We approach California-based Chuck Prophet only one day before his show in Vienna with our request to film a short acoustic session. He’s into the idea and – despite an extensive soundcheck and a tight schedule – takes us to his backstage room for a beautiful rendition of “You And Me Baby (Holding On)”, with vocal support from his wife Stephie Finch and drummer Todd Roper. Chuck’s laconic, intense storytelling and the sweet harmonies of the background vocals immediately let you immerse into the imaginative world of his songs. He started off in the 1980s-americana band Green On Red and began to release solo records in 1990. Apart from his own songwriting, Chuck appears as a musician on records of artists such as Cake, Warren Zevon, Aimee Mann and Jonathan Richman. In 2009 he released the much acclaimed LP “Let Freedom Ring”, in support of which he keeps touring these days with his band The Mission Express.
When it comes to subculture and underground music Vienna was simply not on the map until as long as the 1980s. There were hardly any places to play and attend concerts and for sure nothing that could be described as a music club. In December 1986 the former Bundesliga football player Othmar Bajlicz did nothing more than fusing his two passions – football and independent music – into a small venue for live music, regular DJ’s and broadcasts of international football games, the Chelsea. In its beginnings the club was situated in a basement of a former hairdresser’s in Vienna’s eighth district but soon got in troubles because of numerous and ongoing complaints by neighbours and abutting owners. In 1993 live shows at the Chelsea were restricted to Sunday afternoons before the club was forced to close in 1994. Less than a year later the Chelsea reopened at the busy Gürtel road and is now part of a vibrant nightlife area with pubs and live music venues abreast between Thaliastraße and Josefstädter Straße. After more than 20 years of existence the Chelsea live shows during the week are reliably worth a visit while the weekend-parties attract mainly teenagers. And – of course – it is still the place for watching international football games.