Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year 2023 from The Buckinghams

On this final day of 2022, we’d like to take a moment to address all of you who are here on our musical journey across the country and over the seas as we travel on cruises. Our world has been changing constantly this year, and as a result, we have seen what happens when we all join together in song, and in appreciation of the music that brings us together. The Buckinghams are now celebrating what will be our 58th year as a group.

Thanks to quality songs by James Holvay, Gary Beisbier, Lloyd Price, Cannonball Adderly, and lyricists Johnny “Guitar” Watson, and Larry “Bad Boy” Williams, as well as the late Marty Grebb, our fellow bandmember, and talented producers including Dan Belloc, Carl Bonafede, James William Guercio, Jimmy “The Wiz” Wisner, as well as talented arrangers, label promo teams, and relentless devotion to our craft, The Buckinghams continue to be heard on terrestrial radio, we’re streaming on your favorite devices, and many times when you speak to Alexa, Siri, or Google, you’re requesting the devices to play our songs for you.

When concert promoters had to wait out the in-person paralysis of freezing in-person concerts, you all tuned in to our YouTube channel, my YouTube channel, and you stayed with us across all 3 pages on Facebook. DJs around the country kept in touch with us and talked with us about new music we worked on (in our basements) and in carefully controlled studio environments. In 2022 the veil was gently lifted, and the velvet rope pulled back once again when live music events began to reappear as safely as we could all be.

COVID had sidelined some of us for a time, but miraculously, thanks to vaccinations and consideration of all of you, even though we had to forego meet-and-greets, which was a sacrifice for us and for you, you attended our concerts and shared your love for our personal appearances. We saw many of you in the 2022 Happy Together Tour city travels. Thousands of miles, thousands of music fans. You were there for us each time.

We’re now entering 2023. I see on our calendars appearances in towns large and small, sailing the seas to exotic ports of call, and summer festivals and fairs, and showcases together with our musical friends. Our Cornerstones of Rock signature Chicago gatherings always promise a return to the best times of our teenage days.

American Pops concerts with The Box Tops and The Grass Roots (occasionally with The Association) mean an evening of fun wherever we go. Concerts with Peter Noone, Tommy James, and Gary Puckett keep our best days fresh and fun. Then, we enjoy opportunities to reunite with friends in music in selected concerts of the Happy Together Tour.

In 2022, new music was offered from Carl in solo and duet form with colleagues and you all embraced the new songs as enthusiastically as he could ever ask for. New records were set for our fans who have seen us over the “first” 57 years of our shows. To think that you have saved times in your lives to be together with us throughout the coming year is a compliment and a gift of precious time that we appreciate profoundly.

In 2023 we wish for you that all your dreams come true, for you to have great health, enjoy plenty of time with those you love, that you find healing when you have sustained a loss, and that you all know how important each of you is to The Buckinghams. Here’s to another great year of friendship, laughter, and music.

Happy New Year, from all of us in The Buckinghams’ family, and thank you.

The Long, Strong History of Chicago's Best -- The Cornerstones of Rock Concerts Still Solid Gold

Thanks to Concert Coordinator, Susan Rakis, Buckinghams' fans have some great photos of behind the scenes at their rehearsal for the latest Cornerstones of Rock show last month on November 26, 2022. Performers included The Ides of March, The New Colony Six, and The Cryan’ Shames, The Buckinghams and, representing the longtime lead singer of the Shadows of Knight, Jimy Sohns, was “Dirty Dan” Buck. Special to the band for this concert was The Buckinghams' drummer Tommy Scheckel, who played with the band from 1985-2010 before joining Paul Revere and the Raiders for many years.

Soundcheck photos by Susan:

And special thanks also to Jeannie Mikota, the "Sunset Princess" of The Ides of March, we have some terrific performance photos as well:

The popularity of the Cornerstones of Rock Shows has skyrocketed since its 2015 debut. Originally envisioned as a larger collective of Chicago-area bands “one more time,” this original concept is as much the brainchild of singer/songwriter Jim Peterik and producer Joe Thomas. Filmed as a DVD/CD combo product at Chicago PBS station WTTW in Grainger Studio, the product became a popular broadcast for quarterly pledge drives of PBS.

