Artist Q-and-A
May 28, 2013 • 10:58:12 a.m.

Former Chicago drummer Danny Seraphine coming to St. Charles on May 31


Danny Seraphine (Courtesy photo)

Rolling Stone magazine ranked Danny Seraphine as one of the top 100 drummers of all time.
Seraphine, co-founder and original drummer for the band Chicago, will be part of the “The Heart and Soul of Chicago” tour, which comes May 31 to the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles.

Seraphine will perform with his band California Transit Authority, whose sound recalls the horn-blasted sound of the Chicago Transit Authority, which became simply Chicago.

Also on the bill are former Chicago singer and songwriter Bill Champlin, Dennis Tufano, original singer of The Buckinghams, and Chicago tribute band 25 or 6 to 4 – The Chicago Experience.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets start at $39, available at or by calling 630-962-7000.

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Seraphine about the upcoming show.

Eric Schelkopf: You will be performing with Bill Champlin at the show and, of course, Bill also sings lead vocals on “Full Circle,” a song from California Transit Authority’s new CD, “Sacred Ground.” Is that extra special for you, to be working with him again?

Danny Seraphine: It is. He came in and did a very heart rendering, really truthful interpretation of the song. He sings it beautifully.

The whole reunion of Bill and I is really a good thing. It’s a real positive thing in my life, and I believe it’s the same for him.

I’m really proud of this record, and I believe that it will be around for the next 50 years, and people will think of it as a great record.

ES: You call your group California Transit Authority. Do you see the group as an homage to Chicago Transit Authority and Chicago?
Totally. I’ve always loved the name Chicago Transit Authority.

This group is really cut from the same cloth as the original CTA. It’s a really, powerful, powerful machine.
The original Chicago Transit Authority, in my opinion, is one of the best bands there ever was, and that includes The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

None of those bands could even stand with us as far as total singing, songwriting, musicianship, creativity. I would never say we’re better than The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, but we did things that they couldn’t even touch.

And that’s just the truth of it. The new CTA is also a world-class band, and there aren’t many bands that can equal it.

ES: What do you think made Chicago so good?
The great horn section, three really great vocalists, and the strong rhythm section. A lot of people think my drumming was very groundbreaking. I can’t judge that. That’s for other people to say.

You had all those elements that were really strong. We received a lot of criticism, especially once we became commercially successful, but that happens to everybody.

There was no weak point in the band. Once we lost Terry [Kath], it was very tough.
He was one of the greatest guitar players that ever walked the planet. Losing him left a huge void in the band.

ES: I know that Rolling Stone magazine ranked as one of the top 100 drummers of all time. How do you feel about that, and who influenced you in your drumming style?
It’s a great source of pride, obviously. I had great influences and I also had great teachers.
My very first influence was Gene Krupa, a fellow Chicagoan. His style had so much flair. That is always prevalent and obvious in my style.

There is a very strong R&B undertone in my drumming, and that’s from growing up in Chicago, and listening to all the R&B bands.

The thing I do best, I think, is that I fuse jazz and rock together seamlessly. It just comes to me very easily. It just rolls off naturally.

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