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McDonald > www.michaelmcdonald.com
Bill Champlin Fans, Over the years I've had the occasional great pleasure
of working with Bill both in the studio and on stage. Not only is he one
of the all time great pop/R&B vocalists, but an accomplished instrumentalist,
arranger and more specifically, killer B-3 player. In the US it seems
that among musicians Bill Champlin has been considered one of the greats
since his days with "Sons of Champlin" band. Although mainstream
audiences are mostly familiar with his work with the group "Chicago"(another
great group).Some of you may or may not be aware of the fact that Bill
has written with David Foster some of the biggest R&B hits of all
time on the American charts,("After The Love Is Gone" Earth
wind & Fire). I know I'm probably not telling you anything you don't
already know but speaking as an American musician, it's great to see this
guy get at least some of the recognition he deserves. If you haven't already
heard his solo and "Sons Of Champlin" albums, do yourself a
favor and find them.
Graydon > www.jaygraydon.com
Bill Champlin is a
singer’s singer! His pitch is excellent, his "feel" is
as good as it gets, and he can sing so many styles! Very few white cats
can sing like black singers - Bill is the best white R&B singer I
have every heard! Regarding background vocals, he is an outstanding arranger!
Since he is such a talented musician, he knows how to deal with harmony
and always comes up with incredible parts! Bill is an outstanding keyboard
player as well. His organ playing is so soulful and he can "groove"
big time! His guitar playing is outstanding as well! Regarding song writing,
another gift as he has written so many great songs. Is there anything
this cat can't do? His wife, Tamara, is also an incredible singer and
songwriter! His son Willie is another talented member of the family. There
is no doubt he will grow into a major talent.
Bruce Gaitsch > www.brucegaitsch.com
Bill Champlin is one
of the most talented and driven musicians on this earth. I have been blessed
in my life to get to work with him on many occasions and he just never
fails to amaze me with his genius. As a vocalist no one comes close, the
vocal agility of Luther Vandross meets the blues stylings of Howling Wolf
meets the smooth perfectly in tune voice of Sam Cooke. His keyboard playing
is another often overlooked talent, any keyboard is home to Bill especially
the difficult Hammond B3. Then the guy continues by being an excellent
guitarist,,, His writing talent is second to none... And he is a hell
of a great friend and mentor... Now if he'd just move to Nashville we
could get to work.
Bernie Chiaravalle > www.berniechiaravalle.com
I grew up in Marin County, CA where The Sons of Champlin were very popular.
I was even in a band that opened for them on occasion. I've always loved
his voice and songwriting. And of course he's a great Hammond player.
He can also tear up the guitar pretty good. His R&B style was a major
influence on my music education growing up. I wrote songs back then that
were directly influenced by him. And seeing the band back then was an
experience. Live performances by The Sons were always an adventure. A
few years back while I was on the road with Michael McDonald, we ran into
Bill at a TV show we were taping in Germany. Turned out he remembered
my band from Marin County years back. That made my millennium!
Imboden > www.trisimboden.com
Where do I begin when speaking about the enormous gift that Bill possesses?
He is probably one of the greatest talents of our time, and certainly
one of the finest musicians I've ever worked with. His talent runs so
deep when you consider his vocal mastery, his great songwriting, and the
fact that he plays so many instruments in addition to guitar and keyboards.
The guy actually plays drums and saxophone too!! I remember hearing Bill's
voice for the first time in the early seventies. It was a Sons track I
heard on the radio and all I could think about was how soulful and hip
the tune and that voice sounded. Later when I discovered that a white
hippie from Mill Valley had written and sung it I couldn’t believe
it! This man is funkier than a two-day-old Band-Aid!! Bill is also one
of the greatest people you could ever meet, certainly one of the funniest.
It was Bill actually who recommended me to Chicago. I will always be grateful
that he brought my name up as a possible replacement for Danny. I'm so
proud to have Bill as a friend not to mention the joy I experience playing
music with him. The world is a better place because he's in it!
