Group Portrait by William James Ruhlmann
Perhaps more than any other city in the United States, Chicago, located at the center of the nation, has reflected the cultural diversity that has proven to be the country's greatest strength. New Orleans may claim to be the birthplace of jazz, the Mississippi Delta may have seen the genesis of the blues, New York may have its Tin Pan Alley and Memphis its Beale Street, but, throughout this century, Chicago has served as both a nurturer of significant musical talent and a magnet that drew the best from other areas.
As such, the city has always hosted a musical polity that matched its various population. Much attention may have been given to the black diaspora that brought native jazz and blues up from the South in the early decades of the century, but Chicago was also home to a numerous European immigrant population that brought with it a taste for musical training and the classics. And all of that somehow got mixed up. Lionel Hampton arrived in Chicago when he was 11 years old in 1919; Muddy Waters got there in 1943, when he was 28. But Benny Goodman didn't have to travel: he was born in Chicago in 1909.
In what has loosely been called "the rock era," pop music historians have tended to concentrate on Waters' legacy as a forefather of the Big Beat to come. But it's Goodman who's perhaps more representative of the kind of music Chicago can give to the world. Though a lower-middle-class youth, Goodman managed to get formal training on the clarinet, became an innovative jazz musician, then the biggest pop music star of his time, the 'King of Swing,' in fact, and also maintained a close connection to classical music. He was true to his Chicago roots.
In the post-war era, of course, swing was in decline, but Chicago continued to represent a broad range of popular music. Chess Records and the South Side clubs pumped out electric blues, but there was also Mercury, Irving Green's label, which was an early home to A&R man Mitch Miller and recorded everyone from the Crew Cuts to the Big Bopper (including a local group called the Classmen, which featured 14-year-old guitarist Jimmy Guercio), and there was Vee-Jay, Vivian Carter and James Bracken's label, which produced numerous groups in the '50s, and in the early '60s introduced the Four Seasons and the Beatles. Meanwhile, at the Gate of Horn folk club, owner Albert Grossman watched performers such as Tom Paxton take his stage and began to dream of bigger things.
The natural musical diversity of Chicago found a parallel in the brief period of cultural and musical unity that characterized the middle 1960s. In today's fragmented musical landscape, where tastes so often seem isolated and exclusive, it's hard to remember that there was a time when pop music meant not only melodic 32-bar love ballads, but also screaming rock tunes, the most emotional and gut-wrenching of R&B, and even touches of classical music and jazz.
However fragile it may have proved, this kind of pop mixture came as a heritage to the musicians who grew up in a city that had always welcomed diversity and sought a new, American, hybrid. In such a context, "pop" was not the debased word it became only a few years later, but a musical goal and a kind of dream, to take all the strands that had come to make up the music many different kinds of people loved, and weave a new sound. The group that was raised in Chicago, formed there, and took its name from the city in 1968 began with just such an ambition. It would become one of the most successful musical ensembles of the last four decades.
We've all spent years preparing
Before this group was born
" Introduction" by Terry Kath
Most pop stars who emerged in the 1960s will tell you that they got their inspiration by seeing Elvis Presley perform on TV in the '50s. But Walter Parazaider, born in Chicago on March 14, 1945, had a slightly different experience. "I started playing when I was nine years old because I saw Benny Goodman on 'The Ed Sullivan Show,''' he says, "I was a clarinetist to start with," Parazaider studied and practiced the clarinet for the next several years, and by his teens had displayed so much proficiency that he became the protege of the E-flat clarinetist in the Chicago symphony.
But even for a classical music prodigy, the late '50s were a time when other forms of music exerted an influence, "I discovered octets and big band orchestra music," Parazaider recalls, "picked up the saxophone along the way, and discovered also that you could make a buck and get some girls playing a saxophone in a rock 'n' roll band, So, I enjoyed a schizoid musical existence, so to speak, from about the age of 13 on, playing in anything from an octet - playing all the standard big band tunes - to any rock 'n' roll from 'Tequila' to any of the Ventures stuff that they'd use a saxophone on, and did that along with pursuing the classical career, because my idea at that time was to take my teacher's place in the Chicago symphony"
Pursuant to that goal, Parazaider enrolled at Chicago's DePaul University, where his teacher taught, all the while still playing "many gigs and smoke-filled rooms and dance halls, and also some orchestra halls," It was at DePaul that Parazaider met another young Chicago musician named Jimmy Guercio, "We started playing in different rock 'n' roll bands in the area," Parazaider recalls, "played a lot of the beer bashes at Northwestern University and the surrounding colleges in the area, and we became quite friendly"
James William Guercio, though the same age as Parazaider, had already acquired a great deal more experience in the music business, "I grew up in Edison Park," he says, "I started very young, and I was on the radio when I was six, I had two number one records in Chicago at 14, remakes of "Do You Wanna Dance" and "My Special Angel" by the Classmen on Mercury Records, I was a freshman in high school. I'm on a bunch of records in Chicago."
Guercio was also playing in local clubs on Rush Street, serving as guitarist in a trio that also included keyboardist Barry Goldberg, later of the Electric Flag, "I had to go sit in the cooler to do my homework, 20 minutes every hour," he recalls, "I had a special waiver to get a union card, I worked nine to five-nine p.m., to five and the breakfast show. That's how I grew up, and that's what I did on Fridays and Saturdays," During the week, Guercio attended St. George, a Catholic high school, taking the Chicago Transit Authority bus back and forth,
By the time he started attending DePaul, Guercio had begun to find summer employment as a backup musician to national touring acts, playing behind Bobby Goldsboro and later serving as bassist to Gene Pitney in Dick Clark's "Caravan Of Stars" tours, The contacts he made on the tours led to more work, and after one summer, he just didn't return to college.
"I was successful at 18 years old on the road 'cause I could read music," Guercio notes, "I was a classical musician, I could write the charts. They'd give me a Motown act, and I could write all the charts out. So, I got all the black tours."
Guercio hooked up with Chad and Jeremy, the successful British Invasion duo, serving as their bass player, writing songs for them, and eventually working for them in a management capacity, In the summer of 1966, Guercio's "Distant Shores" on Columbia Records was a Top 30 hit for Chad and Jeremy (their last one), to be followed by an album of the same name.
At the same time, Guercio had become involved with a radical new rock group playing in the Los Angeles area, "I met Frank [Zappa] when the Mothers were being put together, and played bars with him," Guercio recalls, "I was with the band, but I couldn't eat peanut butter forever. There was no record deal, there was nothing. We were playing Cucamunga."
The band's lack of success wasn't just frustrating to Guercio, it was also unnecessary to a musician who was flying back and forth across the country, doing sessions and working with other artists, And that wasn't the only reason Guercio didn't stay with it. The Mothers were, to use a word Zappa himself later embraced, too bizarre. "I'm a big fan of Frank Zappa, but everybody takes a different road in their life," Guercio says. "I was committed to that band. I was committed to putting Stravinsky on stage, not ripping the arms off of dolls and saying dirty words and getting arrested." Guercio left the band during the 1966 recording sessions for the Mothers' first album, Freak Out!
Walt Parazaider, meanwhile, was maintaining his "schizoid" musical existence at DePaul, though with increasing difficulty. He recalls, 'after about a year and a half of realizing I didn't want to study trigonometry and how to teach health class in school, and also realizing with the help of some of my professors that, because I wasn't a patient person, I wasn't cut out to be a teacher, what I did was change my major to a playing degree in orchestral clarinet and played a degree recital that took about a year and a half to prepare for in front of the principal players in the Chicago symphony and an audience, and passed that with flying colors and received my degree."
But while doing all that academic preparation, Parazaider had also gotten a non-classical musical idea he thought had promise: a rock 'n' roll band with horns. In the trendy world of pop music, horns took a back seat in the mid-'60s, when thousands of bands, imitating the four-piece rhythm section of the Beatles, stayed within the limits of guitars-bass-drums. Even the saxophone, so much a part of '50s rock 'n' roll, was heard less often). Only in R&B, which maintained something of the big band tradition, did people such as James Brown and others continue to use horn sections regularly.
But in the summer of 1966, the Beatles, whose influence had curtailed the use of horns in pop, turned around and brought horns back. Their Revolver album featured songs such as "Got To Get You Into My Life," which included two trumpets and two tenor saxophones, introducing a new way to integrate a brass sound into rock.
