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Chilliwack biography
Generally better known for their late 70's AOR albums, this group was one of the earliest Canadian prog groups since they were directly descending from the 60's group THE COLLECTORS which had released a mind-blowing debut album and an confirming second effort, before changing their name to CHILLIWACK, their hometown's name in British Columbia. Both albums are included in the proto-prog section of the database. As the group had encountered some success in the late 60's (both as an album but also a single's band), the group felt they had to modernize their name, image and contracts. But in the essence the group remained quasi-intact and given the changing of the times, their first album under their new name became a bit looser and less structured. The music became more dreamy and sometimes involving long improvisation (but never becoming a jam band), bordering on the psychedelic prog with Claire Lawrence's saxes and flutes giving loving caresses to your eardrums.

Gradually, as the key members will float away and leave the ship, the sound (which had a distinct west coast touch) shifted more and more towards typical late 70's AOR with a slight country rock touch. The group will end its career in the early 80's in the general indifference after a string of unremarkable (from our point of view) string of albums. The band went on to become Headpins with a huge ard rock sound.

So what will interest progheads in Chilliwack are the first few albums that are definitively wilder and looser, but still as worthy as their superb Collectors album (couldn't resist that one ;-).

Bio written by Hugues Chantraine, Belgium

Why this artist must be listed in :
Continuation of The Collectors

(1970) Chilliwack
(1971) Chilliwack (2nd)
(1972) All Over You
(1974) Riding High
(1975) Rockerbox
(1977) Dreams, Dreams, Dreams
(1978)Lights from the Valley
(1980) Breakdown in Paradise
(1981) Wanna Be a Star
(1982) Opus X
(1983) Segue (compilation)
(1984) Look In Look Out
(1994) Greatest Hits (compilation)

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CHILLIWACK discography

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CHILLIWACK top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.14 | 17 ratings
3.03 | 10 ratings
Chilliwack (II)
2.83 | 6 ratings
All Over You
3.40 | 5 ratings
Ridin High
2.75 | 4 ratings
2.19 | 8 ratings
Dreams, Dreams, Dreams
3.63 | 8 ratings
Lights From The Valley
1.35 | 7 ratings
Breakdown In Paradise
1.54 | 9 ratings
Wanna Be a Star
2.56 | 9 ratings
Opus X
3.67 | 3 ratings
Look In, Look Out

CHILLIWACK Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CHILLIWACK Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

CHILLIWACK Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

CHILLIWACK Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Opus X by CHILLIWACK album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.56 | 9 ratings

Opus X
Chilliwack Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Discographia

2 stars This is not a masterpiece beacause, no shadow of a Progressive rock here is focused on the Hard Rock Fm very commercial. "Watcha Gonna Do" which opens the album is really bad. 'Secret Information "is much better, but still very Rock Fm. The third title is even better "She Do not Know," but we remain far from a fabulous group as Saga, besides it looks like in Saga. The album took the wrong sound of 80 years, and suffers. The Canadian group did not sound at all or Progressive Heavy but very Hard Fm. The final title, the slow "Midnight" is very gentle convincing enough, the melody is poor.
 Wanna Be a Star by CHILLIWACK album cover Studio Album, 1981
1.54 | 9 ratings

Wanna Be a Star
Chilliwack Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator Prog Folk Researcher

1 stars It’s kind of hard to take this seriously as a progressive rock album, primarily because there’s nothing progressive about it. In fact, this is a concept record of sorts, with Chilliwack relating in not-so-veiled fashion their experience of ‘selling out’ in pursuit of commercial success in the music industry. It’s a true story if that makes things any better. Not really, I guess.

Chilliwack had made the transition from psych band the Collectors several years prior, and with this record they complete their metamorphosis into a full-fledged new wave rock band. Both the band and the album could have been poster-children for the death of a generation of good music that was marked by the record industry creative dearth known as the eighties.

On the up side for the band, this became their biggest-selling album as far as I know, having been certified gold in Canada and spawned a couple of minor hits throughout North America, one of which I actually remember. The band was riding the wave of Canadian AOR popularity as a b-list bastard stepbrother of headliners like April Wine, Loverboy, Triumph, Toronto, Refugee (the Canadian one, eh) and Saga (sorry Saga fans, it’s a bitter pill). They were never as big as any of those bands though, but the two Billboard-charting singles probably paid their houses off if they were prudent with the money.

There are some humorous moments, even if there are no progressive ones. The opening “Sign Here” starts off as a sort of Gregorian chant with the band reading the actual text of a recording contract, before Bill Henderson and the boys launch into a paint-by-numbers tempo complete with a weak vocal tirade against sleazy record company executives that John Fogerty could have improved immensely had the band given him a chance to red-pen it before it was recorded.

