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It's 1974.  I'm married (#3), with three children, living next door to my Mother.  I'm listening to "Chicago" (Saturday in the Park) and grooving on the music being played by KOGO Radio, where I eventually ended up working, but in the TV side.  Little did I know at the time, my 12 year old would be involved with this band, but at twenty-four, my grown up 12 year old called to tell me he thinks he has a steady job with the band "Chicago." as their tenor lead singer.  My reply was - "Wait, hold on.  What did I just hear?  What are you saying? Are you serious???  Well, he didn't know for sure, but he said word on the street was he was taking Peter Cetera's place, who had moved on to do solo work.  Two days later it was confirmed.  Jason Scheff, now 24 was the new guy.  He then asked if I would clear out his house as he was leaving the following morning for rehearsals.   He and I were so excited as this was a solid move for him, if he could cut it - and he did. It's been almost 28 years and he's still singing his heart out and playing the Bass.  I asked him how he could bring such newness to each of the songs he would sing when he had to do them in the numerous concerts weeks and months at a time.  His reply was "each night, it's a different audience, so it's always brand new.


I have to admire the band wives whose husbands are touring a good portion of the year.  In 2011 they conquered a world tour in 200 Plus concert dates and 2012 looks just as busy.    It's no secret that some of the band members are well into their 60's and Jason is turning 50 in April of 2012.  You would never suspect anyone on their stage, as energetic as they are, would be approaching what most people would call "retirement age."  When asking any of them when they might retire, the usual consensus is "what's that?"


  

 

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Tags: Band, Chicago, Horns, Jason, Scheff

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Comment by Glen Petersen on June 18, 2012 at 12:59pm

Mrs. Roberts: What a kick I had on stage with Jason and the rest of the guys on June 15 at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS. I was awed by the energy these guys have and the ENTHUSIASM. I am slowly but surely coming down off of my high, but the awesome night I had will not soon be forgotten. (Jason stood beside me when I sang....what a treat!)

Comment by Omar DeLeon on January 30, 2012 at 8:02am

Mrs. Roberts,

Thank you very much for such a great story. Jason is a very talented musician and a very great person, we are all very lucky and fortunate that Jason has been with this incredible band for 26 years now. His contributions to the band are appreciated and personally, I think Jason is a very humbe and caring person. He does take time to talk to his fans on a regular basis, and I can atest to that, since I've had contact through Facebook with him. Once again, thank you for sharing your story.

Comment by Mary Snover on January 28, 2012 at 12:22pm

Thank you for sharing your story Linda! So great to see you on here with all of us! And keep writing; I enjoy reading all your work and love hearing about Jason and the band from your perspective!  :)

Comment by roseanna on January 26, 2012 at 8:47am

Ellleeee!! so good to see you here writing and sharing, you're such a great writer so keep on giving honey! and you know I like that Scheffy, we go wayyyy back a few pounds!! Here's to more great times ahead, we're only getting started!! xoxo

Comment by Nancy George on January 25, 2012 at 9:28pm

Thanks for sharing this story Linda....you have to be very proud. I have been a Chicago fan since I was in my teens...I had seen them a few times prior to Jason joining. I remember seeing him with the band the first year he had joined...I was fortunate enough to have seats quite close to the stage and I was so impressed with "the new guy". Well, many years and close to 100 concerts later, I am still very impressed! I have had the pleasure of meeting Jason and the others from the band and they are so nice to each and every fan. Did you get a chance to see the film of the Chicago tour that was being shown in some theaters in December?  I loved it....Take care...

Comment by Tina Bjorklund on January 24, 2012 at 3:53pm

Very cool.  I have to say I like Jason better than Cetera.  How proud you must be!  

Comment by clarisa crisostomo avila on January 15, 2012 at 3:48am

Congratulations for having a son like Jason. :)

Comment by Alison O'Rear on January 9, 2012 at 9:01pm

Thanks for sharing your story.  Ditto to everything Mark Dolan said in reply.  I met Jason briefly after the Tulsa concert in December.  I told him I wanted to pinch him to see if he was real.  It's obvious what a down-to-earth and humble man he is.  Great parenting no doubt had an impact on his life!  I've followed what Jason has had to say on-and-off at the Scheffland and Chicago websites over the past 6 years.  He really gets "it"...that it's not about him but about the difference he can make in others lives.  He's done that through his music, his work with Beachbody and his charitable endeavors.  Having been with the band for over a quarter century, he has contributed significant work as a songwriter and musician and wish we heard more of it.  Still hope to one day hear him sing "Bigger Than Elvis" because although it is a very personal song for your family, I think so many other families can relate to having to be apart from loved ones for long periods of time, especially those in the service.  And I think that 99% of the kids out there would still say their Mom or Dad is their hero.  I know I read somewhere that Jason said you were a major influence in his life and his pursuit of a career as a professional musician.   I do think music will continue to keep all the band members young.

Comment by Mark Dolan on January 8, 2012 at 7:59pm

Thanks for the great story; how cool & how proud you must be. Pat yourself on the back! Any fan out there will attest to the classy nature of Jason Scheff. It's no mistake he still is "Cetera's replacement" ... having served up more years w/ the band than the guy he replaced.

Truth be told, before all this social media stuff was fashionable Mr. Scheff was reaching out to fans -- whether it meant spending a little time chatting backstage or else through his website. It doesn't matter what your level of musical resume you carry with you, Jason is there listening & genuinely curious what people have to say. It could be music-related. But, probably more to his liking, small-talk was preferred (WHY NOT?!). Jason's remarks in the recent "rockumentary" (which went to movie theaters nationwide) really were genuine and of the "walk-the-talk" nature. He spoke to how he makes his fans that come into his world feel comfortable. I've seen it first-hand. This makes Mr. Scheff the pro that he is. He not only appreciates everything given to him & shows humbleness, to me he just exemplifies what it means to be a professional musician.

As for Chicago, I think most of us understand at this point the original bandmembers still enjoy their work. That's a wonderful thing when you are mega-rich, LOL! Seriously, it's just nuts! When you think about it, this band has done a ton of living. It's no wonder the guys can't hang up the cleats. It's in their blood. From dropped record labels, lawsuits, the constant travel (not a year "off"), personnel changes, and who knows all the other drama -- not to mention the personal struggles.

Incredible to have a band of this caliber together (four inaugural members still intact) rolling still for almost 45 years! Audiences still fill the seats. It's about the music. Maybe that's partly why that energy still exists.

I get the feeling the best is yet to come. Not that Chicago has anything to prove to anybody. But, this band has done things its own way, has battled many battles, and survived so much. It's part of why I still to this day in am awe of what Chicago does. These guys hit it at the "right time" and I'm certain they know that by now. It's all gravy from here. Chicago ...and I know I speak for many... we are so lucky to still be enjoying a band of this nature. Happy New Year all!

Comment by Javier Vargas Plauchu on January 7, 2012 at 7:17pm

Thank you very much Elle for sharing the story.

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