Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is the title track to Chuck Prophet‘s 2017 album, Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins on Yep Roc Records.
Hear the words of the Prophet, Chuck Prophet, that is. On his fourteenth solo record, the San Francisco based songwriter once again finds his voice among those who surround him, drawing lines between past and present with a new cast of characters to follow those populating the SF-paean Temple Beautiful and the techno-anxious Night Surfer. This time, his self-described “California noir” stories kick off with an anthemic ode to Bobby Fuller, an aspiring Golden Age rock ‘n’ roller whose journey to fame in LA ended with his untimely and mysterious death. Was Fuller – who moved from El Paso in the early 1960s, hit it big with his cover of Sonny Curtis’ “I Fought The Law” in ’64, and was soon after found dead in his car, covered in gasoline – the scapegoat of would-be rockers to follow? After all, Chuck Prophet, sings, “Someone’s gonna have to pay the price of love”. Maybe not (“Don’t know why they gotta pay it or who they got to pay it to”), but he’s certainly a curiosity, one of many, who recall rock’s allure and inspire musicians like Chuck Prophet to keep the passion burning: “I hear that record crackle, the needle skips and jumps! / Bobby Fuller died for your sins! / And I ain’t never seen a movie that that moved me just as much”.
If you’re as moved by music as Chuck Prophet, you’ll want to listen to the rest of his new album, which include more stories from the Golden State’s dark underbelly, like “Alex Nieto”, and energetic elegies to those we lost last year, like “Bad Year For Rock And Roll” (Bowie and Prince) and “In The Mausoleum (For Alan Vega)”. You also don’t want to miss Chuck Prophet on tour, as he’s a consummate performer. He’ll be hitting the road in March, starting with gigs at SXSW, and will no doubt wind his way to the Northwest. No date yet has been scheduled for Seattle, but when it is, you’ll find it on his website and Facebook page. For now, listen to the album’s first single, “Bad Year For Rock And Roll”: