Honk has its origins back in 1970 with Steve Wood, Don Whaley and Tris Imboden, all from different bands who shared a common desire to make original, adventurous music. They added members and lost members over the next two years, changing into the band that still plays together thirty years later. In 1971, Honk expanded by one guitar player, Richard Stekol, and a recording contract with Granite Records, and the next year added a girl singer (Beth Fitchet) and a saxophonist (Craig Buhler).
Then in 1972 Greg MacGillivray, a high school buddy, hired Honk to produce some music for his surf film, “Five Summer Stories”, unwittingly creating an identity for the band. Already gaining popularity by that time, Honk soon achieved legendary stature in Southern California through their connection with the film. Their sound track album was a favorite with surfers and music lovers alike, and even made it to #1 in Hawaii.
Record deals with 20th Century records and Epic Records followed, two records were released over the next two years, one bass player was lost (Don Whaley), one was gained (Will Brady), and Honk went on tour. They toured all over the United States, opening for Loggins and Messina, The Beach Boys, Chicago and Santana, and their popularity grew. Audiences everywhere were blown away by their musical energy, variety and plain nerve. Their repertoire wandered all over the map, going from Mahalia Jackson’s gospel music to Freddy Hubbard’s jazz to Martha and the Vandellas Motown sound, with a large portion of original rock and roll or folk setting the tone. Always included in the set were songs from “Five Summer Stories” for their surf fans.
Honk’s breakup in summer 1975 sent their fans into mourning. The members went their own musical directions, but in 1983 reconverged for the reunions that continue to this day. Each meeting is like a time warp, sending all six members back twenty or thirty years, and they are completely musically reconnected as though no time had passed. Their fans feel the same way, and show up for their yearly reunions in record numbers.
His iconic songs comprise a soundtrack to a fabled era, but Jack Tempchin creates
music in the present tense. A new release, One More Song, reveals the vibrant spirit
of an artist moving forward. “My brain is exploding with songs,” he enthuses. “It’s
great to have things that you’ve already written that people like -- and I play them
all when I do a show -- but the creative flow demands that when I write a song and
really love it, I want to get it out right now.”
One More Song, honors Tempchin’s coffeehouse roots. “A guy, an audience, and a
song,” he says. “Circle Ties That Bind,” from the collection is one of the first songs
Jack wrote; and although the great Hoyt Axton performed it in concert, until now it
has never been translated on record.
In fact, of the 12 songs curated for the latest project, only three have been previously
recorded. The title track, covered both by the late Kate Wolf and the Eagles’ Randy
Meisner, and “Singing in the Streets,” originally tracked by Jack’s band the Funky
Kings who were signed to Arista Records by Clive Davis. The band also cut the
venerable “Slow Dancing” (Swayin’ to the Music) famously immortalized by Johnny
Rivers, now performed by Jack in an evocative solo rendition.
Born in rural Ohio, Jack Tempchin grew up in San Diego, California where he
performed and hosted open mic nights at The Candy Company, a local folk club. His
friendships with collaborators Glenn Frey, J.D. Souther, Tom Waits, Jules Shear and
Jackson Browne, welcomed him as a charter member into a community of soon-tobe
famous fellow travelers whose intimate confessionals would reverberate from
the stage of the Troubadour in West Hollywood into massive public consciousness.
Tempchin’s songs became indelible threads in the fabric of the Southern California
Sound. His solo-penned “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” as recorded by the Eagles on their
eponymous debut, is prominent on the band’s Greatest Hits, the top selling Album of
the 20th Century* (*RIAA). Subsequent co-writes such as the band’s 1974 hit,
“Already Gone,” and contributions to the Hell Freezes Over reunion collection and
the double disc release Long Road Out of Eden enriched the band’s repertoire and
propelled Jack’s songs to the world.
With Glenn Frey, Jack co-wrote the artist’s solo hits “Smuggler’s Blues,” “You Belong
to the City,” (sampled by Coolio and Jay-Z, respectively), plus “The One You Love.”
Prominent in the marquee roster who have interpreted Tempchin songs are
Emmylou Harris, Glen Campbell, Tom Rush, The Paladins, New Riders of the Purple
Sage, Chris Hillman and The Desert Rose Band, and Nashville artists like George
Jones, Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker and Patty Loveless.
These days, Tempchin continues to catch the moments in music. “I head down to the
beach at sundown, make songs up, video them on my iPhone and later on turn them
into songs,” he says. He also enjoys playing music al fresco. “I’ve got a little rig that
fits into a carry-on bag, and every couple of months I go to downtown San Diego, lay
my guitar on my lap, use a whiskey flask as my slide and play traditional blues.”
Passersby have no idea that the bewhiskered street singer in trademark shades is an
eminent songwriter with an original page of lyrics that have been displayed at both
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and at The Grammy Museum.
New adventures abound. The hushed, nocturnal “Streets of Midnight” from the new
collection was inspired by Jack’s “pop up club” on Selma Avenue in Hollywood
where he invited colleagues and stragglers alike for ad hoc performances. “Singing
in the Streets” has been featured for 40 years on a Tokyo radio show, and on Jack’s
debut 2016 Japanese tour he discovered that he had an enthusiastic following. “I
would do signings after every show, and somehow they would have every record
that I ever did – I have more fans there than here. It was fantastic,” he says. A recent
writing trip to Nashville resulted in numerous co-writes, new solo songs and a
songwriters in the round concert with Rusty Young (Poco) and Craig Fuller (Pure
Blue Élan Records provides Tempchin with an ideal platform to record and release
records, with One More Song preceded by the full-length Learning to Dance and an
EP Room to Run. More projects are in the planning stages and a slate of concert
performances promises to keep the ever-industrious Tempchin on the road.
One More Song is a resounding confirmation of a remarkable legacy, a prolific
present, and the joyous anticipation of words and melodies still to come.
“I’m extremely delighted and grateful to have written songs that people know and
like, but I’m really about today and now,” Jack avows. “I’m here. It’s like I’m a new
artist. My big desire is to keep on writing, playing and recording music until my
heart stops beating.”