“(So You) Wanna Be a Star” is – well, just look at the title. Imagine a rhythm sort of like Loverboy’s “Little Girl” or anything the Greg Kihn Band ever recorded, along with the lyrics from any of the thousands of ‘beat-down-by-the-cold-and-heartless-recording-industry’ songs you’ve ever heard, and I think you’ll get the idea.

It should be noted that in some respects Chilliwack was in a tough spot at the time they recorded this album, so I suppose some consideration should be given for that. The totally awesome but horribly managed Mushroom Records label had pretty much imploded by this point, and the band had just managed to secure a contract with the tackily-named Solid Gold Records. That and the overall heavy pressure throughout the industry to cultivate MTV-friendly images for recording artists made things kind of difficult for musicians who didn’t own their own label/studio, or have the clout to demand full creative license for whatever they recorded. Come to think of it, even that didn’t guarantee a good record (I’m talking to you Rod Stewart).

But regardless, a pig in a dress is still a pig and anyone who was post-puberty and pre-senility in 1981 knows exactly the kind of music that was appearing on MTV and the airwaves (and yes, Chilliwack did have at least one video on MTV at the time).

The hits were “My Girl” (“gone, gone, gone – she been gone so long” – remember?), and “I Believe”, which is admittedly a fairly decent acoustic guitar ballad even if the lead singer sounds an awful lot like Orleans’ John Hall (“Still the One who can scratch my….” – rememb….., aw, forget it).

Another amusing tidbit is the very Jeff Lynne-sounding “(Don't Wanna) Live for a Livin”, which features a muffled yet glib rock-star retort to the music business (eg., “kiss my ass”). Somehow it was considered clever in Canada at the time to include verbal mooning of the record business in songs. Let’s see, we had Klaatu, who somehow convinced Capitol Records executive Rupert Perry to record himself telling them to ‘sell out’ on the disastrous ‘Endangered Species’ album; this clever bit from Chilliwack; and the totally hilarious “If You See Kay” from April Wine’s ‘Power Play’ album. I’m sure there are others – feel free to look some up yourself and have a belated chuckle.

Anyway, there’s not a whole lot else to say about this album. The band was embroiled in litigation over their bailout from Mushroom at the time, so they couldn’t even launch a tour to support the record, but despite that fact that they managed to make a fair amount of money off it anyway thanks to MTV and FM radio. Half the band would end up reforming as the Headpins a few years later, another eighties band whose records can be found in mass quantities in cutout bins today alongside the Babys Greatest Hits and most of Head East’s discography.

Chilliwack had a couple of moderately good albums at the beginning of the seventies that retained just a touch of the psych fuzz and hard edge that the Collectors album had in the sixties. But by this point of their career any magic they may have had was long gone, and what was left was a trio of musicians just trying to make a living in a terrible environment to be trying to make decent music. With this album I can’t say they really even tried. One star and not recommended.


 Breakdown In Paradise by CHILLIWACK album cover Studio Album, 1979
1.35 | 7 ratings

Breakdown In Paradise
Chilliwack Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

1 stars You may safely skip this one. Of all the albums I have reviewed on this site, this strikes me as having the least appeal to prog fans in general. Not to say it is the worst one, although it's definitely in the running. Chilliwack had been honing a middle ground of barely-FM rock for several years before this release, which, in spite of decent promotion from Mushroom, elicited little interest from any quarter.

From the awful quasi title track with the same name as a Led Zeppelin classic to the limp ballads "So Strong" and "Road to Paradise" and a variety of other sub-tepid rockers like "let it all Begin" and "Are You with me", nary a whiff of prog can be discerned, but that wouldn't matter if the songwriting, music, vocals, or lyrics were good, which they aren't. The only songs of any distinction occur in sequence - "Guilty", with a suitably paranoid mood and bass lines, and the excellent "148 Heavy", which seems almost like a thematic followup to some of the better material on the "Fly By Night" album.

If the also-rans here were even tolerable, I could justify 2 stars, but the album represents the near total breakdown of the late 1970s rock scene and little more, and we all know that paradise was already lost by that time anyway.

