Back To Nashville... 11-13

by webmaster_js_44 on November 7, 2013

I'm REALLY looking forward to the next couple of months... having spent a lot of the year touring with Chicago we're finally winding down... BUT, that's not stopping me throughout the rest of the year!

moscowWe're headed for Moscow in a couple days... gonna have a few days off when we get there too... yes, I'm going to get tours of whatever I can... the Kremlin, the churches, the museums... whatever I can take in... CAN'T WAIT!

After that, straight into Nashville... I have several projects going in Nashville and am REALLY excited to take them to the next level.

I'll be getting with Jimmy Pankow to work on some stuff for the Chicago album we're working on... I'm SUPER PUMPED about that... Jimmy is a bonafide genius and I'm lucky to work with him.

Keith and I will be working on some stuff as well...

Jay DeMarcus and I are going to be reviewing the work we started a few years ago... my solo work...

Addiction SoundI've also been in touch with Jonathan Cain and now that he's off tour I plan to park myself at his KILLER studio, Addiction Sound.

And there are a few surprises I can't really talk about just yet but if they come to fruition you'll know about them soon enough!

Stay tuned!


Utica Coffee Roasting Company

by webmaster_js_44 on November 7, 2013

Utica-Coffee-Roasting-CompanyMany of you already know I'm a big coffee drinker... have loved it since the day I was exposed to getting great beans, grinding them and brewing it fresh.  I've also loved the never ending debate of whether it's good for you, bad for you... WHATEVER!

I do know this... as an addictive personality I, at times, HEAVILY ABUSE IT!  I pull back, go through the headaches and then start off real small, again... it's SOOOOOOOO good!

Well, I'd say I'm in that phase right now where I'm not out of control but do like a good 2 cups, (venti, which probably means more like 4 or 5 regular size!)... so I don't even feel like my heart's about to jump out of my body.

Ok... enough of that rant and for some, probably TMI!

Anyway... we are out on our last tour of the year and are in the New York State area as well as New Jersey... we were in Utica, NY with a day off and left yesterday.

We played a BEAUTIFUL theater in Utica with the Utica Symphony... the theater is called the "Stanley".  WOW!  Check this place out...


As I always say, to hear the actual instruments playing these incredible arrangements from the Jimmy Haskell charts... "If You Leave Me Now", "Searchin So Long", etc. to the phenomenal Jeremy Lubbock charts, "Hard Habit To Break", "You're The Inspiration" and then the first song I was fortunate to enjoy the success of a hit record with Chicago, "Will You Still Love Me"...

It's otherworldly to have that sound in your ears to perform these songs.  It would be one thing if there were new arrangements... which would be great as well, (and some songs we perform with the symphony are *after the fact* arrangements written to make an evening with a symphony full).

But to hear the REAL ARRANGEMENTS!  Whoa... Just the opening string lines of "Searchin So Long"... some REAL high violins... it takes me right back to when I first heard that song, and I know it does for the audience.

So now I've gone on a super tangent about the Stanley, Chicago and symphony dates... I'll get back to coffee...

I walk down to the lobby of the hotel and ask the girl at the front desk about coffee... I pull up a coffee shop in my app "Around Me" and it shows a few coffee places within 200 yards so I call the first one...

I ask, "Do you have wi fi there?"  (That's a TOTAL clue as to what you're dealing with... if they say *yes*, you're on your way to a *legit* coffee joint)

The lady on the phone says, "Well, uh, I don't know... I don't think so...)

And sure enough, I ask the girl at the front desk of the hotel about this place and she shakes her head no... she says that place is literally a coffee shop with bad coffee...

She says, "You need to go to Utica Coffee Roasters"... she points me toward the place, I head out and start smelling it about a half a block away from the front door!

AHHHHH!!!  Yes, I've found it...

I walk in, see a GREAT local scene... not terribly crowded but you can tell this is one of those *3rd places* Starbucks likes to call them...

We have home, work and a 3rd place to go... I understand that now being that when I'm on the road I can open up my laptop, start working away but there is something inspiring about being "out in the world".  So whenever I can find a local coffee joint I'll go laptop in toe... or, Starbucks if there isn't anything local.

