Drummer Danny Seraphine and CTA promise to take audiences ‘Back to Chicago’
What: Danny Seraphine’s Take Me Back to Chicago Tour
When: 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 7
Where: The DeJoria Center, 970 N. S.R. 32 in Kamas
If anyone can name a tour “Take Me Back to Chicago,” it’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Danny Seraphine.
Seraphine is the original drummer for the “rock band with horns” known as Chicago, and his band, California Transit Authority, which is a take on the original band’s name, Chicago Transit Authority, will stop in Kamas on Saturday, March 7, at the DeJoria Center.
The concert will be a night of Chicago songs, according to Seraphine, who was named one of the Top 100 Drummers of All time by Rolling Stone magazine.
“We cover the gamut,” he said. “We do the early stuff and we also do the ‘80s Chicago songs as well.”
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The drummer, who played in Chicago from 1967 to 1990, said his current band — guitarist Marc Bonilla, bassist Travis Davis, keyboardist Ed Roth and vocalist Tony Grant — is “cut from the same cloth as the original Chicago.”
“These are really world-class musicians who perform Chicago’s music the way it’s supposed to be performed — with a lot of passion and spontaneity,” Seraphine said. “That’s how the music, especially the early stuff, was written and recorded.”
While audiences will hear the ballads such as “Hard Habit to Break” and “If You Leave Me Now,” it will also hear other songs such as “Call On Me” and “Street Player,” one of the many songs Seraphine co-wrote.
“We do a couple of versions of Chicago songs that we put our own twist on in unique arrangements,” he said. “Doing this accentuates and underlines what the original band’s musicianship and musicality,”
After he and Chicago parted ways, Seraphine, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with the band in 2016, took a break from music.
“After what happened with the band, I pretty much stopped playing for 15 years,” he said. “That said, the band is a great source of pride in my life. There is a responsibility of being an integral part of the Chicago songbook, and playing on every meaningful track, along with everyone else. I’m really proud of the drum parts, simpler and complicated as some are, in that music.”
In 2006, Seraphine was asked to play a handful of benefit concerts, and that’s when he formed California Transit Authority.
“That was good for me, but it was hard getting back, let me tell you that, because drumming is a physical and stressful occupation,” he said. “But I can say now that my body is quite a bit younger than my age because of it.”
California Transit Authority continues to perform for charities around the world.
“We do a lot of benefit work, because I believe it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I’ve had a great life. I have so much to be thankful for, and I want to share it with people.”
With each incarnation of his band, Seraphine has developed a deeper commitment to the music he helped create.
“I play these songs with the passion that I’ve played on the original record, and maybe better in some ways because I’m older and hopefully wiser,” he chuckled. “There is a sense of pride in keeping with the standard. I think that’s why it took me a while to get back. I didn’t want to be that athlete that should have stayed in retirement, you know?”
Seraphine’s current bandmates have also made it easier for him to “up his game.”
“It’s like being an older guy driving a Ferrari,” he said. “I have to hold on and steer correctly, but as I hold them to a certain standard, they hold me to the same standard. That’s what bands are supposed to do. It’s a great relationship, and my bandmates have become a family.”
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