About Waters & Chaney

The world of Christian rock has never seen anything quite like Waters & Chaney. As accomplished musicians from different generations, they are growing a new branch of the faith-based musical tree. Their dual perspectives have spawned hard-charging melodies with lyrics that broadcast the twosome’s intent: Giving listeners a different way to sing along and celebrate.

Dissimilar credentials, as it turns out, can be a strength.

Roy Chaney was the bass guitar anchor of 1960’s garage band legends Count Five and co-composed their top 10 hit, “Psychotic Reaction.”  Twenty-five years later, a teenaged Larry Waters grew up listening to more Metallica than Hendrix before performing with multiple Bay Area rock bands. Those varying influences add depth and energy to their sound.

Because, as Waters and Chaney discovered from the first time they began playing together, guitars and microphones have no idea how old anyone is.

“Generations don’t matter,” Chaney says. “Once we strap on those guitars, we’re bandmates, playing the same songs.”


Those songs are riveting, stirring, inspirational and jubilant. Their album, “Ready for a Change,” came together at Soundtek Studios, the domain of Robert Berry, the been-there-done-it-all South Bay musician and producer who has worked with some of the world’s top rock/pop performers.

In early 2021, Chaney kick-started the “Ready for a Change” recording project when he phoned Berry to tout a new instrumental friend, Waters. Chaney told Berry that Waters’ song compositions were not just good, but very good. Berry was initially skeptical.

“How many times have I heard that?” Berry says. “But Roy told me, ’I really believe in this guy.' I have known Roy a long time. I trusted him. And a couple of songs into the process, I knew it could be special. Right away, I knew they had something. It was the real thing.”

The Waters and Chaney partnership took hold when life-changing events brought both men to the same San Jose church. For Chaney, it was the tragic death of a son. For Waters, it was the birth of a daughter. When the two met in the musical congregation at San Jose’s Open Bible Church, it seemed like fate.

Waters brought some of his compositions to the church ensemble. Chaney became an instant fan. He invited Waters over to play in the “jam shed” Chaney had built behind his house. They clicked. Waters knew nothing of Chaney’s background but saw Count Five posters and memorabilia on the “jam shed” wall.

“I’m looking at all this stuff and saying, ‘Who are you?” ‘’ Waters remembers.

When Chaney explained that the Count Five had performed on “American Bandstand” and that “Psychotic Reaction” had been honored by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Waters developed his own fandom.

“I told Roy, ‘I’m glad that I discovered you,’” Waters jokes.

Waters (on guitar) and Chaney (on bass) quickly learned to mesh their talents at a regular weekend acoustic gig in the courtyard of a local winery. On weeknights, they perfected Waters’ new material that focused on upbeat Christian themes. They subsequently introduced those songs during a worship service at the church. Pastor Duane Sayre was beyond impressed.

“He came up after we finished playing and said, ‘I feel like I don’t even need to preach right now,’ ‘’ Waters says.

The “Ready for a Change” album sessions were off and running, with Berry contributing drums and keyboards to Waters and Chaney’s guitar strings. The full-bodied sound fit Waters’ compositions, which knowingly spin off at varied angles to more traditional Christian rock with lyrics that are non-repetitive and non-traditional yet grounded solidly in his faith.

“Some of it, if you don’t know the Bible, you’re not going to get it,” Waters says. “But it’s not about isolating the believers as the only ones who can listen and enjoy it. I think anyone can. I hope our audience is a big one.”

It’s hard to believe that a wider audience won’t embrace Waters’ incisive songs. One was inspired by a homeless man that Waters continuously encountered outside his neighborhood convenience store – until one day when the man wasn’t there.

“How do you write a song that doesn’t preach but still tells an important story?” Berry marvels. “That’s what Larry does.”

Chaney, meanwhile, provides the savvy and experience of someone who has been performing for five decades. He was surprisingly pleased to find that his seasoned vocal cords harmonized well with Waters.

“His voice is higher than mine,” Chaney says, “so my deeper voice meshes with it, even if I’m just kind of talk-singing. It just matches his harmony.”

Now, with the release of “Ready for a Change,” the harmony of Waters and Chaney is ready to captivate both old and young fans of Christian rock--and of the rock genre in general.

