Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Ides Of March ... A Couple Of Days Late!!!

Forgotten Hits has saluted The Ides Of March nearly every year on March 15th for the past eleven years ... in fact, during that time, I think we've only missed two or three occasions to do so ... but this year happened to be one of those as this year March 15th also happened to be the night of The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony ... so we ran our "For Your Consideration" piece spotlighting Billy Preston and Jeff Lynne as two worthy, long over-looked Hall Of Fame Candidates. (In fact, we'll be running some of your comments on this topic here on the web page tomorrow!)

But then we received this letter from one of our readers:

Beware of the Ides of March ...
Hi Kent,
Do you know anything about what happened about honoring the Ides of March with a street named "Ides of March Way"????
I thought the City of Berwyn, their hometown, was to honor them on March 15th with the honorary street ceremony. I think it was to be around Home Avenue or Riverside Drive. I checked their website and didn't see anything about it?
When in doubt ask the master ...
I had almost forgotten about this ... and actually, I thought the ceremony was supposed to have taken place in January ... although holding the dedication ceremony on The Ides Of March really would have been a much more clever and appropriate idea. (Quite honestly, while I remember running the announcement about the street dedication in Berwyn late last year, I never really heard any more about it. Here it is again for those of you who may have missed it the first time around

A portion of Home Avenue (near Riverside Drive and right in front of Morton West High School ... where many of the Ides ... and yours truly ... attended High School back in the day ... is being renamed (and dedicated as) Ides Of March Way!!! (Now how cool is THAT?!?!?!?) We can't wait to see the official ceremony.

Meanwhile, here's the announcement as it appears on The Ides Of March website:
The boys of Berwyn will be forever remembered as car after car travel down Home Avenue. “The Ides of March,” a band formed in a home on Riverside Drive, will have a portion of Home Avenue dedicated as ‘The Ides of March Way’ early next year.

The street dedication came as a surprise to band member Chuck Soumar last week. Richard Brom, a longtime friend of Soumar and other band members, told Soumar he submitted a letter to Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero about the band and suggested a street be dedicated in the band’s honor.
“I have known the band members since high school, and I am still amazed and impressed with their success,” Brom wrote. “I understand that demographics and musical tastes change. However, the lesson to be learned from the determination of these Morton High School graduates is timeless.”
Lovero passed the letter along to 8th Ward Alderman Nora Laureto, who introduced the idea to the Berwyn City Council. Laureto spent time earlier this year working to dedicate Bob “Pappy” Kaufman Drive near the Commodore Barry Post 256 on Roosevelt Road earlier this year. “People still know them, and they’re still a draw in the area,” Laureto said. “They’ve given back to the community in so many ways.”
Soumar was on hand for the Oct. 13 City Council meeting as the officials voted unanimously to move forward with the street sign dedication. The Public Works Department will place street signs on Home Avenue from Cermak Road to Riverside Drive for the road to honorarily become ‘The Ides of March Way.’
“To be honored by Berwyn in such a way is just exciting ... This is like icing on the cake for us,” Soumar said. “This is still home. Berwyn is still home for us.”
It was the first time Soumar has been back to the Berwyn City Hall in nearly two decades. The previous trip was in 1990, when the band was was honored with the ‘Ides of March Day’ proclamation. Later that year, the band would play its first concert in nearly 17 years. The final concert before the band’s peaceful disbandment was Nov. 2, 1973, at in the Morton West High School gymnasium. After rehearsing once a week for eight hours a day for four months, the Ides were back on stage in Berwyn, headlining the city’s 1990 Summerfest. An audience of more than 20,000 came out to the concert in the Morton West parking lot, steps away from their last concert.
“To come back 17 years later on those grounds again, it was meant to be,” Soumar said. “The place was packed. We were the Morton guys ... the Berwyn band.”
Nearly 20 years later, the band has not stopped. The eight-man band includes all four original members — Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Bob Bergland, and Mike Borch — and have added Soumar, John Larson, Dave Stahlberg, and Scott May since the band was created in 1964. Soumar was asked to join the band in 1969 as a 17-year-old senior at Morton West. “I was still playing on the football team and in the school band,” he said. “These were my buddies from high school band.” Forty years after Soumar joined the band and nearly 20 years after the reunion concert, the band performs more than 40 shows a year across the nation. They play hits from the ’60s and early ’70s, including “Vehicle,” which became the fastest selling single in Warner Bros. recording history in 1970.The song has gone on to be used in commercials for General Motors and was used by “American Idol” contestant Bo Bice during the show’s fourth season.
“When he first sang ‘Vehicle,’ our Web site got more than 250,000 hits the next day,” Soumar said. “It’s just incredible the roller coaster ride that we’ve been on.” Along with performing around the country, the band has traveled back to Berwyn to play in its hometown for fundraisers for both the North Berwyn and South Berwyn school districts since reuniting in 1990. And while there may not be any new dates scheduled for the band to play again where it all began, Soumar said performing in Berwyn is always an option. “We’re still having fun with it ... If there was a 20th anniversary of the (Summerfest), we’d be there,” Soumar said. “That’s up to the powers that be but hopefully we’ll be back playing in Berwyn soon.”
Congratulations to The Ides Of March!!! (We used to stand in the street and listen to these guys rehearse all the time back in the day ... it's still one of my favorite childhood memories!) kk


Now I was curious ... had the ceremony already taken place? Did we miss it? Had it been postponed?

I checked The Ides Of March Website, too, and there is not so much as a mention of this honor which, at one time, was "Front Page News" on the site. Nothing!!!

So I next took a drive out to Berwyn and cruised the area described above. (Since I, too, went to school there ... and used to listen to The Ides rehearse from out on the street ... I knew EXACTLY where "Ides Of March Way" was supposed to be ... but again, nothing! No special street signs ... no posters announcing a dedication ceremony ... Na-Da!)

So I called Marlene O'Malley (Rock On Chicago) and asked her what SHE knew about the dedication ceremony. She was surprised, too, to hear that nothing had ever happened with this ... so she contacted Jeannie Mikota, another Morton West graduate who has close ties to The Ides Of March and their website ... and this is what she had to say:

Hi Kent,
Talked to Jeannie Mikota today ... and she said it will be on Home Avenue in front of the school between 22nd and 26th Street, and the ceremony will probably be sometime this summer, but it's not scheduled yet. So we didn't miss it! Glad I could help!

Come on summer!!!!!

As soon as we get more details, we'll be sure to let our readers know.

Meanwhile, in OTHER Ides Of March News, the band is ready to release their first album of COMPLETELY brand new material since 1973 on April 1st ... in fact, the CD Launch Party will be held in (of all places) Nashville, Tennessee, at The Hard Rock Cafe!!! (We have at least two dozen FH Readers down in the Nashville area and hope that some of you will be able to attend this very special event ... and report back to us!) If you've never seen The Ides Of March perform in concert, you're in for a real treat ... they're one of the most exciting, energetic bands on stage you'll ever see.

The new album is called "Still 19" and will also be available on The Ides' website:
Click here: The Ides Of March Flash Intro
Their appearance at The Hard Rock Cafe is part of the "Tin Pan South" Music Festival, sponsored by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). This is a prestigious event and the world's largest songwriter's festival. The event is open to the public and promises to be a show to remember! Go to for more details.

By the way, we did a nice piece on The Ides and Shames Union, a brief incarnation of the band after they "merged" with Chicago's Cryan' Shames, on The Forgotten Hits Website last year on March 15th ... in fact, you can still check it out here:
Click here: Forgotten Hits: The Ides and Shames Union