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06 Feb 2017

The Success of Cetera: A Reunion With Chicago May Never Happen, but Peter Cetera Is Happy With His Solo Career

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Peter Cetera. Peter Cetera.

Peter Cetera left the band Chicago in the summer of 1985 to embark on a full-time solo career—and success followed him.

A year after leaving Chicago, his song “Glory of Love” became a No. 1 hit after appearing on The Karate Kid Part II soundtrack—and the success did not stop there.

Cetera will be stopping by Spotlight 29 on Saturday, Feb. 18.

In 2016, Chicago was finally inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Many Chicago fans hoped there would be a reunion for at least one evening at the ceremony—but Cetera and the band could not agree to terms, and it didn’t happen.

Cetera said he doesn’t have a formula when it comes to writing successful songs.

“I wish I had a formula for success,” Cetera said, “because I’d be more successful than I am now if I had one. I don’t really know. I love what I do, and I think I write from the heart, and I think people can feel that.”

Cetera has produced eight of his own albums. Fun fact: He also produced an album for ABBA member Agnetha Faltskog.

“Back during the ‘Glory of Love’ era, I went over to Europe, doing some TV shows,” Cetera explained. “I was in Sweden and performed for the queen’s jubilee. That’s where I met a guy from a record company over there who introduced me to Agnetha Faltskog. He called me up later and was curious if I would consider producing her next album. I said, ‘Yeah, let’s go!’ It was a lot of fun. I went over there, and we got the material together and brought her over to the States to record. That was the last time I could get her back here, because she has a fear of flying.”

While Cetera was older than most of the artists being shown on MTV in the 1980s, he found a lot of success, both with Chicago and as a solo artist, thanks to the music video. Looking back, however, Cetera said he isn’t a fan.

“I hated it, to be perfectly honest,” he said. “I think it’s been proven: Little by little, it takes away from the music itself and puts more emphasis on theatrics. I think what you see now in music is exactly that: It’s based on how many dancers and what kind of moves you have onstage rather than paying attention to the music.

“Toward the end, we made some fun videos, and they were great. But basically, it was kind of a pain. It probably helped sales, I would say. The MTV thing kind of lost its way, and it was good while it lasted.”

Cetera, like his former bandmates, thought he would never see Chicago inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“I knew somewhere in the bowels of their very evil hearts, there was some kind of vendetta keeping us out,” he said. “I thought that would continue, and it did continue for years. It wasn’t until they saw a loss of interest in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They had to get some interest back into it. They decided to have this open fan vote, and when they did, we won by an overwhelming majority. It kind of proved a point, I think.”

Cetera talked about the two Chicago albums he thought were the most important.

“The very first album is obviously groundbreaking and brought us to the forefront in music,” he said. “I think Chicago 17 was very important, because it brought us back to the top.”

Surprisingly, Cetera said he’s not a fan of classical music or jazz music—even though Chicago incorporated elements of each into its sound.

“I was never a jazz or classical person—I wanted to rock ’n’ roll,” he said. “I am still not a jazz person or a classical person. I respect that music, but I don’t play it. I was sort of forced into playing that, and it wasn’t my forte. I never really cared for it.”

If you’re hoping for new material from Cetera anytime soon … prepare for disappointment.

“I’m working on absolutely nothing,” he said. “I’ve done more concerts this (past) year than I have in years. I’ve been busy doing that. When I get through with this, we’ll see.”

Peter Cetera will perform at 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18, at Spotlight 29, 46200 Harrison Place, in Coachella. Tickets are $45 to $65. For tickets or more information, call 760-775-5566, or visit www.spotlight29.com.

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