What happened when my dad was inducted in the R&R Hall of Fame.

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“We lived together, as most bands do, we cried together, we fought together, we fucked together.” ~Danny Seraphine, my dad and original drummer of Chicago.

My jaw dropped. And then an explosion of noise and clapping from the audience.

I knew that one line was going to be problematic for my dad, but I also knew how authentic it was to where he was in the moment.

To see my dad playing with his band Chicago after 25 years of estrangement was emotional for me, my 5 other siblings who were on hand to celebrate, as well as his fans. They played Saturday in the Park, Does Anybody Know What Time it Is and 25 or 6 to 4. Iconic radio hits that defined much of my childhood. I remember dancing and singing during every concert while I was growing up.

During the time I spent in NYC I was privy once more to the Shadow that presides in the music business. This is the stuff I detest, but also a part of the whole consciousness of rock n’ roll.

Seraphine family: Me, Sofia (JD's wife), JD, Ashley, Taryn, Maria, Danielle.

Seraphine family: Me, Sofia (JD’s wife), JD, Ashley, Taryn, Maria, Danielle.

But first a mythological digression …

Back in the late 60’s and 70’s the rock stars (Zeppelin, Stones, Hendrix, Joplin, The Doors and Chicago for example) were crazy, out of this world talented, ground-breaking musicians and created songs that will stand the test of time. They all had their own unique sounds. They made music for themselves and for their audiences.

But they were pulled into hard liquor, hard drugs, wanton sex, sadness, and depression – into a Dionysian underworld. Their lives were an orgy of debauchery that left their significant others and children, if they had them, behind. These were the abandoned children. This was my sister Danielle and I.

Flash forward to the 80s and 90s when Chicago was still going strong. My dad was remarried and had 3 other children. They also were thrust into a world of shadows, but this was a Plutonian one. Power, money and sex were the demons they had to learn to grapple with.

In 1990 my dad was “voted out” of the band he started. It was one of the saddest moments of our family history and one that wounded everyone, not just him. The backstabbing and betrayal. The loss of dear friends. And of course seeing my dad, who was usually optimistic and ambitious, dive into the deepest depression I had ever seen.

As I got off the plane in NYC, of course I was apprehensive about what would transpire during the ceremony. After all, dad hadn’t played on stage with these guys in 25 years.

The other guys in the band made nice, but dull-as-dishwater, speeches that will generally be forgotten (save one line by Lee who thanked his ex-wives for making sure he had to keep touring and working). But on the good side, they thanked their families for putting up with their long absences and bad behavior over their decades long run in the spotlight. Forgive my sarcasm.

To be fair, the rock and roll lifestyle is hard on everyone, including the band members. Saxophonist Walt Parazaider, who was like my uncle and whose daughter Laura was my dearest friend growing up, did give a sincere thank you to his wife of 50 years. I’m sure you know how rare it is for a marriage to last that long in this business.

The repetitive and nauseating “thank you’s” to their manager was detestable. Not only because the HBO producers of the show asked all members to not repeat names for time sake, but also because I have personal reasons for feeling this way. It’s a man I’ve known since I was a little kid and he was a viper from day one. Yet I smiled at him pleasantly most of my life because I was acting the good girl so not to be abandoned again. Today, I wouldn’t deign to shake his hand or even look at him.

I know I’m beginning to sound fucking angry here. I sound like a bitter bitch, but I do have something to say and the right to say it. And you get to see MY shadow in all of this too.

When dad said that phrase, “we fucked together…”
I thought, “he stepped himself right back into the shadow again.”

Because when you’re shoved into a complex, in that I mean a driving, unconscious behavior, that holds you tight, no matter how long ago it was, it’s nearly impossible to step into another role.

Now, my dad was definitely no angel when it came to sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, despite his name “Seraphine” which derives from seraphim a Hebrew word that means “fiery, winged serpent,” which pertains to the highest hierarchy of angels in Heaven.

The serpent has always remained a shadow character in the Western, Christianized mind. But if you look on the caduceous still used by the medical industry today, the snake is a symbol of wise medicine and healing.

There is deep medicine in the shadow. It makes us confront those parts of ourselves that are disowned, and often angry/resentful/sad/depressed, that we don’t want other people to see.

Saying the word, “fuck” over and over and “screw you” basically highlights anger.

At the moment he said those words, I didn’t think it was “appropriate” during a televised ceremony, but apparently it was exactly what people needed to hear, thus the cheering and overwhelming support my dad has received from his fans and peers. I think they felt angry too.

And, once I got home I realized how much anger and resentment I’d been holding onto towards the band and their legacy.

Made me wonder: did my own anger, along with everyone else’s, lingering in the shadow contribute to dad’s speech?

You know from the point of view of a unity consciousness where all of us participate in a play of sorts, like at a rock concert.

Whether it did or not, it was exactly what needed to be said. It broke 25 years of tension and repressed anger.

I’m so proud of my dad and what he has accomplished. Mostly, I am so grateful for the magical and interesting life he and my mom gave me. There have been lots of advantages of being the child of a rockstar. World travel, the gift of music, free stuff, wealth, the fun, the adventure and the laughter. I don’t know anyone, from any sort of family, that didn’t have moments of pain and sadness.

Still, I’m surprised at these old feelings rearing their ugly heads up.

I’m letting it be what it is and this gives me hope that the anger can clear away leaving room for forgiveness. For all of it. For everyone.

My hope is that my dad and the band can also mend the bridge one of these days.

I think roads of reconciliation were mapped out and now they need to be paved. I’d like to walk down that road and leave more of the past behind.

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Mostly, I felt like I was watching the opening chapter of my dad’s comeback story. Wouldn’t that be cool?!!

Videos you can watch with the speeches and showing the band perform are below. The performance was the highlight for me. I danced and sang the whole time and that part felt REALLY good!

Induction Speech

Chicago’s Performance

https://youtu.be/bKCYLmch0q4

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There are 135 comments on What happened when my dad was inducted in the R&R Hall of Fame.

  • Interesting writing… and even though you were much closer to the source, it amazes me as well how many faces and places even these 3 songs bring back… If You Leave Me Now was another big one… the soundtracks of our lives… here’s hoping for the comeback trail if that’s truly what your Dad would enjoy.

    • Hi Nic, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes, you and Tony were there with me through a lot of that time. I know Dad wants a reconciliation … but the “we fucked together” line may have stalled it out a bit. LOL!

      • Kris, it was so cool to see your dad behind those drums with “Chicago” on them again. Thanks for sharing the videos. Those songs were so much of my teens also. I played them all in my high school jazz band!! I’m happy for your dad for whatever good it means for him.

