glad to do this, but first, I want to remind you and your readers that you should seek out my album, “Beetles Are Coming”, (https://www.chetnichols.net/cd-beetles-are-coming), when you want to listen to the tracks from, “Time Loop”, as these are the ones that have been completely up-graded and improved via digital re-mastering, re-mixing and the addition of an additional track and some replacement tracks that are “lost” up-grades to some of the original tracks.

“Electra” – This is a very psychedelic song about the anima and animus we have heard so much about. The male and female energies that come together, combine and create something other than their separate parts. Of course, with what is going on in the world sexuality stage these days, I have had some very interesting comments from the 21st century crowd about this song. I also used some aspects of the Greek Mythology that I was studying, so there is a little bit of all of these elements in the song. Interestingly enough, when “Time Loop” was released, Los Angeles was one of the target markets. “Electra” hit the playlists and charts in LA very quickly and it rose to being a “Top Ten” song in LA and was on a tight rotation on KLAX in LA. Sadly, the record company didn’t back it up and it faded after a few weeks.

“Water Sand Castles” – I have always loved the ocean, water and beaches and have found a lot of inspiring moments from walking on the beach, sitting in the sand and watching the waves break. This is another very psychedelic song and these past experiences and it focuses on life, existence and the on-going changes in our lives. This song also personifies the continuing theme of change and the cycles of life embedded in this album.

“Who Stole The Ivy” – This is a very poetic psychedelic song about changes in our internal and external environments. I have always been a very conservative conservationist and advocate of environmental issues and practices. That said this song touches on how mankind has an enduring tendency to mis-manage this beautiful planet. MY references to “she” in this song refers to Mother Earth.

“Lonely Woman” – Sadly, my father passed away from a heart issue at 45 and left my mom with 4 kids to take care of in 1955. Things were very different back then and although she had a college degree, she had been a stay-at-home mother for many years. So, the death of my dad, blew a huge hole in her heart and soul. She missed him terribly. One day, I walked by her bedroom door and heard her weeping deeply because she was overwhelmed by the extreme responsibilities she had and her loneliness. I never forgot that moment.

I wrote this song at a very unique time in my life. I was in the middle of a hitch-hiking trip between Oklahoma and LA down the Old Route 66 and was staying in a beach hotel in Huntington Beach, CA. I heard a woman crying because she and her boyfriend had broken up and it reminded me of my mother crying by herself. So, I sat down and wrote this song from start to finish in about a half-an-hour. The dynamics and guitar work on this song are some of my best.

By the way, this hitch-hiking trip spawned many other songs. That is a whole different story.But, this trip inspired a very popular novel that I wrote entitled, “The Last Riders On Route 66”. It is a very entertaining novel that I am sure you will enjoy and you can get a copy at Amazon.com.

“The Ballad Of Diamond Joe” – This is a very different song than the others on the album. It has some very dynamic guitar parts and a very moving arrangement. The concept is based on road-crew of convicts who are suddenly attacked by their Boss Man. And the perspective comes from the storyteller of the song, who, in this case, is a bounty hunter sent to track the Boss Man down and bring him to justice. It is somewhat like a Dylan song only more vivid and angry.

“(Spinning On The) Time Loop” – As mentioned above, this song is about the wheels of change that never stop spinning and drawing us into its gears. It’s a very psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll tune that is pure 1960’s and 70’s.

“Red Tide” – I was touring out in California and had just completed a pretty intensive club tour of numerous clubs up and down the coast. I knew some old high school friends who were in college and had gotten jobs working at Carpenteria State Park Beach on the California coast as lifeguards. I got a hold of them and they invited me to come and stay with them, as the State Park had given them a large house to stay in while working there. I just hung around and lounged in the sand, played my guitar and wrote songs.

Then, one night, as a full moon rose over the mountains, the beach was invaded by a Red Tide. I had never seen one and was blown away by the phosphorescent aspects of the tide and how the red algae embedded in the Red Tide lit up the waves and water as they rolled in from the ocean. It was a magical experience and night for me, being under the stars and moon and the Red Tide lighting up the shoreline.

I could not help but be inspired. We would run along the beach and drag our feet through the sand and leave shimmering phosphorescent streaks in the sand. I must say, it was a VERY, VERY psychedelic experience.

