Oh, He's Seen Ire and He's Seen Rain

Vibe 105


Peter "Chan Man" Chandler




Jackson Hole, Wy

CLAIM TO FAME: A Harvard Divinity School minister by training, the Chan Man serves God and skiers alike with original "ski-bum" music at the base of the Jackson Hole tram. Sample lyrics: "When I grow up I wanna be a ski bum/Don't you know that's what I want to do?/Sitting on the sundeck when it's all said and done/With a little snow bunny named Sue." (We aren't making this up.) With his three-member band Tram Jam, the Chan Man has played in sleet, blizzards, and sub-zero temps for 10 years running. "When it's cold and snowy, it's more 'A' for effort than good music," he admits.

ALTER EGOS: The Chan Man is involved in so many projects, it's hard to keep tabs on him-let alone recognize him. There's the well-known, dreadlocked Chan Man ("the hippie-ski-bum-singer-songwriter"); there's Peter Chandler, of the band Waist Deep, which just self-released its first CD, Ski Bum Music; and then there's the newest personality, Papa Chan, who tucks his dreads under a cowboy hat, suits up, and plays jazz standards at swanky hotels.

THE BUMS: It's challenging to get a serious ski-bum band project together these days. "No one wants to practice during the day, and no one has the energy at night."

FOUND ART: Inspiration for "The Coffee Song" came after the Chan Man walked into the local grocery store and assembled the names of all the coffees into verse. Sample lyric: "Kona Blend, Sumatra Mandolin, Irish Crème, Cinnamon Hazelnut, Amaretto ..." For the title track of the latest album, Chandler sings, without pause, the names of nearly every run at Jackson Hole: "Hoback, Jackson Face, Green River, Rock Springs, Cody Bowl...Amphitheater, Paintbrush, Elevator, Expert Chutes, Twice is Nice...." You get the picture. The list goes on for more than seven minutes.

GUN CONTROL: The last time the Chan Man saw God was in a Maine biker bar in 1991. "We were up there playing blues and this guy asked me to play 'Pretty Woman.' I said no. The guy hauls a gun out, points it at me, and says, 'Play 'Pretty Woman.''"

-Dina Mishev

January 2005