Geoff Palmer

MP3 AUDIO SAMPLE (2:11:10--2:17:45), MZ000127, Transcript P. 8-9

Palmer Girl 250I got out of the army, and I played a few gigs, some with my parents back in Chicago. By that point I had picked up some organ because one of the main guys in the stage production was an organ player, and I sat behind him. He was a theater organist, rows of keyboards, he was really good, a real organist, could sight read and everything. In a way he was the backbone of the show because with his instrument he could simulate the brass and other pieces that we did not have. I had a lot of respect for him, his name was John Harris, and he was where I really learned that that’s what you can do when you get it all working. He was like a small orchestra, one guy, and I was very inspired by that.

One of the things that happened was when I got out, I came through Oakland on a layover because of flying Military Air Transport Service, “MATS”. And it all goes in like, “When’s the next flight to Chicago?” “Wednesday at four in the morning and you’re on it Palmer.” It’s like that. Could be Tuesday at five in the afternoon, whenever there was room. So when I came through, one of the guys I was in the army with, a guy by the name of Bob Cain, had a brother whose name was Tim Cain. And Tim Cain was the original saxophone player in the original Sons of Champlin, and in the Opposite Six before that with Bill.

Palmer Vibes 1998 250Bob Cain and I did signal school together. We hung out for that twelve weeks and took weekend passes to Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach, looking for chicks, you know? We found ‘em. The first time we went there, man, we put our bags in the hotel and went straight to the street to check it out. Because it was like 95 degrees, and all the girls are walking around in nipple covers, more like band-aids. And we're going, “Wow, we came to the right place.” We walked out of the hotel and went down to the corner and waited for the light to change, and the car that pulls up was a convertible. It had a naked dude driving and three naked chicks in the car with him, and we looked at each other and said, “Yep, we came to the right place.” (laughter) Bob Cain and I were in signal school in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. So he said when you’re coming through you can stay over at my house. He said once that happened that he’d take me over and that I could jam with his brother’s band, which was the Sons. So I said OK. Bob told his brother, Tim, and I guess Tim told Bill and Bill said it was OK. Practice was early and my flight wasn’t until five or six o’clock. So I went over there and played a little bit of organ, and they went, “Ooooh, we’ve got to have you, man. Do you want to join the band?” I said that I couldn’t right then because I had to get back home. And because I was playing like Jimmy Smith and doing some cool stuff, Bill saw that if I could play organ some of the time, and that I could play R&B too, he could play some guitar. Bill was a guitar player too. When I met him he was into playing guitar almost as much as he was organ, although he knew that organ was the sound for him, it was his musical voice. He was really the best accompanist for his style, probably better than me. But I did pretty good in my own unique way, and my interpretations of Bill’s songs always sounded different, but good. We both had a powerful approach, it’s just that mine was a little different. So, that was kind of good in that it changed it up in the musical department. And when he would go to guitar, the texture of the band would change which was cool there too. Hey, why not? That made it more dynamically interesting. Because of this, we did what we called the Chinese fire drills where he’d run over to guitar, and I’d run over to the piano, and run back to the organ, then Bill would play baritone, and so on, you know? And that was a part of it. But then we started to have full time horn sections so we didn’t have to keep that up. So, I went over and jammed with these guys and said that I couldn’t join right then, but that I could in a few months after I got my stuff tightened up. Turned out that about six or eight months later I moved to California. I didn’t want to be in Northlake anymore, that’s why I went into the service in the first place. Leave the nest. Hey, you’ve got to go see the world! Be a part of it.


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Excerpts from the biography

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L  I S T E N   T O   T H E   M U S I C :

Sons of Champlin: Home Grown in Marin

1. 1982-A: from Loosen Up Naturally (1969)


2. Turn On Your Lovelight/Drum Solo/Goldmine: Live from Winterland Auditorium, San Francisco (October 4, 1975)

Turn on Your Lovelight/Goldmine

3. Hey Children: Final Band Performance, Kirkwood Meadows (1977):

Hey Children

4. Beggin’ You Baby: Live Performance, from Minus Seeds and Stems (1968):

Beggin' You Baby