Thinking back to the very first Cornerstones offering in 2015, The Ides of March served as the primary backing band for most of the groups that evening, except for The Buckinghams. Music legends made time to participate, including Gary Loizzo, Al Ciner, Chuck Colbert, Jr., and Lee Graziano, representing the American Breed, Jimy Sohns, Dennis Tufano and Ted Aliotta representing the Shadows of Knight, plus Rick Derringer representing The McCoys. James Fairs joined the Cryan’ Shames for this concert, and Dennis Tufano joined The Buckinghams especially for this show.

On hand for The Cryan’ Shames were Tom Doody, James Fairs, and Jim Pilster; The New Colony Six included Bruce Mattey, Ronnie Rice, and Ray Graffia. There were two special tributes: “Get it On” by Chase, with The Ides of March and Chase member Dartanyan Brown, plus Ted Aliotta representing his late brother Mitch, of Aliotta Haynes Jeremiah, was joined by The Ides of March, and all the groups together performing the iconic Chicagoland song, “Lake Shore Drive.”

For the past seven years, then, the Cornerstones of Rock have performed three to four concerts each year, primarily at Ron Onesti’s Arcada Theatre, as well as traveling to Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, and other venues that requested the best of American Garage music.

After all, that’s how all these guys got their start as musicians in Chicago. From basements of homes to the garages of others, music was attempted, mastered, and later recorded by sixteen-and seventeen-year-olds who had a dream and asked themselves, “Why Not Me?” and “Why Not Us?” As it turned out, the majority of the people performing on stage over the past seven years have had pretty amazing lives and careers that continue to be popular after five decades.

Check out more photos by Susan Rakis to also see some longtime fans who make these concerts feel like homecoming each time they gather.

Here are Laura and Russell Smith:

Also, say hello to Al:

Here's Greg Ellis, who is seeing his 133rd (yes, you read that right) 133rd Buckinghams' concert over the years. So far, he has the record of all ticketholding concert attendees that we know of. If you can top Greg's record, let us know!

Here's Richard Peck:

And Frank P.

And Jim L.

And, special thanks to Rich Onesti, who does so many great things behind the scenes.

Check your calendars for 2023 pretty soon for the next announcement of a Cornerstones date. You won’t want to miss it.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Jump Back to the 80s: New Video Release from Dave Mikulskis and Carl Giammarese

It’s after Thanksgiving. You’ve enjoyed the festivities, the football, and maybe got in some Black Friday shopping deals. Before you go back to work on CyberMonday, you might just need a shot of inspiration. Here it is. Check out the newest effort from two of Chicago’s favorite singers who are also songwriters in their rare moments off from performing.

Dave, you know from Hi Infidelity, the tribute band that makes you think you’re in the arena with Journey, Styx, and Foreigner when you hear Dave Mikulskis belt out the best of the 80s power ballads. He’s been voted Best Male Vocalist six times in the SuburbaNites annual “Best of the Burbs” readers poll.

Carl, you know well from The Buckinghams, as they have been iconic there since 1965. But, because he’s been behind the microphone so long singing up front, you might forget that he was also a premier Chicago guitarist since the 1960s. This song gave him a chance to play his beloved Paul Reed Smith guitar, a custom brand also favored by Carlos Santana, Robben Ford, Orianthi, and John Meyer.

They come together here on “Easy Lover,” a song first made famous in 1984 by co-writers Philip Bailey, Phil Collins, and Nathan East (in-demand bassist frequently seen touring with Toto and other Grammy winners). The Chicagoland duo worked across the Internet at first to find the right song and you can judge for yourself what you think. Dave Mikulskis is also a talented graphic designer and produced and directed the video. Click “Like” on the video if you agree.

The guys are working on a few ideas for their next duet. That’s just what busy musicians do when they do what love for a living. It doesn’t happen without an audience though, so consider sharing the link on social media as you wish.

