Interviews

Published on June 23rd, 2019 | by Darren Paltrowitz

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Jason Scheff On The “It Was Fifty Years Ago Today” Tour, The Beatles, Todd Rundgren & More

Few musicians get to experience the success or career longevity as Jason Scheff has. For over 30 years, Scheff was the bassist and one of the lead singers of legendary rock band Chicago. Scheff — the son of Elvis Presley bassist Jerry Scheff — has also recorded and/or toured with the likes of Boz Scaggs, Rascal Flatts and Zosia Karbowiak, to name a few of his impressive musical credits.

Jason Scheff currently has a variety of projects on the horizon, and the next one is the It Was Fifty Years Ago Today tour. Alongside Todd Rundgren, Christopher Cross, Badfinger’s Joey Molland and The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz, Scheff and crew will be playing The Beatles’ The White Album along with some of their own hits. The tour kicks off on September 21st in Atlantic City with dates currently announced through October 20th in Washington D.C. More details are likely to be announced soon.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Jason Scheff himself by phone about It Was Fifty Years Ago Today and plenty more, including the critically-acclaimed “all-star” Alpacas Orgling album he did with L.E.O. in 2005, his upcoming tour of Asia coming up alongside Journey’s Arnel Pineda and 98 Degrees’ Jeffrey Timmons, his San Diego roots, and his reasons for leaving Chicago. The full conversation will be broadcasted next month as part of the Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz podcast.

In the meantime, a few minutes from my June 2019 phone chat with Scheff — who can be visited online at www.jasonscheff.com — have been transcribed below for your reading pleasure.

On how long he knew he would be part of the It Was Fifty Years Ago Today tour:

Jason Scheff: I want to say a couple of months ago, maybe a little longer than that… It sounded like a great, great thing to do.

On whether the whole show has already been worked out:

Jason Scheff: We’ve gotten to the stage where all five guys have put in what they’d like to sing and and so we’re narrowing it down.

On which songs he hopes to be singing in the show:

Jason Scheff: I can do a lot of different things, but a lot of people who know me know me as a ballad singer with maybe a softer voice, although I can do all kinds of other stuff. So I think Christopher Cross and I may have chosen the same songs that we’d like to do. However he’s got such a unique sound that I’ve told Joey [Curatolo], who’s the musical director, “Here’s the way I approach it. I’ll tell you all the stuff that resonates when I look at the song titles and listen to them, but in no way am I saying I got to do this, man.” So I just let everybody else know that I’m not making a statement, that I need to do this or that. So if Christopher wants certain songs, I defer.

On if he already knew how to play all of the songs from the tour:

Jason Scheff: I know a lot of them, but some of them I’ve had to brush up on. What’s really cool is it’s so diverse… I’m 57 and so my generation is that when Goodbye Yellow Brick Road came out, that’s my Sgt. Pepper’s album. So when I heard that, I went back and revisited The White Album. What I love so much is the diversity of the styles. Nowadays you hear records that come out and it’s just a lot of the same lot of the same sounds and genres… When these guys made these records with this journey, you know going across all these styles and it’s a listening experience… It takes you through a total journey and experience. So that’s what I’m really excited about.


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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident (and Long Island native) with over 15 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his favorite band Superdrag. In the years following, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer.Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World, TheStreet.com, Format Magazine, Businessweek, The Improper, the L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. He is a member of the SATW and the IFWTWA organizations as a food and travel writer.Darren is also the host the recently-launched "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" podcast, as co-produced with PureGrainAudio.


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