Featuring highlights from Jim’s musical career from 1955 to the present, commentary on music and the music business, stories ‘from the road’ by occasional guest contributors, and features on some of the coolest guitars, basses and amps in his extensive vintage collection. You may also find information about upcoming gigs featuring Jim and his friends, and other events of general interest.
A Personal Introduction: In a musical career spanning more than sixty years, I have had some wonderful experiences, most which have been covered in my book, “Uncle Jimmy’s Excellent Adventure,” available on our Bookstore page.
The snapshot story of my musical life goes like this:
Played my first ‘gig’ as a kindergarten rhythm band drummer at a concert in 1955.
Played in my first ‘real’ band in 1964, The Arkangels, with Kenn Allison and the Southern brothers, Dave and Al. Kenn and I transitioned in 1965 to Sally and the Bluesmen, with Jim Pauley,Kathie Lee Jackson, Dave Baker, and Paul Kersey (later of Max Webster and The Hunt). I left school in 1967 to pursue a dream of rock and roll stardom with The Bluesmen Revue, a London group that had won a 1966 city-wide “battle of the bands” that sent us all the way to a recording contract with Columbia Records in New York City in 1968. Kenn, Paul and I were joined by Rick Wadds (later known as Rick Alexander, a nationally-known steel guitar virtuoso), Dave Partridge and Charlie Mitchell. Our only record release, Spin The Bottle, was a regional hit in Ontario but disagreements with Columbia saw them eliminate the promotional budget and the song never had a nation-wide release. Sadly, as with so many bands, problems with the record label and ‘artistic differences’ within the band led to its demise in 1969.
In January of 1970 I joined Leather N Lace, a top Canadian showband led by Londoner Greg Brown. I left that band in the early summer and Greg then formed a band called “Ocean” and soon had an international hit with Put Your Hand In The Hand.
George Attrill, Bill Turnbull and I (all from Leather N Lace) formed Beaver Damn – my favourite band name – then added the husband and wife singer/keyboardist pair of Les and Sue Sykora and became Penny Arcade. That didn’t last long and George and I formed Jerico Road, with drummer Bert Hamer and vocalist Janice Link. We did well with that act but Janice eventually left and we then added John Hotson on vocals, flute and conga, and changed the name to Bad Axe, named after a little town in Michigan we used to drive by on our trips to gigs in Sault Ste Marie. With the addition of guitarist James Drynan, that group had a good run doing clubs in Canada and the U.S. (including a period as Ronnie Hawkins’ backing band) before breaking up in 1972.
Tired of the road, I stayed in London and got involved in several business ventures, including London’s first successful music jingle production company, The Jingle People, as a player, writer and producer. I also became the president of Springfield Sound Studios, a state-of-the art recording studio tucked away in a quiet country setting south-east of London. I continued to gig on the weekends in a band with Bill Pigram and John Pliniussin called Three Speed. Later in the decade I joined another weekend band called Whisker, with Dave Hammond, Bill Pigram, Ed Lambert, Val Hudson and my cousin-in-law, Lois Chapman.
By 1980 recurring health problems forced me to give up my various business ventures, and looking for something a lot less stressful my wife and I put together a duo and worked the Holiday Inn circuit around Ontario and the Maritimes as Jim and Carlyn and later as Honeymoon. We expanded to The Jim and Carlyn Band with Bruce McGregor, Ralph Brown, Wayne Revoy, Rob Rose and Billy Boyington for a while, then shrunk back down to a duo again as the entertainment market changed.
Off the road in 1986, Carlyn and I formed The Jim Chapman Band with Billy Boyington. Carlyn decided she was tired of playing and Billy, Bill Pigram and I formed Double Bill. But the live music market was changing, gigs were becoming harder to find and I was embarking on a career in radio that would last more than twenty years, so the band just went silent after a few months.
A decade later Billy, Bill, Carlyn and I formed The Incontinentals, a 50’s and 60’s band that became well-known for tight arrangements and outstanding harmonies. When Carlyn decided to retire again, Dave Williams joined on keyboards and vocals. That band lasted until Covid hit in 2020 but like many other acts did not survive it. Along the way, at the same time I was playing with the Incontinentals, I joined The Les Holmes Trio Plus, a popular local country classics band, and Frankly Scarlett, a band that seldom played but practiced regularly, doing mostly original songs written by members John Bellone Jr., Dan Rutledge and Jim Chapman, with help from guitarist Chet Risser and drummers Bill Pigram and Marty Buziak. It, too, was pretty much done in by Covid.
Post-Covid I am doing a single act, and playing in a duo with Les Holmes called Home Sweet Holmes, both of which keep me as busy as I care to be.