Retro Transit Authority
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Retro Transit Authority

Band R&B Funk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"“Screw ‘high on life,’ I’m high on Retro Transit Authority”"

By Dave Terpeny, KyndMusic Editor: If you could see me right now, man, I’m grinning from ear to ear. I feel good and I mean gggooooooddd. I’ve got a great buzz on man and I haven’t touched any substance, legal or not. Do you want to know my secret? Well, I’ll tell you anyhow. Screw the “high on life” cliché. I’m high on some fat juicy riffs, funky beats and smoking vocals. You see, I’m listening to Jeff Champlin (guitar/vocals), Valerie Taylor (Keys/Vocals), and Rich Kaylor (drums) with a nod to Warren Kaye on bass. Who you ask? The Retro Transit Authority that’s who. Refusing to mess around, these three (four) lay down an amazingly rich and textured old school flavor with Champlin’s brawny and lush guitar riffs and Taylor’s sinfully luxurious keys. Add to that the husky vocals of Champlin, the provocative voice of Taylor, and the intriguingly modern funk of Kaylor’s rhythm and, well, damn, I don’t know what you have but I like it. Every song on this EP is instantly recognizable but new, like an eagerly awaited album from your favorite band, which they will become after one listen. These guys (and gal) can write, play, sing and rock your world. So, to be really cheesy, get on board with the Retro Transit Authority, you’ll really enjoy the ride. Man, I know I am. -

"Guaranteed to satisfy the Funk Junkie"

By Mark Lush,, 2/17/05: Musicianship – 9 out of 10 For my money, you just can’t get enough of a funky groove. On Late Arrival, the band’s newest release, Retro Transit Authority provides enough funk to satisfy, and then some! The regular trio of Jeff Champlin (guitar/vocals), Valerie Taylor (keys/vocals) and Rich Kaylor (drums), joined by Warren Kaye on bass, show that they have musical wisdom beyond their years! They lay out tunes built upon the strength of their rhythm section, and filled out by the cool guitar work and oh-so-mellow sounds of the Hammond organ. Most jam bands have more members, and aren’t as full-sounding; when I saw that RTA was only a three-piece band (+ one), I was floored! This is a band with a lot of power, and a lot of Soul! I really like them! Songwriting – 8 out of 10 I don’t think that RTA’s songs are necessarily good because the members set out to be good songwriters; I think that their songs are good because of their natural musical abilities! Honestly, I think a lot of Jam Bands probably function in a similar fashion; their songs are born out of extended jam sessions, where small seeds of ideas blossom into fully developed songs. By no means do I think that makes this band less entertaining, or less talented! I just think it’s a different way of seeing things. I like the band’s songs, and I’ enjoyed each one! Sound Quality/Professionalism – 9 out of 10 Much credit goes to Retro Transit Authority and Kent Verderico for creating a great-sounding album! Late Arrival has a very full sounding bottom end, with great clarity on the instrument and vocal parts. Very little tweaking was needed on my part to adjust the equalization when I sat down to listen; the album just sounds good! I think I was most impressed with the recorded sound of the drums and the keyboards; these instruments often suffer from too little or too much attention, and on Late Arrival, they sound excellent! From beginning to end, this is a great sounding album, and RTA should be very proud! Packaging – 8 out of 10 The packaging concept, artwork, and logo design for Late Arrival all look fantastic! I also liked the information that was included with the liner notes; however, there weren’t any lyrics included in the CD or on their web site. That fact was a bit disappointing, because I really wanted to read the lyrics to songs like (Grandma Betty) and (B.R.A.M)! If the lyrics exist in written form, please see if it’s possible to post them somewhere! That small improvement would have made a big difference with me. I’m a music geek, so I may not represent the population at large. Still, it’s cool to have info to read while you’re listening! Favorite Tracks Hollywood Bowl Grandma Betty Benny Overall Rating – 8.5 out of 10 I may be overstating the fact, but I think that Retro Transit Authority is one of the best Jam Bands I’ve heard! I like the ‘less-is-more’ approach to the music that they have taken on Late Arrival; the grooves they produce are nice and tasty all on their own, without a lot of studio tricks or extra performers. RTA, quite simply, is an efficient, highly-talented group of musicians that are probably responsible for a lot of good times, and a lot of incredibly funky tunes! If you live to hear great Jam Bands, I definitely recommend that you check out Retro Transit Authority! Their music is guaranteed to satisfy the Funk Junkie that lurks in the heart of true music fans! -

