The Chandler Travis Philharmonic is a 9-piece ensemble from Boston that includes a horn section, string bass, keyboard, mandocello, guitar, drums, accordion, and singing valet. It’s possible they might be the missing link between the Kinks and Sun Ra…
There’s some chance you may be aware of Chandler’s other band, the Incredible Casuals, or of his earlier work with Travis Shook and the Club Wow; either solo or in one or another of these guises, he has appeared with Elvis Costello, Green Day, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, John Cale, Bonnie Raitt, NRBQ (longtime buds Terry Adams and Al Anderson from the ‘Q played on the first Philharmonic album), Charles Mingus, the Beach Boys, Allen Ginsburg, the Replacements, George Carlin (a guest star on two CTP albums, and a traveling companion for decades), Of Montreal, etc., etc.
The Philharmonic was born in the fall of 1996 at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, on the occasion of Chandler doing a guest shot there with a house band led by multi-instrumentalist/singer Dinty Child. When asked if he would like to add any additional instrumentation, Chandler, having always hated when elderly bands ruan out of ideas to this extent, facetiously suggested “oh yeah,let’s get some horns and chick back-up singers.” Strangely, Dinty complied with the horn part, booking (among others) genius trumpeter Keiichi Hashimoto, and the CTP was surprisingly hatched!
Later on,cross-dressing drummer Rikki Bates, a pal of Chandler’s from the Casuals and one of the more amazing instrumentalists on the planet, and Keith Spring, (NRBQ, Martin Mull) helped complete the picture.
Since then,the band -all colorfully garbed 8 pieces of them, plus singing valet Fred Boak -have introduced the concept of alternative dixieland and omnipop to audiences all over Massachusetts and far beyond (San Francisco,Chicago,and especially New Orleans and New York City have proved particularly responsive -the Village Voice declared them “keenly entertaining”, calling Chandler “a true New England eccentric and a master of daft power pop”, and the band “a blend of Ringling Bros. and Ra” that “puts the harm back in Philharmonic”, and the New Yorker has repeatedly concurred.)
The band released its debut album, “Let’s Have a Pancake”,along with 26 other website-only full-length CDs (the improbable and ground-breaking RadioBall series) in 2000 as a means of welcoming in the new century; four more “official” Philharmonic releases followed,all on the Sonic Trout label, the most recent being 2010′s “The Chandler Travis Philharmonic Blows!”, which followed hard on the heels of Chandler’s first solo release in a decade, 2009′s “After She Left”.