THE HISTORY: In The Beginning
1964-65: The Ides of March begin in Berwyn, Illinois (a western suburb of Chicago) on October 16th as “The Shon-Dels”. Their first record, “Like It Or Lump It,” was released on their own “Epitome” label in 1965. The original four members are:
LARRY MILLAS — VOCALS AND GUITAR
JIM PETERIK — VOCALS AND GUITAR
BOB BERGLAND — VOCALS AND BASS
MIKE BORCH — VOCALS AND DRUMS
1966: The band changes their name to “The Ides Of March” (The name was suggested by bassist Bob Bergland after reading Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” in school) and released their first single on Parrot Records, “You Wouldn’t Listen.” The song reached #7 in Chicago, and #42 on the Billboard Charts in the spring of 1966. This record, and its follow-ups (all pre-Vehicle and brass) have been re-released on the Sundazed Records CD “Ideology” and is available nationwide.
1968: A brass section (CHUCK SOUMAR – TRUMPET, VOCALS AND PERCUSSION; JOHN LARSON — TRUMPET; Bassist Bob Bergland doubled on Tenor Sax for the Brass Numbers) was added and they secured a record deal with Warner Brothers Records.
1970: “Vehicle” is released which became the fastest-selling single in Warner Brothers history. A little-known fact is that 14 seconds of the completed master of Vehicle was accidentally erased in the recording studio, (primarily the guitar solo), and the missing section was spliced in from a previously discarded take. The song reached #2 in Billboard, and #1 in Cashbox. The album “Vehicle” reached #55 nationally.
The band toured extensively throughout 1970 in support of many of the top acts of the day, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and most notably Led Zeppelin, whom the band upstaged in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The local newspaper’s entertainment headline read “Ides Of March Steal The Show.” The Ides were also among the participants in the legendary “Festival Express” train tour documented in a 2003 film, although the Ides were not featured.
1971: The second album, “Common Bond,” is released. The featured single was the vocal-driven “L.A. Goodbye” and it stayed at the #1 spot on regional charts for five weeks, but only reached #73 on the Billboard Charts.
1972: The band changed its focus away from the “brass” sound, adding blind keyboard player DAVID ARELLANO and changed record labels to RCA, releasing “World Woven” which failed to produce a hit single.
1973: The “Midnight Oil” album was released, signaling a shift to a country-rock direction. This album also did not produce a hit single. The band played its final show of the “first era” at Morton West High School in Berwyn in November 1973.
1973-1990: The Ides Of March go on extended hiatus, during which Jim Peterik founds the band Survivor and co-writes all their platinum hits including “Eye Of The Tiger,” “The Search Is Over,” “High on You” and “I Can’t Hold Back.” Jim also begins a career of writing collaboration, which results in many platinum hits for other artists, most notably “Hold On Loosely,” “Rockin’ Into The Night,” “Fantasy Girl” and “Wild-Eyed Southern Boys” for .38 Special and “Heavy Metal” with Sammy Hagar.
- Berwyn, Illinois makes an offer to have a re-united Ides headline their “Summerfest” festival
2008: The Ides film an appearance for Public Television’s SOUNDSTAGE. The Ides are chosen to be the entertainment at the FBI’s 100-year-anniversary party, playing before many international VIP’s.
2009: After a devastating fire at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral, The Ides immediately pitch in to help. Lending the name of their gospel-tinged song to the relief effort, “All Join Hands To Raise The Roof” culminates in an exclusive fund-raising event at the Palmer House, with the Ides as featured entertainment. The Ides play before Cardinal Francis George and Mayor Richard J. Daley among other V.I.P.S. Their first full-length Christmas CD, “I Believe in Christmas,” is released featuring new songs and selected live tracks from the Ides’ annual Christmas Concerts. Work begins on the first all-new album of Ides songs since 1973.
2010: Berwyn, Illinois announces that it will rename the portion of Home Avenue that passes in front of Morton West High School “Ides Of March Way” in honor of the band. The CD “Still 19” is released at parties in Nashville TN and Berwyn IL. It is the first all-new set of songs from the band since 1973. The CD is available at the Ides website. The Ides play a featured set at the prestigious “Tin Pan South” Songwriters festival in Nashville with special guest Jeff Carlisi of .38 Special fame, and a encore of “Vehicle” that features “American Idol” Finalist Bo Bice appearing with the band for the first time. The Ides are asked to be the special guests of radio legend Dick Biondi on the WLS Broadcast celebrating his 50-year anniversary on the air. Later, Biondi asks the Ides to share the celebration of his honorary street-naming in downtown Chicago.
