One of my favorites from 2009 Roof Fundraiser. Rest in peace Cardinal Francis George.
Last Year JIM PETERIK had the pleasure of doing a gig with the legendary Guitarist/Songwriter STEVE CROPPER in Louisiana, and the two musicians found a common ground and a fast friendship. Steve, of course was the bedrock of Booker T and the MG’s, the “house band” of Stax Records in Memphis, and the composer of many many timeless hit records such as “Soul Man”, “Midnight Hour”, and “Sittin On The Dock Of The Bay”. Everyone knows Steve as the “Colonel” from the Blues Brothers Movies, has Steve is an inductee in both the Rock And Roll and Songwriter’s Hall Of Fames.
Cut to this year, when an proposal came in to the Ides Offices from a Couple in Burr Ridge Illinois who wanted to throw a luxurious 55th Birthday Party for the Gentleman. They wanted a “Mini World Stage” featuring the Ides plus a special guest. We thought of Steve Cropper immediately, and the show was swiftly booked.
As the date approached, The band encamped in Jim’s JAM LAB soundstage facility to woodshed the Cropper hits. World Stage Band Guitar Whiz MIKE AQUINO was made a Deputy Ide for the show, and R&B Stars MARZETTE GRIFFITH and YVONNE GAGE were brought on to add their vocal firepower.
The rehearsal sessions were great fun, playing the Soul Hits Steve made famous, and it really wasn’t a stretch for the band, ‘cos before Jim started cranking out his own homegrown hits, the Ides Repertoire consisted of almost all of these tunes and ones just like them. The memories were grand and warm.
Steve arrived the day before the show, and the rehearsals were a gas! Steve was a perfect Southern Gentleman, with a boatload of stories that made our heads spin. And the man can PLAY!
Event day was great-The Venue was an elaborate structure erected behind an ornate European-Styled estate in a wooded setting. It was hard to believe the lavish accommodations were for a single night, but it was so. Scores of staff manned the Bars, Food stations, and Cleanup, as we prepared for the show in our hosts adjacent, spacious downstairs Rec Room/Bar. We enjoyed the great food and more Stories from Steve. Then it was time to hit the stage.
The first part of the set was Ides’ music plus a sampling of Jim’s Platinum hits with Survivor and Sammy Hagar, then Steve was introduced. We ran down a whole set of Steve’s Soul/R&B hits with Steve’s stories punctuating the tunes. Steve, Marzette, and Yvonne took turns on Lead Vocals, the band kept up the funk, and the mighty mighty Ides Brass added their blazing chops to the mix. The Horns are SO important to this music.
The assembled crown went wild, and they filled the dance floor. Steve and the Ides took the party up notches the host never expected, but they weren’t through.
After a short break, The Ides came back with more hits of their own plus Jim’s hits with .38 Special, then Steve, Marzette, Yvonne and Mike were introduced to join us again for “Vehicle” and “Eye Of The Tiger”.
To say the entire evening was a success was an understatement, made even sweeter to know there was an underlying co-theme for the event dedicated to raising money for a charity championed by the Hosts. The well-heeled attendees were generous indeed, and an impressive donation was amassed.
Normally pizzas are the after-gig refreshment for the band, but tonight there was the gourmet sweet table, ice cream station and Frozen Margarita fountain. A tasty splurge was in order, as the evening came to a close.
The next afternoon, Col. Steve graced World Stage Studios to add his distinctive guitar tracks to the new Ides 50th Anniversary CD.
We hope to do more things with the Great Steve Cropper, as this match seems like it was made in Heaven…
The Ides Of March presented the first award of their Morton High School Scholarship to IRIDIAN HERNANDEZ on Wednesday, May15th at a ceremony in Berwyn. Ms. Hernandez displayed a number of her Artistic Works, including a custom “Ides Of March Way” CD Case she designed especially for the band. Iridian related that she plans to attend Dominican University in River Forest following her graduation this year. The Ides shared stories of their Morton Years, and how much influence their studies played on the success of the band. It was ‘old home week” for the 4 Original IDES who attended Morton West. Ides stage Manager Toby Bermann also is a MW alum, while Scott May and the Late John Larsen attended Morton East in Cicero. The Ides enjoyed meeting the Senior Morton Administrators and a few of Ms. Hernandez’ Teachers who related that she is an Honor Roll Student. Special thanks is due to Ides Attorney (and fellow Morton West Alum) Rich Brom for coordinating the establishment of the Scholarship. Following the ceremony, the Ides dined in true Berwyn fashion at the Bohemian Food Temple, Czech Plaza Restaurant.
The IDES CHRISTMAS SHOW has become a tradition for our Family and Friends, and we’re happy to announce this year’s date: Saturday December 7th at St. Charles’ Fabulous ARCADA Theatre. As always, we’ll have a mix of Traditional and New Ides Christmas Tunes, with a special guest or three. Watch our website here for announcement of Ticket sales, or go to www.oshows.com for further information.