I spent a good 2 hours, maybe even more, in Utica Coffee Roasting Company, because the internet in the hotel was almost non existent.  (amazing how we get so tethered to things)...

frank-and-heather-with-coffee-stationAnd the next day I walked back in and met who I *thought* was the owner... (I was right).  His name is Frank and I started asking him about the place...

ANOTHER great story of a guy who was just walking around down in this area and just had a vision... he bought the building when there was NOTHING else of value going on around it... mostly vacant building but a topless dancing establishment... that was his neighbor!

He said he just had this feeling, went with it... and bought the building... wasn't thinking coffee... just tried some things out... they didn't quite work... and he eventually looked at the roaster... bought it... hadn't quite turned it into an actual place to walk in and have coffee... I believe, at first, it was just a roasting company...

I'm ALWAYS a sucker for places that roast on the spot... they're usually VERY good.

He keeps growing and eventually opens the doors to patrons to come in, order their coffees and eats... and I'll tell you this... EVERYTHING in this place is fresh, local and PHENOMENAL.

Local honey, baked goods... GREAT shirts, hoodies, etc.  (I bought a hoodie!)

So I was chatting it up with Frank... we became friends and I left for my show...

Came back the next day and met his wife and partner in the business, Heather... GREAT people!  Several of the other band members showed up during my 3 hours I spent hanging out working on my computer and drinking awesome Brazillian and Tanzanian coffees.

It was a touch sad when I said goodbye... it's amazing how in just a few days you can actually feel close to people like that.

Heather wrote a very sweet card on their UCR card stock... and I got their business cards... I will DEFINITELY stay in touch with them... GREAT FOLKS and a WONDERFUL establishment.

The big takeaway for me?  A dreamer... Frank... goes with it... goes through the tough times... but went with his heart... that's why they're successful... it's from the heart... not too planned and calculated... but smart enough to roll with the punches and *adjust*.

Thank you Heather and Frank for your hospitality!

ps... oh, and there was one interesting bit of conversation I had with Heather... Utica Coffee Roasting Company has a GREAT logo... and it's on the hoodie I bought... they're catch phrase is "Wake The Hell Up".

I told her how I live in Provo, Utah now and nobody uses that word... when I was in Nashville a lot of people won't use that word, at least in that sense... but coming from growing up in Southern California in an era when "Everything Goes", (and a lot did, and WENT)... and also being a musician that has a certain language... believe me, growing up as a musician if you were called a M.F. that was, (and still is), a VERY GOOD THING.  The meaning of it is expressing something people would never understand unless they were musicians and were in that intimate moment...

I had to really expand my mind to realize that language didn't translate to the outside world like it did for musicians...


Another thing I grew up around and nobody even thought twice about was a phrase like "What the Hell?"  I'm VERY aware and sensitive though, now, to what that truly means to people so I really try to pay attention to what people's beliefs are, they're values, etc.

So Nashville and Provo have shown me that the use of that language isn't really *their* language to express themselves, as musicians, or as anything...

I shared that with Heather and she told me they were dealing recently with some kind of work, maybe charity?, for church? and that phrase just wasn't going to fly... "Wake the Hell Up!" so they changed it... to  "Wake the Heaven Up!"

I LOVED THAT!  That gets you thinking!!!!  LOVE THAT!  (I bought the hoodie anyway though... am I a total hypocrite?  Oh well...)  But I LOVED that phrase... "Wake the Heaven Up!".  (She also put that in the card she wrote me!)




by webmaster_js_44 on October 15, 2013

Well, you wait long enough and things happen. After Chicago 30, since the music industry had changed so much one might have asked if we'd ever record again. Some thought not...

But there were too many of us that had stayed active. The question kept coming up, internally, "Why?" Why record? Well, because an artist HAS to.

I've said it many times before that I never really considered myself an artist... I just love great songs, loved playing them for people... (that's why I always worked in top 40 bands)... and whether I was recording didn't really matter to me... well, that is until I ran into Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts in the early part of the new millennium's first decade.