    • We love your family, Kris, Danielle, all your siblings, and of course your dad,
      For 40 years now, I’ve known your dad, from B’Ginnings daze, I sat at the sound console with him, for Streetplayer , in 1976, had meet and greets in 87 & 89, then last year, and this past April with EWF, I also booked your dad @ Northbrook Days, and hugged Danielle, as she thanked me for “bringing her dad back home ! I also helped organize and put on our successful Terry Kath Tribute Concerts @ Taft H.S. reuniting your dad with Jim Guercio & Kenny Cetera, , also had Michelle at our last one ! The love for everyone involved with the band runs deep ! Negative emotions have run rampant in these past 3 or 4 decades, time to bury the past. I myself have never given in,, to negativity, my relationships with all original,, current, and former members, along with management, has survived the tests of happy, sad, and bitter times. Great piece you have written Kris, let’s move forward, life is fleeting,, enjoy the good things while we still can !

      • Thank you Keith!

        Your kindness and support are appreciated by the whole Seraphine clan!

        Love + blessings,

        Kris

  • What a beautiful testimony to the journey you and your family have shared. I was so happy to hear of your dad’s induction into the hall of fame. So very deserving. It must have meant so much for all of you to be able to share that moment together. I can appreciate it being a mixed bag of emotions as echoes of the past knocked on the door. Here’s to the healing light filtering through it all. Sending you oodles of love!

    • Thank you Laurel-Angel for being there for me throughout the years as my angel!

      It truly was an awesome moment to share with my whole family.

      • Hi. I love how your dad played the drums! So awesome. I wasn’t born till 1970 but love all the early stuff. Thank you.

  • Beautifully written and said. Deeply felt. Love your beautiful soul Kris.

    • I love you Stepmonster. I’ll always remember your pep talks and healings. Your work helped straghten out my spine even! Very few people can ever tell I have scoliosis.

      xox!!

  • Kris,
    First off, Chicago (CTA) is just NOW getting into RnR HOF? Sheesh, I figured they were in years ago – just shows how messed up the HOF has, unfortunately become. Chicago defined and delivered an entirely new sound to Rock-n-Roll, but I digress…

    More importantly, thank you for sharing this experience, meaning what you were experiencing that night. I could tell from the body language of your Dad and his bandmates, during his comments that yes, there may be some more reconciliation ground to cover. There is anger there, indeed. I think, sometimes, crowds cheer at F-bombs for the sheer fun of it, less because of a unity consciousness of anger. But that does not take away from the authenticity of what you and your family, and perhaps the Band too, feels. That is big enough group for your own unity consciousness. I do hope there is release – for your Dad, the Band, all of you – from that real healing can occur.
    Thanks,
    Don

    • Hi Don, thank you for your heartfelt thoughts and wise words! How’s your back-straightening device coming…we drummers of the world need it!

      xox

  • did u just mention chicago in the same sentence as led zeppelin, jimi hendrix, and the rolling stones? whoa.

  • Beautifully written sweetheart. You know That I was around for a lot of all that, so I really get what you’re talking about.
    Not sure which manager you’re referring to, but if it’s Guercio, I totally agree. What he did to my Freddie can never be forgiven.
    I am really happy you can look back and understand it all. What a time we lived in!
    Your Dad’s speech made me feel SO proud to call him my friend. I already emailed him that.
    Love You

    • Love you Mo!!

      Thank you for reading and actually I wasn’t referring to Guercio. I had no idea you were so hurt by him. That stinks.

      I’m so glad we’re all still in touch.

      xox

  • Thank you for your honest thoughts. Thank God for your father’s remarks. First Peter chooses not to show and then your dad drops the F-Bomb…FINALLY…some Rock N Roll edge from Chicago.

  • Great heartfelt writing. A tribute to your dad that is well deserved. Chicago has been my favorite group since 1969 when they were. just emerging from the underground. That being said – they have never been as good as when Danny was with them. To me, Terry was a great loss but losing Danny was devastating. To be able to see him perform again with his new group makes my day.

  • We’ve never met, unless we ran into each other the other night in Brooklyn. I did meet your dad at a party that night and found him a classy and gracious man. I got the sense the evening had brought him some peace, but there was still sadness in his eyes when I caught sight of him in a quiet moment.

    Speaking as a fan sitting in the audience while your dad spoke, I can only speak for myself, but I cheered his comment, not out of anger or simply because I could, but out of a gut-level recognition that this was something *he* needed to say. I respect him for having the intestinal fortitude to say what he needed to and to not let anyone stop him. More of us should speak out when it means that much to us.

    It’s too easy for those of us who love the music to forget the full scope of the price that was paid to create it. It’s something I will be more mindful of in the future.

    I wish you and your family the best, and I hope your dad’s journey takes him down more peaceful roads…or at least as peaceful as he desires.

    • Hi Julia – not sure if we met, but thank you for sharing your wisdom here. I’m sure Dad appreciates the good wishes too.

      xox!

      • Annalisa Andrews on

        Hi Kris
        I hope you don’t mind me intervening here, hoping this isn’t inappropriate. But I felt it was the right place to leave comment to you, after Julia said what she did about having a gut felt recognition.
        My whole life I had loved the band Chicago. Then I hadn’t thought of them for years, and it suddenly occurred to me that I had to listen to them again, so I looked them up on YouTube. At the time I had no idea who was who, but I noticed every time I watched a clip the drummer would stand out to me and I knew something was wrong. I started to look up what I could about him, and when I learnt he had been let go from Chicago in the 90s etc I became absolutely miserable and concerned for his well-being for years to come. I thought, this is ridiculous, I don’t even know this person, but the injustice that I could pick up on in video clips etc and his sadness… I just could not ignore, I guessed it was an empath type of thing. And I also, like yourself thought about the name Seraphine, the angels etc. aspect. So that gut wrenching feeling stayed with me for years and I prayed for happiness for you all…until the hall of fame evening that I once again viewed on video as I live in Australia. And the way your father never backed down and remained the honest natured person he seems to be, well I knew he was going to be fine from there on in. The universe definitely changed course from that moment on, and I truly believe that cloud has lifted from your lives. The other thing I want you to know is that I didn’t just think about your father, but about his family-you-as well:). I wish you the very best and hope that you and your family all stay well xxx

        • Thank you Annalisa for your love and concern! You are such a sweet soul.

          All at Chez Seraphine are happy, well and thriving.

          Sending you many blessings,

          Kris

  • That is great writing.
    Something to be very proud of.

  • Based upon what I saw(via periscope) on Friday night, you should be extremely proud of your father. Danny showed what type of man he truly is, on stage that night. F-bombs aside, his true character showed through when he was the one to show love and concern for Michelle, helping her approach the microphone, and then putting his arm around her while she spoke from the heart on behalf of her father. I’ve been a fan of the band for 46 years and I know that I learned a lot from the behaviors displayed on stage that night. Your family should be proud to follow your father on the high road.

    • Thanks Bruce, We are very proud of him indeed. Thanks for pointing out how he was so supportive of Michelle Kath. It was very gentlemanly and kind of him.

