Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Cornerstones Of Chicago Rock - Part 4

Kent ...  
Thanks for your continued flow of info. Someday they should do a show of Forgotten DJ's of Chicago (Well, Biondi will never be forgotten ... ) ... it might prove to be as dull a show as ever came out of Chicago :)  
Speaking of Biondi, they should have had him on the show to sing "On Top Of A Pizza"!  
Bob Hale  
You know that actually WOULD make an interesting show.  I'll bet we could round up about a dozen deejays from back in the day ... have them come out and each introduce one of the acts ... I think fans would get a real kick out of that, seeing the folks that provided the soundtrack narration of our youth.  (Hey, there was a time when the deejays were nearly every bit as popular as the groups and artists themselves!)  You may be on to something here, Bob!  (kk)  

By the way New Yorker Frank B sent me this YouTube link to one of those Rewind / Big 89 radio specials ...  

Kent ...  
I know you know some of these guys.  
Frank B.   

Hi Kent:   
Having a Record Store, I can tell you that in recent years if the Cryan' Shames' 45 of “Sugar & Spice / Ben Franklin” sells, ½ the time at least it is for Ben Franklin. If Young Birds / Sunshine Psalm sells, it is almost always that they ask for Sunshine Psalm. If they are chart / survey oriented collectors, then they want the A sides. I agree that Sugar & Spice is a Great 60’s Record. “Come On, Let’s Go” by The McCoys was a big hit here in Milwaukee. It is also an excellent version of Ritchie Valens’ Classic. “Sometimes Good Guys…”, was not played all that much here. Basically was an Up & Comer for a week or two.   
I remember hearing "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White" a few times here on the radio ... and I liked it ok ... but it was hardly what you would consider a "hit".  (WLS charted it for three weeks ... and it peaked at #39!!!)  

Hey Kent!  
Jim Pilster here.  Man, you couldn't have been more spot on in your original assessment of this WTTW thing!   
Thanks Buddy!  
Jim (not Jimbo)      

Two different comments:    
A joy to read Chet Coppock's recollections of those days.  Even though I had already left the group for the particular session he mentioned, those sessions at Chess (both old and new) were amazing.  And all (at least when I was there) were true collaborations.  And he's right - I highly doubt if today's musicians will ever even have the chance to do the kinds of things we (all the Chicago groups) were able to do.   
And that's a shame.  
And that leads to Ray's comments -  
They are 100% right on.  The NC6 wasn't a "manufactured"group - we were just guys that went to school together and truly liked being together.  And many times, particularly in the early days, that was a challenge. But we did enjoy being together.  Breaking through (shameless album plug) the music blockade to put Chicago groups on the map, performing with all the other Chicago groups, hanging out together outside of the band - great memories.  And Ray's comments about "collaboration" are also right on - we did everything together - writing, arranging, rehearsing (ugh!) and ultimately performing. That closeness was our strength, and I think our live performances showed that.  And maybe we didn't get all the recognition and success some of the other Chicago groups did, but what we had was ours, and we couldn't wait to share it with our audience and fans. Well said, Ray.    
Do be Colony!  
Wally Kemp  
Founding member and Bass player  
New Colony Six  

Our FH Buddy, photographer / writer Jack Mongan, covered the show for dnainfochicago and filed this report:  
You'll find TONS of Jacks' great photos up on this site. (In fact, we even "borrowed" a few for our own use!)

IMPORTANT NOTE:  I was just informed that the photos used below were actually taken by Matthew Ramey at WTTW.  I was unaware of this at the time and certainly don't want to imply otherwise ... so I wanted to make this clear right away.  Jack Mongan's photos are the black and white shots used on the website link above.

 Jim Peterik, fronting The Ides Of March

 Three of the original Cryan Shames ...
(L-R) James Fairs, Tom Doody and Jim Pilster
(backed by The Ides)

 The New Colony Six, also backed by The Ides Of March
(Center, L-R:  Current Member Bruce Mattey, Founding Member Ray Graffia, Jr. 
and Mr. Jukebox Himself, Ronnie Rice, sandwiched in between 
Larry Milas (L) and Jim Peterik (R) of The Ides

 Our buddy Ray Graffia, Jr.

 SO good to see both of these guys smiling ...
Current Buckinghams front man Carl Giammarese (L)
and Original Buckinghams Lead Singer Dennis Tufano  (R)

There was LOTS of focus last week on The Ides Of March as part of our Cornerstones Of Chicago Rock coverage ... but now comes word that Jim Peterik's OTHER big band, Survivor, have just hired a brand new lead singer and are lining up dates for a 2016 tour.  

FH Reader Tom Cuddy tells us:   

Survivor will be back on stage in 2016.   
The '80s hitmakers -- best known for "High on You," "The Search Is Over" and the Rocky movie anthems "Eye of the Tiger" and "Burning Heart" -- will have a new front man next year. Cameron Barton will take the place of the late Jimi Jamison, who died in 2014.   
Legendary rock band Survivor is embarking on their next chapter in 2016 with a new member who has seemingly given new life to one of rock ‘n’ roll’s preeminent bands. With 21-year-old Nashville resident Cameron Barton assuming lead vocalist duties, the group will take their trademark arena rock sound to their loyal and devoted fan base.      
Barton steps into the role of Jimi Jamison, who passed away in September of 2014.  Survivor is excited to have Cameron bring his powerhouse vocal style to the band’s live shows. “He’s great,” says the band’s Frankie Sullivan. “After hearing him, I was in Nashville within twenty four hours. I was in the studio with him about a day later. I stayed with him for about four days, and put him through the ringer. He just kept getting better and kept delivering.” Barton’s commitment to getting the job done is something that impresses his bandmate. “He’s a very focused guy. Most musicians aren’t that focused when they are that young. He learned twenty songs in about eight days.”   
Sullivan noted that there might be pressure of taking on the role of lead singer in a group with such a historic pedigree, but he says Barton doesn’t seem to be affected by the pressure. “He just wants to do what he does. You get new people in with new ideas, and usually that comes with a different vibe.”   
All in all, the band is hoping that 2016 brings more success with their impending tour and planned album, slated for later in the year. “I think it could be a year to remember.  He has a great work ethic.”    
Survivor released their first album in 1980 on Scotti Brothers Their first Top 40 on the Hot 100 came the next year with “Poor Man’s Son.” Their big break would come in 1982 when the band was asked by Sylvester Stallone to provide the theme song for Rocky III. That single, “Eye Of The Tiger,” hit # 1 – staying there for seven weeks, winning a Grammy for Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, a People’s Choice Award, and an Academy Award nomination. The song came in at #18 on the “Top 100 Singles” chart in Billboard‘s 100th Anniversary issue and it’s well over the 300,000 mark on iTunes, where it’s currently holding strong at #9 on their “Top Soundtrack” chart. The band also struck paydirt as a result of a Stallone movie when “Burning Heart” appeared on the soundtrack of Rocky IV in 1985, hitting # 2 on the singles chart.    
The band’s VITAL SIGNS, was another huge success for the band, peaking at #16 on Billboard‘s “Top 200 Albums” chart thanks to the Billboard Top-20 hits "I Can't Hold Back" (#13), "High On You" (#8) and "The Search Is Over" (#4).   
Dates for 2016 will be announced soon. 
For more information about Survivor, log on to their