When I went back to Nashville to start running with Jay around 2003 I caught the bug... I caught the bug I had in the early 80's... a very fun, fertile period where everybody was just being creative... yes, some of us had started seeing some success for those efforts and then it was really on...

"Let's get a publishing deal! Let's try to get a record deal!" But again, I never really saw myself as an artist in pursuit of making a statement.

And then all of a sudden you find yourself an opportunity... Chicago was looking for a replacement for Peter Cetera who had just gone solo and I was the lucky recipient of getting the call.

I just did my best to try and pull off the gig to sing and play the songs they had made part of our diaries... all the tunes I'd heard in San Diego growing up as a kid... it kind of made sense... just a huge top 40 gig!

Luckily, I got to work with David Foster on my first Chicago effort, Chicago 18, which yielded one of the greatest gifts I've ever received... being able to sing "Will You Still Love Me". Surreal to look back on that time.

So yes, I was being brought in to the legacy and again, thank you so much for the opportunity.

Well, all these years later, there is an incredible energy within the band. We have a killer mobile studio that Lee Loughnane has put together and it's usually up and running in any hotel we're staying in! It's like each hotel becomes a mini Brill Building!

The creativity is overflowing right now. We've released 2 songs so far and they're going to keep coming!

We did some press yesterday for the latest song we've put out, "America", that Lee wrote... how timely... with the government shutdown the lyrics are spot on.

Go have a listen over at or go to itunes.

Robert and I wrote a tune several years back that's getting finished up... it'll be coming out very soon... in the meantime, we're all working away.

It's a very exciting time for me right now... having been able to share performing the classic Chicago material for 28 years now I always dreamed of having that period where the band was just wide open, not worrying about trying to get on the radio and chasing after what gatekeepers would be telling us to do.

I'm going to talk out of both sides of my mouth right now and it's not because I'm not taking a stand, it's that I believe I see the big picture...

Often times you hear of artists complaining about being told what to do and having their careers and art out of control... well, without the record companies and the gatekeepers back in the day, we wouldn't be here to be able to explore today... I thank them... you just have to hang on long enough to have your day.

That day is here...

Pacino joins Chicago!!!

by webmaster_js_44 on August 4, 2013

Jason Scheff Resume:  Worked with Al Pacino

I've always gotten a kick out of people who have resumes that include ridiculously bloated credits!  How can they possibly have worked with these folks?

Well, I just happened to fall into a moment last Friday night that gave me one of those credits... I guess, it is what it is...

Here is the video to prove it!

But seriously, I had heard Al was going to appear with us onstage but I had no idea we were going to shoot some footage for his upcoming movie during our intermission...

Yes, those in attendance at our Greek Theater show in Los Angeles this past Friday Night, August 2nd, 2013, will be the crowd in Al Pacino's movie "Imagine".

As we were playing our show I couldn't help but think as I visit the city that launched so many things in my life, my career, starting my family... I looked up to the dramatic backdrop of the Greek, from the *band's* perspective... yes, the view from the stage is otherworldy... surrounding a crowd of people are the most beautiful trees lit with colored lights... it's truly amazing.

And when I stepped up to play piano and sing in a solo moment I said, "This is for all the dreamers out there... I came to this city in 1980, paid some dues and one day got to be a part of this, and here's part of what happened..." and then started the intro of "Will You Still Love Me".

So there you have it... again, Los Angeles provides one of those moments you have no idea is coming... just doing your thing and some legend suddenly needs you!  Al Pacino needs a crowd for his new movie, comes to do it at a Chicago concert and the next thing you know, the guy is starting me down during the last verse of 25 or 6 to 4 looking for the words!

Watch the end of the first video above for when he does this.  Imagine having this guy burning holes through you and YOU are leading him!  It was awesome... and then, I thought... "Uh oh, if I don't pull this off, is he going to pull a gun out and do me in?  I've seen him do it many times before!"  HAAAAAAA!!!

Enjoy the day, it's later than you think!  J

The Strike

by webmaster_js_44 on July 29, 2013

The StrikeOk... here's another one!

Check these guys out... another INCREDIBLY talented bunch of people I got the privilege of meeting and working with while in Provo a couple weeks ago.