  • I was hoping the love the fans had for Danny and all those done wrong by the whole mess might be a nice point of healing for people. I shouted at the end of his acceptance speech, even though I thought he might be characterized by overuse of the f-bomb. I love your dad. And who am I? I never met him until he came to our after party but I heard and saw him for years and those early moments will never be replaced by someone who copies his licks. And I loved seeing all his family there smiling. I didn’t want to infringe on family time, but I did notice that it was time for family and not just mixing around with everyone. At least at one point. Thanks for writing this and congrats to the whole family. If there’s anything I can do to bring healing, I will.

    • Hi Brian, we’ll see if more forgiveness will come from the other guys in the group. I think it is their silly pride at this point.

      And we never feel like the fans infringe upon our family time, especially at those kinds of events. It’s always so sweet to meet Dad’s and the band’s fans. You ROCK!

  • I too Totally understand your comments about that night. I could tell how much your dad truly enjoyed the ceremony and playing with Chicago after 25 years. If any new breakthrough was Ever going to happen , the unfortunate use of those F- bombs, very possibly put a stall to those ideas.

  • The words you used were beautifully eloquent. I watched the acceptance speeches and I was deeply affected by Danny’s words. I found his recollection and appreciation for EVERYONE who helped and believed in the band, Chicago, extremely refreshing. It was obvious- his sincere appreciation and gratitude for his journey. I have admired him for many, many years. This gives me another reason to love him….. his integrity! I am wary though of the ‘shadow’ .. like you. I’m going to pray for the best possible outcome and for his strength … and for YOU. xo

  • Kris.. I didn’t get to meet you but I did meet JD & Ashley. I was the one that took care of the wrist bands for your family at the after party. When I think of CHICAGO.. I think of Terry Kath, Peter Cetera & your Dad. Danny spoke the truth that night & the only one who made a sincere, heartfelt acknowledgement of both Terry , Peter & all others that were involved in making CHICAGO.
    The F-bombs were awesome. Remember it’s only Rock n Roll and we like it!!!

  • Hi Kris, thanks for sharing your experience, very well written! Had the pleasure of meeting your dad twice. I was in the audience on the 8th, and this was my only time seeing your dad live with Chicago, the first time I wanted to see Chicago was 1989 and they bypassed my city. It felt so satisfying to finally see it happen. His energy and passion have been missed. Hope his honesty and sincerity were appreciated by the band members. In a time when there is much emphasis on public political correctness, it’s nice to see some genuineness. BTW I knew there was a reason why PS rubs me the wrong way.

  • Particularly fine writing and inspiring openness.
    Thanks, Kris!

    • Brandon!! Thank you for leaving a comment and so sorry it’s taken me this long to respond.

      Life takes over, ya know?!

      Sending love and blessings your way,

      Kris

  • I was crying when your father took the stage. I also cried when I saw Chicago at Madison Square Garden with EW&F in 2008 remembering seeing them in 1975 with Peter and Terry and your Dad hoping he would be on drums. Your father expressed himself better than anyone else in the band. They completely disregarded James William Guercio who put them on the map along with Clive Davis. Remember what Parazaider said the only way they would leave the band is if they died or if they quit. Peter, Danny and Bill Champlain didn’t quit. They were fired. Your father’s f-bombs I believe we’re all true. Parasites’s quote about band members in Chicago is a bunch of lies. Sorry for the long rant. Your writing is dead-on correct.

    Thanks.

    • Spot on Anthony………..Spot on!!!!! 🙂

    • Beautiful and honest writing. It was very cool to see your dad at the after party in Brooklyn the other night. Now that I’ve seen pictures of your family, I remember seeing some of them there too! Danny’s book, “Street Player,” was pretty honest about his own failings and that whole era left a trail of victims to the selfishness of sex and drugs and booze. Especially the kids. Not just in the world of rock and roll, either. My one problem with your dad saying “F-ing together” was that I was confused by how he was using that volatile word. Sex? Screwing over someone? It was just a bit jarring, but it’s HBO and it’s edited anyway, so the word itself was no big deal.

      • Hi John – he literally meant they fucked women together ….

        Hahahahaa!

        Jarring yes, but the R&R truth.

        And HBO didn’t edit it out!

        Big hug,

        Kris

    • Hugs to you Anthony.

      Thank you for speaking up!

      Lots of love,

      Kris

  • I was crying when your father took the stage. I also cried when I saw Chicago at Madison Square Garden with EW&F in 2008 remembering seeing them in 1975 with Peter and Terry and your Dad hoping he would be on drums. Your father expressed himself better than anyone else in the band. They completely disregarded James William Guercio who put them on the map along with Clive Davis. Remember what Parazaider said the only way they would leave the band is if they died or if they quit. Peter, Danny and Bill Champlain didn’t quit. They were fired. Your father’s f-bombs I believe we’re all true. Parazaider’s statement about band members in Chicago is a bunch of lies. Sorry for the long rant. Your writing is dead-on correct.

  • I can completely understand what your Dad was trying to get across when he said “we even f..ked together”. Being in a band as successful as Chicago, you face everything together and that creates a connection on a personal level few people experience. When things reached a point that he was no longer a part of the group it had to create a void and be an intense let down.

    I know nothing of whether he and any of the others (including Cetera) have been on any friendly social terms over the years, but I was hoping to see at the show the other members of the original group show a bit more camaraderie towards him. After all, despite the ouster, you would think they would have grown to a point of letting bygones be bygones over old disagreements. He continues to be an awesome drummer and one of the most musical drummers I’ve ever heard. I hope the opportunity comes for him to join the group as an equal again – and bring his creativity to new songs. Give him my best!

  • I have always admired your dad a s a great drummer and songwriter.
    I can imagine a little of how he felt being treated like that by the band he loved.

    I went through a similar thing in music by people in a gospel group I was in. It seemed like on day I was in the group and then I was just dumped.
    It hurts big time. Now we were nowhere near as big as Chicago but it still hurts.

    Chicago sounded like Chicago again on Saturday in the Park.
    The song had a great groove with your dad.

    Please tell him this fan loves his playing and I have both CTA albums.

    Eddie Estes

    • Thank you for supporting my Dad Eddie,

      And so sorry to hear about your hurtful experience.

      I hope you’ve mended your heart.

      Love and blessings,

      Kris

  • I truly believe that the words just poured out of your dads mouth. No filter, just plain honest. That’s ok. Perhaps a bit shocking, however it is the authentic Danny. I have to say one thing, besides the fact that Danny is an absolutely amazing drummer, he is one of the honest and truthful people that I don’t personally know. The reason why I say that is if you read Danny’s book Street Player, you will have an understanding of the the honesty and humbleness of this man. From everything I see and have read, Danny Seraphine is as authentic as they come!

  • Dearest Kris (Pink Sauce),
    I’m very proud of you. This was insightful. It takes a brace heart to allow the public into your soul and I appreciate you. With that said, if everyone had a playbook on life, it would be a dull life to live. I’m so happy for your Dad! Keep on loving.

