Chicago Could Continue Without Any Original Members
Chicago co-founder Robert Lamm said it’s a “possibility” that the band could continue after all the original members have gone.
The band is preparing to tour with new members Neil Donnell (vocals), Brett Simons (bass), Walfredo Reyes Jr. (drums) and Daniel de los Reyes (percussion). Chicago also have a new box set, VI Decades Live (This is What We Do), which showcases the work of late guitarist Terry Kath, coming out soon.
“Starting with the death of Terry Kath [in 1978], we’re no strangers to updating the lineup, if you will,” Lamm told Billboard. “A lot of lip service was given to the concept that the music is more important than who's playing it in our band, and as it turned out, that's apparently true. But also in a strange way, the guys who are maybe a generation younger who have come to fill in are better players than we were when we started out, so I would say the level of skill has improved with each sort of injection of fresh blood. The new guys have made the band better and maybe have more energy than the standard band that was showing up in the ‘90s and early ’00s. I've learned an awful lot from them myself.”
Lamm added that it meant that Chicago could carry on without any original members. “I think there's a feeling about that among the guys who would be left who are in the band," he noted. "I think there's a feeling that instead of being just Chicago it'd be like the Chicago little symphony, if you will. Players go in and players go out. So I think that's a possibility, yeah.
“We've played some gigs with the current Blood, Sweat & Tears, and I think that from the listeners' point of view it sounds like Blood, Sweat & Tears, even though they don't recognize anybody on the stage from the first couple of albums, and it doesn't seem to matter much. I think that could be the case with [Chicago] too.”
Lamm also reflected on the early material that appears on the new live collection, which comes out on April 6. “I'm left with the idea that we were really serious -- maybe too serious in the beginning," he said. "We certainly had some chops. We had some skills and we were determined as an ensemble to try new things and to try to push the envelope of how songs are written. ... We can't reproduce that. But we can remind people of how special [Kath] was. This box set is pretty much everything that we're aware of that includes Terry Kath. In that sense, it's a gift to people who are interested in great guitar playing.”