Retro Transit Authority

Retro Transit Authority


Retro Transit Authority (RTA) is a Southern California based quartet that combines the genres of jazz, funk & rock to form its unique, groove-oriented sound. Juicy riffs, funky beats, & smokey vocals take the listener back in time while providing a forward thinking approach to the jam band formula.


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.


Hollywood Bowl

Written By: Jeff Champlin

Butterfly Kitchens free parking in rear;
The punks on the steps drinking warm bottles of beer.
Highland's the best way to go,
Highland's the best way to go,
To the Hollywood Bowl.

The suits stuck in traffic honking their horns;
The bums on the corner all trying to save the world.
Highland's the best way to go,
Highland's the best way to go,
To the Hollywood Bowl.

You sold your soul to the devil last night,
Cause all you wanted was just another line.
The lights on the corner are blinding your eyes,
The Plastic City is wearing you down.
Your girlfriend is strung out now she can't drive,
You thought you left this all behind.


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.

Set List

Retro Transit Authority specializes in original music and has enough material to comfortably fill 120 minutes.