2011: A year of transition for the band. Original trumpet player John Larson retires and passes away from cancer on Sept 21. Original trumpet player Chuck Soumar resigns from the band to pursue other interests. Noted session player TIM BALES joins the band on trumpet late in the year. The band continues their tradition of singing the Christmas Eve Mass at Holy Name Cathedral.
2012: Nationally-known Grammy(tm)-winner STEVE EISEN joins the band on saxophone and percussion, marking the first full-time Sax Player in the Ides’ history. At a show late in 2011, an anonymous fan gave Jim a set of cassette tapes containing live recordings of the Ides from a 1972 concert in Houghton, Michigan. Selections from those tapes comprise a new Ides CD “The Lost Tapes-Vol 1.”
2013: The Ides establish a Scholarship in their name at their Alma Mater, Morton West High School to benefit students continuing their education in the Arts. Production begins on a new DVD project to mark their upcoming 50th Anniversary. Ides keyboardist Scott May releases solo CD “Inside The Outside.” The Christmas CD is re-mastered and new songs are added. The CD is retitled “The Meaning Of Christmas.”
2014: The Ides celebrate 50 years together as band with all the original members. They play a private event with guest stars Mike Reno of Loverboy and Cathy Richardson. They perform an anniversary concert at the House of Blues, filmed for later release. Ides keyboard player Scott May releases another solo CD titled “Outside The Inside.” The band mounts a 50th-anniversary “Chicago Cornerstones” show with special guests Carl Giammerese of The Buckinghams, Tom “Toad” Doody of The Cryan’ Shames, Ronnie Rice of The New Colony Six, and Jimmy Sohns of the Shadows of Knight. The show’s dual hosts are Dick Biondi and Bob Sirott. The Ides play a private event with special guest Steve Cropper. “Vehicle” is used as the soundtrack for a series of Hardees/Carl’s Jr. TV commercials. Jim Peterik’s autobiography, “Through The Eye Of The Tiger” is released. “Vehicle” is featured in the movie “Dumb And Dumber To.”
2015: The Ides play a private event with Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, Rik Emmett of Triumph, John Densmore of The Doors, and Carmine Appice of Vanilla Fudge. The Ides release a 50 year commemorative 5-disc box set, with 4 CDs comprising a comprehensive career retrospective and a new DVD of the 2014 House of Blues show, music video of “Last Band Standing,” exclusive band interviews, and other special features titled “Last Band Standing.” “Vehicle” is featured in the Will Smith Movie “Focus.”
Dave Stahlberg retired from the band, and trombone player Henry Salgado joined in his place.
2016: The Ides are featured in the premiere episode of Public Television’s “SOUNDSTAGE” (American Garage). Jim Peterik co-hosts the show, and The Ides are the “House Band”. Other acts featured are: The Cryan’ Shames, The Buckinghams, The New Colony Six, The Shadows Of Knight, The American Breed, The Standells, and the McCoys. Also featured: Tributes to Mitch Aliotta (Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah), and Chase. The Pledge drive attached to the Broadcast raises 4 times the funds projected, prompting a nationwide rollout of the show, with accompanying concert dates.
The Ides are featured on the Moody Blues Cruise aboard the NCL Pearl in the Caribbean. Overwhelming audience reaction to the opening-night show in the Spinnaker Lounge prompts the organizers to add an appearance in the 1042-seat Stardust Theatre. It becomes an SRO event.
2017: The Ides continue to play sold-out houses with the “Cornerstones of Rock” tour, along with many Ides dates cross-country. Jim Peterik tours behind his “The Songs” CD. Planning begins for a new Ides album for 2018.
2018: The Ides kick off the new year on the 4th Moody Blues Cruise on the Celebrity Eclipse with ports of call in the Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico. The band plays an intimate show in the ship’s nightclub, and an SRO concert in the main theatre, where they were greeted with a standing ovation as they took the stage. Their photo session ran 90 minutes over due to the amount of fans wishing to have their pictures taken with the band. Ides keyboardist Scott May releases his next CD “ownlife.” Work progresses on the new Ides CD to be released for the summer season. The Ides will be featured on the 2019 “Flower Power” cruise in the Carribbean.