Parazaider, of course, now had years of experience as a sax player in Chicago's clubs, and had formed a two-piece horn section with fellow DePaul student Lee Loughnane (born in Chicago on October 21, 1946), who played trumpet. Parazaider's current band, the Missing Links, was starting to come apart, but he stuck with guitarist Terry Kath (born in Chicago on January 31, 1946), who had been a friend of his and Guercio's since they were teenagers (and who had, in fact, replaced Guercio in the Dick Clark touring band), and drummer Danny Seraphine (born in Chicago on August 28, 1948, and raised in Chicago's Little Italy section, Central and Belmont), and began to search for other players to fill out his new concept.
The first one he located, in the fall of 1966, was a newly transferred DePaul sophomore from Quincy College who played trombone. "Walt had been kind of keeping an eye on me in school," says James Pankow. "Little did I know that at the time, but one day he finally approached me and said, 'Hey, man, I've been checking you out, and I like your playing, and I think you got it.' I said, 'Well, what do you mean, I got it?' He had that twinkle in his eye, and I figured, well, whatever the hell he means, I guess he likes what I do."
POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT CHICAGO #1:
That All But One Are From Chicago
This mistaken impression comes from James William Guercio's liner notes to Chicago Transit Authority, the group's first album, in which the producer writes of " ... the city where all save one were born ... " In fact, Robert Lamm, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, and also James Pankow, who was born in St. Louis, Missouri, are not native Chicagoans. Nevertheless, Pankow moved to Chicago at the age of eight, and Lamm arrived in town at 15.
Pankow, born in St. Louis, Missouri, on August 20, 1947, had certainly spent enough time with his instrument by then to have gotten something. It wasn't until a couple of years after his family relocated to the Park Ridge section of Chicago when he was eight that Pankow's musical inclinations had found a direction. "I was in fifth grade, and my folks realized that I was a human beat box," he says. "I was kicking to records in the crib before I could walk, and I was snapping my fingers and tapping on walls and making all kinds of gestures in tempo with whatever music they were listening to. They figured they better channel this nervous energy, so they took me to an audition at the local elementary school, and I of course wanted to play drums or guitar or sax because everybody wanted to play drums, guitar, or sax. Nobody wanted to play trombone. It wasn't cool."
But a conference took place between Pankow's parents and the band director (who happened to be a trombone player), and, as Pankow notes, "might makes right, and I wound up going over and talking to the band director, and between my parents and the band director, they persuaded me to try something that was less competitive and find out whether or not I'd enjoy expanding my horizons on a different instrument. So, bottom line, I wound up with the trombone, and for the first three years it was sheer hell."
One reason for this must be obvious, considering the picture of a ten year old trying to maneuver such a large instrument. "It was like putting a dwarf in a semi and telling him to drive to New York," says Pankow. But by his mid-teens, with the encouragement of a father with an enormous record collection who took him out to local nightspots, Pankow turned the corner on the instrument and began to enjoy the horn, so much so that he even persevered with it during three bruised and bloody years spent with braces on his teeth.
Pankow's musical aspirations were encouraged at Notre Dame High School by Father George Wiskirchen, who, he remembers, "wrote the book on high school jazz lab and big bands," and who took the young trombone player under his wing. "With his guidance and his inspiration, I blossomed even further and became endeared to jazz, and the horn became a tool by which I could really have fun as well as do my calisthenics - you know, you gotta keep practicing," Pankow says, "and I took lessons and played in concert band and marching band and all of the prerequisites, but the high school jazz band was my saving grace and my real love. I was in that for all four years of high school, and we were guests of honor at the collegiate jazz festival at Notre Dame University every year in my four-year tenure, and that again was an eye-opener because I had a chance to digest college-age talent and budding professionals. That was really a feather in my cap in terms of getting me to stick with the instrument and realize that it was more than just something to do, it was a part of my life and something that I actually required for my happiness."
After Notre Dame, Pankow won a full music scholarship to Quincy College and gained more valuable training by studying with Charles Winking. But like Parazaider, he was starting to be tempted from his studies by the rewards of playing non-academic engagements. "I spent a year at Quincy and enhanced my expense paying ability doing local gigs with a bar band," he says. "We did all the Elks clubs and Moose lodges in Hannibal, Missouri, and Quincy and surrounding areas. I went home for summer vacation after freshman year, and I put a band together, a little quintet, and we started getting work in the city, doing high school dances and sock hops and weddings and bar mitzvahs and all that kind of stuff. At that point I discovered another concept, and that was playing the horn and getting paid for it. That was really a winning concept in my mind, and I enjoyed it so much that it got to the point where fall was coming around and it was getting time to pack up for Quincy College, but I had become so involved with my little band and working quite steadily that I really didn't want to give that up because it was creating an income for me and it was giving me a chance to play and get heard by audiences in the Chicago area." "With a considerable amount of pain," Pankow put in a call to his teacher at Quincy to say he was not returning for the fall semester of 1966. But at the same time, he intended to continue his education, and so enrolled at DePaul, where he had his historic encounter with Walter Parazaider, later meeting Loughnane, Kath, and Seraphine.
