........have been making fools of themselves for almost 40 years now - Time enough to have learnt to play a song or two properly, you might think.
However, they’re still quite capable of taking the audience on a musical white knuckle ride. (and forcing the vibes player into therapy)
This is because, in spite of the fierce badinage on stage, the band still quite enjoy one another’s company and musicianship. (Although you won’t get any of them to publicly admit it.)
If you’ve not had the pleasure of an evening with the Chucks before, then you’re in for a treat.
................and they can also play a bit.
(check out these other sites)
THE BAND -
Name: Pete StroudJob: fretless bass & vocals
History: The most "recent" Chuck (a mere 20 year's service) has recorded and toured with a myriad of artists, as well as playing for a host of other gigging bands. .He makes his own bass guitars, enjoys silly humour with Poli and trying to catch out Sam with polyrhythmic bluffs!
About the chaps
Name: Poli Palmer
History: Poli was a member of ³Family², a hugely successful touring and charting UK group from the 60¹s/70¹s fronted by Roger Chapman. He was also a regular in Chappo’s ³Shortlist’, Hinkley’s Heroes and has been a ³Chuck² stalwart for aeons, bringing a sense of serious musicality alongside unprecedented silliness to the band!
Name: Steve SimpsonJob: guitar, mandolin, fiddle & vocalsHistory: Since his days with Slim Chance and Meal Ticket, through a lengthy time in Roger Chapman's “Shortlist" and the West End production of "Jailhouse Rock", Steve has worked with everyone!
Name: Sam Kelly
Job: drums & vocalsHistory: Is constantly in demand for UK and USA visiting artists, and has been repeatedly voted as a top UK blues drummer. Artists worked with include - Roger Chapman, Gordon Haskell, Eddie Floyd, Ben E King, Billy Ocean and many others.
A History Of The Orchestra
Guys who have leapt boldly to the cause and depped for the Chucks include:
Eddie Masters, Nigel Portman Smith & the late Marty David on bass
Henry Spinetti, John Lingwood, Alan Coulter (again!) & Mick Clewes on drums
….. other luminaries who have done the odd gig, or sat in with the chaps are:
Andy Winfield, Willy Finlayson, Nick Pentelow, Steve Waller, Chris Thompson
Papa George, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Gadd
After meeting up with guys from Hinkley’s Heroes, Steve joined them for a tour - and two of the Heroes, Boz Burrell and Poli Palmer, inveigled their way into the Chucks, as did Geoff Whitehorn. So the Chucks mk2 were:
Steve Simpson: guitar, vocals, etc;
Geoff Whitehorn: guitar, vocals
Poli Palmer: vibes, fairlight
Boz Burrell : bass, vocals
Alan Coulter: drums
In 1983, they recorded the “Chuck Farley-Live” album and the single “Busted Loose”
In the mid 1980’s, Alan Coulter and Geoff Whitehorn moved on, and the Chuckles mk3 lineup was:
Steve Simpson: guitar, vocals, etc;
Pat Crumly: saxes, flute
Poli Palmer: midi vibes
Boz Burrell: bass, vocals
Sam Kelly: drums, vocals
Then finally, in 1987, Chuck mk4 became:
Steve Simpson: guitar, vocals, etc;
Pat Crumly: saxes, flute
Poli Palmer: midi vibes
Pete Stroud: bass, vocals
Sam Kelly: drums, vocals
…….. which was the current version of the band, until, sadly, our great pal Pat died in 2008 – we now play as a four piece.
When Dinosaurs ruled the Earth...
Chuck Farley - a band that seems to have been around for generations, as indeed it has.
From 1980 through to the 90¹s, the group went through some band changes, finally settling upon the present line-up. Throughout this time, the Chucks recorded an album, single and toured Germany.
All of the guys, at some time, were members of Roger Chapman’s ShortList and other touring bands, so a pub gig with the Chucks became the perfect antidote to major tours.