Also, if you’re on streaming services, you can take this song with you wherever you stream your music. For example, check it out on Spotify here, add a heart, and add to playlists. Share the good news, and take a few friends along with you for the ride back to the 60s.

Find "Easy Lover" where you listen to streaming radio:

Spotify

Pandora

Apple Music

Amazon Music

iHeart Radio

Deezer

Cover design: Snow & Flair Creative

Friday, July 29, 2022

In Memory of Jimy Sohns, Shadows of Knight Frontman, Cornerstones of Rock Showman

Chicago music lovers and classic rock devotees mourn the loss of Jimy Sohns, who passed away today at 5:10 p.m. this evening, following a recent stroke. The loss of Jimy, whose performances of classic favorite songs remained 100% as strong as when he first performed them in the 1960s, is still hard to believe. [Photo: Ides of March video screenshot]

At age 75, the showman was not only the lead singer of the Shadows of Knight; he was a longtime favorite key player in the preeminent ensemble best known as Chicago’s Cornerstones of Rock.

There’s no question that in the 1960s, two national capitals ruled record releases when major labels held court—New York and Los Angeles. Yet, by the mid-1960s, Chicago became an unofficial “third coast,” producing a core group of bands beloved in teen clubs and sock hops first, who eventually made their way to guest appearances on national TV shows as their songs emerged on national charts.

The Buckinghams, The Ides of March, The New Colony Six, The Shadows of Knight, The Cryan’ Shames are the core of the ubiquitous Cornerstones lineup thanks to agent Jim Lenz’ love for Chicago garage bands.

When they perform in Chicago, their usual home base is Ron Onesti's Arcada Theatre, and performances sell out each time; they've also performed in Wisconsin and Indiana as well. In September 2015, Chicago's PBS Station WTTW recorded their show and it's been seen nationally for many years during pledge drives.

Other integral past performers have included Aliotta, Jeremiah, and Haynes (Ted Aliotta) and guests including multi-instrumentalist Colin Peterik, creative musician and producer, the late Gary Loizzo (American Breed), and the idiosyncratic talent of James Fairs (Cryan’ Shames).

Collectively and individually, these Chicago bands entered the national charts from the springboard of 50,000 Watt superstations WLS-AM and WCFL-AM, propelling the “American Garage” entries straight onto the Billboard Top 100 Charts, giving the British Invasion a run for their proverbial money.

But it was the characteristic mop top of Jimy Sohns that went into turbo drive with each Cornerstones concert. It’s true that everyone thinks of “Gloria” first, the 1966 release that blew away even the Van Morrison (Them) version of his own composition! Jimy shared his own version of the song from 1966 when they were on "Where the Action Is":

But it was also “I Got My Mojo Working” and the famous “Shake” that Jimy made his very own. Other noteworthy cuts include “I’m Gonna Make You Mine,” “Dark Side,” and “It Always Happens That Way.”

Jimy passed away today at the age of 75, just eight weeks ahead of the next Cornerstones Show, Friday, September 30th, at the La Porte (IN) Civic Auditorium. Talking by phone this afternoon, Carl Giammarese expressed these thoughts:

“Jimy’s loss from our Cornerstones team is still so very hard to accept. Not that long ago, he had made a tremendous comeback from a stroke, and we just expected him to do that again and maybe in time for our next show. There is no other frontman like Jimy; his enthusiasm for the show, his love for all the fans, and his commitment to staying true to the music our contemporaries fell in love with, and to, is unparalleled. Nick and I and our entire Buckinghams family feel his loss tremendously. He will always be with us in our hearts, every time we take the stage.” [Photograph by Jim Summaria]

Tonight on Facebook, Jim Peterik expressed sympathy on behalf of the Ides of March:

“…The Cornerstones of Rock are missing a boulder. No one can replace him and never will. But Jimy’s voice will echo always through rock history. He’s the man - Oh Yeah, he’s the man - and he will sing forever in our hearts. Rock In Peace, Brother.”

