|Genres||Progressive rock, heavy metal, rock, jazz, funk|
|Instruments||Bass guitar, vocals|
|Associated acts||Tarja Turunen, Cosmosquad, Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, Der Elefant, Paul Gilbert, Sebastian Bach, Bleeding Harp, Jeff Kollman, Artension, Uncle Kracker, Ted Nugent, Chuck Berry, The Original Moon, Tony MacAlpine, George Bellas, Tiles, Edwin Dare|
Kevin Chown (born December 24, 1969) is an American bass player best known for his work with best selling Finnish vocalist Tarja Turunen, funk/rock/fusion quartet Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats, and progressive metal bands Edwin Dare and Artension.
In addition to Turunen's band and the Bombastic Meatbats, he is currently a member of the instrumental groups Cosmosquad and Der Elefant, as well as L.A. blues rockers Bleeding Harp, and has performed and recorded with artists such as Paul Gilbert, Sebastian Bach, Uncle Kracker, Chuck Berry, Ted Nugent, Tony MacAlpine, Jeff Kollman, and Tiles. Chown currently resides in the Los Angeles area where he works as an in-demand session player, writer, producer and sometime television actor in addition to his band commitments.
Chown was born and raised in rural Escanaba, Michigan, and grew up in a very musical environment. His father was a high school band teacher and his mother gave private piano lessons. He originally started out on drums but soon switched to bass guitar after hearing John Paul Jones and Led Zeppelin and began performing professionally at age 15 with a popular local band called Tyrant.
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After a year at Bay College, Chown moved to Detroit to attend Wayne State University where he earned a bachelor's degree in jazz studies and was honored as “College Jazz Soloist of the Year” in 1993 at the Montreux Detroit Jazz Festival. At the same time, Chown also pursued his love of rock'n'roll and played with several bands around Detroit. While attending the NAMM Show in Anaheim, CA in 1991, Chown crossed paths with guitarist Jeff Kollman and soon joined his Toledo, OH-based progressive metal band, Edwin Dare. The group quickly garnered a strong following throughout parts of the Midwest and released 3 studio albums in the 1990s which were particularly well received in Japan. Chown would also release an all-instrumental solo album, Freudian Slip, in 1996.
While playing with Edwin Dare, Chown also developed a reputation as a producer and session musician working out of his own Detroit-based studio. Among others, he became heavily involved with local progressive rock band Tiles, producing and playing on three of their albums, Tiles (1994), Fence the Clear (1997) and Presents of Mind (1998). He also wrote and produced songs and jingles for the Detroit Red Wings, the Detroit Tigers, Little Caesars Pizza and The Weather Channel, among others. In 1997, Chown briefly worked with Detroit rock icon Ted Nugent after being introduced by local rock singer Steve Black, Nugent's radio co-host. He would perform live in-studio with Nugent on his radio program on a couple of occasions.
In the mid 90's, Chown was featured in Guitar Player magazine's ‘Spotlight' column which led to a working relationship with GP columnist Mike Varney, also the head of Shrapnel Records. Chown became the bass player for newly formed multi-national progressive metal group Artension, recording 2 studio albums, Into the Eye of the Storm (1996) and Phoenix Rising (1997) for Shrapnel. He left the group in 1998 but would participate in the recording of two more albums, Sacred Pathways (2002) and New Discovery (2003). He also recorded albums with guitar virtuosos Tony MacAlpine (Violent Machine, 1996), Jeff Kollman (Into The Unknown, 1996), and George Bellas (Turn of the Millenium, 1997), and contributed bass to two releases by progressive metal band Magnitude 9.
Move to Los Angeles
Chown moved to Los Angeles in 1997 and quickly became a much in-demand session player, re-teaming with his old Edwin Dare cohort Jeff Kollman on various projects, producing acclaimed drummer Mike Terrana's 1999 solo album, Shadow of the Past, guesting on vocalist John West's Earth Maker (2002), and playing on a long list of soundtracks for TV and film. In addition, he picked up work as an actor, always playing a musician, and had various recurring on-screen acting performances, including on the television series "How I Met Your Mother". Chown also landed the coveted bass gig with platinum selling artist Uncle Kracker and toured the country in support of No Stranger to Shame, culminating in a double header home town gig in Escanaba in late 2003.