Marino > www.marinodesilva.com
After listening to Bill for years with Sons of Champlin, I always suspected
he was a musical genius -- after working with him, I can now confirm that
he is! Heart, soul and fire are the three most important elements in any
musician, and Bill has them in abundance. It doesn't matter if it's vocals,
Hammond or guitar - he just rocks! Bill's also got a great, dry sense
of humour, which makes for a relaxed vibe in the studio and helps bring
out the best in everyone. And then there's Tamara, Bill's wife. What a
talent. I call them the Dynamic Duo. Love 'em both.
Saviano > http://members.aol.com/teesav/
Bill Champlin and I have known each other since 1976. The first time I
heard him sing was on "Captain Fingers" by Lee Ritenour. I was
in the studio with my producer who also happened to be Lee's producer
at the time, Skip Drinkwater. Bill was doing a version of "Isn't
She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder. From my vantage point in the studio
I couldn't see who the singer was, but I thought it was one of the best
singers I had ever heard and definitely had to be an African American.
Then out walks Champlin and Skip introduced him to me. I'm privileged
to say that we have been friends and musical partners ever since then.
We are currently performing live with "The Sons Of Champlin"
as well as working on our new solo projects.
Bailey > www.dawaynebailey.com
The CD I'm holding in this photo (with my pal Brian Cruz on the left)
is Bill Champlin's "No Wasted Moments". Not only have I experienced
playing with Bill for nearly a decade with the band CHICAGO, but I've
always been a major fan. Be it solo, Sons, Chicago or any given sideman
or producer gig he's ever done. I grew up in Kansas in the 60s and 70s.
Manhattan and Wichita to be specific. Wichita in particular has always
been a big Blues town and also holds the distinction of being hometown
to another monster Hammond player/singer named Michael Finnigan. He was
our hometown hero with his amazing bands The Serfs, Jerry Hahn Brotherhood,
DFK, Finnigan & Wood and Dave Mason. Mike always talked about his
love for this guy from San Francisco that also played Hammond and sang
his Caucasian boo-tie off. Of course he was talking about Bill. Then Kerry
Livgren (of the band Kansas) told me about Bill and the Sons and how they
were a big influence on his writing. Kerry even talks about it in his
book called Seeds Of Change. So the word started getting out back then
and The Sons became our new heroes of soul, funk and groove. We listened
to all the albums. I particularly fetished the Loving Is Why album and
the song Time Will Bring You Love. I used to bug Bill constantly on those
countless hours on the road that this was one of my all-time fave songs
of his. Sure enough, he called me one day and told me he wanted me to
play guitar on his re-recording of this song for The Usual Suspects CD.
I was blown away. Getting to write with Bill on the bus, jam in hotel
rooms, dressing rooms, onstage around the globe, at his home studio, etc
were extreme highs of my life. Then there's that "special" Bill
sense of humor. "Fuselage d'amour". Remember that one, bro?
Two of my favorite things to do on those long bus rides was to make Bill
gourmet deli sandwiches, and simply...laugh. At all costs with total disposal
of human dignity and adult decorum. I think between Tris and Jason and
me, we accomplished our mission more than a few times.... be it Jason
and me Jazz dancing in the aisle or "swingin' back n forth like a
Duncan Yo-Ya". I love Bill Champlin and after getting to blend in
dead-on 3 part harmonies, dueling guitar solos or just simply hanging
out waiting for Godot...or Cleveland (whichever came first)....I leave
the Master from Marin with his favorite age old philosophy for bearing
down through oceans of musical (and pedestrian) mediocrity...Satan says,
Vincent > www.jamesvincent.net
The first time I heard Bill Champlin was 33 years ago in a high school
gymnasium in Santa Rosa, California. The Sons of Champlin were warming
up a large audience for our group, the newly re-formed H.P. Lovecraft.
