Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on May 10th 2010 11:00AM by David Chiu
This year, the veteran rock outfit joined forces with the American Cancer Society for a new promotion called "Sing With Chicago." Through eBay, fans can bid for or buy a special prize package that includes two tickets to a Chicago concert during the group's current US tour and an opportunity to sing 'If You Leave Me Now' at the show. The donation will go to the Society's campaign against breast cancer.
"It stems from the work we did last year for World Hunger Year," Robert Lamm, the group's founding keyboardist and singer, tells Spinner of Chicago's involvement with the cause. "It got such a great response and it really did so much good that when the opportunity came to work with ACS this year in regards to breast cancer, it was sort of natural."
The campaign has already started and Chicago has had some good singers, according to Lamm. "It runs the whole gamut [of] people who just want to stand onstage and not sing and kind of be with the band," he says. "Obviously these people are generous with their contribution in order to win the opportunity to do it."
'If You Leave Me Now,' written by former bassist and singer Peter Cetera, is one of the band's three Billboard No. 1 hits. "You could read into the lyric a little bit," Lamm says about using the song for the promotion, "for the poignancy of the lyric taken into context of someone who is suffering from breast cancer. But we've also made the decision based on it's a fairly simple song to sing."
The keyboardist, who says he has known a couple of people affected by the disease, describes this campaign as a good model for any cause. "The bottom line is you hope the funds end up going to prevention rather than treatment," he explains, "because eventually there won't need to be treatment if there is prevention. If we could just raise awareness and money to that effect, that would be the best of all worlds."
Starting on June 15, Chicago will tour with the Doobie Brothers, an association that dates back to the '70s. "They were actually guests on one of our TV shows," Lamm says. "We did do a tour with them a few years ago that was very successful. What we experienced last time was that it's really a wonderful evening of music, just great rock music."
As far as Chicago's future plans, Lamm says that the group is working on new material that will be the follow-up to 2006's 'XXX' album as well as a holiday record with producer Phil Ramone. "We're gonna do a brand new Chicago top-to-bottom album, [but] there are no more CDs to speak of anymore. It's pretty much digitalized albums, if you will, so we're looking at how to do that and what's the format is going to be."
Also upcoming is a musical project where salsa musicians will be interpreting Chicago's songs, which might include some of the group members. The 43-year-old band will also play three dates in Brazil in late September. "In all the years we've been touring around the world, we never have been to South America," Lamm says. " We have a huge body of fans there that will finally get to see Chicago perform live, so all of this is sort of a perfect storm of Chicago, Latin audiences and Latin music."