Chuck E. Weiss

(established 2008; last updated 1/3/15)

    Chuck E. Weiss is a singer and songwiter who is best known as the subject of the Rickie Lee Jones 1979 hit single, Chuck E.'s In Love.  Weiss was a longtime friend of both Jones and Tom Waits, with whom Jones actually had the romantic involvement during the 70's. (Waits has also referenced Weiss in song).  With a strong background in and love of the blues (he played with the legendary Lightnin' Hopkins as a teen), this became the basis for his own style, which also incorporates jazz, folk, rock and zydeco.  Weiss has long been a fixture in the LA music scene but has never been known for his studio output.  In his 30 year career, he has only released 4 albums, the first of which, 1981's The Other Side Of Town, was released without his blessing.  
     Weiss grew up in Denver Colorado but eventually moved to LA and got a gig at a club called The Central in West Hollywood.  He played there regularly on Mondays for 11 years, until the club was in danger of shutting down due to financial problems.  It was then that he phoned his friend Johnny Depp, whom he had met years before when Johnny was still playing music himself.  He asked if Johnny could pitch in and help him buy the club, and this is how the Viper Room came into existence.  The Viper Room opened on the site of the old Central, and though Johnny (and presumably Weiss) are no longer involved, the club is still open today.
      In 1999, Weiss released Extremely Cool, his first album since The Other Side Of Town.  The album includes heavy participation by Waits, and some help from Johnny as an executive producer on the track, Devil With Blue Suede Shoes, which was originally scored for Johnny's film The Brave.  He has since released two more albums, 2001's Old Souls and Wolf Tickets, which features a 1970 recording with blues legend Willie Dixon, and 2006's 23rd and Stout.
  On October 9, 2007, Weiss' first album, The Other Side Of Town, was re-released on the Select/ADA label.  He is also credited on the P album for "washboard."
     Weiss has also done occasional acting, including episodes of Married With Children, Gilmore Girls and My Wife And Kids, and a cameo in The Brave.
      In October 2011, Weiss performed at the Shattuck Down Low in Berkeley, CA at an afterparty of a Rum Diary screening.  Johnny Depp attended, and some unconfirmed reports claim that he took the stage at some point.  Weiss contributed "washboard"
on Sous Le Soleil Exactement, which was Shane MacGowan's contribution to Lulu Gainsbourg's From Gainsbourg To Lulu album, which was released in November of 2011.  Weiss also joined Bill Carter on stage at The Mint in LA on December 7.  Carter was celebrating the release of his Unknown album, and the show was filmed for an upcoming documentary called That's What I'm Doing Here.  Chuck contributes a song, Anthem For Old Souls, to the Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys collection that was released on February 21, 2013.
     In March of 2014, Chuck announced his next studio album, Red Beans And Weiss.  It was released on April 15, 2014 
on the Anti- label on CD, vinyl, and digital.  The 13 song album is executive produced by Johnny as well as Tom Waits.  Three of the songs are credited to Infinitum Nihil.  Johnny also performs on 5 songs, contributing guitar, drums, bass, and/or background vocals.  Jack Depp also gets a formal credit for background vocals on the song Boston Blackie.  Much of the album was recorded in Johnny's Studio 1480, with additional recording done at The Village in LA.  Chuck appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live on April 7, 2014, and performed Tupelo Joe and Boston Blackie, the latter joined by Johnny.  An animated music video for Boston Blackie, drawn by Nate Merritt, was released on May 14, 2014.  Chuck rang in the 2015 New Year by performing at a private party at Ago Restaurant attended by Johnny, Amber and others.
     Chuck and his band The G_d Damn Liars perform regularly in LA.

Scans of some album covers and liner notes (click to enlarge):

P liner notes                 Extremely Cool          
P liner notes   extremely cool
Sous Le Soleil Exactement from From Gainsbourg To Lulu
lulu sous

Anthem For Old Souls from Son Of Rogues Gallery: Pirate Ballads, Sea Songs & Chanteys
son of rogue

Red Beans And Weiss
red beans and weiss   RBAW-CDfront   RBAW back   RBAW CD

Chuck E. Weiss with Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones in 1979:

weiss and waits   weiss waits jones

with Johnny at Viper Room opening, August 1993:
biography-weiss   viper room opening2

undated photo:

with Johnny in November 2009:

on washboard with Bill Carter in December 2012
weiss carter   mint chuck   chuck-mint

2014 press photo for Red Beans And Weiss
chuck e press

with Johnny March 2014
mojo chuck

April 2014 Jimmy Kimmel Live

2014 Boston Blackie music video
bb 4   bb 5   bb 6

New Year's Eve 2014 at Ago Restaurant
weiss ago

Some helpful links for Chuck E. Weiss:

Chuck E. Weiss Compositions
This is just a partial list taken from the US Copyright records.  The only albums I own of Chuck's are Extremely Cool and Red Beans And Weiss, so I do not know what songwriting credits may appear on his other albums.  Any addtional information would be appreciated!

created/copyright(s)     Title {CD of origin}
1975/2003 Spare Parts 1 (A Nocturnal Emission) (with Tom Waits)
1977/1978 Rollin' The Rock (4 songs?) (with Ron Weiser, Steve Schnathorst, Jack Cochran)
1998/1999 Pygmy fund {Extremely Cool}
1998/1999 Sonny could lick all them cats {Extremely Cool}
1998/1999 Jimmy would {Extremely Cool}
1998/1999 Extremely cool {Extremely Cool}
1998/1999 Roll on Jordan {Extremely Cool}
1998/1999 Horseface {Extremely Cool}
1998/1999 Rocking in the Kibbitz Room {Extremely Cool}
1989/2002 Tony did the boogie woogie  (with Steve Caton, Will McGregor) {Old souls & wolf tickets}
1999/2003 It rains on me ; Do you know what I Idi Amin? (with Tom Waits) {Extremely Cool}
1998/1999 What a rude awakening (Rude Awakening)
2002/2002 Sweetie-O ; Sneaky Jesus (with Tony Gilkyson) {Old souls & wolf tickets}
2002/2002 G-d damn liars (with Tony Gilkyson, Michael Murphy) {Old souls & wolf tickets}
2014 Tupelo Joe {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Shushie (with Will MacGregor) {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Boston Blackie (with J.J. Holiday) {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 That Knucklehead Stuff {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Bomb The Tracks (with Tony Gilkyson) {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Kokomo [Boy Bruce] {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Hey Pendejo {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Dead Man's Shoes (with Tony Gilkyson) {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Old New Song {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 The Hink-A-Dink {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Oo Poo Pa Do In The Rebop {Red Beans And Weiss}
2014 Wiily's In The Pee Pee House (with Michael Murphy) {Red Beans And Weiss}
1981 The Other Side Of Town (reissued Oct. 9, 2007)
1999 Extremely Cool
2001 Old Souls & Wolf Tickets
2006 23rd & Stout
2014 Red Beans And Weiss

Please e-mail at if you have any corrections or additions!

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