Playing horns on Chicago hit songs for over 50 years (“1on1 with Jon Evans” podcast)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – They came from Chicago and put the city’s name at the top of the music charts where it stayed for decades. More than 50 years after the release of the group’s first album, Chicago will bring its unique brand of rock and roll to the Live Oak Pavilion in downtown Wilmington on Tuesday, October 12. The concert starts at 6:00 p.m. and, according to founding member Lee Loughnane, it will feature a sample of the band’s biggest hits.
“We will start with introduction, first song, first album, âLoughnane said during a break between sound checks for the current tour. âIt will probably be two sets and a twenty-minute intermission. Do one hour, twenty minutes, then another hour. The concerts go well and people accept songs that have been around for a long, long time very well and they never get tired of hearing them. It’s great to do it.
Loughnane is one of three founding members currently on tour with the group, featuring keyboardist and vocalist Robert Lamm and trombonist James Pankhow. Chicago toured regularly since the release of the first album, Chicago Transportation Authority, in 1969. After taking a forced break from the pandemic for over a year, the current range hit the road again in June.
âWe were eager to get back to work, and it kept getting pushed back to the point where all of a sudden in June we started working,â Loughnane said. âWe started in Kansas, and we’ve moved to the east coast, back to the west coast, and now we’re back to the east. What came out was that everyone is so excited to meet up again and listen to live music or, for that matter, come back to dinner with loved ones and feel comfortable to do it. The comfort level returns more slowly than I wanted, but I think there are a lot more factors involved in this comfort zone.
Loughnane began to learn the trumpet at the age of eleven, introduced to the instrument by his father who had played in the army. He performed in bands during his high school years and while attending DePaul University Loughnane met saxophonist Walt Parazaider and was invited to sit with his band which also included guitarist Terry Kath and the drummer Danny Seraphine. Their efforts turned into what would eventually become Chicago in 1967. These four musicians, along with Lamm, Pankhow and bassist Peter Cetera, launched a new style of music that combined a brass section with a rock band, and became an instant sensation. Their debut album peaked at No. 17 on the charts in the United States and included two hit singles, Does anyone know what time it is and Beginnings. The next ten albums Chicago released all landed in the top ten, five of them reaching number one.
“It’s amazing, you have to really pinch yourself sometimes to know that we are still able to do it, much later,” Loughnane said. âBut people really want to hear the music that runs through us. It has affected different generations of people the same way it was when it was first written. We had no idea this could happen when we wrote it!
Loughnane and his band mates have received a long list of accolades and honors, including their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. They have won Grammy Awards and American Music Awards. From his place on stage, Loughnane says he has come to better appreciate the audience who buy tickets to enjoy Chicagomusic.
âI think it’s more intense now than ever because we didn’t believe it at the start,â he says. âWe thought we had an album, maybe two. So to save our 38th album now it’s like ‘This can’t happen! It will not arrive! What, are we going to be together for life? ‘ Yeah, it looks like it! So we’ll see what happens next. But it doesn’t look like we’re going to stop anytime soon.
You can get tickets for Chicagoin downtown Wilmington by clicking here to visit the group’s website. I hope you enjoy the interview with legendary trumpeter Lee Loughnane as much as I do.
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