A favorite VH1 classic shows Jimy singing “Gloria” backed up by Cheap Trick and Little Steven. The history on that stage is equally magnificent. Watch here:

Even the Pandemic didn’t stop the Cornerstones; Jimy sang lead on the video “Pandemic Blues,” as the masked-up marauders chanted “Music is the cure for the Pandemic Blues.” The Cornerstones collectively dedicated the song to the first responders, front-line heroes, and “all those who suffered loss of loved ones in these tragic times. Also dedicated to the memory of one of the true pioneers of Rock & Roll - Eddie Cochran….May we rise together in heaing.” Check it out here:

On Jimy’s Facebook page, Crowley’s Nest photographer Laurie Crowley, shared the following photo:

With a triumphant fist in the air and a firm grip on the microphone he owned, on the stage he ruled, stands Jimy.

It has been said that “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”

Godspeed Jimy Sohns, and thank you for all the great music.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

The Buckinghams Return to The Belfry Theatre for 2 Nights in June

On Wednesday, June 22 and Thursday, June 23, The Buckinghams are pleased to return for their fourth year of performing for fans of the best generation in music at the Belfry Theatre.

As anyone who lives or vacations in the Lake Geneva area of Wisconsin knows, one of the best venues to enjoy the best days of summer, is the Belfry Theatre. It’s an historic and delightful theatre with perfect acoustics where every seat is “the best seat in the house.”

Located at 3601 State Road 67 in Williams Bay, WI, it’s only a bit over an hour’s drive from Chicago to get there. The theatre has great acoustics and sometimes you’ll even find people dancing in the aisles as they go back to the best days sunshine pop music.

Although Carl and Nick have been on the road for most of the month with The Happy Together Tour and going from town to town, these two dates include the full band, including the Buckinghorns, joining them. It promises to be two great nights of singalong fun.

Just in case you didn’t know, the Belfry Theatre has been awarded the Traveler’s Choice award for the past 5 consecutive years and last year was voted the #1 Best Place for Live Music in Walworth County.

Some tickets remain for both nights and range from $58 to $76 for premiere seats, Wed. June 22, and Thur. June 23.

Click https://www.belfrymusictheatre.com/events/2022/the-buckinghams/ for more information.

For a preview, click https://www.facebook.com/BelfryMusicTheatre/videos/388393129535427/

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The Buckinghams Will Join Happy Together Tour 2022 for 40+ Concerts

Are you ready for the most fun in live music? The concert tour of your teenage years returns, and Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna are delighted to announce they'll be performing on 44 of the more than 50 concerts that will take place nationwide this year! Beginning on June 1, The Buckinghams re-join the summer adventures of the rolling extravaganza better known as the Happy Together Tour 2022!

Performing their biggest hits of the 1960s and 1970s, The Turtles, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, The Association, The Buckinghams, The Vogues and The Cowsills return for the Happy Together Tour 2022. Combined, these musicians are responsible for at least 61 Billboard Top 40 smashes.

The first Happy Together Tour, produced by Howard Silverman and David Fishof, took place in 1984, and The Buckinghams joined in 1985 for the second HTT, sponsored by Members Only.

In 1985 that year the tour was named in the Top 10 highest grossing tours in the United States. After a few years, the musicians took a collective break from touring because suddenly there was new demand for the bands to headline new, solo, concerts. The Baby Boomers loved traveling to hear their favorite 60s bands in concert everywhere, even 20 years after their songs first ruled the airwaves on your transistor radios.

Ask yourself whether or not, 25 years from now, you or your kids will want to get a ticket to the reunion of some of the individual artists or bands presently topping the charts today. It's all about the strength of the songwriting and the skill of the musicians who bring them to life.

After a long break, the Turtles (originals Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan) decided to "get the old tour back together again" and in 2010, The Buckinghams were part of the first anniversary tour, and popularity was just as strong as it was 25 years' prior.

