On Sundays, you can find Bishop John Chane of Washington, D. C., dressed in ornate robes and a pointy hat, presiding over a church service, complete with organ and incense. But on February 3, at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. you will find him sitting behind his drum kit banging out rhythm and blues at the Knitting Factory, one of New York City's hottest venues, with his old band, the Chane Gang.
In an appropriate kick-off to the Mardi Gras season, and to support ongoing relief and rebuilding efforts in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the band will perform two shows at the Knitting Factory, marking their New York City debut.
Chane, 60, spent five years in his 20s touring the country with a series of rock bands before leaving the road and eventually entering seminary. The last of those bands, the Music Explosion, cut its only hit, "A Little Bit of Soul," just weeks after Chane left.
Though he played in eight different groups, the Chane Gang was always his favorite. It formed in 1963 when most of its members were in prep school. The group now includes four original members—Chane, bassist John Capron, guitarist and lead singer Larry Power, and sax player Danny Klane—and Tim Capron (John's son) and Mark Huffman on guitars and vocals.
The Gang disbanded as its members pursued other interests, but in 1993 Chane and Capron reconnected with Power and Klane, who still play professionally. The four decided that once a year the band would reunite for old times’ sake and raise money for the bishop's favorite charity.
Since then, the Chane Gang has raised funds for Chane's favorite outreach programs, wowing audiences from Massachusetts to California, and then back again to the East Coast.
In December of 2004, the band released its first CD in many years, which continues to sell well. All proceeds from the CD supports environmental work in Alaska. It includes 13 classic rock and blues hits, including "Mustang Sally," "Not Fade Away," "Gimme Some Lovin,'" and "Susy Q."
Chane is especially pleased that the concert date was able to come together in time for the Mardi Gras season. "Without the jazz and the blues that developed and flourished around New Orleans and in Mississippi, the music we play wouldn't exist," he said. "It's great to be able to share the music and in a small way pay back these communities that have given so much to our American culture."
Contributions from several private donors and a number of bishops from across the country will underwrite the concert expenses. All proceeds will benefit clergy salaries and institutional needs of the dioceses of Louisiana and Mississippi.
Tickets are $30 per person and may be purchased online at: http://knittingfactory.com/kfny or call the Knitting Factory at 212-219-3006.