Chicago ends an eight-year drought of new recordings with today's (July 8) release of "NOW Chicago XXXVI," the group's new studio album, which was recorded primarily on the road using mobile equipment and Internet interfaces with producer Hank Linderman.
Singer-keyboardist Robert Lamm tells us Chicago had a definite purpose in adding the "NOW" prefix to its usual numeric album title, too:
"I think that there are many people who, whether they like Chicago or don't like Chicago, assume that what Chicago does is all what you hear on classic radio or Chicago is some, some dinosaur-like presence on the tour circuit, and we just wanted to kind of change that perception if we could by suggesting 'Now.' "
But Lamm adds he also feels that the ambitious material on the album will appeal to fans of Chicago's earlier, more progressive days:
"Honestly, when we were done and our manager heard the masters he said, 'These songs are so long!' And we said, 'Well, yeah, that was part of what we wanted to do was not necessarily do three-minute songs. We wanted to stretch out a bit...' He said, 'Well, this stuff is not gonna get played on radio.' Again, that's not the point. the point was to write it and record it and, like, be Chicago."
Members of Earth, Wind & Fire, who have toured with Chicago in recent years, guest on the album's title track. Chicago is currently performing in Europe and begins a North American tour with REO Speedwagon on July 31 in Concord, Calif.