Sam Champion is New York's musical anachronism. While most rock bands either bow down to Max's Kansas City circa 1975 or the UK in the post-punk wave of the early '80s, the finest band ever named after a local weatherman is all too happy to take its cues from the '90s. The slack trappings of Pavement are channeled through the ghost of Credence Clearwater Revival and the loping, folksy rumbles of Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Remember when lyrics were clever, the shirts were untucked, the hair a post-collegiate mess and emo hadn't brought feelings and vulnerability to indie rock? (Except for Lou Barlow, of course.) Ah, what an era.

Sam Champion is Noah Chernin (guitar, vocals), Jack Dolgen (bass) and Ryan Thornton (drums, vocals)

They're playing the Luna Lounge TONIGHT. It's free. Go check 'em out (details below.)

Let's get this out of the way, where did you band name originate? And if you had to change it to something else what would it be?
Our band is named after a gay weatherman who was most recently voted by the Village Voice as having the best tan for a local weatherman. It’s true. When we have to change our name, look for the latest release by “Sam Champion starship.”

What is your first conscious memory of living in New York?
Trying to make it out of the city alive with my brand new Air Jordans circa 1992. The Dinkins years were frightening. You could get killed for your Air Jordans. I was 10.

What is your favorite/least favorite memory involving New York?
Most favorite new york city memoir: Blackout 2003, followed closely by riding the elevator with Sir Paul Mccartney. Least favorite New York City memoir: nine one one.

What is your favorite place to drink in NYC? What’s the best night of the week to go out in the city?
Favorite watering holes include b-side, Welcome to the Johnson’s, Corner Bistro. Monday or Tuesdays only. Hold the onions.

What is your favorite/least favorite thing about playing shows in New York? Is there a difference between shows in Manhattan and Brooklyn?
We’ve never played a show in Brooklyn, besides some loft party at our friends house. In manhattan you get to soundcheck.

Do you think your New York connection shows in your music? If so, how?
It’s hard to the deny the history that seeps through the sidewalks in this town. Dylan, Byrne, Reed, Verlaine, (Casablancas?), and the heat goes on. We’re just trying to keep up.

Now its time for some fill-in-the-blank action:

“You know you’ve made it when….”
Your grandparents’ friends have heard of your band.

“It’ll be time to pack up the gear for good when….”
Your grandparents’ friends have heard of your band.

“I’ll never forget the first time I….”
Heard “five years” by bowie.

“I’ll never forget the first time [insert another band member’s name here]….”
ryan played “five years” by bowie for me.

And finally, lets have some fun with word association. Give me your immediate feelings on the following (if you’ve got no discernable feelings, make something up that won’t embarrass you in the morning):


Lenny Dykstra

Ryan: I’d “H” that “S”

Bridge & Tunnel
Our demographic

The Darkness
Festival crowds

Times Square
Code red terror alert

Bloomberg/Smoking Ban/Noise Laws

Questions inspired by movies...

If you will, a brief justification of the ontological necessity of modern man's existential dilemma (in less than 10 words). (Reality Bites)
God is a concept by which we measure our pain. – j. winston ono lennon

What came first, the music or the misery? (High Fidelity)
The world is treating me bad, misery.

A few quickies on the music tip:

Who would be in your ultimate music supergroup, your all-star Olympic team of rock?
George harrison – guitar/vox
Levon helm – backbeat/vox
Rick danko – bass/vox
Neil young – guitar/vox

If you released a 7” what would you put on the cover?
A melodica.

What was the first/last album you bought on the day it was released?
Bob dylan – chronicles vol. 1 (novel)

You can catch Sam Champion (w/ These Bones) during CMJ on Friday October 15th (that's tonight people!) @ the Luna Lounge [171 Ludlow St]. Show starts @ 10:30 pm (free / badges not required)

You can also listen to them right now. How's that for instant gratification.

The intro to this interview was written by Coolfer Glenn.