List of Chicago band members

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Chicago performing live in 2005.

Chicago is an American rock band from Chicago, Illinois. Formed in February 1967, the group was originally known as The Big Thing and later Chicago Transit Authority, before becoming Chicago in 1969. Initially featuring guitarist and vocalist Terry Kath, keyboardist and vocalist Robert Lamm, drummer Danny Seraphine, saxophonist Walter Parazaider, trumpeter Lee Loughnane and trombonist James Pankow, the band added bassist and vocalist Peter Cetera in December 1967. The group has been through many lineup changes and currently includes four original members – Lamm, Loughnane, Pankow, and Parazaider – plus guitarist Keith Howland (since 1995), keyboardist Lou Pardini (since 2009), drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. (since 2012), saxophonist Ray Herrmann (since 2016), vocalist Neil Donell, bassist Brett Simons and percussionist Ramon "Ray" Yslas (all since 2018).

History[edit]

1967–2009[edit]

Chicago was formed under the name The Big Thing on February 15, 1967, with the original lineup comprising guitarist and vocalist Terry Kath, keyboardist and vocalist Robert Lamm, drummer Danny Seraphine, saxophonist Walter Parazaider, trumpeter Lee Loughnane and trombonist James Pankow.[1] In December, bassist Peter Cetera was added to the band, which was soon renamed Chicago Transit Authority.[2] After the release of a self-titled debut album in April 1969, the band shortened its name to simply Chicago after receiving a threat of legal action from the Chicago Transit Authority.[1] The group's lineup remained stable for over ten years and released a series commercially and critically successful albums. In 1974, percussionist Laudir de Oliveira was added as an eighth member of the band after contributing to Chicago VI and VII as a guest musician.[3] On January 23, 1978, however, the band suffered its first personnel loss when Kath accidentally killed himself with a gunshot to the head.[4]

The band briefly considered breaking up after Kath's death, but ultimately chose to continue and added Donnie Dacus as his replacement in April 1978.[5] After just two albums, Dacus was dismissed from Chicago in February 1980.[6] He was replaced by Chris Pinnick, who was initially credited as an additional contributor but later upgraded to a full band member.[1] After the release of Chicago XIV, the band was complemented on tour by Marty Grebb on saxophone, guitar and keyboards.[7] At the end of the album's touring cycle, de Oliveira left Chicago.[8] In late 1981, after being dropped by Columbia Records, the band started working with David Foster as its new producer, who introduced keyboardist, guitarist and vocalist Bill Champlin to the lineup.[1] Cetera's brother, Kenny, performed background vocals on Chicago 17,[9][10] and was also added as a touring percussionist and background singer after its release in 1984.[11] Despite renewed commercial success for the group, Cetera left Chicago in July 1985 to focus on his solo career.[12] Pinnick left around the same time.[1]

Cetera was replaced in September 1985 by Jason Scheff, son of former Elvis Presley bassist Jerry Scheff.[13] Pinnick was not replaced until the following July, when former Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band guitarist Dawayne Bailey joined the group.[14] Chicago lost another founding member in May 1990, when Seraphine was fired and replaced by Tris Imboden.[15] After voicing his frustration with the cancellation of Stone of Sisyphus in 1994, Bailey's contract was not renewed and he was dismissed from the band.[16] Bruce Gaitsch initially filled in on guitar, including the recording of 1995's Night & Day: Big Band,[17] before Keith Howland was hired as Bailey's replacement in January 1995.[18] Chicago's lineup remained stable throughout the rest of the 1990s and the 2000s, save for the addition of several touring substitutes at various times, including trombonist Nick Lane in place of Pankow,[19] saxophonist Larry Klimas in place of Parazaider,[20] and trumpeter Lee Thornburg in place of Loughnane.[21]

2009 onwards[edit]

In 2009, after substituting for Imboden on drums at a number of shows, Drew Hester joined Chicago on percussion.[22][23] Shortly thereafter, Champlin left Chicago after 28 years with the band, reportedly to focus on his solo career.[24] He was replaced on keyboards and vocals by Lou Pardini.[24] Champlin later claimed that he was fired, rather than having left of his own choosing.[25] Hester left in May 2012 to return to focus on drumming.[26] His place was initially taken briefly by Daniel de los Reyes, before his brother Walfredo Reyes Jr. took over more permanently when the former committed full-time to the Zac Brown Band instead.[27] In October 2016, Scheff also left the band after a five-month leave of absence due to "family health issues", with his replacement Jeff Coffey taking over on a permanent basis.[28] The following year, Parazaider retired from touring due to a heart condition, with Ray Herrmann taking his place as an official band member (although Parazaider remained a member of the band, too).[29]