Waters and Chaney have created music from two generations, for all generations. Their mission statement could not be full of more belief and conviction.

Larry Waters


Larry Waters has been enamored with rock and roll since age 12, when he began a relationship with his father’s 1965 Silvertone electric guitar.  Little did young Larry realize that one day, those first few plucked notes would lead to him joining with Roy Chaney for 2022’s most creative Christian music release, “Ready for a Change.”

“I was playing rock forever,” says Waters, who composed the album’s songs. “But once I started this great friendship with Roy and this music started coming to me, it was like I suddenly was believing what I was singing. It changed me.”

Waters’ background mirrors that of other young musicians born in 1970. He grew up listening to Metallica, Dio and Iron Maiden while also sampling older artists such as Jimi Hendrix and the Doors. With those songs as inspiration, Waters played guitar in a series of bands through high school in San Jose. After graduation, he became the lead singer first of Channel Zero, a progressive rock band, and then a louder and edgier outfit, Squash The Fly.  Waters became familiar and friendly with the hard rock culture, not always for the better.

Then, in 2004 when his baby daughter arrived, he was struck by a figurative lightning bolt.

“People would go to church on Sundays, and I would stay home and watch the football games,” Waters says. “But when my daughter was born, I was driving home from the hospital and I stopped the car and was almost in tears and said, ‘Okay, God, I’m coming back.’ My life had changed.”

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Waters returned to Sunday worship in San Jose and then in Sacramento, where at the Breath of Life Church he began to grasp the unique appeal of contemporary Christian music.

“I was into secular rock music for so long that I just didn’t understand what they were playing at church,” Waters says. “I guess you could say it was too happy for me. About a month later, there I was, singing backup vocals for the “Too Happy for Me” worship team. I learned more about the structure and style of the music that we played and started writing my own songs for church services.

In 2012 when Waters moved back to San Jose and joined the Open Bible Church community, his passion for playing and composing Christian rock interfaced with Chaney, another church member. At Chaney’s impetus, the two visited Soundtek Studios in neighboring Campbell and began laying down the powerful tracks that became “Ready for a Change.”  His old 1965 Silvertone electric guitar would be proud.


Roy Chaney’s journey through a memorable musical life has taken him from playing high school dances to the Billboard Top 10 -- and from arm-wrestling with members of the Hollies or the Beach Boys to his latest compelling project of praise rock and roll with tuneful partner Larry Waters.

There has been one constant for Chaney, however. He has never given up searching and working for the best version of his talent.

“Seven days a week, every night after dinner, I go to a room behind my house and play,” Chaney says. “It’s in an outbuilding that was going to be a storage shed but I remodeled it to be a soundproof rehearsal space and filled it up with guitars and an amp.”

The room is soundproof, which is fortunate because over the years, Chaney has produced all sorts of loud and wonderful noise. Born in Indiana, he moved to California with his family at age four. They settled in San Jose. In sixth grade, Roy asked his folks to buy him a guitar. His mom picked up an acoustic special at Sears Roebuck. He never looked back. At Pioneer High School, Chaney and four buddies formed the Count Five, a garage rock band that gained national fame with “Psychotic Reaction,” a song that sent them on a package tour that led to those arm-wrestling matches with other 60’s hitmakers.

“A lot of guys played poker between shows, but I didn’t gamble or drink,” Chaney says. “One day, I walked in on an arm-wrestling match involving Alan Clarke of the Hollies and Gordon Waller of Peter and Gordon. Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys also got into it. I said, ‘Hey, I can arm wrestle.’ And I just jumped in.”

After the Count Five disbanded, Chaney didn’t jump out. He and his wife, Trish, performed in a classic rock outfit called J.J. Trag that energized the local club circuit. Next came The Count, a spinoff of Count Five. The tragic death of his son in 2006 sent Chaney in another direction as he sought comfort and guidance at his church. He found support in a singing congregation that introduced him to the Contemporary Worship genre.  In 2012 at San Jose Open Bible Church, Chaney met a kindred spirit in Waters. The two men instantly bonded and began playing gigs outside the church, leading to the partnership that has produced “Ready for a Change.”

It’s the latest step on Chaney’s ongoing path to uncover and celebrate his best music yet.

Photo by: Dave Lepori
Photo by: Dave Lepori