For summer 2022, The Buckinghams already had many concert appearances booked, but Chuck Negron decided to forego the very rigorous tour, so it wouldn't compromise his health. The Buckinghams were able to step in for their friend. The Buckinghams will also keep their individual concert dates already booked, so their summer just became very full! They're continuing to live up to their 1967 title they earned from Billboard: "The Most Listened to Band in America."

Together with Mark Volman and popular vocalist/record producer Ron Dante (repping The Turtles), Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) will join crowd-pleasers including The Cowsills (Susan, Bob, and Paul), Gary Puckett (sans the Union Gap), The Association and The Vogues. In addition, one consistent backing band will accompany all of the headliners to make the jam-packed entertainment show fit in a 2-hour concert period.

If you're ready to search for your seats to summer fun, see where the tour will be coming in the list below and click on the venue link where listed to get more information and tickets.

2022 Buckinghams Happy Together Tour Schedule

Date/City/Venue

Wed, Jun 1, Clearwater, FL, Ruth Eckerd Hall, 7pm

Thur, Jun 2, Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theatre, 8pm

Fri, Jun 3, Biloxi, MS, IP Casino Resort & Spa, 8pm

Sat, Jun 4, Hiawassee, GA, Anderson Music Hall, 7pm

Sun, Jun 5, Melbourne, FL, King Center for Performing Arts, 7:30pm

Mon, Jun 6, Daytona Beach, FL, Peabody Auditorium,8pm

Wed, Jun 8, Charleston, SC, Charleston Music Hall 8pm

Thur, Jun 9, Durham, NC, Carolina Theatre of Durham, 8pm

Fri, Jun 10, New York, NY, Palladium Times Square, 8pm

Sat, Jun 11, Westbury, NY, Theatre at Westbury, 8pm

Sun, Jun 12, Lowell, MA, Lowell Memorial Auditorium, 7pm

Wed, Jun 15, Quakertown, PA, Univest Performance Center, 7pm

Thu, Jun 16, Jim Thorpe, PA, Penn's Peak, 8pm

Fri, Jun 17, Staten Island, NY, St. George Theatre, 7pm

Sat, Jun 18, Northhampton, MA, Calvin Theatre, 8pm

Sun, Jun 19, Lynn, MA, Lynn Auditorium, 7:30pm

Fri, Jul 8, Lincoln City, OR, Chinook Winds Casino Resort, 8pm

Mon, Jul 11, Sacramento, CA, Crest Theatre

Tues, Jul 12, Jacksonville, OR, Britt Pavilion, 8:45pm

Thur, Jul 14, Tucson, AZ, Tucson Music Hall, 7:30pm

Fri, Jul 15, Las Vegas, NV, The Smith Center, 7:30pm

Sat, Jul 16, Scottsdale, AZ, Talking Stick Resort Ballroom, 8pm

Sun, Jul 17, Costa Mesa, CA, Pacific Amphitheatre

Sat, Jul 30, Wallingford, CT, Toyota Presents Oakdale Theatre, 7:30pm

Sun, Jul 31, Wilkes-Barre, PA, F.M. Kirby Center for the Arts

Mon, Aug 1, Ocean City, NJ, Ocean City Music Pier, 7pm SOLD OUT

Tues, Aug 2, Englewood, NJ, Bergen Performing Arts Center,

Wed, Aug 3, Syracuse, NY, Landmark Theatre

Fri, Aug 5, Manistee, MI, Little River Casino Resort, 9pm

Sun, Aug 7, West Allis, WI, Wisconsin State Fair - Main Stage, 7:30pm

Tues, Aug 9, Rochester, NY, Kodak Center,

Wed, Aug 10, Kettering, OH, Fraze Pavilion, 8pm

Thur, Aug 11, Nashville, TN, Ryman Auditorium, 7:30pm

Fri, Aug 12, New Buffalo, MI, Four Winds Casino Resort, 9pm

Sun, Aug 14, Northfield, OH, MGM Northfield Park, 7:30pm

Thur, Aug 18, Shipshewana, IN, Blue Gate Performing Arts Center, 8pm

Fri, Aug 19, Aurora, IL, Paramount Theatre

Sat, Aug 20, St. Charles, MO, The Family Arena, 7:30pm

Sun, Aug 21, Kansas City, MO, Muriel Kauffman Center, 7pm

Tues, Aug 23, Louisville, KY, Kentucky State Fair, 8pm

Wed, Aug 24, Effingham, IL, Effingham Performance Center, 7:30pm

Thur, Aug 25, Des Moines, IA, Hoyt Sherman Place, 7:30pm

Sun, Aug 28, Deadwood, SD, Deadwood Mountain Grand, 7:30pm

Mon, Aug 29, Grand Island, NE, Nebraska State Fair, 2pm