 Dreams, Dreams, Dreams by CHILLIWACK album cover Studio Album, 1976
2.19 | 8 ratings

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams
Chilliwack Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Gooner
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The song "Fly At Night" gets 5 stars. Sort of a Neil Young meets Yes blend. Very cool...and a killer track! It's a Canadian rock classic. The rest of the album gets 2 stars. Pretty average folk rock, really. Too bad they couldn't deliver a full album's worth on par with "Fly At Night".
 Chilliwack (II) by CHILLIWACK album cover Studio Album, 1971
3.03 | 10 ratings

Chilliwack (II)
Chilliwack Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Chilliwack's second album was a double album, depicting the now-trio (they had lost their bassist) in an Amerindian artwork with a superb shot of a West-Canada Pacific island gracing the innerfold. Multi-instrumentalist Lawrence will also take bass duties on this double effort. Bill Henderson now writes every track and often alone for the shorter ones. Due to contract/management difficulties, this album was the second Self- titled ione but is often referred as II.

While the first of the four side is dominated by short tracks (5 min max), there are some real lush moments (the organ-loaded Rosie comes to mind and the instrumental interplay in Ride-Out >> Hi Peter ;-), but the change we had heard on their previous album is generally confirmed: the West-Coast rock influences are here to stay and this is especially evident on the vocal-heavy Ridin'.

The second side of the first disc is rather different comprising of a short, almost meaningless acoustic Always and a gigantic almost 14-mins Changing Reels. This is the first of the three monster tracks loading the rest of the album. The track is an extended exercise on an idea/theme with some improvisations, but it never gets messy and never overstays its welcome either. While not fascinating, this is an honest work that was so typical of those years, a bit indulgent but not over-indulgent. Nevertheless these type of tracks are usually more suited as a live recording rather than a studio one.

On first side of the second disc stands a 6-movement suite (for a whopping almost 19 mins) Music For A Quiet Time. While this track might appear very ambitious from a progressive point of view (we are all hoping for another What Is Love epic from the Collector's debut, naturally), it really is mostly a very ambient dreamy trip and in this case there are lengths, and even if some moments are gaspingly beautiful (some parts of Shine), there are also experimental moments (the Clap/Chants) where you're better off zonked-out of your mind to get a load of this stuff. I hope you saved some of that weed for the Whistle/Flute Pads, because you will need it, this time. The rest of the track is of the same acabit/vein. Yes this third side is definitely over-indulgent and does overstay its welcome, no matter how experimental they get. But I want their dope dealer's address; the man has some mean stuff ;-)

The final track Night-Morning is downright spacey, making Saucerful Floyd sound like teenyboppers. In many ways, we are close to Krautrock by the cosmic side of this track, reminiscent of the early Tangerine Dream, Cluster, Popol Vuh and Kraftwerk, but a more acoustic and real instrument version. As much as the previous track is a lot of rubbish (or psych mumbo-jumbo), as much as this one is easily their most worthy on this album and although completely unrepresentative of the Chilliwack name and sound, it stands easily as their best work, outside The Collectors.

Although there is a slight deception after Chilliwack's first two albums, us progheads hoping for more structured albums after their two Collectors releases, there is no doubt that Chilliwack was still out for musical adventures, but most likely not being aware that the ground they were breaking was not fascinating.

 Chilliwack by CHILLIWACK album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.14 | 17 ratings

Chilliwack Psychedelic/Space Rock

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

3 stars Not long after having changed their names from the Collectors (after two superb albums and a few singles) to Chilliwack, changing their contracts but keeping grosso-modo the same line-up, out came this first self-titled album, which is often called Parrot (re: the label), because their second album is also self-titled. This confusion, I believe is due to the fact that the album was released on different labels and thought to be deleted, but please do not quote on this. If you have more info, please feel free to advise me on this issue.

Still headed by guitarist Bill Henderson and multi-instrumentalist Claire Lawrence (whose flute and sax works are definitely making the difference), the group adopt a more west coast sound than in their previous incarnation, but also manage to sound like early Tull (on Sundown), sometimes slightly Amerindians (the chants and drum rhythms on Seventeens Summer, even if it allows for a Diddley passage) - maybe in homage to the ethnic mask on the artwork - and downright hippy-trippy and reflective (Ballad).

But the group still retained some typical 60's twist such as the fuzzed-out guitars (Got You Fixed's wild solo) with some bluesy elements (the lengthy Rain-O) and some cool soloing (the good guitar on the great closing track Chain Train) but almost getting lost (but not quite), yet still retaining the dreamy feel. The album slowly dissolves into a quiet flute and bass outro.

Please note that the Red Fox Cd-reissue of this album mentions 1972 as a release date, but this is wrong, the album being from 70. This "debut" album is not quite of the calibre of their previous albums, and if less-inspired, there are still tons of moments that lets you see the band's brilliance, and letting you hope for a better follow-up.

Thanks to Sean Trane for the artist addition.

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