Charlie Hosch Jr., better known as the Windy City bass legend “Chuckaluck,” grew up on the West side of Chicago. He attended Grant Grammar School and remembers seeing the Black Panthers practice their drills in his schoolyard on Western Avenue and Monroe Street where Fred Hampton lived.
Mr. Hosch’s father gave him an acoustic guitar when he was 11. He would later move to the bass guitar. “I was this young man who was serious in music and after that, I started flying,” he said.
He moved to Bronzeville in 1971 and then decided to drop out of high school.
“Because I love music so much, I didn’t care for school. I went, and then all of a sudden, I dropped out. I ended up going to Malcolm X College to finish my GED later,” Mr. Hosch said.
When he was 16, he got a call from Keith Henderson, who wanted Mr. Hosch to play his bass for the Emotions, the Grammy Award-winning group from the Chicago area. He hit the road on tour with the Emotions and spent 1977 living his dream.
After that, things continued to go well for Mr. Hosch. He was around bass guitar legends; many were his muse. Years after the tour, he spoke to others who shared that he was their inspiration too, a 16-year-old with a passion to play.
In the 1980s Mr. Hosch immersed himself in Chicago’s R&B scene and worked with the Chilites, The Dells, Walter Jackson, and Gene Chandler. Toward the end of the decade, he went back to blues music.
Between living on the road, Chicago and Los Angeles, Mr. Hosch moved to Evanston in 2005. He left later for Las Vegas, but recently returned to Evanston and is ready to take what he has learned over the course of his musical career and share it with Evanston youth.
“My roots are in Chicago and Evanston,” he said. “I have a number of systems I want to put in place here. I want to create an instrument-training program for the Black community. Everything I am working on is going to be great for the City of Evanston, even more so now that I am back. I think about my history, it went so fast, and I want to give back to the community because I have knowledge I have learned through my career.”
Mr. Hosch created the first Afro-American bass player magazine, “Basstribes,” that tells the stories of Black bass players from all over the world. He is the music director for his management company, AMP Life Productions. He also is the CEO and founder of “Down With Guns, Up With Instruments,” a community organization that works to use instruments for social therapy to prevent youth violence.
His future includes playing shows with his band, “LegendVibes Band,” and moving forward with his activism in Evanston, which goes beyond music. He is working on a project about “Aunt Jemima,” the pancake mix and syrup brand based on Nancy Green, a former slave and activist who died in 1923.
He said that he wants people to understand the true history behind Ms. Green and how she, as a Black woman, was used to represent the “Mammy” stereotype through the decades. A song he wrote for the project is called, “She’s Nancy Green.” The project is in conjunction with the Bronzeville Historical Society and will open on April 23, the location to be determined.
Mr. Hosch hopes to expand his activism in Evanston post-COVID and support young people who want to get involved in music, especially the Black community. His goal is to be an ally, role-model, and leader to the future generation of musicians waiting to be tapped in the Evanston music scene.
“I really feel like you can make it no matter where you come from, you just need the right tools and the right mentors,” he said.