When you attend these concerts this summer, be sure and post pictures of yourself at the shows on The Buckinghams' Facebook page. We want to see YOU there.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

Happy Birthday, Nick Fortuna!

May 1st is an easy date to remember for any fans of The Buckinghams—it’s Nick Fortuna’s Birthday! Last night on 77WABC Radio, during Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock ‘n’ Roll Party, he was interviewing Carl Giammarese and they were discussing how Carl and Nick had been friends for 60 years now, going all the way back to high school. So, Carl wished Nick a very Happy Birthday coast-to-coast and Cousin Brucie wished "Cousin Nick" a great birthday as well. So, this birthday celebration began a little early this year. A very thoughtful gesture from Cousin Brucie, who's long been an advocate for the music of The Buckinghams.

So, we thought it would be fun to look at Nick’s pictures over the years. He is just like fine Italian wine—just gets better with age!

Here’s a photo by photo professional Kerry Quinn of the RI Blogger from The Buckinghams’ most recent concert (with The Box Tops) in Woonsocket, Rhode Island at the Stadium Theatre:

and another action photo she took as he imitates the host of the "Really Big Shoe":

Here are a few more from recent concerts, courtesy of several different friends who’ve shared them. Thanks to Nancy for these next two picures.

And let’s go back to the Happy Together Tour in 1985. The very first Happy Together Tour took place in 1984. The next year, the tour was sponsored by Members Only (manufacturers of men's cologne and clothing)--this was the year The Buckinghams were on the tour for the first time, together withThe Turtles and Gary Lewis & The Playboys among others. That particular year was special as it made the list of Top 10 Grossing Tours in the United States per Pollstar. You may notice a few things different about Nick's look back then:

Whether or not Nick had a beard, he's always had his trademark mustache. You can still recognize Nick in any photograph, even going back to the earliest days he was in The Buckinghams. Remember he and Carl Giammarese, Jerry Elarde, and Curtis Bachman were in The Centuries, before there ever was a band called Buckinghams! Now, flash back to 1966 and 1967 and here's the Nick you first met on the scene at sock hops and All-Time Hits and the very best days of growing up in Chicago.

Then, our first band together, the adjective "The Fabulous" was gifted to us by our manager Carl Bonafede, but here we are as The Centuries! Carl's cousin, Jerry Elarde, was the founder of the band and the drummer plus the lead vocalist. The three guitarists are Carl Giammarese, Nick Fortuna, and Curtis Bachman. Photo courtesy of "Keep Rockin'" Magazine from October, 2009. Thanks to Liz and Lou Holly for keeping our music alive and thriving with this story they ran.

And then here’s elementary school (You can’t miss Nick in the second row). Does this man look to you like a future rock and roll star? Yeah, we think so, too!

All of us in The Buckinghams extended family and friends wish Nick an outstanding and very happy birthday and your best year ever in the year ahead!

If you'd like to add your own photograph of Nick to this story, please share your picture in the comments on Facebook and this story will be updated to include it permanently. If you met him at a concert, please identify the venue, city/state and year you all met. Please feel free to wish Nick a Happy Birthday in the comments on this story or on Facebook, or both.

More new concert photos at: https://thebuckinghamsconcertblog.blogspot.com/2022/04/the-buckinghams-and-box-tops-visit.html