the story of the Chad Mitchell Trio
by Mike Murphey
Of all the groups to emerge during the folk era of the 1960’s, first the Chad Mitchell Trio and later The Mitchell Trio were unequivocally the best. Their complex harmonies, sense of comedic timing and stage presence were unique to the folk movement. They didn’t enjoy the commercial success of other groups because their material made political and social statements that radio and television refused to play. They were wildly popular, though, on college campuses throughout the country during this turbulent time and fostered political and social awareness among thousands of young men and women as they faced the challenging era ahead.
But as Mike, Chad and Joe Frazier raced along a frantic treadmill of rehearsals, recording sessions, nightclubs and concerts, Mike and Chad began to realize the demand for musical perfection was the only thing they had in common. Their personalities were and remain polar opposites. When Chad left in 1965, neither mourned the parting. John Denver replaced Chad. Two years later, Joe’s demons caught up to him forcing Mike and John to fire Joe.
When folk reunions became popular, fans and folk historians agreed that The Trio was the one group that would never take the stage again. Their schism was just too great.
Mike and Chad and Joe hadn’t spoken in twenty years. Then came a call. I will if he will. Their mentor and music director Milt Okun worried they were making a mistake. They couldn’t possibly be as good as their fans remembered.
They were. Mike and Chad kept their day jobs, and their distance. But once again, they shared the music.
Mike Murphey is a native of New Mexico and spent almost thirty years as an award-winning newspaper journalist in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Following his retirement, he enjoyed a seventeen-year partnership with the late Dave Henderson, all-star Major League outfielder. Their company produced the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners adult baseball Fantasy Camps. He is author of the award-winning novels Section Roads and The Conman… a Baseball Odyssey along with his Physics, Lust and Greed time travel series. We Never Knew Just What it Was is his first effort at non-fiction. Mike loves books, cats, baseball and sailing. He splits his time between Spokane, Washington, and Phoenix, Arizona where he enjoys life as a writer and old-man baseball player.