Acclaimed singer-songwriter Peter Cetera to play Misericordia arts festival
The last two years have brought career honors and frustrations for Peter Cetera, but the former founding member of Chicago and successful solo songwriter is only focused on one thing.
“I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had,” the 72-year-old vocal tenor and multi-instrumentalist said.
Cetera and his band, the Bad Daddies, will headline the Under the Stars Summer Arts Festival with a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Wells Fargo Amphitheater on the Misericordia University campus in Dallas Township.
Cetera’s tenure in Chicago lasted from 1967 to 1985, during which he worked on 18 albums with the band, writing and singing some of its most popular songs including the Grammy-winning “If You Leave Me Now.”
His solo career has been equally successful, producing hits like “The Glory of Love” and “Restless Heart.”
The Bad Daddies, Cetera said, perform the songs he’s written and recorded in both phases of his career.
“It’s not by any means a Chicago tribute,” he said. “It’s a Peter Cetera tribute if anything. I cover my span of writing, and it seems to please everybody.”
Whether he’s invoking the jazz fusion stylings of his former band or catering to the singer-songwriter tone he adopted as a solo musician, Cetera said audiences are giving positive feedback.
“I get a chance to do what I want to do, the way I want to do it within different genres of music,” he said. “We’re getting all ages (to come to the shows), and everybody seems to go home very happy.”
His band, which Cetera called a “great bunch of national musicians,” recently completed a round of rehearsals.
“I’m adding some new things that nobody’s ever heard before,” Cetera said.
The plan, he said, is to debut new songs on tour and see how they evolve based on the live arrangements the Bad Daddies perform.
“This is a group where we have fun when we rehearse and we talk things out, and that goes with learning a new thing or two. We’re constantly learning new old stuff, things that I wanted to do from the past and never had the opportunity.”
Some of Cetera’s notable old stuff was honored in 2016 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Chicago. Initially, Cetera considered reuniting with his former bandmates for a one-night performance, but he decided not to attend the ceremony at all after all parties involved failed to agree to terms surrounding the performance.
“I have mixed feelings about the Rock Hall,” Cetera said, “starting with the fact that Chicago should have been in years ago, and there are certain politics that have changed. It’s turned into a TV show instead of a singular honor.”
Fellow inductee Steve Miller was outspoken in taking the Rock Hall to task in the same year, offering scathing criticism after his ceremony appearance.
“What’s funny is Steve Miller and I lived in the same town for years, Ketchum, Idaho,” Cetera said. “I thought it was pretty unique that two guys from the same little town got inducted at the same time. I remember talking to him a few days before the event, and he said, ‘You’re not going? I’m going, but begrudgingly.’”
Six months ago, it was announced that Cetera would be inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame with fellow Chicago members Robert Lamm and James Pankow. But after Cetera decided he couldn’t make the ceremony to perform with Lamm and Pankow, his induction was withdrawn.
“What started out as honors years ago turns into ‘we have a TV show we can sell to HBO and makes lots of cash,’” Cetera lamented.
But his distaste for industry organizations is not holding him back from enjoying his work.
“I’m stealing this line from somebody I heard it from years back: I get paid to travel. I go on stage for free. Getting there is 98 percent of the hassle with hotels and planes and this and that. The stage is fun.
“I have a fantastic band that travels with me, and I’m working more than I have since back in the day with Chicago. I’m looking forward to coming (to Misericordia) and playing for people who have come to see us. It’ll be a blast.”
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or on Twitter @TimesLeaderMatt.
IF YOU GO
What: Peter Cetera and the Bad Daddies
Where: Wells Fargo Amphitheater, Misericordia University campus, 301 Lake St., Dallas Township.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Additional information: Individual tickets cost $30 for lawn seats and $45 for amphitheater seats. To purchase tickest in advance, visit bit.ly/2uT8UX4 or call 570-674-6719.