Long time musician, McDade talks about learning, gigs
By: Darren DeLaune/Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Muscogee (Creek) citizen and musician Carl McDade began learning to play music at an early age.
He said it all began for him one day while attending church service with his mother.
“There was a violinist there who was playing,” McDade said. “My mom told me at church that I was going to learn how to play violin.”
He was hesitant at first, responding to his mother in the negative.
“After I said no she said that I was learning and that is where it stopped,” laughed McDade. “There was a reason on why I did not want to play violin.”
He said during that time, and where he was growing up, if someone played violin at a young age they were considered a sissy.
“I would get chased home because of that,” McDade said.
Eventually he discovered other talents such as football and martial arts. From there his expertise in music also grew.
“I eventually started playing bass violin too and playing in jazz bands,” he said. “The guys that were chasing me all of a sudden thought I was pretty cool.”
McDade was born in Chicago, but grew up in Denver. He attended a military school and was in their band program growing up.
“That kept me going musically,” he said.
He said there was a time that he lived with his grandmother who resided in Coweta, Oklahoma.
There were times when she would try to teach him the Muscogee (Creek) language and he would blow it off.
“I was a knucklehead during that time,” he said.
Not learning it is something he regretted but he knows it is better late than never to learn.
“I am learning it now,” McDade said.
McDade said he has a stage name and that is ‘Carl Champion.’ He said when he went out to Los Angeles, he had a hard time getting an opportunity to play or have ‘gigs.’
“I would never get any jobs playing music and I found out why,” he said. “All the guys that were getting the gigs their names were in the first few letters of the alphabet. The booking agents do not go through a whole list of all the musicians, they go through the first few in alphabetical order.”
So from there he thought of a name that would make people think that he is a winner and that he knows what he is doing.
“That is how ‘Carl Champion’ came to be,” McDade said.
McDade now teaches music at Pike’s Peak Community College.
While teaching, McDade is currently pursuing his PhD in educational leadership. He already holds two Master’s Degrees in Education and in Music.
He is also teaching future musicians, both in school and private lessons, in several different instruments such as violin, cello, bass violin and bass guitar.
“I love teaching and showing my students what I have learned,” McDade said.
One of his former students was Jakob Dylan, son of legendary singer, Bob Dylan.
McDade said he received his Muscogee (Creek) citizenship card about five years ago. Ever since then he has been welcomed with open arms from other citizens of the tribe.
“I have been asking to know more about our tribe and everyone I talked to has been helping me,” he said. “That is amazing.”1 comment