They came and did a night with me during my sessions at Rock Canyon Studios... I'm still just reeling in the aftermath of one of the most inspiring 11 days I've had.

You see, we had 11 days off between tours on this Chicago summer tour.  11 days off between a 3 week run and now into a 6 week run.  There was no rest for me.

I knew that if I waited until I came back home from the summer I would be missing out on amazing things.  Now is the time to work, to let things manifest, and boy, are they.

Check out my new favorite band... and yes, I'm working with them as well.  Just got off the phone with Chris, their lead singer, and we have plans!


And if you want MORE!!!

BYU Vocal Point

by webmaster_js_44 on July 27, 2013

I have not been able to stop listening to this performance, watching this video and now I've officially become McKay Crockett's stalker.

When I was performing a week ago at Rock Canyon Studios I met up with someone who gave me a slip of paper.

It had "BYU Vocal Point" and McKay's phone number, as the director of the group.

I thought, "Ok... cool... I'll check it out..." Got SUPER busy preparing for this next run with Chicago and stashed the paper in my travel backpack.

I FINALLY got a bunch of little things done that had piled up and got to the paper... I did a quick search, saw a video on youtube for BYU Vocal Point doing a version of "Danny Boy".

I was thinking... "Alright, this ought to be *nice*)

Whoa... not only was my jaw on the floor after listening and watching the beautiful video they made for it but I did a search for the lyrics to study them...

I found this link...


Read it and now I can't help but listen to this beautiful performance and get filled with gratitude. It reminds me, again, to take in this moment... this moment in time...

Have a listen to this and please let me hear what you think about this.

Oh, and yes, McKay and I have been exchanging texts and *almost* connected by phone today... but it's coming... I HAVE to be involved in these kids lives, if they'll have me!


Chicago and Blue Oyster Cult

by webmaster_js_44 on July 4, 2013


I love it when this happens...

So we're pulling up to the gig last night and there is another band on... kind of feels like a festival... I don't know... don't pay enough attention these days! Just wind me up, point me in the direction we're going and in between I'm working on all kinds of fun things, learning... new ideas and building Team Scheffy.

One of the guys says, "It's Blue Oyster Cult" with us tonight! WOW... that really takes me back to great times in San Diego growing up with my Point Loma friends... that was the backdrop... well, and Chicago! haaaaaaaaa

And now all these years later to be able to be a part of it? Crazy...

So we get to the gig, go into catering to have a bite and I'm watching them on a tv monitor and notice, "These guys are really kicking ass! Really GREAT playing..."

And then I see the bass player! I blurt out, "WOW! It's Kasim Sulton!!!!" (Yes John Fields... I know you'll be tripping... we've talked about him before)... another sidenote... Fields is a self-proclaimed Todd Rundgren freak and Kasim was the bass player in Rundgren's Utopia.

So I'm texting Kasim freaking out! And then I just walk over to the side of the stage he's on and in between songs he spots me... and we both break out in the biggest grins...

Ok, a minor rant here... I have to go back a bit to how I met Kasim.

Tom Hamgridge, a KILLER drummer/writer/producer I met in Nashville through Bleu... (don't you love how these networks have a way of expanding into amazing situations?), asked me if I wanted to do a "Writers in the Round" at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville... I of course jumped at the opportunity... and Kasim was there... we all marveled at how the diversity of the writers really created a unique experience... it wasn't a one trick pony that night.

Kasim and I connected and stayed in touch threatening to work on something... schedules just hadn't allowed it to happen, YET!

So there he was playing his BOOTY off! SUCH a killer pocket... THIS is a bass player.

After they finished it was so cool to see how all the members of the band wanted to come introduce themselves and hang out...

And to meet the 2 original members... Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma... The photo at the top of this post is (right to left) Kasim Sulton, Jason Scheff, Richie Castellano, Buck Dharma and Keith Howland.


Here's a picture of Richie, me and Eric Bloom...

So it was just amazing... the fact they were so great... wanted to hang with us... no names mentioned but some of the folks we run into out there don't reach out... I do... I know where I came from and I want to connect... most of them do want to connect and these guys did!