Chicago experienced two lineup changes in January 2018 – first Imboden announced on January 17 that he was leaving to spend more time with his new wife, then two days later Coffey followed due to the band's heavy touring schedule.[30] Reyes subsequently switched from percussion to take over Imboden's role on drums, while Coffey was replaced by vocalist Neil Donell and bassist Brett Simons.[31] Daniel de los Reyes filled in on percussion again when the band returned to touring,[32] before Ramon "Ray" Yslas took over on a permanent basis.[33]

Members[edit]

Current[edit]

Image Name Years active Instruments Release contributions
Robert Lamm profile plus.jpg
Robert Lamm 1967–present
  • keyboards
  • lead and backing vocals
  • guitar
all Chicago releases to date
Lee Loughnane.jpg
Lee Loughnane
  • trumpet
  • flugelhorn
  • backing and occasional lead vocals
James Pankow.jpg
James Pankow
  • trombone
  • backing vocals
  • occasional percussion and keyboards
Walter Parazaider.jpg
Walter Parazaider 1967–present
(retired from touring since 2017)
  • saxophones
  • flute
  • clarinet
  • backing vocals
all Chicago releases from Chicago Transit Authority (1969) to VI Decades Live: This Is What We Do (2018)
Keith Howland.jpg
Keith Howland 1995–present
  • guitar
  • backing and occasional lead vocals
Lou Pardini, keyboards, Chicago, 2013.jpeg
Lou Pardini 2009–present
(touring substitute in 1999 and 2007)
  • keyboards
  • lead and backing vocals
  • Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three (2011)
  • Chicago XXXVI: Now (2014)
  • Chicago at Symphony Hall (2015)
  • Chicago II Live on Soundstage (2018)
  • Greatest Hits Live (2018)
Walfredo Reyes, Jr..jpeg
Walfredo Reyes Jr. 2012–present
  • drums (2018–present)
  • percussion (2012–2018)
all Chicago releases from Chicago XXXVI: Now (2014) onwards, except VI Decades Live: This Is What We Do (2018)
Ray Herrmann 2016–present
(touring substitute member from 2005 to 2016)
  • saxophones
  • flute
  • clarinet
  • backing vocals
  • Chicago XXXVI: Now (2014) {as a session musician}
  • Chicago II Live on Soundstage (2018)
  • Greatest Hits Live (2018)
Neil Donell 2018–present
  • lead and backing vocals
  • acoustic guitar
none to date
Brett Simons
  • bass
  • backing vocals
Ramon "Ray" Yslas
  • percussion
  • congas

Former[edit]

Image Name Years active Instruments Release contributions
Danny Seraphine.jpg
Danny Seraphine 1967–1990
  • drums
  • percussion
Terry Kath.jpg
Terry Kath 1967–1978
(until his death)
  • guitar
  • vocals
  • occasional bass
  • all Chicago releases from Chicago Transit Authority (1969) to Chicago XI (1977)
  • Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75 (2011)
  • VI Decades Live: This Is What We Do (2018)
Peter Cetera - 2017356211841 2017-12-22 Night of the Proms - Sven - 1D X MK II - 0772 - B70I8267.jpg
Peter Cetera 1967–1985
  • bass
  • vocals
  • occasional guitar
  • all Chicago releases from Chicago Transit Authority (1969) to Chicago 17 (1984)
  • Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75 (2011)
  • VI Decades Live: This Is What We Do (2018)
Laudir de Oliveira - Espaço Tom Jobim - 21-10-16.jpg
Laudir de Oliveira 1974–1981
(session 1973–74)
(died 2017)
  • percussion
  • congas
Donnie Dacus 1978–1980
  • guitar
  • vocals
Chris Pinnick 1980–1985
(credited as a band member from 1984)
guitar
Bill Champlin2.jpg
Bill Champlin 1981–2009
  • keyboards
  • guitar
  • vocals
Jason Scheff, bass and vocals.jpg
Jason Scheff 1985–2016
  • bass
  • vocals
  • occasional keyboards and guitar
  • all Chicago releases from Chicago 18 (1986) to Chicago at Symphony Hall (2015), except Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75 (2011)
  • VI Decades Live: This Is What We Do
Dawayne Bailey 1986–1994
  • guitar
  • backing vocals
  • Chicago 19 (1988)
  • Twenty 1 (1991)
  • Chicago XXXII: Stone of Sisyphus (2008)
  • VI Decades Live: This Is What We Do
Tris Imboden, Chicago, 2013.jpg
Tris Imboden 1990–2018
  • drums
  • percussion
  • occasional harmonica
all Chicago releases from Twenty 1 (1991) to Greatest Hits Live (2018), except Chicago XXXIV: Live in '75 (2011) and VI Decades Live: This Is What We Do (2018)
Bruce Gaitsch 1994–1995 guitar
Drew Hester 2009–2012
(touring substitute in early 2009)
  • percussion
  • drums (2009)
Chicago XXXIII: O Christmas Three (2011)
Daniel de los Reyes
  • 2012
  • 2018
percussion none
Jeff Coffey 2016–2018
(touring substitute in early 2016)
  • bass
  • vocals
  • Chicago II Live on Soundstage (2018)
  • Greatest Hits Live (2018)

