Saturday, February 5, 2011

Some Of Your CHICAGO Series Comments ... And Lots Of Other Cool Stuff, Too!

Nice write-up on the band, Chicago!!
I liked their early material (I'm A Man, etc.) as I did some of their later tunes. However, I found a recent Rhino (2006?) CD of theirs in the budget bin. Looked interesting because of an alternate (horn) mix of a recent tune. I think it's this one:
But the sound quality was a disappointment.I have to assume some or most of their studio recordings (session tapes) went up in smoke, due to a fire at a studio where they possibly recorded. Why I can't find any alternate versions when there should be some. Believe they own their recordings. Most interesting piece I found of them is this,, a Japanese version of Questions 67 And 68 (1969).

Jersey John
lol ... yeah, try singing along with THIS one!!! (kk)

>>>Back in 1989, I took my then four year old daughter to see them with The Beach Boys at Poplar Creek, an outdoor music venue here in the Chicago area that is now, sadly, now part of history. That night, Jason Scheff singled my daughter out from the audience and sang "You're The Inspiration" to her ... a short while later that same night, Beach Boy Mike Love presented her with a beach ball ... man, talk about your magical nights!!! We had second row seats ... which I think spoiled her for life!!! lol (kk)
You too? Of course. Your story about taking your four-year-old to see Chicago and The Beach Boys resonated. We took ours to see The Grass Roots in '85 when our youngest was also four. (No prizes or mementos, though!)
Ours was TRULY a magical night. By the age of four, Nicki was a HUGE Beach Boys Fan!!! She used to sing their songs around the house all the time. (If I remember correctly, she saw them for the first time on "Full House"!) She was even a member of their fan club ... and had a Beach Boys bumper sticker on the back of her bicycle!!! So when I heard that The Beach Boys were coming back to Chicago ... WITH Chicago no less ... I just knew that I had to take her. (My wife at the time was dead set against it ... "You don't take a four year old child to a rock concert!!!" She considered it to be a complete waste of money ... "and what are you going to do with her when she falls asleep at 9:00?!?!?") But I insisted ... I knew that this was a very special bond between my daughter and I ... and I wanted to be the one to take her to her first show.
I've told this story before but it's SO good that I have to tell it again.
We drove out to Poplar Creek (without tickets) to see the show. I brought a couple of blankets ... my original plan was to grab some lawn seats, let her listen to the music under the stars and then, when she fell asleep, cover her with another blanket until it was time to carry her back to the car. But none of that ever happened.
On our way into the theater, we passed several scalpers in the parking lot trying to unload last minute tickets ... but we pushed on through and went to the ticket window instead. I told the girl that we wanted a couple of lawn tickets and she said, "Well, we still have a few select seats that just became available in the pavilion if you're interested."
I asked her where the seats were and she told me "They're in the second row". I laughed ... "Yeah, right ... what second row from the back, facing the wall?" and she said, "No, sir, we just received this special block of tickets and if you'd like them, I can put you in the second row."
I was floored ... how could I possibly say no?!?! The seats were, in fact, second row ... and nearly dead center stage. I couldn't believe it!
Chicago took the stage first and did a killer show. (Oh My God, I thought ... she doesn't know ANY of there songs ... she'll be asleep for sure by the time The Beach Boys come out! As if this probability wasn't upsetting enough, the prospect of my "ex" being right was even less desirable!)

However, three songs into their set, Jason Scheff noticed my daughter and started smiling and waving to her. Of course, she immediately responded and soon several members of the audience were talking and pointing ... Nicki had become the center of attention. She not only stayed awake, but was up on her feet for the entire set. When Jason sang "You're The Inspiration" he moved to the front of the stage, pointed his finger at Nicki to the beat of the music and sang the words right to her. The crowd went nuts!
When The Beach Boys came out, Mike Love picked up right where Jason had left off. A couple of songs into the show, he motioned for Nicki to come up to the stage and he gave her a beach ball. (I'll bet she still had it four the next four or five years before it finally died!) He extended his hand out over the edge of the stage and "fake-danced" with Nicki for a couple of their upbeat tunes. She never did fall asleep (until we hit the car anyway) but it was a priceless memory that could NEVER be recreated.
But that didn't stop me from trying. About a year and a half later, The Beach Boys and Chicago came back through town, only this time at an indoor venue. I was determined to get second row seats again ... only this time I had to go through a series of ticket brokers, "trading up" for better seats with each transaction. When all was said and done, I'll bet those seats cost me $300 a piece ... but damn it, she sat in the second row again to see her now TWO favorite bands. (Like I said ... I spoiled her for life!!! lol)
Chicago and The Beach Boys first started touring together in the mid-'70's ... and it was ALWAYS an incredible show. They would even come out and join each other on stage ... The Beach Boys singing back-up on "Wishing You Were Here" ... the horn section filling in some of the gaps on The Beach Boys' hits ... it was always guaranteed to be an incredible show. In fact, I probably saw these two acts as a "double bill" at least four or five times ... and enjoyed every minute of every show. (kk)