  • Kris:
    Wonderfully put. Thanks for providing us with a perspective that we don’t often get to read. I was fortunate enough to interview your father in 2013 for the “Legendary Drummers Drum for ALS” benefit that he and fellow drummer Joe Vitale did in Oaks, PA, suburban Philadelphia. What was wonderful conversation we had. He is a great interview. Here is the link to that story.
    http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2013/09/10/entertainment/doc522f754b84b69633888728.txt

    I was also fortunate that the same conversation yielded some great rock and roll history and perspective about the music on and the making of Chicago’s 1978 album “Hot Streets.” I was able to turn that into a chapter for my book “The Vinyl Dialogues: Stories Behind Memorable Albums of the 1970s as Told by the Artists.” (www.vinyldialogues.com)

    Chicago was always one of my favorite bands growing up and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with Danny. I did meet him at the ALS benefit and he signed a copy of the story for me. A class guy and a great musician.

    Thanks for sharing your RRHOF story.

  • I got to spend some time around the band beginning in the late 80s and into the early 20o0s mostly because of the graciousness of Bill Champlin. And while I was lifted up by him and Dawayne and have many happy memories, I also saw and heard things that weren’t uplifting in the least. I recently got to spend a little time talking to your dad in my role as a journalist and he strikes me as a class act. I don’t think my happiness in hearing the way he talked the other night had much to do with my negative feelings toward some members of the band because of how they treated others. I think it was more about my happiness that Danny was getting to play with “his band” and say whatever the hell he wanted to say, regardless of whether it made his former bandmates or anyone else uncomfortable. As I said to a friend, I think it was an FU night for Danny and I meant that in a good way, if that makes any sense.

  • Brilliant reflection on your Dad’s induction into the RRHOF with his band Chicago.

  • Beautifully written Kris! I can’t thank you enough for being so truthful, honest, & baring your soul to us!!

    Here’s an incident that happened during Chicago’s performance that I found VERY interesting! Prior to the induction ceremony, one of the original members had said in an interview that your dad would only be playing ONE song! When they started playing, “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”, it appeared to me that Danny was antsy! He wasn’t playing! He was tapping his drum sticks on his leg…….taking a few sips of water……and appeared to be deciding what to do….”Should I or shouldn’t I play?” And them….WHAM……..he started playing and giving it his all like the Danny Seraphine we all know and love! AND…….I loved how on “25 or 6 to 4 there was no hesitation at all……..Danny played from start to finish!!! WTF????? He was being inducted into the RRHOF!!! He had as much right as an original member of Chicago (CTA) to be playing on ALL 3 songs as the other 3 that were inducted!! YOU ROCK DANNY SERAPHINE!!!

    • Thank you Debbie!

      The incident you’re noting is that Dad was supposed to sit out during Does Anybody Really Know WhatTime It Is and let Tris take that one. He’s not so great at following rules! But that’s also what’s lovable about him … and why he’s where he is.

      Artists are not rule followers!

      On another note my Dad and Tris get along very well.

      Much love,

      Kris

      • Thank you for having the courage to write this article.

        Your father stole the show for me.

        I found this part infuriating though. Asking your dad to “sit out” a song he recorded so his replacement could play is disrespecting your dad’s contributions and turning the event into a commercial for the current band .

        Your dad was the only one to thank members and producers who got them there while the others ignored them rudely I’m glad he acknowledged Laudir and Donnie who were actually there and otherwise ignored by th band.

        I hope he ultimately found peace he wanted. He took his victory deservedly

        • Thanks Mark! About Tris playing songs my dad originally recorded … Dad wanted to be fair to Tris and honor his musicianship and contribution to the group. I thought that was awesome and made me respect my dad even more.

          With love,

          Kris

  • Just three words, my dear soul/ drummer/ dreaming sister: LOVE LOVE LOVE.

  • Thanks for sharing Kris! What an amazing history you have that makes you the incredible, insightful person you are today…

  • Thomas Symczak on

    Kris
    So happy for your Dad and Chicago. You might remember from our time together at E! that I play guitar, but I was drummer before that. You Dad was my most favorite member of Chicago and his drumming, especially on the first 2 Chicago albums, was very influential on the way I learned to play drums.

  • Kris,

    Although fundamentally dissimilar because of you being the daughter of one of the band members, we both discovered our connection with the band through our parents. In my case, it was my father. A trombone player and vocalist in his youth and as fan of guys like Stan Kenton and the Four Freshmen, he was always very musical. Not long after he moved his family from Western Pennsylvania to Southeastern New Jersey in the late 1960s, he was working for a bank on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City. One afternoon, while out on the Boardwalk getting some lunch, he walked past the Steel Pier and as he put it, “it was exploding with music.” He managed to wander in and sit down and watch some band called Chicago blast their way through soundcheck. It was SOUNDCHECK and he said they were playing as if their lives depended on it. He didn’t know how long he was really gone, but does remember getting in a bunch of trouble for being gone for so long.

    From that moment, he was hooked. I was very young at the time, but a few years later it became our ritual to go to the record store (Acrat in Northfield, NJ) once a month or so to pick up each of the albums until we were current. When a new record would come out, we went and picked it up as soon as he would get his next paycheck. When he couldn’t wait for the new studio record, we would go find stuff like the picture disc of that oft-bootlegged show from Toronto or the Import-only issue of Live in Japan. And then we would immediately put it on the turntable and listen together while scouring the cover, liner notes and posters that came with the vinyl.

    We have always been very close, but it was the music…the music of Chicago…that started us on that path. Fast forward to 1983, and you can imagine how proud I was of my high school self when I surprised my dad with tickets to the band at the Mann Music Center in Philadelphia. It was magical. And I don’t know how I got away with it, but I walked right up to the edge of the stage with my 35mm Canon AE-1 and took a whole roll of film…without anyone saying or doing anything. I didn’t realize that you weren’t supposed to do that and I guess the sight of a little kid with a camera didn’t give anyone any heartburn.

    To this day, I make sure he gets a copy of the newest record when it comes out. Some he gets excited about, and some not so much, but when the brass cuts through the mix he still lights up like a kid at Christmas.

    Like most kids, I dreamed of being a rock star (and a baseball player, and a painter, and…). Even in my late middle age, I still sometimes wish that I had pursued it…until you hear the stories about how the industry just eats people alive and spits them out. Or until you hear about stories like yours and the damage that it wreaks on the families of the rock stars. I wouldn’t trade the life I lead for anything and I’m sure you feel the same as well. As for Danny, I’m just so damn happy that he was able to get up there and get some closure. Sure, the award is great and all that, but the peace of mind that he seemed to exude after the nominations were announced and on through the 3 song set that he was able to play his “his band”, was I’m sure priceless. THAT made the night worth it to me.

