The Fucking Champs are dead. Long live The Fucking Champs!
The Champs are done, and have been for a while. Tim Soete allegedly moved to South America, Phil Manley continues with a myriad of other musical projects, and Tim Greene fills his gear-head needs exclusively through running Louder Studios. However, in the Champs’ wake is a riff legacy that a few brave souls are willing to shoulder.
In 2011, a Champs-like trio from Boston called Scouter released a self-titled album on Bandcamp. I would describe it as more Champs III than Champs III. More than half of the tracks on III, and maybe 1/4th of the tracks on IV follow a chug-chug-chug-riff-chug-chug-riff modality. Scouter employs this something like 90% of the time. I appreciate the thought and effort, but the result is a little too monotonous for me.
Next, today sees the release of their first album by The Mountain Chiefs, as free/pay what you want. They are a 3-piece outfit from a place in Pennsylvania not too far away from Trenton, NJ which, like The Champs, are missing a bassline. The twist is that both “guitars” are actually bass IVs, a weird mix of standard guitar and bass guitar. The result goes between thumpy distortion to mid-range riffing. Their composition is plenty varied, and only relies on chug-chug-chug-riff to a moderate degree. I think Vossk might be my favorite tune.
I’ve known the frontman for this operation for a few years, and have seen them play live twice so far. Funny story, once Tim Green posted a video on Facebook of the Mountain Chiefs play a cover of the Champs’ What’s a Little Reign. I thought, cool, I’ll save the vid for later when I have a moment to watch. It wasn’t until I got that moment to realize that I was at that very show.
Lastly, there is Double Ferrari from Athens, GA. The musical part of the video game cover and performance band Bit Brigade has their own Champs-like gig going (with a swapped-out drummer), which is the “normal” setup plus bass guitar. You can listen/download to a live show recording here. They are pretty much completely high-flying with their riffs. I’d probably call them the anti-Scouter Champs-like band. Listen to Nuke the Whales, National Anthem, and Double Ferrari, if nothing else.
I’ve follow Bit Brigade for many years, and have know one of their members for even longer. According to him, they’re slated to record their first album in Louder Studios of all places, so I can only imagine it’ll be great.