However, throughout the ’90’s, the band took a bit of a sabbatical, as members pursued various careers, gigs, money and women - and it wasn’t until 2004 that they decided it would be fun to try and slot some Chuck gigs into their busy diaries.
The Chucks have been described as R ‘n B mixed with hints of Little Feat, Ry Cooder and The Band, but that is a rather simplistic description. Individually the guys cover a myriad of musical styles, so be prepared to hear some interesting mixtures.
Fronted by the very original Steve Simpson, the group can still be seen enjoying themselves at a small select number of gigs.
The original band began in 1980 at the Red Lion pub (now demolished) in Brentford, West London. The founder members were:
Steve Simpson: guitar, vocals, mandolin, fiddle
Pete Willsher:: pedal steel
Jack Brand: bass
Alan Coulter: drums
Call That Bloody Music!
The six videos below were recorded live at the BoomBoom Club, Sutton, UK in November 2008.
The CD of the complete gig can be bought from any of the guys, or you can email us
Gig list last modified : Saturday 2nd January 2016
(an American site - nothing to do with us)
Buy a Chucks T-shirt!
Sunday 29th June
"The Grey Horse” - Kingston, KT2 5EE (4.00pm-7.00pm)
return to THE BAND page
All you ever wanted to know about Pete's gear, but were too embarrassed to ask:
Over the years, we all collect and use a plethora of equipment - guitars to amps and speakers, etc; The main criteria for me has always been to use gear that can I get MY sound from.
A lot of bass amps have become very hi-fi over the years and, although some players love sweeping bands of equalisation, coupled with light emitting diode's, (ahem, "LEDs") I find simpler controls more useful on a gig. While I admit to the occasional blunder of turning the wrong controls, some amps have got so complex, it’s a pain to use them. The problem with many amps is, the more knobs and dials, the more chance of NOT getting a quick sound or of bumping a control too far. Jeez, who needs to have a 32 band parametric equalizing whodunnittomysound, only to have a sound engineer tell ya to turn down!Even now, I would like to see a return to controls that have to be turned a quarter inch for any sonic result to be heard, rather than "You only need to move it a gnat’s tit to change the sound." This is simply because on any stage - pub, club or Hammersmith Apollo, you need to be able to see the damn control and be able to turn it while you are playing AND get the audible result wanted. Working with Buddy Whittington and his use of Dr Z amps has shown that, at least for the earthy rockin' blues music, the simplicity and great sound of this amp is easy to recognise.I have been building basses for 15 years and a few players have taken some from me. These have mainly been 4 string fretless basses with a few 5 stringers. The basses are usually made from English Ash which is slightly heavier than Swamp Ash, with 3/5 piece Maple necks and usually Macassar Ebony fingerboards. I have generally gone for Seymour Duncan Active Jazz pickups. On a new bass I will be trying Delano Soapstick Humbuckers. I did use Bartolini onboard pre-amps for a while, but not for the last ten years.The reason I make my own basses is that in the late 80's, I ordered a bass from the Warwick company. (which was originally the Framus workshop, I believe) The initial bass was was not what I had wanted. The requested wood, pickups and control layout were all wrong, so I waited another 6 weeks for the right bass. (a short time compared to the current waiting times from many manufacturers - encluding me!) Lovely though this bass was and I liked using it in the studio, the live stage sound was just not happening for me. By chance I got to meet a chap called Melvin Hiscox who is a wellknown guitar builder/repairer. We discussed my bass problem and his answer was - build your own bass. This has since caused me untold nightmares of routers going amuck, wood curdling screams of despair and horrors of the rising price of a chunk of English ash (£60 upwards, ye gods!). His answer to my question "How do I make one then, Smarty Pants?" was simple. He had just printed up his first edition of "How To Make A Guitar", so I had to buy a copy, didn't I! End of story.
