April 13, 1940 |
Mississippi, United States
|Genres||Rock, gospel music, soul music, psychedelic rock, blues|
|Instruments||Vocals, harmonica, percussion|
|Labels||Columbia, Explosive Records|
|Associated acts||Chambers Brothers, Lester Chambers Harvey Brooks Band, Willie Chambers|
Lester Chambers (born April 13, 1940, Mississippi) is an American recording artist, and member and lead singer of the 1960s soul rock group The Chambers Brothers, who had the hit single, "Time Has Come Today".
As a solo artist he released singles and albums and teamed up with ex-Electric Flag bassist Harvey Brooks to form the Lester Chambers Harvey Brooks Band. He also added vocals to Bonnie Raitt's Sweet Forgiveness album.
In March 2011, Lester Chambers was inducted into the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame.
Personal life and hardship
Chambers has reported that despite the group's success, he did not receive any royalty payments from 1967 to 1994. In a chat session on the Soul Patrol website, he discussed such injustices that many black artists have endured.
In 2002 his wife, Lola Chambers, testified before the California Senate hearings on Label Accounting Practices that "Time Has Come Today" earned the group under $250 in royalties for the European market over 16 years. She said that Columbia Records told them that "there were no overseas sales to report because The Chambers Brothers records were never licensed to an overseas distributor". But she later discovered copies on eBay of numerous foreign pressings of their records on Columbia foreign affiliate labels for which they were not compensated.
In 2003, the home of Lola and Lester Chambers was broken in to and their record collection, consisting of over sixty Chambers Brothers albums and over one hundred singles, was stolen. Lola Chambers had spent twenty five years collecting Chambers Brothers records at various venues to leave these for their sons. Lester Chambers developed a number of medical problems that went untreated because he lacked insurance. He later became homeless, sleeping in a rehearsal hall in Novato, California, until Yoko Ono paid to rent a home for him and his son Dylan.
In March 2012 Lester started an Internet campaign that went viral to publicize what he claims to be a lack of equitable royalty payments. His Facebook posting received over 2,500 "likes" and over 2,000 "shares" in the first 15 hours on his "Wall"; it was featured on the front page of Reddit  and there were hundreds of tweets about the story.
On July 13, 2013 Lester Chambers was reportedly assaulted onstage during a performance at the Russell City Hayward Blues Festival after dedicating a performance of "People Get Ready" to Trayvon Martin, the day the jury found his killer not guilty of a criminal offense. He was reported by his son Dylan to be in "ok" condition later the same evening.
On December 10, 2012, Lester Chambers and Alexis Ohanian (Reddit co-founder) teamed up to launch a Kickstarter project together with the intent to make a new album titled Lester's Time Has Come. Lester also spoke with Reddit users on December 13, 2012, at an AMA (Ask Me Anything) event and to mention the Kickstarter project to those interested.
- "Ain't Nice To Know"/"Let Your Body Sway" - Masterpiece 1001 - 1984
- Do You Believe in Rock and Roll - Explosive Records - 2008
- It's Time - Explosive Records - 2005
- Lesters Besters Vol.1 - 2004
- Lester Chambers - 1999
Lester Chambers & KK Martin
- Blues For Sale - Ranell - 2001
- Various Artists: Blues Today Volume III - BT Productions - 2002
- Lester Chambers.com Home
- Midnight Special Blues The Bobby Kyle Band
- Soul-Patrol.com Lester Chambers of the ground breaking Chambers Brothers audio interview music
- Evans, Bill (September 25, 2002). "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance". DMusic.com. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
- OnlineRock First Blood is Spilled at Record Industry Hearings - The War is On!!!
- www.earpollution.com Central Scrutinizer 08.04.2003, Thieves Are Scum
- Joel Selvin (2010-06-22). "Time comes back around for Lester Chambers". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Shapiro, David (March 5, 2012). "Who Is the Neglected Rocker Behind That Viral Photo?". Fuse TV. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
- "Help Legendary Musician Lester Chambers Get His Royalties". BlackManWithBlog. March 4, 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
- Facebook post. March 5, 2012. Retrieved March 5, 2012.
- "I am the 99%. Screwed by the industry.". Reddit. March 5, 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
- Marshall, Matt. "Lester Chambers Assaulted on Stage at Blues Festival Over Zimmerman Trial". American Blues Scene Magazine. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
- CD Baby Lester Chambers Do You Believe in Rock and Roll
- CD Baby Lester Chambers It's Time
- mnblues.com CD Review The Music of Pete Thelen
- Kickstarter Project Page
- A letter from Lester Chambers
- Former Idols of Rock Now Confront the Blues
- Open letter from Lester Chambers to Courtney Love
- First Amendment Class Action Complaint from Lester Chambers
- Lester Chambers ‘Speaking Freely’ Transcript