Lester Chambers to sing at Yoshi's
SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Legendary Bay Area rock and blues singer Lester Chambers, of the Chambers Brothers, has made a remarkable comeback. He was very ill and even homeless at one point, but Thursday night he headlines a big show at Yoshi's in San Francisco. It will be a one-time only solute to Stax Records -- the hit makers from Memphis.
Chambers has a voice filled with the blues. The pain and the good times, he has seen it all. Felled by illnesses, he wound up homeless.
"Just old age and being forgotten by the people that mean the most," said Chambers.
He'd sleep on an air mattress in a rehearsal studio. Chambers was reluctant to ask for help because people would assume he had a drug problem and it just wasn't so. But people have come to his side, including Yoko Ono and his son, Dylan, who Chambers calls "the backbone he almost lost."
"You know what he has done for people with music. Still, to this day, he gets 10 emails a day from people around the world," said Dylan Chambers.
Steve Cropper has been called "the greatest living guitar player." He joins the band to perform at Yoshi's San Francisco Thursday night.
"It's for a great cause and my buddy Lester. He's been a friend for years," said Cropper.
Cropper is in the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His hits include: "Knock On Wood," "Soul Man," and "The Midnight Hour." He is the driving force of Booker T and the MG's, the Blues Brothers Band, and the Stax Records Band.
"Typically about people that just have a passion for music and sort of being successful at it," said Cropper.
Cropper revealed a secret about his biggest hit, Otis Redding's "Dock of the Bay," written in Sausalito. It wasn't about a ship going under the Golden Gate.
"I watched the ferry come across and as it comes in to park, what do ferries do? They push up a wake, it rolls in and that's what he was talking about," said Cropper.
For Chambers, life and music today is a far cry when he was down so low.
When asked if there was a time when he wanted to give it all up, Chambers said, "Not really. I knew I would come back to it where this is right now and I'm still on my way up."
The event will benefit Sweet Relief which helps musicians who need help.
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