The mainstay of my present and not-too-distant past equipment use is:
"PS" fretless bassesFender fretted "Roscoe Beck" 4 string bass. (Great for recording too).Tokai fretted "Jazzy Sound" 4 string.Aria fretted Pro 2 4 string.Washburn Fretless AB 20 4 stringDouble bass, unknown origin, probably southern German circa 1880's strung with Thomastik Spirocores.Peavey bass and power amps and speakers.Hartke 12" kickback combo, used for recording, practise and even vocal monitor on gigs .Aguilar BD 680 pre-amp.Aguilar 12" cabs.Mark Bass Little Mark and LMK bass amps.Mark Bass 2x10" and 4x10" cabs.EBS chorus/octave/reverb pedals.Akai Headrush Digi delay pedal.Boss Tuners.Galli Bass Strings, nickel wound "Rock Star".
In my first days in New Zealand I had a "Jansen" bass amp. This was a lookalike to a Fender Bassman 100. The problem was that the valves hung upside down and used to work loose, so I used to place the amp upside down, so that the valves sat "up". This, coupled with the effect of probably over use of the bass control, had the effect of allowing the amp to spin little by little on the top handle. By about 1am in the morning and in jamming mode, this led to many frantic waves from band members warning me of the impending doom of a bass amp about to crash to the floor from atop a 4x12 stack!Bass cabinets were made by long-time friend, drummer and cabinet maker Dave Kirkland. These were 4x12" cabs and were as good, if not better constructed than the expensive imported ones, rarely available anyway in those days.My first bass was a Framus Star Bass, bought for about NZ $250 from a friend. With a ridiculously thin neck, semi-acoustic body and a short scale neck too, I had eyed this bass for over a year. However, my dream was to be the owner of a Gibson EB3. I eventually spotted one after scouring the only musical instrument adverts, placed only in the Friday night evening paper. The bass cost about $200-300 and had been brought into the country by a Maori bassist from a showband. It was just right, tobacco sunburst, short scale with big fat pickups. Marvellous. I sounded just like Jack Bruce, (didn't I?) I swapped it in the UK for a Rickenbacker - Bad move. I wish I still had that EB3. I eventually swapped the Ricky in for a Gibson Les Paul Bass and had a long scale neck made for it, with a bass clef inlay at the twelfth fret. Which led to a Fender P bass and then on to...........
On the "Peter Green Splinter Group" days.........
Many keen fans of Peter Green have asked me about the time I spent with the "Peter Green Splinter Group" - where he is and what’s he doing now? - Well folks, not a lot it seems!
After the Splinter Group’s last gig at the Medina Theatre, Isle Of Wight, on December 2003, he was reported to have left for Sweden though he may well have moved on since then . Nothing much more has been heard of him, either as a recording artist or live performer, although a UK newspaper article in late 2008 announced another “new” Peter-Green-Anthology-Through-The-Years CD, which apparently has some Splinter Group tracks on it.
The interview, as usual, trawled through his "troubled" past and is of little interest to those fans who know of these problems from previous articles. PG did however mention dabbling with some new ideas with other musicians, so we can only hope that he may appear on stage again. Whether this will be in the UK or Europe, and with whom, is anyone’s guess.Peter appeared to be in fine form when the group disbanded. The reasons for the final curtain on this line-up were the result of a dispute that DIDN'T involve myself, drummer Larry Tolfree or organist Roger Cotton. - So, "go figure" as the Americans say!
There was some conjecture that he had "lost it" again, but he was fine. He was able to play really well when he wanted. At sound checks or in the studio, he would suddenly lay a blaze of phrasing or notes and you suddenly thought, “Damn it, Why aren’t we recording - aaarrrggghhh! “
During the years we worked as a group, (which is how PG worked - as part of a band, not as the leader), we toured regularly across the northern hemisphere, only once heading south for a series of gigs down under, in Australia. We were graced with some terrific guests at our concerts:- including the wonderful Carlos Santana who, before playing with us, spoke to the audience of his admiration for Peter. Also joining us were Popa Chubby, a real rock n' roller of the blues, Hubert Sumlin, a gent of the blues riff, all time USA favourites Steve Miller, BB King, (what more could ever be said of "the King" ) and even Jools Holland, but we never got onto a TV show, DOH!
