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.