But the BEST thing to come out of it was when Kasim told me he's working on a solo record I said, "I HAVE to work on it!" and we made a deal.

He's sending me 2 tracks to sing to and I'll be doing it during my "Scheffy's Seacret Sessions" next week!

You see... as they say, say alert to life... meet people, reach out... be of service and the world opens up.

I love it! Stay tuned!!!! J

Is "Here I Am" on Itunes?

by webmaster_js_44 on June 23, 2013

Jason Promo posterGreat question!  I started answering this on Facebook and decided to put it in a post for easy access for the future...

Here goes!!!

This song is not on Itunes.  It's something that the company Seacret really fell in love with about 8 months ago... before Chicago got active recording new music.

I was working this song up for my solo album in Nashville but as I told my producer, Jay DeMarcus, I wanted to go in a different direction.  He gave me his blessing.

Many people don't quite understand what I'm doing and that's ok!  I do!

My plan is to open up new avenues to create the environment and freedom to keep creating art.

I'm doing what Jay-Z has done, but on a much smaller level.

Jay-Z just partnered up with Samsung on his new album... Samsung bought a million copies of his album to attach to their products...

I've partnered with Seacret who understands my mission on being able to keep the arts alive, MY arts.

I just saw the forest for the trees... continuing to beat my head against the wall trying to find the opportunities, the green lights, so to speak, to make my music?

As I said, Chicago hadn't been recording new music in years... I started going back to Nashville and it lit me up... it's just that it's become harder and harder to LIGHT THE INDUSTRY UP!  The old model, the old guard is looking at the wrong stuff... trying to get record deals, validation...

The SMART ones... such as Daryl Hall with his webcasting show...(Porter Carroll who is on that show showed up at our concert last night and we had a great talk about this... I told him how I was webcasting from my garage in L.A. back in 2007... finding the *motivation* to create)

So now... I love it... Chicago is in full swing creating new music and you bet I'm going to submit songs like "Here I Am" and "Now" to the project.

At this point, what I love is that as a band, Chicago, we are really keeping things internal exploring who we are as writers, producers and artists... currently... 2013.

So "Here I Am", not written by me... written by 2 of my favorites... Brett James and Blair Daly... as of now, it's a MESSAGE... a message of HOPE... of TAKING CHANCES... PUTTING IT ALL ON THE LINE...

And when I/you/we all do that we must find the people, the companies, the opportunities we trust... and I have.

Starting with Chicago... my home for the last 27 years and counting... the support and encouragement have never been as high as it is right now... a GREAT environment... probably a huge sense of gratitude that we're still here...

It's amazing how when I run into the other artists out there that are "Still Here"... Doobie Brothers, Earth Wind and Fire, KISS... we all just kind of look at each other with this look of almost bewilderment... a kind of, "Can you believe it?  Still?"

I remember running into Paul Stanley a few years back at festival gig we were on... our dressing rooms were right next to each other... and we just looked at each other and kind of shook our heads... "Can you believe it?"

So let's talk about now...

Once I got into opportunities, people, etc. that were looking at creating a future... the big questions... WHY?  I have to ask that because without one... it's just running figure 8's...

I saw the vision back in Nashville... being part of a community, a complex, of self sufficient talent... that has the resources... the equipment and the freedom to get ANYTHING done...

Seeing that partnering up with a company that wants to take their success, "Seacret", and DO SOMETHING with that success... HELP people... and in my case, Izhak, the CEO, sees he can help the music industry... THE JASON SCHEFF MUSIC INDUSTRY.  We'll start with that.

If I've found an industry that's not panicking... has the resources... and wants to help... sorry but that's a no brainer for me...

Take your pick Jason... keep banging on the doors don't even open anymore... or reach out and find some folks who want to help take my music and *point* it at something... cause... healing... help...

Sorry but here I go on a rant!  But I'm NOT INTERESTED in speaking to ANYBODY who wants to talk about how to MAKE MONEY CREATING MUSIC...


Yes, I know... if your bills aren't payed and you want to do that you must find a way to get paid... but for me?  It has KILLED THE ART.  Sorry but for me, that's my reality.

