Members of the enduring band share tips from their years of traveling.

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Top Row: Robert Lamm; Center, Left to Right: Lee Loughnane, Jason Scheff, Keith Howland; Bottom, Left to Right: Lou Pardini, Walt Parazaider, Jimmy Pankow, Tris Imboden
With a career of consistent annual touring spanning more than four decades, Chicago is one musical act that defines the term endurance. Releasing its first album in 1969 as Chicago Transit Authority, the group landed on the charts with “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” and hasn’t looked back since. This year’s Chicago tour is truly newsworthy, as the octet has joined with the American Cancer Society to raise money for breast cancer — at every concert, a winning bidder gets to join the band onstage to sing a song. We caught up with the four original members still touring with the band — Robert Lamm (keyboards, vocals), Lee Loughnane (trumpet), Jimmy Pankow (trombone), and Walt Parazaider (woodwinds) — right before they hit the road again for a big summer tour. Also on the bill are the Doobie Brothers. Go to chicagotheband.com for a full list of concert dates. 

FAVORITE PLACES TO PLAY: Chicago, my hometown, which of course is number one. New York would be a close second, and since I moved to Las Vegas in 2004, I really like playing there. — WALT PARAZAIDER

BEST THING ABOUT BEING ON THE ROAD: being able to take our music to different parts of the world. It’s really amazing to watch people’s faces when we start the intros to many of our songs. You can actually see them remember back to the first time they heard the song, and then of course it’s up to us to make the song sound like we’re playing it for the first time. — LEE LOUGHNANE

FAVORITE SONGS TO PLAY LIVE: “Just You ’N’ Me” because of the jazziness of this great tune and “25 or 6 to 4” because regardless of the country we’re in, this rock-anthem song resonates across borders and across time. — ROBERT LAMM

DOWNTIME ON THE ROAD CONSISTS OF: relaxing and recharging, enjoying a great meal, and languishing in my solitude. — JIMMY PANKOW

THE ONE THING I CANNOT DO WITHOUT ON THE ROAD: good coffee. I bring my own, either Orens (New York City), Stumptown (Portland, Oregon), or Graffeo (San Francisco). — ROBERT LAMM

THE SECRET TO THE BAND’S LONGEVITY: We respect each other’s differences as well as our similarities. We have somehow known when to confront each other and when to stay out of each other’s way. — LEE LOUGHNANE

IF I HADN’T BEEN IN THIS BAND FOR THE LAST 40-PLUS YEARS: I would have been a clarinet player in the Chicago Symphony. I hold my playing degree from DePaul University and was the protégé of the clarinetist in the Chicago Symphony. — WALT PARAZAIDER

WHERE I GET MUSICAL INSPIRATION: pre-’ 70s jazz, chamber music (quartets especially), Brazilian music, and DJ mixes (Towa Tei, Tanaka Tomoyuki, Shantel, Rae & Christian). — ROBERT LAMM

BEST WAY TO STAY IN SHAPE ON THE ROAD: The performance itself is an intense aerobic workout, especially at outdoor summer venues, where the heat and humidity are high. Pushing air through a horn while moving on your feet nonstop for two hours is about the equivalent of a 10-mile run, aerobically. On days off, I try to do a two-hour power walk, and I weight-train three to four days a week. — JIMMY PANKOW

FIRST THING I DO WHEN I RETURN FROM A LONG TOUR: hug my wife who has supported me for 43 years, walk around my house, appreciate being home, and enjoy the sunset at the close of the day. — WALT PARAZAIDER



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