||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2010)|
Scheff in 2013
|Birth name||Jason Randolph Scheff|
April 16, 1962 |
San Diego, California, U.S.
|Genres||Rock, blues, R'n'B|
|Instruments||Vocals, bass guitar, keytar, guitar|
|Associated acts||Chicago, Neil Diamond|
|Sadowsky Bass Guitar, Lakland Instruments|
Jason Randolph Scheff (born April 16, 1962 in San Diego, California) is an American bassist, singer, and songwriter. Since 1985, he has been the bassist and singer for the veteran pop-rock band Chicago. He is the oldest son of well-known session bassist Jerry Scheff, who toured for several years with Elvis Presley. His brothers Darin and Lauren Scheff are also professional songwriters.
Scheff was a graduating member of the Class of 1980 at San Diego's Point Loma High School. He started his professional musical career in 1982 as a member of the Los Angeles–based rock band named Keane (not to be confused with the English band of the same name). In the late 1970s and early 1980s, he played in a variety of bands with musicians who would go on to form Ratt.
In mid-1985, 23-year-old Scheff joined the multi-platinum Chicago, after Peter Cetera had departed the band to emphasize his solo career. Scheff's was noted for his ability to closely duplicate Cetera's vocal parts on Chicago's existing hits. His ability with lead vocals was debuted on the 1986 single "25 or 6 to 4," a remake of their 1970 hit, and then followed up with lead vocals on the hit single "Will You Still Love Me?".
Besides performing the band's classic material, Scheff has composed several original songs for the band, including their 1989 Top 10 single "What Kind Of Man Would I Be?." Scheff also cowrote the song "Heart of Mine" with Bobby Caldwell and Dennis Matkosky, and the song became a big hit for Boz Scaggs in 1988. It was included in the 1988 Boz Scaggs album "Other Roads" and the collection Hits!. Scheff, along with co-writers Peter Wolf and Ina Wolf, wrote a song in 1993 called "Bigger Than Elvis," for what was intended to be Chicago's 22nd album. This song is about Jason Scheff's father, Jerry Scheff, describing Jason's childhood memories of watching his father play for Elvis Presley on television, and thinking that his father was the big star. "Elvis was just a guy in a suit," Jason said during the 2003 concert on A&E's Live by Request. The album however, was rejected by Warner Brothers in 1993, and remained unreleased until 2008 when Rhino released it as Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus. In 2005, Scheff and Chicago founding member Robert Lamm convinced the band to record Chicago XXX, their first collection of new material since 1991's Twenty 1. Scheff also enlisted Rascal Flatts vocalist and bassist, Jay DeMarcus, to serve as producer for the new album, which was released on March 21, 2006. Scheff co-wrote seven of the twelve songs on the CD.
In 2005, Scheff (credited as Jason Chefe), appeared on the Pink Floyd tribute album Back Against the Wall, performing lead vocals and bass on the track "Run Like Hell", together with Dweezil Zappa (lead guitar), Tony Kaye (keyboard solo), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), Bob Kulick (electric guitar), Billy Sherwood (keyboards).
In late 2006, Scheff joined indie supergroup L.E.O. to create the album Alpacas Orgling, a tribute to Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. Alpacas Orgling was released in October 2006, to generally positive reviews.