"Funky, Groovy and Well Delivered"

By Wayne Stadler, This band is one of those bands that you put on at a summer afternon bar-b-que, drink your face off and get your "groove thing" on with some chickie on the back lawn! Funky, groovy and well delivered is the best way to describe RTA. I liked them way back when I featured them as Band of the Month and things haven't changed. Great musicianship, great dynamics and some of these songs remind me of soundtracks to some old 70's movies. A couple of spots this band reminds me of a band from the early 90's that I loved called Soulhat, especially on the track "Benny", really bluesy with a good gritty vocal. All I can say is go to their website, get yourself a copy, throw a big ass party and groove!! -


EP "Late Arrival" 2004

Tracks from this EP are currently played on college radio and streaming online radio stations. For a complete list please visit the Radio section on our website. For a list of reviews of this record please vist the links section of the website.


Feeling a bit camera shy


The journey that would eventually lead to the inception of Retro Transit Authority began with guitarist/vocalist Jeff Champlin at the University of California at Santa Barbara. While attending UCSB Jeff was exposed to variety of different artists and musicians while developing his own unique voice and songwriting style. Taking inspiration from musical icons like Otis Redding, Bob Marley & Led Zeppelin, Jeff soon discovered his passion for blues and soul music. Further delving into the blues laid the groundwork for his guitar work and vocal development. Jeff would spend the next several years furiously recording on a Tascam four track searching for the sounds that would later become evident in his bands.

While that class of 1997 yielded such notable talent as Jack Johnson and jam scene all-stars Animal Liberation Orchestra (ALO), Jeff has quietly continued to forge his own understated sound and songwriting style. Since that time Jeff has performed and released albums under several different band names and has had the opportunity to share the stage with such artists as diverse as Poncho Sanchez, RUN DMC, Mama Sutra and ALO.

Fast forward to the summer of 2003 to The Brewery – an underground community of artists living in the old Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery just outside downtown Los Angeles. It was here that Jeff called home for 3 years and created Blue Ribbon Studios with partners and engineers Kent Verderico and Nathan Smith. In the summer of 2003 Jeff formed Retro Transit Authority and recorded the band's first EP "Late Arrival" at Blue Ribbon Studios in August 2003. The lineup for the recording included long time friend Valerie Taylor (Keyboards), Rich Kaylor (drums) and Warren Kaye (Bass). The EP produced such memorable tracks as "Hollywood Bowl" and "ill Fittin Shoes" and was well received by critics and fans alike. Dave Terpeny, managing editor for Kyndmusic, would go on to call "Late Arrival” one of the top 10 most overlooked albums of 2005.

After a hiatus of more than a year from July 2005 to October 2006, the band is back on the scene with a fresh lineup that includes new members Nate Dugi-Turner (keyboards) and Garrett Rosenberg (drums), while still retaining the sounds of Warren Kaye on bass. The new members have brought a youthful energy and infused an extremely positive energy into the band. The result is a sound that is funkier, friendlier and more addictive than ever. Perhaps RTA's most appealing aspect is the fact that its sound cannot be defined by a specific genre. Although the band fits best under the jam band genre, calling RTA a standard jam band would be selling them short. The band has no issues playing hours on end, but still maintains a dedication to serving up the perfect song. As with Jeff Champlin, so goes Retro Transit Authority - quietly pursuing new creative boundaries while retaining a musical style that is accessible to all.