Why Chicago reunion with Peter Cetera might never happen: ‘I don’t want to work that hard’

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Turns out, Chicago has made some overtures over the years with its erstwhile former bass playing singer Peter Cetera – but he’s just not interested in rejoining the horn-rock band’s aggressive touring schedule.

Chicago, principally in the Cetera era, has sold more than 38 million albums in the United States alone, with 18 of them earning platinum level sales. That includes five No. 1 albums, though none since Cetera’s departure in 1985.

The band was initially formed in the late 1960s along with Terry Kath, Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider, Danny Seraphine. Kath died in 1978; Seraphine left the band in 1990, five years after Prter Cetera had been replaced by Jason Scheff — who is the son of Jerry Scheff, former bassist for Elvis Presley.

Chicago continues principally today as a concert act. The band last released an album of original songs in 2006, with XXX. Chicago also issued XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus in 2008, but that was in fact a shelved project from the early 1990s.

Meanwhile, Peter Cetera has been just as quiet in the studio (having produced just one album of original, non-holiday music since 1995, Another Perfect World in 2001), and isn’t nearly as prolific on the concert trail, either. Cetera plays the occasional one-off show, or private function, but hasn’t mounted the kind of massive tours Chicago regularly undertakes.

Lamm, who met his former bandmate recently for coffee, said that’s just the way Cetera wants it. Lamm offered Cetera a guest spot on a future tour with Chicago, he said, and Peter Cetera turned him down.

“I said: ‘Would you be interested in having your band open the show, then sing a couple of songs with us — whatever you want to do,'” Lamm told CBS Local affiliate KHITS in Chicago. “He said: “I never say never, but I’m happy doing what I do. I said: ‘What I am talking about potentially would have an amazing impact on a lot of people who love these songs. We play ’em and we know that they love them. I think it could be really a lot fo fun.’ He said: ‘Let me think about it.’ Then, we we talked again, and he said: ‘You know, I just don’t want to work that hard.'”

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  • I’d be happy to take his place. It would be great to cap my career by playing bass and singing with such an iconic act.

  • Robert Morein

    Chicago is really now only one of many Chicago “cover” bands. And sadly, they aren’t even the best. The rump band now touring as Chicago are basically not very good musicians. It was Kath, Cetera, and Seraphine that were the real talents along with producer Jim Guercio. The band should have retooled after the loss of Kath. Seraphine’s CTA band plays refreshed Chicago tunes as well as new material.

  • Peter

    I wouldn’t have minded seeing that, but is anyone surprised? He left in 1985 and didn’t tour for 10 years. He played a handful of dates in 1995 and 1996, then didn’t tour for seven more years. Now he plays a handful of shows here or there.

    After playing 200-300 days a day with Chicago, he probably had enough of big tours and obviously doesn’t need the bread. And at 68 years old, most people are retired.

    Glad they got together for coffee though.