I saw it as it was going downhill... during the 90's and then completely into the first decade of the new millenium...

I'm not going to mention any names but there were outside projects that came my way that were AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES to create art and the other participants were only caught up in how much money they were going to make.

I remember thinking, "I'd PAY to be on this project..."  Call it a coincidence but that attitude has served me well.

And to anybody who wants to say I got lucky... that I don't live in the real world?  Yes, I'm lucky and there are a lot of people who have been *luckier* than me... but I don't use that as an EXCUSE as to why I can't chase my dreams...

And if it's true that I'm just a guy who caught a break then there's even MORE of an urgency to DO SOMETHING WITH IT... WHILE I HAVE THE WINDOW... right?

Funny but for years if I allowed myself to listen to non-supporting voices and opinions, (which of course I did... who hasn't?), I found myself in that real negative self talk of "Well, you're in the afterthought... after the REAL history making happened..."

You see, VERY EASY to fall into that form of victim mentality... "I missed it... the GREAT years..."

But what about all the people I've seen grow up, with me, over the last 27 years being in Chicago?  No, THIS is THEIR "Good Old Days"... and mine too...

And now that I've found a crew that sees the vision... sees what I see for the future, and the team is forming... the sky's the limit.

Are you KIDDING ME?  NOW is the New Renaissance!!!!  WIDE open for people to step in...

I'm just getting started... it's a 2 to 5 year plan... thank you to ALL who have joined me and continue to join me.

To those who have purchased the products tied to my side music projects... "Seacret" you are a part of the building of MY "New Renaissance" and I thank you...

The television show I'm talking about doing in Provo with my new team members in that city is kind of a PBS type of thing... finding the funding for the show through participation of customers and agents in our Seacret community... THAT'S my why...

And I'll leave you with a short conversation I have with myself regularly, these days!

This is the day to wake up, FOR ME... I'm not pointing this at ANYBODY else other than me... if it resonates for you... GREAT... but I'm not singling anybody out... this is my self talk...

"Note to self - Jason"


Alright... that's it for the day!  See you on stage tonight!!!  Jason

ps... oh, I guess I should answer the question...

Is "Here I Am" on Itunes... no... not yet... for now, it's a vehicle that's funding Team Scheffy to keep creating and help develop new talent by creating an "Eco-System" of customers and business partners in Team Scheffy.  The only way you can get it, at least on a physical c.d., is to take advantage of my promotions... which there is one going on for the month of June... just look at the sidebar in this post... if it's not there anymore that's because it's expired!

Oh, you can also grab the tune to listen to off of the Soundcloud by CLICKING HERE.  But to have it on your listening device?  No Itunes or downloadable form yet... only way to get it is to grab some of our KILLER Seacret  product and get the c.d. I'm offering!



by webmaster_js_44 on June 18, 2013

peter_cincottiOne of my favorite people, producers, friends, John Fields, will pop up from time to time and ask me to sing for a project he's doing.

He texted me one day and asked if I'd sing for an artist he was producing named Peter Cincotti... I had no idea who he was... (my fault... I'm the one living under a rock, but I'm working on it...)

Ironically, Chicago was just about to get into our last recording project with the great Phil Ramone, (rest in peace Phil), and I found out Phil had produced some stuff on Peter... Peter is a young crooner...

John Fields was brought on to produce some pop stuff for him...

So John sends me 2 tracks and I open up "Madeline".  WOWWWWWWWWWWW... What a great song... shall we start with that?  That's one of the biggest problems in the music industry... BAD MUSIC... starting with BAD SONGS...

So here's Fields sticking to the story of making sure the art is world class... GREAT singer, GREAT piano player, and a GREAT SONG!

Lucky me... I get to sing on it.

So I play the tune and it's absolutely phenomenal... again, can't thank John for letting me be a part of it...

The lyric is absolutely outstanding... chilling in its message... but Cincotti really delivers...

Well, we finished it a long time ago and I wondered if it would ever see the light of day.  I'd look from time to time on Youtube to see if it was out... and hadn't, until today.