    I don’t know you or your father.
    You don’t know me or mine.
    But if you think about it the next time you see or talk to him, let him know that a kid from Jersey and his dad wanted to thank him for role he played in their lives and the bond that they formed because of a long lunch the kid’s dad spent at the Steel Pier.

    Matt

    • Matt,

      thank you for this post full of heart and soul.

      Bless you and your father.

      I’m so happy the music my father co-created brought you all so much joy. It did the same for me.

      Much love,

      Kris

  • Thanks to your dad for being the only one who had enough class to mention Bill Champlin, Dawayne Bailey, Chris Pinnick, and the others for their contributions to Chicago in his acceptance speech !!! (And it didn’t look like Mr. Lamm cared too much for it either….)

  • David James Peterson on

    Thank you for sharing your perspective with such honesty and Grace, Kris. I was a fan of your Dad’s since CTA and never took the time to think of the sacrifices made by the families of my heroes. I am so sorry for what fans like me did to your life. I cannot express how happy I was to see Tris yield the stage for your Dad to start the set. I hope the paving starts right there. Blessings.

  • This brought me such joy and such a huge smile on my face to read this and see this perspective. Sorry that Danny ever left, he was my drumming idol ever since I was 14 years old playing in my first rock band. So many countless hours playing along to, and playing with other good musicians classic Chicago hits, and a few not so big hits with great drum parts in them.
    Tris, is one of the nicest guys in the business, it would be a blessing for everyone -all fans, if by some miracle, Peter Cetera and Danny both could come back for one last worldwide tour, imagine the ticket prices they could charge! I am so happy for Danny!
    A hats off to you for sharing and writing such a special piece! It was awesome!!! Keep on writing like this, you have a true talent for it!

    • So thoughtful,and truly thought provoking as well Kris. Yes, I was jolted a bit too, but figured hey, he was re-affirming his connection with his mates and reminding all how truly close they all once were,and how much they were integrated into each others lives and indeed would never have “made it” without each other. I think it was a reminder too of his hurt at being “voted out”. Time is everyones friend tho,so who knows? As your dad said at the ceremony…who knows–” where do we go from here” eh?
      Godspeed Kris…. pals Jimmy Cummings

    • Thank you so much Gary for responding and leaving such kind compliments!

      Many blessings,

      Kris

  • Hey Kris,
    Have followed so many FB posts since the recent weekend… Congrats to all, band and families… had to be good, and some not so good as in all things. Love Chicago’s music. No better phrase than your “mend the bridge” and I hope it happens. I want them to think not on the verbage of any moment but to appreciate each other as we appreciate them. I was listening just before drafted to Vietnam and right back to it when I was one blessed to return.. my buddy did not make it to his wife and one year old daughter. Their music, music of many was a part of the spirituality that helped us cope over there and still as we do decades after. So ask them for me, that they together, have a moment of reflection of what their healing and thoughtful music was and is. A tormented world of violence then.. and now, still need the connection of the good of their shared lives, of the helpfulness of their lives music to so many. Blessings of peace upon the band, you all. Let the love shine through, share it, and reconciliation is there.

  • Hello, Kris:

    I was given this link from a Face Book friend. I read it yesterday & Its taken me this long to be courageous enough to do this reply.

    I would like to express my thanks for your thoughtful & heart-felt words. Thank-you for sharing your week-end & the complex journey you & your family have been on. I don’t imagine any of us can truley comprehend the mix of emotions you & your family & your dad went through on Friday.

    Your family is beautiful. Your Dad’s speech was real. Alot of people linked to it because they understood the import of this experience for him.

    Kris, we have more in common than you know. My father is in the industry, too. I’ve been to events where he was being honored, too. I haven’t been able to sit with my siblings, or congratulate my dad’s wife, or tell her how pretty & elegant her dress is.

    I’m my father’s little secret & was a product of the debauchery. I met Dad when I was a young child. He never denied me. From the moment Mom told him about me, Dad has supported me financially and emotionally. He didn’t need the DNA test, but I did it anyway. Our lawyers both have copies if they’re ever needed.

    My Dad is a respectable man now. He doesn’t do drugs & doesn’t cheat on his wife. He only drinks socially. He’s a pillar I understand she’s a nice woman, but at her request we only have met for a few minutes. The story is the same with my siblings. They know about me & they don’t want to meet me. I represent their father’s & husband’s failures. It hurts like hell, but it is what it is. He’s tried for years, but they don’t want to have me in their lives.

    At least he’s done hiding me from the important people in his family. He carries a picture of us on his phone. He has photos of my spouse and our children, too. His band knows & management knows. My half-siblings & his wife know. The rest of his family knows & I’ve met a few of them, even though I missed out on meeting my grand-parents.

    It is hard being the illegitimate child & was made even harder because Mom meant something to Dad. It was not just a one-night hook-up. It might have been easier had it have been. I’m not ashamed of where I came from & neither is my mother. I cannot speak for Dad & wouldn’t ever want too. Only a few people know who my father is, though. I’m horrified at the idea that someone might find out and spread the word.

    I watch from the sidelines. I see my dad working from the audience amongst all his fans. I’m on the mailing list & groups just as a fan. When people make fun of him, I rein myself in. When he smiles at me when he’s working, I squeal in excitement from the safe place in the audience. My role is a fan & I’m a very good actress.

    It hurts alot to be on the sidelines. My kids would love to see Gramps working, but they’re too young to keep the secret & they wouldn’t understand. They don’t know the sub-text.

    When Dad gets older, it gets more bitter-sweet. Some day, the world will mourn him publically & whilst I’ll be upset on the mailing lists, I’ll be mourning the loss of my parent & the missed opportunities to get to know my siblings.

    I hope that your father stays in the light & not in the shadows. Blessings.

    • Rissa, I’m just now able to sit down and read your posting to my blog. I would love to speak with you sometime andhear more of your story.

      Thank you so much for speaking out and posting here.

      All my love,

      Kris

  • Kris:

    I’m very happy for your father and to all of you in the Seraphine family. I did not get to watch the Hall of Fame ceremony. However, I do hope and pray the band finds it in their hearts to forgive Danny, as he is seeking reconciliation. I hope Peter Cetera finds his way to reconciliation, too. I loved listening to Danny’s drumming when I was young, and I always loved the fact that he was always trying to improve – such as the brush technique he learned from Jo Jones. Now that’s the mark of a truly great drummer – one that is trying to learn new things all the time.

  • What an interesting story Kris! I really like how you’re not afraid to say how you feel, just like your Dad did! I’m exploring your great blog! 🙂

  • Hi Kris —

    Nice post. I hope your Dad is well.

    IMHO, no Danny Seraphine, no “true” Chicago. The band releases its last smash single in 1989, your Dad gets the unceremonious thumb right thereafter, and no big hits for Chicago since.

    Karma? And the other guys in the band looked uncomfortable that night as your Dad spoke.

    Be well, and blessings and prayers to your Dad, you, and the rest of your family.