While I have to say your piece on Chicago is done up in the usual fine FH manner, however I just don't understand what is the appeal of their music. I didn't understand it in 1969, when I first heard them, nor in 1973 when I saw them in concert (The Pointer Sisters were more entertaining), nor pretty much anything they did after that. Now before I get slammed again for having no taste, I will agree that I don't. After all, I'm the one who doesn't like Xmas music, nor a couple of other rock icons. Perhaps if the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame were what we and most music fans think it should be, then perhaps I might join the argument pro or con about Chicago, but it's already been determined that it's a joke and the joke is on us. So, at this point, why get worked up about who is or isn't there. You've already established that the average music fan's opinion doesn't matter. Still, I suppose that the people should be aware of how the corporate mentality has taken over the music we call rock and roll.

>>Former Drummer Danny Seraphine, a founding member of the band who opened the "Beginnings" nightclub here in Chicago during the band's hey-day, was ultimately fired by the band after what was described as a "severe falling out" in 1990. Seraphine has a brand new autobiography out, which I'll have to pick up one of these days to see if he sheds any new light on anything we've reported this past week! (kk)
I happen to be reading that book "Street Player" right now. The firing of Danny Seraphine had always puzzled me. Chicago was one of the best bands to come out of the late '60's. They combined relevant lyrics with superb musicianship: edgy but not sloppy or tedious. The bedrock of this group was the percussion of Danny Seraphine, whom I regard as one of the greatest rock drummers of all time. As time went on, I felt Chicago lost that edge and became just a very successful pop hit factory. Their music was pleasant, but the last Chicago song that made me sit up and take notice was Feelin' Stronger Every Day.
So I was surprised in 1990 to see Seraphine let go. More surprised with the reason I heard: he had "lost his chops". I found it incredible that the drummer on Make Me Smile and Fancy Colours could not keep up with the lumbering power ballads that were Chicago's stock-in-trade by 1990. Danny has his own band now, doing many of the early Chicago hits, so apparently he has found where he had mislaid his "chops".
Danny's book doesn't answer the question of why he was fired, I think, because Danny himself doesn't know the reason. Other than that it's a revealing look at the inner workings of the band, especially since Danny has no reason to pull any punches in discussing people who he feels have betrayed him. On the other hand, while Danny acknowledges his own paranoia and hair-trigger temper, he continually makes excuses for his own actions. However, this is, after all, his version of events, and maybe he was justified, but if you confront people too often, they will find a way to get rid of you...and they will never acknowledge the real reason. I've seen enough office politics to know that.
Ed Erxleben
Both Scott Shannon and Tom Cuddy (whose comments appeared in our Chicago Hit List feature ... scroll back to February 3rd if you missed them) also commented on Danny's book ... and I really can't wait to read it. (Wish I could have done so BEFORE our series ran ... but this might make for some interesting follow-up discussion ... stay tuned!!!) And wouldn't it be cool if we could get Danny to comment on some of this, too?!?! (kk)

And, speaking of The Beach Boys ... they've got a bit of a "special event" planned for this evening ... check it out!:

Al Jardine To Play With Mike Love
Kent ...
Partial Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Reunion.
Frank B.
The first step toward a
Beach Boys reunion takes place this Saturday. That’s when Al Jardine will play with Mike Love and his current Beach Boys lineup at an event honoring the 100th birthday of the late president Ronald Reagan.
Al Jardine Performs for CBSFM Listenersview gallery
Jardine calls it the right occasion.
The band has long been friendly with the Reagan family. To play at the Reagan Library “shows respect to them.” He adds with the Beach Boys’ 50th anniversary occurring this year, “It seems like the right time to show some solidarity … within the band. It’s a good sign for the fans.” However, it will not be a complete reunion of the original surviving members as Brian Wilson’s manager tells us he won’t be there. The Ronald Reagan Centennial Birthday Celebration Concert takes place Saturday evening at 7 p.m. PT at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California and it will be streamed online
With the 50th Anniversary looming, it sure would be nice to see The Boys set aside their differences and play together again one more time. The Beach Boys WERE very close friends of Ronald Reagan and his administration ... and Reagan went to bat for The Boys for a very special 4th of July Celebration held back in 1983. To see them reunite for this very special occasion warms my heart. (Let's just hope they don't let James Watt in to see the show ... that guy always draws the wrong element!!!) kk

