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Songs and stories

Songs and stories
#8220;An Intimate Evening with the Ides of March” on Dec. 30 at Hoosier Theatre in Whiting features Larry Millas (bottom row, from left), Jim Peterik, Mike Borch, Steve Eisen (middle row, from left), Bob Bergland, Scott May, Henry Salgado (top row, left) and Tim Bales. (Kristie Schram)

Bands rarely stay together for more than five decades, let alone retain several original members.

"An Intimate Evening with the Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik — Songs & Stories" shares some of that history Dec. 30 at Hoosier Theatre in Whiting. The show includes the rock band choosing some audience members via drawing for an onstage competition.

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"Instead of high-decibel rock 'n' roll we strip it down like the old 'Unplugged' series on MTV," said Jim Peterik, lead vocalist and guitarist for the Ides of March, via phone.

"We form a circle of acoustic guitars, bass, all the percussion instruments and the brass section. It's powerful but it's not as loud. The lyrics are a little more important than when a wall of guitars is wailing away. I like to tell anecdotes of how particular songs were created."

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Peterik (www.jimpeterik.com) performs with Bob Bergland (bass guitar, saxophone, vocals), Mike Borch (drums, vocals) and Larry Millas (rhythm guitar, bass guitar, vocals) — members from 1964 when they were called the Shon-Dels.

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Newer Ides of March members include Tim Bales (trumpet, vocals), Steve Eisen (saxophone, percussion, vocals), Scott May (keyboards, vocals) and Henry Salgado (trombone).

"We should have it down by now," quipped Peterik about the group, who broke through in 1970 with "Vehicle," which reached No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100.

"I was 19 years old. Most of the guys were between 18 and 21. We were touring the country with the greats and doing festivals with Led Zeppelin, the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. We were living the dream.

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"To our credit, we never got swept up in the excess and what has nothing to do with music. We kept our nose to the grindstone and played just because we love playing."

The Ides of March (www.theidesofmarch.com) also made the Hot 100 with "You Wouldn't Listen," "Superman," "L.A. Goodbye" and "Roller Coaster" before a hiatus from 1973-1990.

During that time Peterik was busy as the co-founder of Survivor. Before leaving that rock band in 1996, one of his biggest moments was co-writing "Eye of the Tiger." The theme for the film "Rocky III" received the Grammy for best rock performance by a duo or group with vocal.

"That was huge. I don't know if I'll ever top that in terms of global impact. Every day I say I want to top that. I want to reach more people with a positive message. That's my whole goal," said Peterik, who said "Rocky" star Sylvester Stallone commissioning the hit is among the stories to be shared in Whiting.

Peterik has contributed to 18 top 10 hits including Survivor's "The Search is Over," "High on You," "I Can't Hold Back," "Burning Heart" and "Is This Love."

The singer, songwriter and producer has co-written songs with 38 Special ("Rockin' into the Night," "Caught Up in You," "Hold on Loosely"), Sammy Hagar ("Heavy Metal"), Brian Wilson, the Doobie Brothers, REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick and the Beach Boys ("That's Why God Made the Radio").

"I like all three roles. It all works together. I love to write songs but can't do it in a vacuum. I have to get out in front of the crowd, feel their energy and channel that into my next song," Peterik said.

Chicago rock band Rocken Horse and old-school comedian Sharkie open the Whiting show produced by Tomfoolery Productions LLC under the Tomfoolery Show banner.

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Jessi Virtusio is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

An Intimate Evening with the Ides of March featuring Jim Peterik

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 30

Where: Hoosier Theatre, 1335 119th St., Whiting

Tickets: $25-$35 general admission; $50-$60 VIP

Information: 219-595-9372; www.tomfooleryfunclub.com

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