    Steve

  • Hi Kris, thank you for writing this (and replying to all the comments!) Can you enlighten us as to what in the world happened that they voted him out? I know it’s referred to in general terms by the other founding members, and in your Dad’s book. Thanks!

    • Hi Bernie – it was a political move that was advantageous for some of the band members, and my dad got into bad arguments with some of them.

      Check out my dad’s book “Street Player: My Chicago Story” and you’ll get my dad’s version of what happened.

      Blessings!

  • Hi Chris my name is Rhonda Spiker I lived across the street from your mother Rose 5060 aldea Avenue in Encino California I played with you when you were a child and my sister Robyn and I babysat Danielle when she was first born I remember when your father bought the house in Westlake. I was there for your first communion and then I moved to Minnesota and lost contact with everybody I really want to know how is your mother and where is she so I can contact her I Missed Rose …she was like a big sister to us in hard times-she was a real sweet woman and was good to us kids. I have no idea what has become of her

    • Rhonda!!! I remember you with a lot of affection and so happy you found us. My mom (Rose) and I have been wondering how you are and what you’re up to. Now I have your email and will send you my mom’s email too.

      Lots of love and sooooo happy you reached out to me.

      ~Kris

  • wow with the news of Jason leaving your fathers band CTA would make a hell of a story. imagine peter, jason, bill, donnie, laudir, chris and your dad getting together. it would be more chicago than chicago 🙂 cheers Darren

  • This all sounds very bitter. My father travelled as a musician as well and I thank God I didn’t have to be carted around with him once I was school aged. I got to have a semblance of a normal childhood in one city with friends and school and sports teams and asking a girl to the prom. I wasn’t on some tour bus with a tutor and few if any one my age to play with. I have a friend who did get carted around and he missed out on so much. Would you rather your dad (and the dad’s of other Chicago children) not play music anymore after having kids? Stay in one city and record but never perform? Every situation is unique of course but honestly staying in one place to have some type of normal childhood is far better from my perspective than subjecting a child to life on the road.

    Also, if you watch the recent Chicago documentary from CNN the other day, Danny admits that although he was upset at having to leave the band, he understands that his playing was not up to where it should be. So nice to see him at the induction ceremony though, rising above any differences they had for the night at least.

    • Hi M., well, there were definitely moments when I did feel bitterness. Particularly after the band fired my Dad. There were many upsetting moments.

      The recent documentary was completely biased. Check out this article put out by the Huffington Post: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/tv/ct-chicago-cnn-documentary-20170104-story.html

      The impartial truth can’t exist in this type of situation…a band member’s nephew directing/producing a film about same such band on a “news” channel?

      Give me a fucking break!
      (Sticking with the Seraphine legacy of F Bombs)

      Don’t believe everything you watch on TV my dear.

      With blessings,

      Kris

  • Sally Parsons Edelstein on

    Your honesty is appreciated in this account. Wouldn’t it be nice as you said if the band and your dad could reconnect at least as friends if not band members. It was nice to see them all play together at the ceremonies- including Walter P. who I guess only sometimes tours now. Do you know if he is really sick or something? I think in your dad’s book or maybe it was the documentary or both where he said that he missed the friendships as much as than the musical part. Thx for expressing it so well.

  • Charlotte Gibbon on

    That was really well expressed..
    My Uncle and Aunt (Stanley and Patti) lived across from your dad in the 80’s ..
    I was only 11 years old at the time.. It was my aunt and uncles marriage that introduced me to your cool family.. I thank your sister Danielle for being so kind to me. I had no idea who your dad was.. Until I saw all the platinum records.. I asked, “who is the musician ?” ..Danielle was super cool.. “Oh thats my dads band” … Still not understanding who he was, i never once felt like i was less than…Thank You.
    It changed my view forever on kids who grow up with famous parents.. Normal people with really nice homes and experiences … Idk if Danielle will remember, but she left a great impression on me and my family..
    Best Regards,
    Charlotte

    • This is so awesome Charlotte!! So great to reconnect and thank you for your kind words.

      I got your message on Facebook too, I’ll friend you so we can stay in touch. I’ll tell Danielle you said HI!

  • I just discovered your blog and I’m so thankful to hear this perspective. I really discovered Chicago when I was in college about 20 years ago and went to see a live show, and it paled in comparison to what we heard on the albums. Although, I suppose when the three musicians who were the backbone of that band – your father, Peter Cetera, and Terry Kath – weren’t on stage, it couldn’t be the same.

    As a bass player myself, I pay a lot of attention to bass lines and percussion, and just hearing what your dad did on a drum kit was amazing. I’ve watched some of his clinic videos because I admire his style… I think the best way I can describe it is very raw – some other drummers are very sanitary, a lot like a metronome. Not your dad. True bad-ass.

    Listening to “Live in Japan” and “Live in 75” I’m reminded of the line from Donald “Duck” Dunn from the Blues Brothers movie… and it could have been said about that iteration of Chicago – “We had a band powerful enough to turn goat piss into gasoline.”

    I was so happy to see him on stage with his band again. I hate that pride and egos may prevent that from happening again, but for one shining night it was great to see him out there with the custom Chicago drum head, kicking ass and getting his rightful recognition.

    I don’t know much about your dad’s relationship with Peter Cetera, but I’ve wondered if the two of them ever considered doing something together (even a one-off live show or sitting in on the other’s show) – I think Cetera is a criminally underrated bass player and your dad is an incredible drummer, and to hear those two playing together again would be incredible.

    Thanks again for your perspective – and thanks for sharing your dad with us.

    • Thanks for sharing your insights and experiences Paul.

      And I appreciate your kind words of encouragement.

      Hugs and blessings,

      Kris

  • Kris, great read. As a drummer myself, your father has always been MY Buddy Rich. He is the smoothest cat behind the skins. My children have grown up with a steady diet of Chicago. Know all the songs. First concert for them as well. Danny’s speech at the HOF was long overdue and, now, legendary. At first, I was irritated with the F bombing. After sitting back and letting it sink in I realized he had to say what had to be said. He WAS shafted…BAD. Chicago has not had a drummer since May, 1990. His ‘dismissal’ was one of Rock’s biggest blunders. What the hell were they thinking? What – or who motivated them to make that decision? Great seeing and hearing him behind His band at the HOF ceremony. He is a bigger man than those that shit on him. Love his CTA. Bonilla reminds me of Terry. I mean, his playing. There will never be another Terry Kath but he has a vibe about his playing that draws me in. Met Lee, Robert and Jimmy thus past August and had a little conversation with them. They were very gracious and down to earth. Posed for a few pictures, too. Hope they can ALL bury the bullshit and get back together at some point. Would love to have a signed pair of your Dad’s sticks… Currently looking for a nice set of Slingerlands. Want to use them on stage. Nothing, and I mean nothing, sounds like Slingy’s. If course, I’ve wanted a good set since I was a kid. Have owned others and played others. But, DS was a Slingy guy back in the day. I will never sound like your Dad, but I sure try. Give him all my best. Thank you for the blog, Kris. Happy New Year and God Bless!

