New Heathens
7Mar/100

A Chip Off The Old Rock

Had the pleasure to visit my old friend Chip Whitson and his family in Kailua, Hawaii. Chip and I know each other from Missoula, MT. When I was in high school, Chip's bands were the first ones I ever fell in love with. Though I was underage, I zipped all over town on my bicycle trying to see Chip every time he performed with his band Top Jimmy. He played with other bands too, including The Furies and the Small Town Deputies. Chip was so proficient he'd go from Stonesy rock 'n' roll, to Eddie Cochran-like rockabilly, to Johnny Cash style country. His favorite guitarist is Brian Setzer from the Stray Cats.

Chip really helped set me on my way as a rock 'n' roll guy. When I was about 16 he would let me come sing a couple songs with his band, my first real stage experience fronting a rock band. He also taught me how to play guitar. He showed me how to play the Chuck Berry "ronka-ronka" rhythm, which was the only thing I ever wanted to know. In fact, to this day it's the only thing I can play with any proficiency.

Chip's work transferred him to Hawaii and he hosts a cool open mic every Saturday night at a coffee shop called Morning Brew. What was really cool about visiting was I got to see Chip perform with his 8-year-old son Jayce.
The apple didn't fall far...

Jayce was awesome. He and his dad rocked Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall," then they stomped out a cool power-pop tune and then Jayce brought the house down playing lead guitar on the Stones' "Satisfaction."

Jayce, who said his favorite bands include Nirvana, the Offspring and Audioslave, couldn't have a better guitar teacher, or a nicer guy for a dad.

Jayce, rocking the Hawaiian shaka, with his mom Stephanie.

For old time's sake, Chip and I did a few tunes together as well. He played licks and leads on the Heathens tunes, "Proud Highway," and "July 1, Near Helena, MT," and then sang harmonies with me on the Stones, "Time is On My Side," and Chuck Berry's "Let It Rock." It was great fun. Chip's a great singer, and nobody crafts a guitar solo better. But there's a kid who is on his way.

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