Newport This Week

Meet Alex Chapman




It’s a fact of teenage life: serious athletes go to sports camp, serious cheerleaders go to cheer camp and serious musicians go to band camp. This week’s featured musician will forever be grateful to URI’s Summer Music Camp for opening up a new world of possibilities for him when he was in high school. Band camp made all the difference. Meet Alex Chapman.

A Newport-born percussionist who was raised in South Kingstown, Chapman feels fortunate. “I was lucky to be able to hang with other kids who were as hungry as I was for new musical experiences. We’d go to Providence all the time to hear all sorts of music. It was fantastic,” the drummer said.

The 33-year-old musician loves his life as a full-time drummer. “I’m a very lucky guy. I have a strong work ethic and I am so grateful for all the opportunities I’ve received. The demand for gigs far exceeds the supply, so I take nothing for granted,” he explained.

Mark Gorman, a retired high school guidance counselor, is a guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week.

Mark Gorman, a retired high school guidance counselor, is a guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week.

He keeps very busy, playing an average of 3-6 nights a week, which requires that he be a musical jack-of-all-trades. Luckily, Chapman enjoys playing all types of music. “You just can’t play one style and expect to make a living. I learn a lot by jumping around with all sorts of people and musical genres.”

A typical week for the percussionist is chock full of variety. He plays in two cover bands, one group that plays mostly original tunes, one that plays blues, and another that features lots of funk, jazz and soul.

Many Newporters will recognize Chapman as the drummer in trumpeter Doug Woolverton’s Groove Merchants. “We’ve been playing Monday nights at Fifth Element for a year and a half. It’s really taken off. I love everything about playing that weekly gig. Great fun and great musicians,” he enthused.

Chapman writes a clever Facebook blog about his various musical experiences. Titled “Stories About Gigs,” it is a sometimes humorous, always insightful look at his life as a musician.

Be sure to catch Alex every Monday night, along with The Groove Merchants, at Fifth Element, 111 Broadway. For more information, visit him on Facebook.

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