"Soap and Water, My Closest Friends": The Gospel According to Chuck Prophet

“Soap and water are my closest friends, No one quite knows just where we’ve been.” […]

Ethan Richardson / 9.27.10

“Soap and water are my closest friends,
No one quite knows just where we’ve been.”

He looks and sounds a lot like an acid-washed Tom Petty. He is a seasoned rock’n’roller, who ran 10 years with his country rock band, Green on Red, and has for 20 years run a fairly successful solo career. He’s kind of abrasive, even annoying, but his music shows an understanding of the rock’n’roll philosophical lineage he follows, of the grit and filth of human hardship/addiction/disappointment and unrequited love, and hope for something more. In his website bio before the release of “Soap and Water” (2007), John Murry writes, “Trial by fire?… He was a kid; a kid who could play and sing and write like a musical time bomb and he kept himself alive long enough to find crack cocaine, the drug that finally brought him to his knees ten years ago. He’s been clean ever since. They say ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ but one can’t be so sure when measuring Chuck’s manic activities. He was saved from addiction but he’s far from being saved from himself.” In his most recent album, ┬íLet Freedom Ring! “You and Me Baby (Holding On)” tells:

“I went to see the doctor,
He said, ‘You should be dead!’
I said, ‘I was doc, but now I’m back.
I’m holding on.’

“Well the doctor looked right through me,
Shook his little head, and said,
‘What do you know about that?
It looks like you’re holding on!'”

In the “Would You Love Me?” video he infers through Elvis the need for somebody to love us, someone to make us clean, and how much it sucks when it’s not there. “Elvis died of a broken heart,” he says. There’s not definitive, clarion call, but it seems that the presence of the absence of the answer looms. He understands our limits and the dissatisfactions that come with self-reliance, the power of ‘holding on’ and ‘waiting’. In his previous album, the last track concludes that “I’m waiting on that ending. I want that happy ending.”