Touring[edit]

Image Name Years active Instruments Release contributions and comments
Marty Grebb 1980–1981
  • saxophones
  • guitar
  • keyboards
  • backing vocals
Grebb joined Chicago on tour for the promotional cycle following the release of Chicago XIV in 1980.[7]
Kenny Cetera 1984–1985
  • percussion
  • backing vocals
Chicago 17 (background vocals).[9][10] Peter Cetera's brother Kenny also toured with Chicago after the release of Chicago 17, before both left.[11]
Steve Jankowski
  • 1992
  • 2006
trumpet Jankowski and Thornburg have both substituted for Lee Loughnane on various occasions.[34][21][35]
Supertramp Live 2010 in Madrid 2.jpg
Lee Thornburg
  • 1992
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2012
Tom Timko
  • 1992
  • 2005
  • saxophones
  • flute
Timko substituted for Walter Parazaider during the summer of 1992 and again in the summer of 2005.[36]
Nick Lane 1999–present trombone Lane has substituted for James Pankow on various occasions since 1999, and continues to do so.[19]
Larry Klimas 2003–present
  • saxophones
  • flute
Klimas has been a regular substitute for Walter Parazaider and Ray Herrmann since 2003.[20]
Art Velasco 2011 trombone Velasco substituted for James Pankow during show in 2011.[citation needed]

Timeline[edit]

Lineups[edit]

Period Members Releases
February – December 1967
(as The Big Thing)
none
December 1967 – June 1968
(as The Big Thing)
  • Peter Cetera – bass/guitar, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals
  • Terry Kath – guitar/bass, vocals
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
June 1968 – mid-1969
(as Chicago Transit Authority)
  • Peter Cetera – bass/guitar, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals
  • Terry Kath – guitar/bass, vocals
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
Mid-1969 – mid-1974
  • Peter Cetera – bass/guitar, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals
  • Terry Kath – guitar/bass, vocals
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
Mid-1974 – January 1978
  • Peter Cetera – bass/guitar, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, vocals
  • Terry Kath – guitar/bass, vocals
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Laudir de Oliveira – percussion, congas
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
April 1978 – February 1980
  • Peter Cetera – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Donnie Dacus – guitar, vocals
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Laudir de Oliveira – percussion, congas
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
February 1980 – late 1981
  • Peter Cetera – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Chris Pinnick – guitar
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Laudir de Oliveira – percussion, congas
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
Late 1981 – July 1985
  • Peter Cetera – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards guitar, vocals
  • Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Chris Pinnick – guitar
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
September 1985 – July 1986
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
July 1986 – May 1990
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Dawayne Bailey – guitar, backing vocals
  • Danny Seraphine – drums, percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
May 1990 – late 1994
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Dawayne Bailey – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
December 1994 – January 1995
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Bruce Gaitsch – guitar
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
January 1995 – mid-2009
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
Mid-2009
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Bill Champlin – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Drew Hester – percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
none
August 2009 – May 2012
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Drew Hester – percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
May 2012
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Daniel de los Reyes – percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
none
May 2012 – October 2016
  • Jason Scheff – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Walfredo Reyes Jr. – percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
October 2016 – June 2017
  • Jeff Coffey – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Walfredo Reyes Jr. – percussion
  • Walter Parazaider – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
none
June 2017 – January 2018
  • Jeff Coffey – bass, vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Tris Imboden – drums, percussion, harmonica
  • Walfredo Reyes Jr. – percussion
  • Ray Herrmann – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
  • Chicago II Live on Soundstage (2018)
  • Greatest Hits Live (2018)
January – May 2018
  • Neil Donell – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Brett Simons – bass, backing vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards guitar, vocals
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Walfredo Reyes Jr. – drums
  • Daniel de los Reyes – percussion
  • Ray Herrmann – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals
none
May 2018 – present
  • Neil Donell – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Brett Simons – bass, backing vocals
  • Robert Lamm – keyboards, guitar, vocals
  • Lou Pardini – keyboards, vocals
  • Keith Howland – guitar, backing vocals
  • Walfredo Reyes Jr. – drums
  • Ramon "Ray" Yslas – percussion
  • Ray Herrmann – woodwind, backing vocals
  • Lee Loughnane – trumpet, backing vocals
  • James Pankow – trombone, backing vocals

References[edit]

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External links[edit]