    • Hey Tim – happy new years and God bless to you as well! Sorry for my delayed reply. It’s been a long month of natural disasters over here: first fire then floods. Ugh.

      Thank you for loving my dad and the group! And for your kindness and loyalty.

      I will forward your posting to my Dad and see if he can send you autographed goodies!!

      Sending big love to you and your family.
      xoxo

  • Why is really up with the other original members? Why do they not want to truly reconcile with Danny and Peter? Are they just hard-headed asses? Did Bill Champlin quit or was he fired? What happened to Scheff?

    • Hi Paul – I don’t have a clue what’s up with the group. I keep myself really busy. Although I saw something about Tris leaving the band.

      He’s a great guy and drummer. We all wish him well.

      Take care and thanks for reading!

  • Everyone connected to a legend such as DANNY SERAPHINE I say a big thank you for your thoughts. I was born in Liverpool UK and brought up listening to The Beatles etc, Then along came Chicago. I was amazed by your fathers drumming.There and then I was hooked. Danny is up there with the greatest. Actually love the man. Met the band back in the 70s in concert in London, and the man was so much down to earth. A credit to the human race. Take care all of you!!!

  • Hi Kris; Love how you’re just like your father, upfront, truthful & shoot from the hip. Your Dad got screwed. The story that I heard was that Bill & Jason gave the band an ultimatum: He (DS) goes or we go. Danny had more talent than both of them combined. Jason was/is a terrible singer and what goes around comes around. When wanted back in after his leave of absence, he asked to be made a full member of the band, He was replaced! Lol And the current manager makes my skin crawl, how he talks about WE, as if he’s a member of the band.

    • Scott, thank you so much for the compliment … I guess the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, LOL!!

      I can’t comment on the other stuff about the band, I want to stay out of the fray. But I agree that my father is an amazingly talented human being on the drums and as a musician and father and friend.

      Blessings,

      Kris

  • Kris this is such a brilliant piece you wrote – you are a master of language – such depth in every word – humor – you nailed it all so eloquently and elegantly – the way you think – the way you write……you have blown me away at the way you crystalized the entire experience……you are incredible!

    • Hi Dawayne! You are the sweetest. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words … and I’m glad you enjoyed the piece!

      Hope to see you soon my friend!

      Love and blessings,
      Kris

  • Kris, I used to see Chicago at Pine Knob every year. Even have a 1977 tour program with Terry Kath in it. Saw Buddy Rich in concert as well. So I always liked your dads drumming. I have read his book as well. And Danny said he was having personal issues at the time he was voted out. My take is the “horn” players have a majority voting block & can really control the corporation know as Chicago. They ran the show. So here we are in 2018 & the horn players are still running the show. All self preservation on their part I believe. So as bummed as your dad was he would have not wanted to become a “tribute band drummer” IMO. He sounds fantastic now and can control his own destiny in music.

    • Thank you Vito! I agree and love your perspective – Dad definitely has taken control of his musical legacy and future.

  • Just found this blog and so glad I did. Greetings from Ontario, Canada!

    I had become a fan of the band with the 17 album and continued to follow them ever since. Saw them live twice in the 80s and my eyes and ears kept focusing on Danny’s brilliant drumming. I actually cheered during his RRHF speech! Probably the most authentic, heartfelt speech I’ve ever heard. It felt like it was a cathartic experience for him, one that he was awaiting for 25 years. His acknowledgment of Peter with the jaw fracture story was gracious and very telling. It’s as if he was trying to empathize with the other “roadkill” members of the band that had otherwise been forgotten. It was such a refreshing change from the self indulgent speeches of the other band members.

    Many bands succumb to politics (Journey, Styx and Foreigner come to mind) and Chicago is no different. It’s inevitable with so many personalities spending so much time together over the years. Your dad seems to have successfully moved on and is now controlling his own musical direction. Hopefully that brief reunion gave him (and you!) the closure needed. Despite the downturns, I’m sure your dad would agree that it was still one hell of a ride!

    Cheers,
    Barry

    • Greetings Barry from Ontario! I love Canada.

      Thanks for reading and weighing in. I completely agree with you about Dad’s speech.

      Sending hugs from California!

  • Dear Kris,
    Thank you for the blog post about Chicago (as an aside, I love your website from a writing and design perspective).
    First things first. I’m adopted from the Philippines. I was born the fall before Chicago 17 crashed onto the Billboard charts, but was adopted into a Cleveland family a year later in November 1984, right after “Hard Habit” hit #3 on the charts. My first memory growing up was my father, a bass player, putting on “Colour My World” on the record we player we had at the time. My second memory (well, exaggerating that a bit) was listening to FM radio in Cleveland in the mid-‘80s, and hearing Baby What a Big Surprise, Hard to Say I’m Sorry and other hits of the time.
    I really jumped into the history of Chicago in ’96, when I was in 7th grade, and wore out two copies of Twenty-1, a criminally underrated album. I gobbled Street Player up, saw the documentary “Now More Than Ever” and may get the Terry Kath DVD.
    Also, my father and I have seen Chicago twice, and I saw them once in Youngstown with a friend.
    Chicago has bonded me with my family and my father especially. Lamm’s keyboard skills were a reason why I tried teaching myself the piano. I even tried drumming for a bit like Danny but obviously wasn’t as good ;).
    In all seriousness, despite the drama that has happened and the past is the past, know that Danny’s contributions have not been in vain. Whether you realize it or not (I’m sure you do!), Chicago and Danny changed and affected the lives of millions. I loved his brutal honesty in the book and at the induction ceremony. Keep up the good writing and blog.
    God bless,
    Josh

    • Hi Joshua – I love what you wrote and forwarded your post on to my Dad. You know how to “make me smile.”

      In all seriousness, I appreciate your kind words more than you know.

      With hugs and blessings,

      Kris

  • Leo - An Italian originally from Brooklyn on

    Kris: I haven’t seen Chicago in years. I go back to about ’72. I first saw them in ’74. I’ll never forget the first time I saw them & your Dad was not there. I said BS, what the hell is going on. Chicago was a way of life for me & my friends Robert & Anthony. I remember the last time seeing them with Terry was November ’77 in Philadelphia.
    We travelled from Brooklyn on Amtrak. I’ve never posted anything before online but reading about you & your family & hearing that your Dad had suffered some type of depression I understand. I have experienced it twice.
    I used to be a musician & on a smaller scale can see how people can have differences. But they all forget what brought you together – THE MUSIC. I will never forget years ago Buddy Rich on the Tonight Show, Johnny Carson asked who are some of the young drummers you like. Buddy said “Danny Seraphine of Chicago & Billy Cobham.
    I used to play keyboards, started playing Chicago tunes on accordion before I had a keyboard. After playing in different bands I played in a wedding band for 16 years. When I got engaged to my wife in ’95 I gave it up.
    I have two kids & always played for my daughter “little one” & explained it was the drummer from Chicago who co-wrote it for his little one. I hate taking up your time like this but I am totally pissed off about the whole thing & how this has turned out. A few years ago my wife’s friend said ‘hey you want to go see Chicago’ I said that’s not Chicago, that’s a tribute band. I told my wife that if Chicago called me & said how would you like to sit on stage for a show I said I wouldn’t . Danny was the ‘heartbeat’, Terry the soul. One last thing, with all the technology out there no one thought to do a hologram of Terry Kath & the band could have played 25 or 6 to 4. My friend Anthony met your dad at RRHOF. I just want you to say Thank You to your Dad for his greatness & dedication.