"We, through the course of that year at DePaul, decided to commit ourselves to the idea of forming this rock 'n' roll band with a horn section," Pankow says. "In the meantime, Danny and Walter canvassed the South Side of Chicago and found Robert Lamm in some upholstered toilet under the handle of Bobby Charles and the Wanderers. He had a little bar band. They were impressed with his talent, and they approached him with this idea. They asked him if he could play organ and bass pedals because we wanted to get a keyboard guy on organ pedals so we wouldn't have to pay a bass player. He said, 'Sure, no problem.' As it turned out later, he had been lying."
Robert Lamm had had to come the farthest distance to arrive in Chicago. Lamm was born in Brooklyn on October 13, 1944, and, like Pankow, seemed to be rocking in the cradle. "I got interested in music, really, from the time I was a toddler," he says, "where the sound of piano music coming through a radio speaker would entice me into a room, and I would place my ear up against the speaker, I was told by my father. Both my mother and father were collectors of jazz records, and there always seemed to be music playing at our house."
Lamm's first formal music training came when his mother put him in a Brooklyn Heights choir "under the direction of a woman who was able to take kids from various neighborhoods and ethnic backgrounds and get them to sing together and have an appreciation for what was a fairly wide repertoire of sacred music." It was here that Lamm was first attracted to the piano. "There was always one of the other choir members sitting at the piano before choir practice playing, and I admired that ability to be able to sit down and play piano," he recalls. "So, when it came my turn to sit down, I found that I could pick out things by ear or imitate what I had heard or seen somebody else play pretty easily. Also that era then, that would be the mid- to late '50s, that was when rock 'n' roll was born, and so I certainly listened to the radio all the time, and what was going on in rock 'n' roll was not that difficult to play. So, I found myself being able to accompany myself and sing some of the earlier doo-wop or rhythm and blues tunes that were on the radio at the time."
When he was 15, Lamm's mother remarried and moved the family to Chicago, where the budding pianist attended high school and, inevitably, the city's musical chemistry began to do its work. "I met some other aspiring high school musicians who wanted to put a band together," Lamm says, "and they approached me because they had heard that I was able to play piano, and so, in my first band, I played the first generation of electronic pianos."
Lamm continued to play in bands through high school, then did some private studying with the prominent jazz teacher Millie Collins. He also found an early idol. "For no particular reason, other than he was a singer and also played piano, I was really into listening to Ray Charles at the time," Lamm says. "I wound up listening to everything he ever did, and I also noticed that he was writing a lot of the things that he was singing and playing. So, I thought that I would name myself after my hero."
Lamm also took up the pen in emulation of Charles. "I was writing songs in a band or two before Chicago," he recalls. "What kind of songs is another discussion, but the concept of writing one's own songs was one that didn't yet intimidate me like it does now."
The approach from Parazaider and co., Lamm recalls, came by telephone. "I got a phone call from either Walter or Terry or Danny, I'm not sure who," Lamm says, "and the voice on the other end of the phone outlined the idea of forming a band that could play rock 'n' roll with brass in it, and was I interested in checking that out, and I said, 'Sure.' It sounded as if it was something that would be fun, and I think the intention then was just basically to be a working band and someday maybe if everything went right maybe actually make a record."
Of course, there was also the matter of those bass pedals. "I think at the time I had just bought an organ," Lamm says. "I had just purchased one to play in the band that I was in, and they asked me if I could kick bass pedals because there was no bass player at the time. I lied. I said, 'Sure, I can play bass pedals.' It seemed as if it would be something that I could do, and indeed I learned how to do it - I needed to learn how to do it real quick."
Lamm met the rest of the guys at the meeting set up to formally launch the band. The date was February 15, 1967 "We had a get-together in Walter's apartment on the north side of Chicago," says Pankow. "It was Danny, Terry, Robert, Walter, Lee, and myself, and we had a gentlemen's agreement and a handshake to devote our lives and our energies to making this project work, making this entity happen. So, that's exactly what happened. We rehearsed in Walter's mother's basement over in Maywood, Illinois, in the South Side, as often as we could, and we just started woodshedding tunes."
