Two Chicago Members Leaving Band

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Chicago has been celebrating its 50th anniversary

On Wednesday, Jan. 17, drummer Tris Imboden announced via his Facebook page, that he would be leaving Chicago after nearly three decades, citing the heavy commitment to being on the road. Then today (Jan. 19), the classic rock band’s lineup was rocked again when their lead vocalist and bassist, Jeff Coffey, shared news via his Facebook page that, he, too was leaving.

[Chicago have announced a 2020 tour with Rick Springfield. Tickets are available here and here.]

Tris Imboden via his Facebook page

In his post, Imboden wrote: “I have decided to no longer tour with the band Chicago. I came to this decision after many sleepless nights and much soul searching. I realize the great honor I was given to have played drums with this incredible band for quite nearly three decades, however, at this point in my life I no longer want to commit to 9 to 10 months out of every year being on the road.

“This in no small way is because I have finally found and married the love of my life, Mary, and I want to share more of my life with her. I must tell you though that I in no way intend to “retire”. In fact to this end I am in negotiations with a major artist right now that will require much less time away from home and loved ones.”

Imboden went on to thank the band, their manager and “the best fans in the world.”

Watch Imboden and Coffey perform two Chicago favorites in 2017

Coffey was a relative newcomer to the band, having only joined them in October 2016. In his post, he first acknowledged Imboden: “I’m sure many of you are still reeling from Tris’s announcement the other day. I have to tell you, it was so heartwarming to see all the love, admiration, respect and appreciation for Tris coming from all of you! He so deserves the praise because not only is he a brilliant musician, but he’s also one hell of a nice guy! Seriously, one of the sweetest people I’ve ever known and an absolute thrill to play music with!

Jeff Coffey via his Facebook page

“I am coming to you today with a heavy heart to announce that I am also leaving Chicago. In fact, we both played our last show earlier this week. Let me just start off by saying that for me, musically, playing with Chicago was like a match made in heaven!

“This decision was made after much deliberation and consideration for what is best for my family and my career. You have to weigh the sacrifices, decide what is most important to you and stand up for what you believe is right. We’ve all faced this same dilemma at some point, I’m sure. As Tris eluded, the scale here leans more and more towards heavy touring, with NO time for anything else. It wasn’t the right balance for me. As Chicago moves forward, I wish them continued success with their long and illustrious career.”

Related: One of Chicago’s albums is on our list of the 14 best studio double albums of all-time

A tip of the cap to BCB reader Karen McC for sharing the news with us.

Best Classic Bands Staff
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10 Comments so far

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  1. TWilmeth
    #1 TWilmeth 19 January, 2018, 20:58

    Two words: Seraphine and Cetera.

    Reply this comment
  2. GG
    #2 GG 19 January, 2018, 21:18

    Peter Cetera doesn’t seem busy these days…..would give the box office a spark…..

    Reply this comment
    • Jane
      Jane 20 January, 2018, 07:03

      Cetera is 73 so I can’t imagine him signing back in. If he couldn’t come to an agreement with the band about appearing at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, I fail to see how working with the band again on a regular basis could ever happen.

      Reply this comment
  3. Brad
    #3 Brad 20 January, 2018, 01:33

    When Terry Kath unintentionally shot a bullet in his head, the original Chicago died. I know that Doc Severson encouraged the band to stay together, and I know that they all have amazing talent. But, they’re not Chicago. Robert Lamm even basically said that. I’ve been an avid fan of Chicago since the very early 70’s. I still listen to their music from that time. Yes, many years have passed since Terry’s death. Much as happened, since that time, starting with the parting of Peter Cetera, and then the firing of Danny Seraphine. But I think it’s best to do as Danny suggested in some publication… remember who they were.

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  4. Fitzy
    #4 Fitzy 20 January, 2018, 05:28

    Chicago died a long time ago. When terry died and Peter left. I so this so called Chicago on a special recently. It was literally cringeworthy. I could not even get through it. Ps. They where the best band of the seventies. Them and Zeppelin. Time to put a fork in it.

    Reply this comment
    • Terry
      Terry 22 January, 2018, 13:25

      Agree with everyone else here. Terry Kath was the heart and soul of Chicago, and when he died so did Chicago. When Cetera left it was really the nail in the coffin. They now sound like a Holiday Inn lounge band covering Chicago songs. Compare the version of “25 or 6 to 4” above to the version on YouTube played live at Tanglewood in the early seventies. I own every album on vinyl and remastered CD, before Kath died. That’s all you really need. Chicago Transit Authority is one of the greatest albums ever recorded in the history of rock, and it’s a double album to boot. All killer, no filler!

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      STEPHEN 13 July, 2018, 00:05


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  5. Dave
    #5 Dave 16 February, 2018, 16:33

    I actually liked the 80s Chicago with Bill Champlin and Jason Scheff. Although maybe not on the same level as the Terry Kath days in some respects, the 80’s/early 90’s Chicago were beyond phenomenal and created their own legacy. With Champlin and Scheff gone, and with Walt not touring anymore, what you basically have left is Lamm, Pankow, and Loughnane. Lamm still sounds and looks amazing, and I’d show up just to see him perform. In any event, I’ve supported this band through thick and thin. It was a surprise to see Scheff go, but Coffey did a pretty good job. Now he’s gone too ? This is crazy, but I know Lamm will carry on with Loughnane and Pankow. I think as some other commenters said, it’s time to bring back Peter Cetera and Danny Seraphine. Danny would do it, but I doubt that Peter is willing to, unfortunately.

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  6. Chicago the Band Fan
    #6 Chicago the Band Fan 6 December, 2018, 13:37

    Don’t miss these 2 amazing Chicago auction items and support @WhyHunger’s annual #Hungerthon Campaign! Bid now to win 4 tickets to a 2019 US show of your choice plus box sets, CDs and a signed photo of the band OR a Fender guitar signed by the band! Auctions end 12/12. Bid now:

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