  • Such moving commentary Kris. You probably don’t remember me. I spent many hours and cooked many meals at the Encino house. Dads’ talent was actually discovered by me and soon thereafter became a member of my band (Placy and the Clubmen).
    It all began back when—————————
    Dad was playing for an event hosted by Dick Bionti in St. Pricilla’s, church basement. I was there to audition a rhythm-guitar player (Ken Gorski) however I was blinded by the raw talent of a young drummer in the band. I waited until the show was over and went back-stage where I saw that drummer sitting on a folding chair practicing on a small practice-pad.
    I approached him and asked his name, “I’m Danny” he replied, so humble with a smile that lit the entire back-stage area.
    Shorty thereafter he became a member of my band. That band played for grandma and grandpas’ 25th. anniversary in Chicago but I digress, Danny and I became brothers. We were always together, practicing, playing and hang-out with the guys at Ries Park.
    After a year or so together I received a call from a salesman friend who fitted and dressed our band for stage. His name is Donald Gentile, a great guy and friend. In that phone conversation Don asked If I new of a good drummer looking for work. I replied ” what were the the names of the band members”? he said I don’t know I’m merely passing on the info from Dwight Kelb. Dwight was one of the most respected percussionist in the city and was, to my knowledge playing with a group called ‘The Mob’ one of the top bands in all of Chicago.
    I asked Don to give me Dwight’s phone number. I called and Dwight answered, “hello! this is Dwight” I responded, “Dwight It’s Placy how are you? I heard your going into the booking business, quitting the band and looking for a great drummer to replace you” yes he responded you know of someone, My drummer Danny Seraphine, never heard of him, don’t worry he’s someone you should audition, Dwight replied, “I’ll send Terry and Walt to hear him and see what they think. We closed the conversation .
    The next day my band was rehearsing in Tom Merabali’s parents’ basement . I advised Danny that a scout would be arriving to audition him, Danny strongly disapproved, He said “I’m with you, we make it together” (love that kid).
    I explained to Danny this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a launching-pad to his career and if he makes it he’ll be in a position to help others.
    Terry Kath and Walter Parazader arrived to see and here this young drummer perform. I told the band we were going to play, Mustang Sally (I thought knowing Terry and Walt were looking for a funky soul concept that this was a good pick. My God! three minutes into the song Terry turned to me and said, “Where did you find this kid” I knew he and Walt were knocked-out by Danny’s playing.
    The two men left asked if they contact me tomorrow. The next day Dwight called and asked If they could make Danny an offer. I was pleased, a bit sad, but elated for what would be ahead for Danny. Danny met with the band members and had another audition where they made him an offer to tour as a back-up band for, The Four Seasons. Danny and I met he was so frightened an apologetic for receiving the offer he said, “Placy I’m not as good as they seem to think I am I don’t want to leave The Clubmen we are doing well with plenty of work. I sat Danny down and reassured him he was as good as any drummer out there and touring with these guys would make him great and famous.
    Danny agreed to take the offer after talking it over with your mom and his parents. The rest as they say is history.
    Kris, I cherish the times I spent with you Danelle mom and dad and have a special place in my heart I keep for those memories. Excuse my type-o’s and grammar I tried to get it all down and my memory was racing and old feelings began to percolate and run over with tears. All my love, Placy

    • Thank you so much for reaching out Placy! I’ll forward your letter to Dad. My mom passed away very unexpectedly of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in February 2017.

      Sending you love and blessings,

      Kris

  • I grew up listening to Chicago, as a matter of fact, im listening to Chicago V as im typing. Your Dad is one of my all time favorite drummers, he and Terry Kath are also my favorite members. I saw the show in Santa Clarita on December 1. I couldnt wait to see him play, i bought his book also. My friend Joe Diaz and i would spend hours in my room listening to Chicago over and over, we were both 15 years old. On Thanksgiving evening, Joe passed away, he would have been 62 on Dec 1st, the day of the show in Santa Clarita. As they were playing, i was thinking about my friend and i, and your Dad playing about 30 feet in front of me, how ironic.
    I was able to get your dad to autograph the book, and finished reading it tonight. I told him about my friend Joe quickly and he said God bless him. Your dad made my day and i will never forget it, thanks Paul

    • Hi Paul, thank you so much for your kind words! I was at the Santa Clarita gig too, it was amazing!

      Wishing you a blessed 2019!

  • Greetings from Rochester, NY. I so enjoyed your blog very much. I have so much to add like the others have but I’ll refrain and be civil. The revisionist tale is always much more entertaining I guess. Here it is 3 years later and I will still say that I was touched by your dads speech at the RRHOF and the f—bombs didn’t bother me at all, mostly because I had just read his book (twice) and that sort of language permiated a few pages of the book so I was unphased. I loved his connection with Peter that he often spoke about in his book. I’m glad they reconnected when they did back in the late 90’s and again last summer. I think I speak for a lot of fans who truly appreciated seeing the photo of Peter and your dad, I’m sure it was emotional for them too. I have watched and listened to your dads current band CTA on videos and hope that he will come East sometime so that I can actually see him live. He seems like a genuine, honest man and I’m so honored to have read his daughters blog and her story of being the child of a rock star. You’re a terrific writer, thank you. Peace to you and your dad from NY.

  • Kris, it looks like you’re still following this so I’ll reply. I came upon this post after seeing the 2019 version of Chicago and wondering why the other living members are not with the band, not knowing any of the drama. You don’t need me to tell you your father is an excellent drummer, anyone who knows music knows that. What impressed me most is how amazing you are. Your post is really well written and completely gets across how you felt. Then I started reading the comments, enjoying all the nice things people had to say and stunned that you took the time to reply with kind words to every single one of them. It really sucked me in and an hour later I made it through all the comments, which I had no intention of doing but I just couldn’t stop reading. Best wishes to your family and maybe when I have more time to kill I’ll remember this and check out more of your writing.

    • Hi Scott – thank you so much for your kind words about my Dad and your compliments on my writing! So appreciated!

      Dad is still playing all the time with his group CTA and with other projects and at charity events. He’s in great shape and having a great time. Yep, there is life after Chicago, LOL!

      Many blessings,

      Kris

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