Our band had just relocated from Chicago, IL to Sonoma County, CA. In
Chicago I had grown up listening almost exclusively to the great r&b
singers of the day, and the voice I was now hearing was right up there
with the best of them; however, this fellow had blue eyes. If I remember
correctly, Bill was playing a Gibson L-5, and he switched between guitar
and Hammond organ as the songs dictated. He had absolute command of both
instruments and the band that he fronted. Bill and I became acquainted
that evening. Later that year I teamed up with an organist named Howard
Wales, best known for his "Hooteroll" album with Jerry Garcia.
We played many Bay Area venues with "The Sons", and Bill and
I became friends. We finally got to work together on Howard's next solo
album, called "Rendezvous with the Sun.” In 1974 I was moving
to L.A. to further my solo career. Before I left, I caught Bill doing
a solo at a little club in San Anselmo, singing and playing his heart
out. I remember thinking to myself, "He also needs to get out of
here and maybe head for L.A., so he doesn't get lost in the Marin county
haze." We lost contact with one another after that night, and I did
not see Bill again until 1985 at a Chicago concert in Phoenix, AZ. It
was great to hear him with my old friends that evening, and his addition
to the band was most positive. In my 40 plus years in the business, I
can think of no multi-instrumentalist who can sing, play and craft a song
any better than Bill Champlin.
Kimball > www.bobbykimball.com
I met Bill about 1977, and since that moment, we've been very good friends.
I have a deep respect for his talent, both vocally and instrumental. Vocally,
we relate totally, and on the Hammond B-3, he's right up there with the
"very best of the best" players. I think he helped shape a lot
of my music by my listening to The Sons of Champlin early on. We have
very similar taste in music, and I learned a lot from Bill. In the beginning
years with Toto,... Bill, Michael McDonald, and myself were a trio doing
most of the background vocals for almost every high profile artist to
come out of that era. It was one of the most fun times of my musical career.
It was, at least, having fun with two of my favorite vocalists, and I
had to pinch myself at times to make sure it wasn't a dream. I not only
pride myself on working with Bill, but I love his family as well. Tamara,
his wife, is a very well respected writer/vocalist herself. I've enjoyed
working with her as well. Willie, their son, is a gifted keyboardist,
and coming from those roots, there was little doubt he would be any less.
I'm proud to know Bill and his family and look forward to the next venture
we work on together. He is a shining example of "How To Do Everything
Music" in my eyes. I love you Bill, and keep up the fantastic work................
Jerry Lopez > www.jerrylopez.com
Bill Champlin has been like a big brother to me from the day we met. Since
then, my dream has come true in the fact that I played and sang with Bill
in his band, and have been lucky enough to record several things with
him. I can tell you honestly that all of the things that I have accomplished
since he took me under his wing are a direct result of his influence and
direction. He is the King, undisputed, and I would jump in front of a
truck for him or any of his family.
Lukather > www.stevelukather.net
I have known and respected Bill since I was 19, around 1977. We met thru
David Foster and started to hang with Graydon and all the LA scene. It
was a great time in life when music was played by musicians and not machines
and thyere was a ton of work for all of us. i was very young and green
and used to hang with Foster, Jay Graydon, mathieson, Carlton and eventually
we all started doing alot of records together. This was pre-Toto. Bill
was already a legend at that point with the Son's and Foster was his biggest
fan. We did Lisa Dalbello's first record when she was 17 and dating Jeff
Poracro. haha Those were the days. After a while writing started to come
our way. Graydon was producing George Benson at the time and asked Bill
and I to come over and write a tune. We had a few beers and I believe
within a half an hour the tune was done. We won a Grammy in 1983. I have
played on more than one Champlin solo record and they are all world class
with some great tunes and great playing and especially Bills soulful vocals.
There is only one Champlin. We gotta work together again soon!! PS
Did I mention his wife and son are also amazing?