Of course, the standard repertoire for most local bands, then as now, consisted of covers of current hits, and this new band, which went through a succession of names early on, among them the Music Foundation, with its large instrumentation, was able to play a wide variety of material, though its horn section made it especially good at certain things. "We figured that the only people with horn sections that were really making any noise were the soul acts," says Pankow, "so we started modeling ourselves after that genre, if you will. We kind of became a white soul band. We were doing James Brown stuff and Wilson Pickett stuff, and I'd get the records that these people made and custom-tailor them to [the] horn section. I'd do three-part, stylized arrangements of these soul tunes."
Then, of course, there were the Beatles, who had obligingly released their seminal double-sided single "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever," with both tunes featuring innovative use of trumpet, two days before the band's formation, and who had also retired from the road amid comment that their music was now too complex to be played onstage. "We took Beatles tunes, and we arranged those for the band," says Pankow, "and we wound up doing soul tunes and Beatles tunes tailored to our horn section, and slowly but surely started working our completely original material in."
But despite the innovation in concept and execution displayed by the new group, Parazaider's rock 'n' roll band with horns cannot be called the first of its genre, even in the city of Chicago, which brings us back to his old friend Jim Guercio, with whom he had been keeping in touch all along. After working with Chad and Jeremy, Guercio had cut a production deal with Columbia Records, the first fruit of which was the Buckinghams.
The Buckinghams, a quintet formed as the Pulsations in Chicago in 1965, recorded a series of local singles before hitting pay dirt at the end of 1966 with "Kind Of A Drag," a pop song with horns on the USA label that topped the charts in February, 1967. By then, the group had been signed by Columbia and were being produced by Guercio, who handled the boards for a series of hits ("Don't You Care," "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," "Hey Baby [They're Playing Our Song]," and "Susan," the last cowritten by Guercio) over the next year.
It was in the middle of '67, with the Buckinghams one of the hottest pop bands in the business, that Guercio was approached from another quarter about working with a horn band. "There was a band called Blood, Sweat and Tears, but it wasn't called Blood, Sweat and Tears at the time, it was called the Blues Project, with Al Kooper," Guercio explains. "So, I met with [the Blues Project's manager] Sid Bernstein and Al Kooper. Al said, 'I've got to put this jazz-rock band together with horns in it, and I'm using some of the guys in the Blues Project. The Buckinghams is kind of what I want to do. You're the best. You understand horns. You can write charts. You're a musician.' And I couldn't do the project 'cause I had an exclusive contract, because of the Buckinghams, with [CBS Records president] Clive Davis, and Bernstein was locked into Atlantic [Records]. Also, there was another reticence in me with Al. I said, ‘Al, I'm bringing all these players together. I'm gonna do the first horn band. I can't do yours.' Six months later, I hear they're signed to CBS! They never got the deal at Atlantic, and John Simon's doing them, and that was Blood, Sweat and Tears, the first album, Child Is Father To The Man. And I'm goin', 'Oh, shit.’"
The Buckinghams' string of hits was already over in June, 1968, when a drug bust put an end to their national career, but by that time Guercio felt his old college mates were ready to take forward the rock + horns concept and to further what Pankow calls his dream: "to make [the city of] Chicago and Chicago's artists and talent a focal point and bring music from the Midwest to the rest of the world instead of giving all the credit to Los Angeles and New York."
The group that would do exactly that acquired a name at one of its early gigs. Parazaider recalls: 'An Italian friend of mine in Chicago who was gonna book us some gigs says, 'You know, everybody at the time is saying "thing": "Thing this," "thing that." There's a lot of you. We'll call you the Big Thing: "
The Big Thing played its first engagement at the Stardust Lounge in Rockford, Illinois, from May 22 to June 3, 1967 (according to the five-year list of concert dates provided in the Chicago At Carnegie Hall album in 1971). In June, July, and August, the band appeared in Peoria, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Indianapolis. But its most important early gig was a week-long stand at Shula's Supper Club in Niles, Michigan, August 29 to September 3.