In 2005, Chown became the bassist and co-musical director for Ivan Kane's Royal Jelly, a burlesque show with a residency at Hollywood's Forty Deuce club; the troupe made a national TV appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in October 2006 performing the Aerosmith classic "Walk This Way". Chown and fellow Royal Jelly musicians, Jeff Kollman and Charlie Waymire, also recorded an album of original music under the name JKB. Bleeding the Soul was issued in 2004 and accompanied by a promotional video for the song "By Myself", shot at club Forty Deuce.
In the summer of 2008, Chown joined rock'n'roll icon Chuck Berry for his appearance at the Long Beach Blues Festival. Chown was also brought into the Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats fold, a 70's fusion/funk oriented quartet led by Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and featuring keyboardist Ed Roth and Chown's long-time musical companion, Jeff Kollman, on guitar. The band made their live debut at the 2008 NAMM Show, followed by a short tour of Japan, and released their debut album, Meet the Meatbats, the following year. The group toured Japan twice more, with Matt Sorum and Kenny Aronoff filling in for Smith, and have since issued two more albums, More Meat (2010) and Live Meat And Potatoes (2012). The group appeared at the Guitar Center Drum-Off at L.A.'s Club Nokia in early January 2014 where they were joined by guitar legend Steve Lukather.
In 2011, Chown got the call to join former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen on her world tour in support of her album What Lies Beneath, which included shows all across Europe and South America. The latter was documented via the Act I: Live in Rosario DVD (2012); Chown also appears on Tarja's three most recent studio recordings, Colours In The Dark (2013), which debuted Top 10 in half a dozen European countries, The Brightest Void (2016), and The Shadow Self (2016). The latter two also feature Chown's Bombastic Meatbats bandmate, Chad Smith, on select songs. Chown appears in the "No Bitter End" promotional video and took part in the band's extensive Far East and European tours, highlighted by an appearance at Germany's prestigious Wacken Open Air festival on August 5 in front of some 80,000 fans.
In March 2015, former Skid Row vocalist Sebastian Bach announced the addition of Chown to his touring band. He made his live debut with Bach during a 10-date tour around the Southwest; a full-fledged US tour followed in the summer of 2015. He was also approached by guitarist Paul Gilbert and invited to help record his latest Kevin Shirley produced album, I Can Destroy, released in late 2015 in Japan and worldwide in 2016.
In late 2016, Chown, along with fellow Tarja band members Alex Scholpp and Timm Schreiner, released a 3-song EP under the name Der Elefant, accompanied by a video for the song "Elefante".
In December 2016, Chown was announced as the new bassist and official band member of progressive metal/fusion trio, Cosmosquad, featuring guitarist Jeff Kollman and drummer Shane Gaalaas. Chown is featured on the group's latest studio album, The Morbid Tango, released in early 2017. Chown and Kollman were also part of the Bleeding Harp line-up that recorded the 2018 release, Truth, which features a guest vocal appearance by Doug Pinnick of King's X fame on a cover of The Allman Brothers Band classic "Whipping Post".
In November 2018, Chown announced the digital-only re-release of his 2 solo efforts, Freudian Slip (1996) and Light the Way (2013), titled Kevin Chown. In addition, the re-mastered 2-for-1 package also includes 3 previously unreleased bonus tracks, "Detroit Shuffle", featuring guitarist Jeff Kollman, "Paris", and "Move the People". Chown is also featured on Tarja's 2018 multi-format release Act II, available on DVD, Blu-ray, CD and vinyl.
Bout with epilepsy
Chown, who had been battling epilepsy since he was a teenager, underwent brain surgery at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA on May 2, 2013, after suffering several seizures over the previous months.
"It's taken me years to finally acknowledge my condition publicly, even to my closest friends. As strange as it seems, embracing who I really am to everyone in my life, even my closest friends, has taken just as much or more courage than it has taken me to consider brain surgery. For decades, I have carried this around with me, worried what people would think. I feel like I am half way home already by simply embracing the reality of my situation."