John sent me this link and it made me smile in many ways... first, that it's tied to a product... Vanity Fair... you're going to see more and more of this as time marches on...

And it confirms that I'm on the right path... by taking my future solo efforts into a product based industry to support the cause... (stay tuned for "Scheffy's Seacret Sessions"... the variety series I'll be shooting...)

So I'd like to give you the link now to check out this beautiful piece of art... check out the song... check out the record, check out the video... yes, this is where I'm headed too... partnering up with companies, individuals... to keep the art alive.

Thank you John for including me in this... and I LOVE the way you put my vocals into your productions... they don't draw attention... as you've said, the *beams* are tucked back into the track to just provide *frequencies*.  I LOVE IT!

More to come!!!  Have a listen...

All my best to you and greetings from the June Chicago run!  (written from a hotel room near you!)

New Chicago Music!

by webmaster_js_44 on June 3, 2013

Hey friends... sometimes the wait is so worth it!

From the day I joined Chicago we were making records smack in the middle of one of the biggest hitmaking machines on the planet...

David Foster producing, Humberto Gatica engineering and mixing, Chicago (who was dominating the pop radio charts), Warner Bros. Records, top level management, agency... you name it.

The positives of that, well, do I need to even ask?

But what are the negatives? You know, at the time, anybody would be a fool to look for negatives, it was rolling in the lane of what the dream is... big hit records, MTV/VH1, hearing yourself WAY TOO MUCH on the radio! (a great problem to have), but as a new guy... you know what I felt? I felt the frustration of all the creatives in the band.

It had gotten to the point where they had painted themselves into a corner, (a great corner nonetheless, but a corner), but when I joined the band David Foster announced that the tenor was going to be singing all the singles...

You know, as a 24 year old kid, even back then, I felt for the other great singers in the band... Robert Lamm and Bill Champlin and I must say, both of these gentlemen conducted themselves as not only classy but really taking me under their wings.

But I could only imagine... if you're that great, (which they are), that had to be strange... who is this kid?

We were going with the flow... but again, I felt it... nobody ever said anything but there's no way it couldn't be a bit frustrating...

So there we went, continuing on with their success they had created and I got to ride in the wake of it...

There was, and still is, always a part of me that wanted to see what we could do as a completely open ended creative band... but it just wasn't time yet... we were doing whatever the machine was advising... again, not complaining, it was great.

Again though... there was always a part of me that longed for what they had in the beginning... a creative environment where everybody's ideas, everybody's voices, everybody's talents could come to the table...

And you know what? It's not like it was avoided or squelched back in the day, we just didn't have TIME to experiment...

When you're touring as much as we did, and do, you have a small window to record...

But now? WOW! It's wide open. I'm so grateful guys like Robert Lamm and Lee Loughnane have championed the cause to record... yes, we've all been recording and writing over the years but to call it Chicago? It's taken somebody to really take the bull by the horns and that's Lee. I have to give him massive props here!

He and I speak all the time about what it takes... Lee's like me in that he wants to learn, he'll spend COUNTLESS hours in the computer, in the owners manuals learning, trying to figure it out...

And I've told him, "There aren't many that are willing like you... yes, I'm one of them, but there aren't many. I commend you for that!"

It's the only way anything will get done... because you see, at this point? It takes nuts that will do the insane to be able to lead the charge... waiting for the gatekeepers to give you *permission* to record... and let's just break it down... giving you permission to record/write/create... think about how insane that is...

If we are artists and we don't create, why? There had better be a great reason why...

I've heard a great phrase and Wally De Los Reyes has been reminding me of it lately... "Most arists will die with their art inside them". Wow...

Not me, not us... we're back recording and I'm so excited for folks to hear what we're up to...

As many of you know, I was working on a solo album for the last few years... and pulled the brakes on it... I have a few tunes I wrote that feel right for the Chicago project and I've contributed them... hopefully they make the cut!

And I have others I was working on, from other writers, that have been vehicles to share my message of personal development and growth in other areas such as my Seacret Association.

All in all, I knew this year was and is going to be a great one... and it's not even halfway done... almost but not quite!

See you in the studio!!!! Jason