We recorded a studio CD per year: "Destiny Road”,“Time Traders”,“Reaching The Cold 100”,“Blues Don't Change”,“Hot Foot Powder". An in-concert DVD was also made, showing the band doing the acoustic and electric sets that we had developed into our show. Various compilations or anthologies have since appeared, making it a difficult task to keep the record companies from letting the band know just how much we still owe them, apparently! (Now, where is that phone number?)
"Blues Don't Change" was about to be joined in 2004 with another CD of the same ilk, where we had taken a bunch of Greenie's choicest blues covers and recorded them over just a few days, with as little fuss as possible, regarding production. Unfortunately, we weren't working with PG by 2004.
"Hot Foot Powder" was another "roughly" recorded CD and was the second Robert Johnson songbook the band were involved in, the first having been recorded a few years earlier. Guests abound on this CD, including Buddy Guy, Honeyboy Edwards, Dr John, Otis Rush, Joe Louis Walker and Hubert Sumlin. I never met them on this recording though we had a few gigs with Buddy Guy in Japan already under our belt. The tapes were taken to the USA and the overdub recordings were made there.I played double bass only and Larry and I kept it simple, so as to leave the vocal uninterrupted by overkill.. I also reckoned that as an acoustic approach, the simplicity of those original Robert Johnson songs should be tampered with as little as possible. I really like this CD and always felt it could have been a WC Handy award winner. But hey, I'm only the bass player!
Pete started playing way back in his New Zealand school days. - His primary school band appeared on television and his first "pro" gig was at a barbecue aged 12, on second harmonica accompanied by guitar!
As immigrants on the £10 boat ticket scheme, his family had made the big jump in the 60's - to a land of rugby, racing, beer and classic cars, but several years and pastimes later, music was more to his liking. His early school days, playing guitar, gob-iron and bass led him to blues and rock, after watching some excellent New Zealand musicians.
Deciding he wanted to be a social dropout, (a musician) he joined his first "proper" group - "The Supernatural Blues Band". (see photo below) However, this was as the drummer. (a good start for any bass player's education.) The group played blues and Traffic material, but the bands’ demise (and having his drums repossessed) had Pete returning to his Framus "Star Bass".
Finishing his printing apprenticeship, he decided to get back to Merry Ol' England in the 70's. Establishing a solid footing was a long process, with day jobs and musical studies eventually leading to sessions and his first UK tour (Toyah Wilcox). More session work for radio, TV, theatre and even comedy, along with jazz gigs on double bass, helped establish Pete's credentials as a bass player.
Hooking up with South London musicians, he soon met the Chuck Farley chaps, going on to play in Roger Chapman's "Shortlist" (from where many a "Chuck” appears.) He has since recorded and toured with many artists such as: Chappo, The Micky Moody Band, Buddy Whittington (USA), Peter Green’s Splinter Group, Chris Thompson and Gordon Haskell (as seen on TOTP's 2)
He has also been seen in a host of London bands such as: Steve Waller, The Papa George Band, Bad Influence, The Monday Band, Ruthless Blues, Blue Thunder and The Blues Engineers.
Pete also writes for various projects
...............................and designs and builds basses.
Most people put gnomes in their gardens!
"The Supernatural Blues Band"(Our hero is the callow young whippersnapper in the centre)
Don’t try this at home, kiddies.You’ll get a fake tan.
Ezekiel come down the mountain….
Gordon Jackson, who video'dthe BoomBoom gig - 2008
The Chucks mk IV 1987
(Press any key to restart the slideshow)
Steve with Derek Timms, who recordedthe BoomBoom gig - 2008