KING SIZE TALENT: Charlie Chesterman, Scruffy Sweetheart of The Rodeo

Thinking about singer-songwriter-musician-showman Charlie Chesterman today on the second anniversary of his far too-soon passing. I had the good fortune to interview Charlie and write about the music he made with his many outfits and combos over the years, including Scruffy The Cat, the Harmony Rockets, Chaz & The Motorbikes, and more. The Des Moines-born musician’s tenure during the late ’70s as lead singer for The Law, one of Iowa’s first punk bands (!), pre-dated me. But I wasn’t at all surprised when, after his passing, somebody played me a rarer-than-rare Law 45 single and it was damn good, filling up the room with his vivacious, electric spirit. Pretty much everything Charlie touched musically had both a crackling immediacy and casually sneaky staying power. If only Charlie had the same knack for sticking around longer than he was able to.

RPM: Jonathan Perry's Life in Analog

Charlie's thirsty after (or is that before?) the gig with Scruffy The Cat, somewhere in the '80s Charlie’s thirsty after (or is that before?) the gig with Scruffy The Cat, somewhere in the ’80s. Big thanks to Wayne Valdez for taking and furnishing the pictures that appear on this page (with the exception of the Scruffy publicity shot). Wayne had helpfully sent me these to run as a photo slideshow with my Globe feature in 2011 and I greatly appreciate his having the foresight back then to document these moments in the band’s life and share them with us.

Roughing it outdoors, Scruffy style. Roughing it outdoors, Scruffy style.

Scruffy The Cat, ready for their close-up Scruffy The Cat, ready for their close-up

Studio portrait of Boston roots-rock band Scruffy The Cat. L to R: Mac Paul Stanfield (bass), Randall Lee Gibson (drums), Stephen Fredette (guitar), Charlie Chesterman (guitar/vocals), Stona Fitch (banjo, organ, accordion) Studio portrait of Boston roots-rock band Scruffy The Cat. L to R: Mac Paul Stanfield (bass), Randall Lee Gibson (drums), Stephen Fredette (guitar), Charlie Chesterman (guitar/vocals), Stona Fitch (banjo, organ, accordion)

Scruffy1 Scruffy The Cat Cowboys at the Rock & Roll Rodeo

Scruffy amid the scrawl: The Cat cuddles up in clubland. Scruffy amid the scrawl: The Cat cuddles up in clubland.

Besides his exuberant rock & roll music —…

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2 comments

  1. Sure do miss Charlie … his music will always make my heart happy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. Thanks for the comment and sentiment (that’s a pretty good legacy to leave, although it was, sadly, far too soon to be talking about left legacies).

      Like

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