“Tell Me What The Count Is” – This is one of my favorite songs on the album. It has a very dynamic guitar tuning and the track really rocks. The storyline is about trying to work your way through the never-ending waves of change that come into our lives, especially when you are going through hard times. As the title implies, it is like being in a fighter’s ring and getting up over and over as life knocks you down. Anyway, with commitment and persistence, we can always rise above adversity.

“The Offing” – This is another “ocean song”. As you are probably picking up on how the ocean and water have inspired several songs on this album. This is a seafaring tale of a sailor who knows he is getting close to his home port, so he is always ready to take a shift on the master head in hopes that he be the one yelling, “Land Ho!” It is a sweet tale and very heartfelt. Musically, it is a great track that features some very nice acoustic slide guitar with a driving beat.

“The Beetles Are Coming” – Don’t know that I need to comment on this song, as I think I went in depth about it earlier. It is one of my favorite songs that I have ever written.

“Quasar Sleeper” – This is a dreamy, fun psychedelic instrumental that I composed during some downtime in the studio. We decided to end the album with it because it provided a wee bit of sonic relief following the intensity and message of the previous song, “The Beetles Are Coming”. It is a light-hearted sign-off piece that eases you out of the album. It is also a tribute to Quasars, which had just been discovered…during those days.

Link to songs: https://www.chetnichols.net/cd-beetles-are-coming

What influenced your sound?

As mentioned before, I have a number of musical influences from classical, to folk, to rock, to blues, to country, to bluegrass, to pop and jazz. In the case of “Time Loop”, I was striving to create something unique and different. It was a combination of a conscious effort and an un-conscious effort that kept me open to new ideas and musical approaches, but I was committed to creating a new sound. To do this, I created many unique guitar tunings for the songs on the album. It allowed me to produce the guitar tracks that often sounded like 2-3 guitars, when I was only playing one guitar. This exploration of making the guitar sound unique and giving it a fuller-droning sound, was a big part of the inspiration of behind the sonic aspects of this album.

I was also committed to basically using an acoustic guitar as the main instrument on the album. The acoustic and electric guitars and the piano are still my main instruments and are featured on the album. But, I love playing various keyboards, slide guitar, the acoustic dulcimer, harmonica, mandolin, cello and other instruments.

Still, on, “Time Loop”, I began to stretch the special tunings on my guitar tracks and I continue that to this day. I have close to 100 different tunings I have created.

As far as direct influences for the sound on the different tracks, I loved some of the sounds created by Tim Buckley, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds (Roger McGuinn (interview here) was a big influence), Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Donovan, The Beatles, The Stones and others. I never tried to copy what these other artists and bands were doing, but I was then, and am still today, committed to exploring and pushing the sonic envelopes. One of my newest albums, “Hollywood Altars”, is a GREAT example of this concept.

How many copies of the album were released?

I think there were about 70,000 copies…

How pleased were you with the sound of the album?

When I started recording the album, Stephen and I talked a LOT about creating and recording an acoustic guitar unlike anything we had heard before. So, I would sit in the studio and strum along, as Stephen would move back and forth between the recording studio and the recording booth. He tried many different microphone configurations and used multiple mics to record the guitar. In these cases, I had to make sure that I kept any ambient noise in the studio to a minimum. It took a lot of trial and error, but Stephen make it work. At the same time, I gave him a lot of feedback in what I was trying to “hear” from the recording. He took what he learned from recording, “Time Loop”, and used it on many other records he produced and recorded with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, David Crosby and others. To this day, I am still pushing that sonic envelope and spend a fair amount on matching mics and great interfaces and pre-amps when I record myself.

That said, we were very happy with where we were going with “the sound” and we were anxious to dig deeper into creating an even greater acoustic guitar sound. We knew we were on to something.

At the same time, I was pretty insistent about keeping the album simple and minimalistic. This is one of the reasons there are no drums on the album, except for the title track, “(Spinning On The) Time Loop”. I have nothing against drummers, as I use them a lot, but I look for off-beat, unique world-type drums whenever I can find them. I have a very elaborate and deep library of “live drum loops”, which I use on many of my tracks.

All in all, Stephen did a fine job helping to create a sound that was unique to that album, which is saying something considering the fact that we were heading into and sailing thru un-charted sonic waters at that time.

What, if anything, would you like to have been different from the finished product?

As much as I like to tinker with songs, I can honestly say that I would not change a thing with this album. I got a lot of feedback from people, and I appreciated all of the comments, but, still, I would not change anything about it.

