Drummer Tris Imboden Quits Chicago
After more than 27 years, Tris Imboden has left his role as drummer in Chicago, citing a decision to spend more time with his new wife. The band's percussionist, Walfredo Reyes Jr., is their new drummer. In addition, Jeff Coffey, who replaced Jason Scheff as bassist and singer in October 2016, has also resigned. The band has hired Neil Donell to take over on vocals, and Brett Simons to handle bass chores.
Imboden, who replaced founding drummer Danny Seraphine in 1990, broke the news on his Facebook page. "I came to this decision after many sleepless nights and much soul searching," he wrote. "I realize the great honor I was given to have played drums with this incredible band for quite nearly three decades, however, at this point in my life I no longer want to commit to 9 to 10 months out of every year being on the road. This in no small way is because I have finally found and married the love of my life, Mary, and I want to share more of my life with her."
He added that he's not planning to retire, and that he's "in negotiations with a major artist right now that will require much less time away from home and loved ones."
In his Facebook post, Coffey began by praising Imboden, both as a musician and person, then said, "Let me just start off by saying that for me, musically, playing with Chicago was like a match made in heaven! It truly was. It felt so natural from the very start. This amazing music is as much a part of my life as it is yours. To be offered the opportunity to play with such an incredible lineup of A-list musicians was a blessing, a privilege and an honor! Every time we got on stage to play for you, it brought me great joy, as I hope it did for you. This decision was made after much deliberation and consideration for what is best for my family and my career."
But, as with Imboden, the band's heavy touring schedule made it too difficult for him to continue, "As many of you know, my family is my whole world!" he continued. "I cherish them above all else. It can be very difficult at times to find the right balance in life between work and happiness, or even how you define success. You have to weigh the sacrifices, decide what is most important to you and stand up for what you believe is right. We’ve all faced this same dilemma at some point, I’m sure. As Tris eluded, the scale here leans more and more towards heavy touring, with NO time for anything else. It wasn’t the right balance for me."
The band released a statement that we're reprinting in full:
As many of you have already heard, our long-time drummer Tris Imboden has resigned. For nearly thirty years Tris has shared his tremendous talent, and indeed his life, with Chicago. We are fortunate to have known him and grateful to have shared the stage with him these many years. He has been a great friend and band mate and we’ll miss his enthusiasm and contagious smile. We wish Tris and Mary a lifetime of happiness together.
Walfredo Reyes Jr. has been touring with Chicago for many years as percussionist, but as most of you already know, he is also an accomplished drummer. Walfredo has been fusing the two disciplines of drummer and percussionist since his teen-age years and has toured and/or recorded with an impressive number of artists including Carlos Santana, Steve Winwood and Smokey Robinson, just to name a few. We are thrilled that he will be taking over on drums as we continue our 2018 tour.
We are also saying goodbye to our newest band mate Jeff Coffey, talented bassist and vocalist. While Jeff was only with us for a short time, we are grateful for his considerable contributions and his dedication. We wish him continued success with his solo career and in all his professional endeavors.
The rigors of touring are immense. Now, in our 51st consecutive year of touring, we understand the toll it takes on families, the birthdays and milestones that are missed and the strain of being away from loved ones for weeks at a time. Chicago routinely plays over 100 events a year. When you add in travel days, band members are away from home for over 150 days a year. It is a difficult life, but also one filled with tremendous rewards. We look forward to sharing those rewards as we welcome new members to the band.
Many of you are already familiar with Canadian Neil Donell who has been enthusiastically received as a guest vocalist with Chicago on occasion, we now welcome him as an official band member taking over lead tenor vocals. On bass we will be joined by Brett Simons who has toured and recorded with musical icons such as Brian Wilson, Fiona Apple and Melissa Etheridge. We will be posting more about these new members in the weeks and months to come, and hope you will embrace them with the same love and support you have for all present and former Chicago band members.