Comprised largely of musicians who were part of Point Loma High School’s band scene of the 1980s, Chimpos is a collection of lifelong friends who would gather to make music and have a little fun in between gigs with their own combos.
The band is organized by Greg Hildebrand, perhaps best known as owner of Ocean Beach institution, Cow Records. He also wrote the words and music to the Chimpos songs.
“It’s not your typical sort of group,” he said with a bit of understatement. The band’s website lists 15 members, though not all are musicians, such as website developer Michael McClure. Point Loma High School and the area has long had a rep for yielding acclaimed musicians and a look at the Chimpos roster confirms that to be true. Notables include bassist Jason Scheff (Chicago), bassist Thomas Yearsley (The Paladins), singer Laura Jane Wilcock (The Tighten Ups) and drummer David Friendly (Was Not Was), alongside guitarist and co-producer Steven Sundell.
Chimpos is a true garage band, in both its humble beginnings, as a loose knit group of teenagers aged 14-17, in a parent’s garage, as well as the fact that, though the band is comprised of music scene veterans, they don’t play live.
“But we’re going to soon, sort of,” explained Hildebrand. Earlier attempts for the band to play a gig have been scuttled by the band members busy schedules.
“After we got the album in hand, I had gone ahead with promotion, I wanted to book a show, so I reached out to everyone. No one contacted me back for four days, so I went ahead and booked it and figured we’d get things together little by little.”
Unfortunately, once band members did call back it was to say they were happy to record but weren’t able to do live shows. According to Hildebrand, Friendly came up with the perfect solution.
“The plan is to get a bunch of 20-somethings to be Chimpos,” he said good-naturedly. “We wouldn’t make a big deal out of it by calling it ‘The New Chimpos’ or ‘The Young Chimpos,’ but they would do our songs. It would be a real kick to sit back and see that happen.” Plans are tentative for the band to play at the Pont Loma Library’s 60th anniversary event on Sept. 18 (6:30 p.m.).
“Flung Like A Horse” was recorded over the course of a year at Chimpo band member Thomas Yearsley’s Thunderbird Analog Recording Studio and released on his label, Lux Records on both CD and vinyl. “It was simply hard to get everyone in the same place at the same time, so it took awhile,” he said.
While this is the group’s first album released, it’s not their first recorded. “Actually, it’s our 23rd,” Hildebrand explained. “Over the years, we’ve recorded a lot of albums, but we only made copies for people that played on them and so on. Basically there are between three and 20 copies of each of those.”
Future plans include a follow up of sorts to the album, this summer. “It’s actually an audiobook containing seven Chimpos stories,” explained Hildebrand. “New music will depend on whether or not the album sells, but there has been a bit of interest in having us play, so hopefully that will happen.”
For his part, Hildebrand is excited about all the new Chimpos activity. “Really, it’s been incredible to have everyone working on this. It’s not like we kept in touch after school, so to have this album out after all these years is really something. All the band members have got their own lives and families now, we’re all busy, so it’s great to be able to take a trip down memory lane like this.” He pauses. “You know, everybody involved has pretty much said the same thing to me about this project. “The songs are fun enough, but it sure is wonderful seeing our old friends.”