That said, when the opportunity arose to re-mix, digitize and re-master, I agreed right away, as I want the album to be made available as a more modern sounding record. And the end result is, “Beetles Are Coming”. We chose to re-name it to differentiate it between the original, “Time Loop”, and the updated, “Beetles Are Coming”.

The upshot was that we found some better tracks and corrected tracks and cuts of the songs on the album and I was jazzed by them. Stephen also wanted to scale back some of the overdubs, which were minimal on the original and I pushed back on that, but let him scale back the mix on, “Tell Me What The Count Is”, and leave it as more a pure acoustic track.

Still, the re-mixed version was frustrating for me because he was in San Francisco and I was Chicago and didn’t have the time and resources to be able to be in the studio together, so I decided to trust him to respect my wishes and feedback and, in-turn, I respected his suggestions. So, it worked out and the end result was a ”superior” sonic rendition.

Did you tour to support the album?

Yes, I did extensive touring for years to promote this and other albums. I was very fortunate to have opened for some of the music industry’s best and brightest artists and bands. I played the folk club circuit from coast-to-coast, did numerous college concert tours, played major large venues from coast-to-coast. I was very blessed to have had these opportunities and to have had GREAT responses to all my shows. 

Some of the artists I toured with were:
B.B. King, Jethro Tull (interview 
here), John Denver, The Jefferson Airplane, Linda Ronstadt, The Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jimmy Messina, Timothy B. Schmidt, Rusty Young, Papa John Creach, Grace Slick, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen (interview here), Spencer Dryden, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, The Grateful Dead, George Carlin, Steve Martin, Poco, Hot Tuna, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, It’s A Beautiful Day, Pacific Gas & Electric, Jimmie Spheeris, Commander Cody & The Lost Planet Airmen, Mary Travers (Peter, Paul & Mary), The Charlie Daniels Band, Country Joe McDonald & The Fish (interview here), The Grassroots, Mason Profitt, The Persuasions, Blue Oyster Cult, Big Brother & The Holding Company (interview here), Leonard Nimoy, Bolo Sette, John Lee Hooker, The Chad Mitchell, Roger McGuinn (interview here), Ian & Sylvia, Humble Pie, Modern Folk Quartet, Humble Pie, Richar Pryor, KC Grits, Ewing Street Times, Steve Goodman, The Guess Who, Bill Rose, The Mary Clayton Band, Bill Spears, Ted Anderson, Danny Cox, Brewer & Shipley (interview here)…and many more.

Looking back, what was the highlight of your time in your career?

That is very hard to say because I had so many great experiences when I was recording and touring.

One of the biggest highlights was when I was inducted into The Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2008 with Pat Metheny and several other artists. Put me into a very respected group of artists that also include Martina McBridge, Melissa Etheridge, Kansas and others.

That said, I really enjoyed my tours with John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, The Jefferson Airplane, Poco, Dan Hicks & The Hotlicks, Jethro Tull (interview here), George Carlin, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Steve Martin, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Brewer & Shipley (interview here)…to name a few.

One show I was very proud of was when I opened for The Kansas City Philharmonic Orchestra. I mean, HOW do you prepare for that? But, I put together a nice show that is available on my album, “Black & White”. It was recorded on 9/11/1971. It is scheduled to be re-mastered later this year.

The shows I did with The Jefferson Airplane were wild. That is something for another article. The shows with Jethro Tull were exciting as I got a lot of positive feedback.

I also loved the big shows at Red Rocks in Denver, The Family Dog in San Francisco, numerous big shows in Kansas City, NY and especially loved the college concert tours that allowed me to stay on campus for 4-5 days and play shows and speak to the students.

Also, loved the shows I did with B.B. King, Poco, It’s A Beautiful Day…so many shows, it is hard to pick.

But, what was really fun were the week-stands at clubs where I opened for Linda Ronstadt, John Denver, Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks, Brewer & Shipley (interview here), Ian & Sylvia .. and others. It gave me a chance to get to know these artists.

Which songs are you most proud of?

As far as the songs on, “Time Loop”, it is kind of hard to say because I see my songs as children and offspring of my soul and I love them all for their individuality.

I guess I am most proud of that collection of songs and how they “rest” and vibrate together as a body of work. Still, I love “Electra”, “Lonely Woman” (a song about my mother), “Water Sand Castles”, “(Spinning On The) Time Loop”, “The Offing” and “The Beetles Are Coming” the most. They were (are) great songs to perform live.

Where and when was your most memorable gig?

Ha, that is a loaded question! I remember many of the shows I played for a variety of reasons. Each had a series of “mind-blowing” events, especially the ones where I was in large concert events opening for people like The Jefferson Airplane, Jethro Tull, Hot Tuna, BB King, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt and others.

Then, again, I really enjoyed the week-long stands I played at the high-end clubs that I played at all over the US. Those were a LOT of fun. But, the shows I did with The Jefferson Airplane were…out there…with all kinds of twists and turns.

You recorded a lot of material in the past 50 years.

This is kind of a slippery slope for an artist, because instinctively, true artists are seekers and always looking for new ways to express themselves as human beings and artistic creators.

More times than not, an artist can chose to go off in a different direction because they want to explore new ways to express themselves. They great a sound, a lick, a phrase that opens up a new platform and landscape that they can explore and populate with ideas. Sometimes an artist has no choice as new sources of inspiration drag the artist into a totally unfamiliar place where they have to chill and go with the flow, so to speak.

But, there is a big RUB awaiting them and that is that their audience wants more of what they expect from the artist and if an artist goes too far away from the sound or perspective that their audience fell in love with, the artist can lose their audience. People like Joni Mitchell have been successful doing this even though so many want another “Ladies Of The Canyons” album.

Another good example is the blow-back Dylan endured when he went “electric”. I remember hearing it and liking it a lot because I KNEW what he was doing…he was expanding and exploring.

So, when I look at my career as a songwriter, I let the songs and the ideas define the music in many cases. I LOVE all kinds of music, so I like to write rock songs, blues songs, jazz songs, happy songs, sad songs, poetic songs, folk songs, pop songs, instrumental songs, world music songs and on and on. So, when I get an idea and can produce it and finish it, these days it takes a couple clicks and I can load it up to the Online World for all to hear. At the same time, it might take me a few years to complete enough songs that sound good enough together to release them as an album. Last year is a good example of that, when I released 5-6 albums.

At the same time, I am always challenging myself as a singer, a multi-instrumentalist, a lyricist, a composer, a poet and visual artist … to grow and try new things. I have found that in the end, there is always a sound or a vibe that I produce that is common to all the work I produce, so I hope my audience enjoys that and is willing to join me on my journeys.

At this stage in my life, my bags are always “packed by the door” and I am ready to leave on a moment’s notice for new spaces and places.

“No rest for the dedicated, ya know?”

Is there any unreleased material?

I have a LOT of un-released material that is being recorded and shaped for release with comparable tunes. My recording schedule is penciled in for the next three years…and that does not include new songs being written. No rest for the dedicated, ya know?

The most current and pending album that is very close to being done is and album entitled, “Lumbering Mountain”. It is a collection of solo cuts that feature me singing and playing guitar or piano. I have had a lot of people ask me if I would ever do it, so I embarked on it a couple years ago and have three songs that are waiting to be recorded then I can do the final mixing and mastering. The tracks that are done sound really sound nice and full. I love the idea of simple solo tracks, as they feature “the song, the lyrics, the melody, a vocal and simple instrumentation”.

The initial reaction from close friends has been very positive. I am sure you and your audience will love this album. I am probably 2 weeks away from getting it done.

Also, I am close to release a re-mastered, re-digitized and re-mixed version of my second album. It is entitled, “The Waving Prairie”. It is a wonderful album that is like a “companion album” to “Time Loop (“Beetles Are Coming”)”. Many great songs are included on that record. Maybe we can talk about that album down the road.

Directly behind that album is the previously mentioned album, “Midnight Journals”. I think it will be one of my best recent albums and right up there with my newest album, “Hollywood Altars”, which is getting very positive reviews and reaction from serious listeners.

I highly recommend your viewers listen to “Hollywood Altars”. I have had some great responses and feedback to this powerful collection.

In closing, I want to thank you for the opportunity to share the information you requested and the stories behind a lot of the songs. I hope you enjoy it, too.

All my albums are available at ALL the online stores (iTunes, Amazon…etc,), Pandora, Spotify and at these websites:
http://www.chetnichols.net (Hi Res)
http://chetnichols.bandcamp.com (Hi Res)

– Klemen Breznikar