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“I was supposed to do Chicago 15. I took a meeting with the band, but they passed on me, which was fine. That album sold about 150,000 copies – not what they were used to doing. But I got to do Chicago 16, which was great. I was a massive fan. I remember being blown away by the Chicago Transit Authority album. I mean, these guys were my idols.
“It was funny doing Chicago 16, though. I went to [drummer] Danny Seraphine’s house, and I sat right in the center of the room while the whole band played me the 13 songs they wanted to record. With each one I got more and more sad. The songs were shit.
“At the end of the 13 songs, I had a choice to make: Either I could say, ‘Hey, great! Let’s get to work,’ or I could say what I did say, which was ‘These songs are not good enough to be on a Chicago record. You need to start again.’ I told them that I would be on top of them in every way possible to remind them of their greatness. We would get the songs we needed. It took a year.
“Chicago 16 had a number one hit, Hard To Say I’m Sorry, but 17 had a few hits – You’re The Inspiration, Hard Habit To Break, Stay The Night. It was great writing with them. Every day I was so excited to go to work.
“They weren’t always happy that I was so hands-on, but they were thrilled about the success we had. There was some tension in the band. They’d been together a long time, and so they had gone through a lot by this point. There were musical clashes, personality clashes. They would take a meeting about taking a meeting. You know, being in a band is tough, especially one with seven people in it. But we did some fantastic things together.”