California Transit Authority
...concert snippets from July 2016
They started in college in 1967 as a Top 40 cover band. They called themselves the Big Thing. There were seven of them, and their original songs showcased the opposite sides of the band: tight-assed horns like nobody had ever heard versus a thrilling electric guitarist whom Jimi Hendrix would later admit was his personal favorite. Their original hard-driving horn rock with four-part vocal harmonies got them a manager. He convinced them to move to Los Angeles in 1968, and that’s where they changed their name to the Chicago Transit Authority. The next year, CTA’s self-titled debut was a runaway success that pretty much obliterated the other horn bands of the day: Tower of Power, Blood, Sweat and Tears, and the Sons of Champlin. The next year they shortened it to Chicago, and then they truly were the big thing.
Chicago’s motor was drummer Danny Seraphine. Named one of Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Drummers, Seraphine was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year with Chicago, even though he’d not been a member since 1990. Over time, Chicago has replaced others of the original seven (there’s a local connection: hometown bassist Jason Scheff took over founding bassist Pete Cetera’s slot in 1985) and the band continued on as a ballad machine that still continues to sell big numbers.
- Saturday, November 5, 2016, 8 p.m.
1337 India Street,
$20 - $38
Danny Seraphine’s been out with his own CTA (California Transit Authority) for a decade. He’s got Chicago alumnus Bill Champlin in the band now (the Sons namesake and band leader was hired to fill the void left by Terry Kath’s death), along with guitarists Marc Bonilla and Mike Wallace, bassist Mick Mahan, Ed Roth and Peter Fish on keys, and Larry Braggs from Tower of Power on vocals. The answer is yes: CTA does perform hit songs taken right out of the old Chicago songbook. And why not? It was Seraphine who made them cook.