Chuck E's not in love with '81 album rerelease


It turns out there's something Chuck E's not in love with. It's his "The Other Side of Town" album.

The work, out of print for decades, suddenly re-emerged this month, and Chuck E. Weiss wasn't happy.

"It's not that good, man," said the musician and Hollywood hipster best known as the musical muse for Rickie Lee Jones' 1979 song, "Chuck E's in Love."

"Lyrically, I think it's disappointing," Weiss told The Associated Press. "Musically, some of those things are OK, but they're mere skeletons of what I thought the songs should be."

To his surprise, "The Other Side of Town," which includes a duet with Jones and rollicking piano contributions from Dr. John, has generally gotten good reviews.

"It's full of great wit, charm and an utter carelessness that makes it feel dangerous in a time when music is anything but," said Thom Jurek of

Fred Munao, president of New Jersey-based Select Records, said he was remiss not to contact Weiss before reissuing the album made up of 1981 demos. He otherwise makes no apologies.

"Chuck E has some reservations about it, but I think it's a much lovelier record than he acknowledges," Munao said. "Chuck E epitomizes what is very much a lost version of cool."

Bringing it back, he added, was something the label's younger audience wanted.

Having heard the near-mythic tales of Weiss' collaborations with Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, Tom Waits and others, they were disappointed to learn he's recorded only three other albums of his own.

Legendary or not, Weiss said, he still hasn't been paid for this one. That's something else he wasn't happy about.

Munao said Weiss will eventually receive "a lot more than he got last time" for the record, but the musician remained skeptical.

"Maybe it will be enough I can buy McDonald's burgers for all the people in my courtyard," he joked.