Cetera sounds and looks good at 68

American singer-songwriter Peter Cetera.

American singer-songwriter Peter Cetera is best known for power ballads such as Glory Of Love (1986) and Next Time I Fall (1986).

But ask him about them and the 68-year-old former lead vocalist of rock band Chicago is quick to correct you.

He tells Life! in a telephone interview from his home in Idaho in the United States, ahead of his solo show in Singapore on Sept 14: "Journalists like to say, "You do a lot of ballads", but the fact of the matter is, I didn't. Even on my solo stuff, there were maybe two or three ballads on the CDs.

"It just so happened that those are the ones that people loved, and so those are the ones that became the bigger hits... my CDs and music weren't ballad heavy at all, it was the other way around."

Cetera, who is married with two daughters aged 29 and 16, has produced eight studio albums as a solo artist, with his 1986 album Solitude/Solitaire going platinum in the United States on the back of hit singles such as Glory Of Love, Only Love Knows Why and Next Time I Fall.

Before his solo career, he was the lead vocalist of one of the most successful American rock bands, Chicago, churning out evergreen ballads such as You're The Inspiration, Hard To Say I'm Sorry and If You Leave Me Now. He left the band in 1985 to focus on his solo career.

Cetera says his fans can expect a "fun evening" when they see him next month.

He says: "Now when people see me, they're amazed that I still sound so good and I look good, so that helps a lot. I don't look like an old fat ageing rock star. I don't think. They will be able to tell I put time into it."

1 It's been a while since you recorded a solo studio album. Are there plans to write and record new material?

I would love to do a new CD, it's just that the time hasn't been right. Hopefully, I'll have a chance soon. I've been doing a symphony show that I do with my four-piece unplugged group and then the electric show that I'm going to do in Singapore with my electric group. When I'm not working, I don't work. I come and play and hide out.

2 So what do you do in your leisure time?

I do any kind of sports I can up here in Idaho. There's a lot of hiking or mountain biking, and road biking and cross-country skiing. I still play basketball once a week with my friends, so I try to keep as active as I can.

3 What's touring like now compared to the 1970s and 1980s?

Touring is not as fun as it used to be. I suppose if I had a private jet, it would be a lot easier. But once you get there and get on stage, then it's back to the fun part - performing. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s when I was with Chicago, we'd do a lot of touring and start off doing a lot of driving, and then little by little, you start flying more, and then you get more popular and you get your own chartered jets. I don't work as much for sure, not even close to it.

4 You are one of the few artists who managed to part ways with a hugely successful band, then struck it big on your own after. How did you do it?

I had a bunch of wonderful songs that I wrote and recorded with Chicago, and then when I went into my solo career, I started off with a bunch of wonderful songs that were No. 1 hits, like Glory Of Love and Next Time I Fall with singer-songwriter Amy Grant, and I just kept that going. I haven't stayed in the limelight as much, but that's the way I like it.

5 What do you think about the new wave of pop acts dominating the airwaves now?

I like Katy Perry, or some of her music. I think now, over in the United States at least, country music is the hot ticket.

6 Chicago founding member James Pankow told Life! last October that the possibility of a reunion was discussed, but you said no because you thought the band worked too hard. Is that true?

No, that's a lie, I don't even talk to them anymore. I don't know what he's talking about. He made that up, I'm sorry. (laughs)

7 So would you consider a reunion?

I would never say never because I've been saying no for the longest time. It's not something that I long to do. It's just like a marriage, where after a long time, you get divorced. You go your own way, and you know, that's that.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as someone who was honest in his feelings and his music, who was a hell of a singer.

melk@sph.com.sg

Book it

PETER CETERA

Where: The Star Theatre

When: Sept 14, 8pm

Admission: $98, $128, $148, $168 and $188 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic. com.sg)


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