© Promotional image courtesy Warner Music
Chicago's greatest achievement has been 47 years of recording and touring on the strength of music new and old, according to founding member Lee Loughnane. Pictured is the band's 2013 line-up. They have since added a ninth member.
Longevity a crowning achievement for legendary rock act
Consistently making new and original music is Chicago's greatest achievement, according to founding member Lee Loughnane.
came out … and we've gotten American Music Awards … and that kind of stuff. That's all great, but those are fleeting moments," Loughnane told the Times-Herald Friday.
"What we get to do now is perform each night. The accolades are great, and we're thankful for them, but we don't rely on those to continue the career. We just put our nose to the grindstone and continue to record original music."
Fleeting though it may be, Chicago is no stranger to success.
The band has charted Top 40 albums in six decades, was listed above all other American acts in 13th position on Billboard Magazine's Top 100 artists of all time, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has sold more than 100 million records, and the list goes on.
Other bands might rest on their laurels. Not Chicago, Loughnane said.
"When the songs were written, musically, we tried to make them all interesting. (The old songs) haven't been easier to play than the day they were recorded, so we have to keep our chops up just to play those tunes," he said.
The band hasn't missed a single concert date in 47 years.
When asked what their secret to success has been, Loughnane was quick to respond.
"It has a lot to do with the music just having something emotional that draws people in," he said. "The people we played for originally were our age. They started to bring their kids to the shows as well, and the kids enjoyed the music as much as the parents did. Something in the music resonated with new generations."
That love for the music is a good thing, Loughnane added, because the band feeds on it.
"I used to say that nervous energy I felt before the show … I used to drink it away, when I was still boozing and drugging. … I choose not to do that anymore, because that nervous energy I was drinking away is performance energy," he explained.
"If you focus it out to the audience, it somehow bounces back to you. That tightrope walk goes on for the whole show. It's pretty cool — that instant gratification, I guess — that you get if someone likes the music. Or not."
Ultimately, it's the music — and the fans — that keep the band coming back for more.
"We play the same songs every night. It's amazing that the career just keeps moving on," said Loughnane. "The thing that means the most to me, truthfully, is the ability to just keep doing what we're doing."
Chicago will keep doing what they're doing March 7 when they play Moose Jaw's Mosaic Place. Tickets are still available at the box office and can be purchased in person, online at mosaicplace.ca, or by phone at (306) 624-2050.