A1A 2009 Flyer

A Fond Farewell To The Ole' Coyote
Chaz McDonald

by Jeff Pike
January 5, 2015




Chaz and I after our last A1A gig together at 

The Chili Cook Off in Conyers, Georgia

October 4, 2014



Back in 1986 I was playing keyboards and singing background vocals in a full time traveling rock and roll band. Sometime during the course of that summer, for a reason that escapes me now, we found ourselves without a bass player.  We needed a replacement fast so auditions were quickly set up. They were held at The Holiday Inn on Fulton Industrial Boulevard in Atlanta, Georgia while the band was passing through town. Well, auditions is a bit strong of a word because if I remember correctly there was only one person that auditioned. His name was Chaz McDonald. Thousands of days of my life fade away without a thought. But that day has always remained with me. Perhaps, although I did not know it at the time, because Chaz would be by my musical side in one form or another for the next 28 years.


Chaz was a big guy. Big in stature, confidence, opinion, musical ability, and talent. To this day anyone who has ever played with him will tell you that he is probably the finest bass player they ever performed with. The instrument was just an extension of his body. Chaz came in that day with a bit of an attitude. But once he played and sang it pretty much shut everybody up and he was immediately hired. He and I quickly became friends and musical blood brothers. We stayed in that band for another year and then formed a duo, Equinox, which lasted up until January of 1988.

Chaz and I played off and on together over the next 10 years. In the late 1990's Chaz joined Jerry McCollum and I in the comedy rock outfit, Vertical Smile. In 2000, after performing on the recording of the second A1A Live CD, 'Live at Hemingway's,' Chaz became a part time member of A1A. In 2004 he became a permanent full time member.


Since going full time with the band in 2004, Chaz has been a vitally important anchor to the success we have achieved. Aside from his duties as a lead guitar player he has been a critical asset in songwriting, booking, promoting and marketing the band. Set design, transportation, musical director and stage manager were also tasks where he excelled. Chaz spent countless man hours on and off the clock devoted to these duties and never asked for any extra money.


In 2010, when I was having personal life problems that demanded the majority of my time and energy, Chaz took on all of these A1A responsibilities, along with the full time and difficult responsibility of road manager. Chaz has been a vital unsung hero in A1A and deserves to be recognized for all that he gave to the band - and to me.


In the 28 years Chaz and I have been friends we have been through a helluva lot together. Weddings, relationships, bands, laughs, tears, arguments, beers and cheers...and then some. We have had each other's back and have countless memories and stories to take with us. With the possible exception of Koney Ferrell I have spent more time onstage with Chaz than any other musician I have ever known. We have made some amazing music together and I am going to miss it. It is going to be extremely strange and sad to look to my right as I move on and not see him. I hope that in time we will perform together again. But to quote the title of a  Jimmy Buffett song, "Only Time Will Tell."


In late 2014, for personal and professional reasons Chaz chose to leave A1A. For those reading about his accomplishments and contributions here for the first time you can see how much he is going to be missed. For his many fans and friends, A1A is losing much more than that.


I ask all of you to please keep in touch with Chaz via his Facebook Page and via his Reverbnation Page. Chaz has some amazing new songs he has recorded which might make their way to a CD in 2015. There is also talk of a ZZ Top Tribute Show. A project I feel he was actually born to lead. So keep in touch with The Ole' Coyote as he heads on down the trail. It would mean a lot to him, and it would mean a lot to me.

I wish my old friend much success, health and prosperity in moving forward. But more than anything I wish him happiness. No matter what form it takes. I will always look back at the years we spent together with a smile, a song and much gratitude and love.

The stories we could tell....

                                                   Jeff Pike




Chaz McDonald performing with A1A 
The Village at Indian Springs, Georgia
June 21, 2014


Chaz McDonald Music On Reverbnation.com


Chaz McDonald on Facebook




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