Bryan James "Chas" Chandler (18 December 1938 – 17 July 1996) was an English musician, record producer and manager, best known for being the original bassist in the Animals, and for managing Jimi Hendrix and Slade.
Chandler grew up, along with the rest of the original Animals, near Newcastle upon Tyne, with whom he first achieved commercial and critical success. By 1966, he had become disillusioned with the group and decided to change career, becoming Hendrix's co-manager until 1968. He then went on to manage Slade, who achieved commercial success in the UK in the 1970s.
He subsequently joined two short-lived reunions of the Animals, and became a regular interview subject for Hendrix until his death in 1996.
Chandler was born at 35 or 37 Second Avenue, Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland. After leaving school, he worked as a turner in the Tyneside shipyards. He learned to play the guitar but became the bass player when he joined the Alan Price Trio in 1962.
With the Animals
After vocalist Eric Burdon joined them, the group was renamed the Animals. Chandler's bass lines were rarely given critical attention, but some, including the opening riff of the group's 1965 hit "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" subsequently received praise. Chandler was also the most prominent of the group's backing vocalists and did occasional songwriting with Burdon.
Despite commercial success, Chandler became disillusioned with the hard work and lack of money, recalling that "We toured non-stop for three years, doing 300 gigs a year and we hardly got a penny."
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
After the group split up in late 1966, Chandler turned to becoming a talent scout, artist manager, and record producer. During his final tour with the Animals that year, Chandler saw a then-unknown Jimi Hendrix play in a New York nightclub. Hendrix was at the time using the moniker Jimmy James. In September, Chandler convinced James to go with him to Britain, which was made possible with the help of Michael Jeffery who suggested that he revert to using his actual name, and later suggested naming the band the Jimi Hendrix Experience. In Britain, Chandler recruited bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell as the other members of the Experience.
Chandler was a key figure in Hendrix's rise to strong critical and commercial success, including providing somewhere for him to stay, and for self-financing the Experience's first single, "Hey Joe", before they had a recording contract. He was also instrumental in introducing Hendrix to Eric Clapton. It was through this introduction that Hendrix got the opportunity to play with Clapton and Cream on stage. It was Chandler's idea for Hendrix to set his guitar on fire, which made national news when first done at the Finsbury Astoria Theatre, and subsequently at the Monterey Pop festival. Hendrix engineer Eddie Kramer later said "On the first two [Hendrix] albums it was very much Chas ... He was his mentor. And, I think it was very necessary."
By 1968, Chandler had become fed up with the recording sessions for Hendrix's album Electric Ladyland, claiming they were self-indulgent, and left management services in the sole responsibility of Jeffery the following year.
Chandler then went on to manage and produce the British rock band Slade for twelve years, during which time they achieved six number one chart hits in the UK. During this time, Chandler bought IBC Studios which he renamed Portland Recording Studios, after the address of 35 Portland Place, London, and ran it for four years till he sold it to Don Arden. Chandler also ran a series of record labels from the studios including Barn Records and Six of the Best, and formed a music publishing agency and management and production companies.
In 1977, Chandler played with and recorded the Animals during a brief reunion, and he joined them again for a further revival in 1983, at which point he sold his business interests and became a musician again. During the early 1990s, he helped finance the development of Newcastle Arena, a ten-thousand seat sports and entertainment venue that opened in 1995.
Chandler had one son, Steffan, from his first marriage. He later married Madeleine Stringer, the 1977 Miss United Kingdom and the fifth runner-up at Miss World 1977, and together they had a son, Alex, and two daughters, Elizabeth and Katherine.
Chandler died of an aortic aneurysm at Newcastle General Hospital on 17 July 1996, only days after performing his final solo show.
Chandler's former home at 35 Second Avenue, Heaton is remembered with a black plaque placed on the wall by Newcastle City Council, which reads: "Chas Chandler 1938–1996. Founder member of the 'Animals'. Manager of Jimi Hendrix & Slade. Co-founder of Newcastle Arena. Lived in this house 1938–1964."
- Heatley, Michael (2009). Jimi Hendrix Gear: The Guitars. Voyageur Press. ISBN 978-1-61060-4215.