"We ran into Jimmy Guercio," recalls Parazaider, "who happened to be in Chicago at the time passing through, on a tour or something like that, or going on to New York to do the Buckinghams record, and he came out to Niles, Michigan, and he heard us play. He was very impressed, and if I had to point to one thing - you know, everybody says that they need a break, and they have to recognize it and jump on it when they see it - Jimmy Guercio was our break because he was a producer at Columbia who was putting a [Buckinghams] record together that was gonna become a very successful record. He said, 'Hang on, and I'll be in touch with you. I'll be coming in from time to time to check on your progress.’"
"He said, 'Just keep doing what you're doing, and I'll be back,''' Pankow recalls, "and we didn't know what to think other than, 'Hey, man, this guy must know what he's talking about. He didn't do too bad with the Buckinghams. So, let's get our act together and research some more original material, see what our potential is.' So, we developed more original material. I began to write songs. Robert began to write more songs, and Terry Kath began to contribute material."
"I think we were playing a couple of songs that were original," says Lamm. "There's a tune called, 'Mississippi Delta City Blues' that Terry Kath wrote that ended up on the eleventh album, 'Wake Up Sunshine' [which appeared on Chicago III], and another song called, 'Dedicated To Girl Number One,' which I think is the first thing that Guercio recorded, kind of as a demo, to see how it would be, how to go about recording this band, something that he recorded with us in LA long before we ever got into the studio to do the Chicago Transit Authority album." (An extensive search for the demo of "Dedicated To Girl Number One" was carried out in the Sony Music tape vaults as well as at Guercio's Caribou Ranch studio in order to use it in this collection. But the tape was not found and seems to be lost forever.)
Meanwhile, the Big Thing stayed on the Midwest concert circuit through the fall, gradually improving and building a following. A December engagement proved to be another important gig. "We opened at Barnaby's in Chicago [December 13-17, 1967], which was a new club," says Pankow, "and they touted themselves as being the springboard for new and innovational talent in the city. We were an opening act for a band called the Exceptions, which was at that time the biggest club band in the Midwest, and we stuck around and listened to them. I was just blown away."
If the Big Thing had stayed late to see the Exceptions, one of the Exceptions had come early to see the Big Thing. "I had heard a lot about these guys," says Peter Cetera, then bass player for the Exceptions, "so I came early to hear 'em the first night, and I was just floored 'cause they were doing songs that nobody else was doing, and in different ways. They were doing the Beatles' 'Magical Mystery Tour' [which had been released less than three weeks earlier] and 'Got To Get You Into My Life' and different versions of rock songs with horns, and at the end of the two-week stint, I was out of the Exceptions and into the Big Thing."
Cetera, like his former band, was a fixture on the Chicago scene. Born in the city on September 13, 1944, his first instrument had been the accordion, which he took up when he was ten. "That's unfortunately true," he admits, when asked about it. "Played for a couple of years. I got in at the end of the accordion era. There was, like, accordion and guitar, and for some reason I chose accordion. I don't know why. I guess because I was half Polish, and we played a lot of polkas ... It didn't do me any good for my rock 'n' roll career, but it actually was a lot of fun."
His more serious musical career commenced a little later. "I started listening to music," he recalls, "and when I was a sophomore in high school, I went to hear my first live group and got infatuated with music and bought a little guitar from Sears and started singing at the school functions. Then, shortly after that, met a guy who was a senior, and we started singing together, and he played guitar. He said, 'Let's start a group,' and I went, 'Fine.' I said, 'I'll buy a bass,' and so, I went out and bought a bass, and proceeded to tune it wrong for the first couple of months we played. Wasn't till somebody sat in with me that told me it was totally tuned wrong. We proceeded to be in various high school groups and played all the Homecoming dances and all the weekend dances when I was a junior and senior, doing Top 40 material. My senior year, I got together with the Exceptions. I stuck with them for five or six years and [we] got to be probably the biggest name in Chicago lounge bands at that time."
But by the time Cetera ran into the Big Thing at Barnaby's, the Exceptions had come to the end of the line, and he was looking for something new. The Big Thing, meanwhile, had come to realize that organ bass pedals do not make for an adequate bass sound.
'After the gig, we got talking to Peter Cetera," says Pankow. "He approached us, and he said, 'I don't know what you guys are doing, but I like it. It's really refreshing. It's cool.' We found out from Peter that he as well was having some personal fall-outs with his people in the Exceptions. The band was really not getting along on a personal level. Peter was looking to do something else, and that's exactly what we were looking for. We were looking for another voice and a bass player. Peter just fit the bill perfectly, and he wound up joining the band."
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