News Column

Craig Chaquico solos at Camelot

August 21, 2013


Aug. 21--Songwriter and guitarist Craig Chaquico was 19 when he was welcomed into Jefferson Starship in 1973, just as the rock band changed its name from Jefferson Airplane. He'd recorded with various members of the group -- Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, David Freiberg -- since he was 16.

"I played on every hit song, video, tour and album until Starship disbanded in 1990," Chaquico says. "Everything from 'Miracles' and 'Count on Me,' which were No. 1 hits, to rock songs 'Jane,' 'Find Your Way Back,' 'Sarah,' 'Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now.' It was crazy. I always thought I was the new kid on the block with that band, and I wound up being an elder statesman."

Chaquico, who'll turn 59 in September, also found success in the 1990s and 2000s as a contemporary jazz, blues and new age solo artist. His newest CD, "Fire Red Moon" on Blind Pig Records, debuted at No. 15 last year on Billboard's blues chart.

"My parents were musicians," Chaquico says. "When I told my dad that I wanted to be a musician when I grew up, he said, 'Well, you can't do both.' I still feel like a kid whenever I get to play my songs. It's just like opening presents under the Christmas tree when I see people enjoying my music. I feel blessed that I get to do what I do."

Chaquico will perform a one-man show at 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26, at Camelot Theatre, 101 Talent Ave., Talent. Tickets cost $15. All seats are reserved and can be purchased at the box office, online at or by calling 541-535-5250. There is a $4 box office fee per order.

After performing in front of thousands of people in large stadiums, Chaquico says he looks forward to intimate shows.

"I love the interaction with smaller audiences," he says. "You can see the emotional reactions to music on their faces."

His performance will include stories about the songs and how they were written, "almost like guided imagery," he says.

"When I explain a song's origins to the audience, it becomes more personal to them."

Like any good book or movie, Chaquico says, his shows have a beginning, a middle and an end, along with an anecdote or two.

"Like the time I was playing in Phoenix, Ariz.," he says. "Sometimes I'll walk into the audience with a wireless guitar and interact with people in the audience. When I finish, I look for the door to get backstage. But this time I actually took a real exit. The door slammed shut behind me, and I found myself outside in the parking lot. I could hear my band playing, but I couldn't get back inside. Hopefully, nothing like that will happen at Camelot."

The best part about the show at Camelot, Chaquico says, is that the theater is a beautiful production facility.

"Attending that concert will be like listening to a huge stereo. That and the storytelling will make it a unique performance."


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