A special set up GoFundMe.com page raised thousands of dollars in contributions from friends and fans to help offset Chown's considerable out-of-pocket expenses from his medical procedures. He issued the Light The Way EP, which was released digitally on May 8 and was accompanied by a promotional video for the song “We Light the Way”. Vocalist Angel Travis, guitarist Jeff Kollman, drummer Jono Brown, and backing vocalist Marian Tomas Griffin all lent a helping hand. Guitarist Jeffery Marshall, drummer Adam Gust and Chown's former Tiles bandmate Chris Herin also contributed on the EP. Another video for the song "Alive" was released only weeks later.
Allt för Sverige reality TV appearance
In May 2018, Chown was announced as one of the cast members of Season 8 of the Emmy award-winning Swedish reality show, Allt för Sverige, marketed in the U.S. as The Great Swedish Adventure. The show's 8 episodes aired weekly from September 16 through November 4 on Sweden's national public TV broadcaster, SVT. Chown's feature episode dealing his Swedish family heritage and their 19th century emigration to North America aired on October 21; Chown was among the final four contestants to appear in the November 4 season finale.
w/ Bleeding Harp
w/ Der Elefant
w/ Paul Gilbert
w/ John West
w/ Mike Terrana
w/ Magnitude 9
w/ The Original Moon
w/ George Bellas
w/ Jeff Kollman
w/ Edwin Dare
- "Escanaba native takes love of U.P. to Swedish reality television show". UpperPeninsula.biz. Retrieved July 13, 2018.
- Kevin Chown voter registration
- "Ivan Kane's Royal Jelly, Jimmy Kimmel Live! Episode 154". Watch-Series-TV.to. Retrieved October 17, 2006.
- "Bassist Kevin Chown recalls playing with Chuck Berry". Firebrand's Rock And Metal Express. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
- "Video – Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats With Steve Lukather Play "We All Swing the Tuna" at Guitar Center's 2014 Drum-Off Finals". Modern Drummer. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- "Ultimate Studios, Inc. was recently invaded by Chad Smith and Kevin Chown who were recording for international superstar Tarja Turunen". Ultimate Studios, Inc. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
- "Tarja At Wacken Open Air 2016; Video Interview And Pro-Shot Live Footage Of Six Songs Online". BraveWords.com. Retrieved August 9, 2016.
- "Sebastian Bach Taps Bassist Kevin Chown For Upcoming Tour". Blabbermouth.net. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
- "Tarja members Scholpp, Chown And Schreiner Launch New Band Der Elefant, Debut Video Released". Metal Shock Finland. Retrieved November 27, 2016.
- "Cosmosquad To Release 'The Morbid Tango' In January; Band Announce Kevin Chown As New Bassist". BraveWords.com. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- "Tarja Bassist Kevin Chown Makes Allt För Sverige's Final Four". BraveWords.com. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
- "Kevin Chown - Tarja Turunen/Bombastic Meatbats Bassist To Release Solo EP; Scheduled To Undergo Brain Surgery For Epilepsy". BraveWords.com. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
- "Tarja Bassist Kevin Chown Unveils 'We Light The Way' Video". Bass Musician Magazine. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "Tarja Bassist Kevin Chown Joins Cast Of The Great Swedish Adventure Reality Show". BraveWords.com. Retrieved May 16, 2018.
- "Escanaba Native To Appear On Swedish Reality Show". Escanaba Daily Press. Retrieved May 19, 2018.
- "Cosmosquad and Tarja bassist Kevin Chown's Allt för Sverige feature episode to air this Sunday". HouseOfProg.com. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
- "Chown says reality TV show helps him understand his family's history". UpperPeninsula.biz. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
- "Nordines mark 50 years of marriage". Escanaba Daily Press. August 27, 1985.
- Varney, Mike (November 1990). "Spotlight". Guitar Player. p. 154.
- Yonke, David (May 29, 2008). "Chili Peppers drummer and friends in Bombastic Meatbats play here Saturday". The Blade. Toledo, Ohio.
- "In tribute: Ruth Marie (Nordine) Chown". Ironwood Daily Globe. November 12, 2008.