Our friend Michele Abrams just posted a review of Davy Jones' recent concert at Star Plaza in Merrillville, Indiana ... you can read the whole thing right here:

Hey Kent ...
What a Great Night!!!
I just returned from an amazing show at BB Kings in NYC.

We were guests of Ron Dante for his 60's show that also featured Dennis Tufano, Sonny Geraci and Bo Donaldson.
We got there early in the afternoon and Ron, who I've known for quite a few years now and admire greatly, introduced us to Dennis and Sonny. Imagine my surprise when Dennis knew me! He mentioned Forgotten Hits and we talked about how great your newsletter is. I've been a huge fan of Dennis' and Sonny's for years and years and it was an honor to meet them and talk music with them and just generally hang out with them. What great guys!
And the show was fantastic. A total hit parade! All of the hits were played and everyone was amazing. During Ron's set, he performed The Rascals' "You Better Run" ... and he called Eddie Brigati up onstage. Eddie was great and it was cool to talk with him after the show. The audience had a lot of celebs in it, including the great Paul Shaffer.
What an amazing night.
I just thought you would appreciate hearing about it. If I get any photos sent to me, I'll forward them to you.
I'll tell you ... Ron Dante has a winner with this amazing show. I'm glad I was there to see it. Thanks Ron, Dennis, Sonny and Bo!
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords
Wish I could have seen this show ... it sounds amazing! (We promoted it several times over the past month.) That would be GREAT if you are able to send some photos to share with our readers!
Ron Dante and Dennis Tufano have been Forgotten Hits list members (and contributors) for quite some time now ... and I would love to get Sonny Geraci to participate once in a while, too. (I met him for the first time at last year's Fourth Of July Bash hosted by The Cryan' Shames, where Dennis and Sonny also performed.) Bo Donaldson would be the icing on top. We've just GOT to keep getting the word out there to these artists ... let them know how we can continue to expand their fan base and provide more opportunities to talk about their upcoming concerts and releases ... as well as stay in touch with their fans. Sounds like a pretty amazing night! (kk)
Kent ...
Here are two photos from the BB Kings show, courtesy of my good friend Jimmy McElligott, who plays in a great NYC band called "Pocket Rockets", who have Grammy winning Recording Engineer Dennis Ferrante, who engineered a bunch of Lennon sessions, among others. The first one is with my friend Jimmy, Paul Shaffer, Me and Susie Collins (who sang back up with Lennon, ELO, SNL singer ... and tons more!) ... and the other one is of the guys onstage rocking out for their encore.
It was a great show!

Kent ...
In that photo with Paul Shaffer, if you look in the top left corner of the photo, you can see Dennis Tufano, who was standing with us just seconds before this photo was taken. Dennis is amazing! I was totally blown away by his performance ... and he is such a cool guy too. It was an honor to hang out with him for a bit that day. Of course, Ron and Sonny were great as well. Ron has such charisma onstage ... he lights up that stage, and Sonny is a true entertainer.. His tribute to our fallen rock stars was unbelievable. I didn't know he wrote "Rock & Roll Heaven"! This show really rocked!
Mitch Schecter / The Rip Chords

L - R: Dennis Tufano, Sonny Geraci, Ron Dante

Hi Kent ...
Two on-line news sites ( & Goldcoast that I write for will exclusively run the first story on my new record and video that Commemorates President Reagan's Centennial this Sunday February 6th.Thought that you might like to run a little blurb about it on Sunday for this historical event, too!
Ronald Reagan's Got the Blues: Centennial Celebration
@abc @cbs @nbc @cnnbrk @foxnews @wsj @ibd @time
Reagan Ce/ntennial spoof video:
“Ronald Reagan’s Got The Blues” recording and 'coming soon' video announcement:
Here's the final video link for YOUTUBE:
Trade Martin