Basic Background Info
Danny Seraphine, born and bred in the Little Italy area of Chicago, watched his uncle play drums at family gatherings as a child. Danny Seraphine started playing when he was nine years old, and at twelve he played in a variety of rock bands. Although he dropped out of high school, Danny Seraphine later privately studied percussion with Bob Tillis at DePaul University. During this time, Danny Seraphine was acquainted with many of the musicians who would later be members of Chicago. Danny Seraphine also studied under big band drummer Chuck Flores (Maynard Ferguson and Woody Herman) and jazz drummer Jo Jones (Papa Jo Jones). Danny Seraphine still appreciates education today."I like to study music even now. It keeps me going and causes me to progress."
Danny Seraphine's early band, The First Big Thing, evolved into The Chicago Transit Authority, featuring Walter Parazaider (saxophone and woodwinds), Terry Kath (guitar), Lee Loughnane (trumpet), James Pankow (trombone), Robert Lamm (keyboards), and Peter Cetera (bass). The band moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and played as a the house band at Whisky A Go Go. Shortly thereafter, they signed a contract with Columbia Records and recorded a double album in just two weeks. Chicago performed and recorded a steady stream of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In terms of sales and albums, Chicago is the second longest running and most successful U.S. pop/rock groups (behind the Beach Boys).
In 1990, the other members dismissed Danny Seraphine from the band. Rumors floated that band members were dissatisfied with Danny Seraphine's devotion to practicing, but Danny denied that. "The reason I'm no longer in Chicago is the lead singer, the new lead singer, Jason Scheff and Bill Champlin, didnít like the fact that a drummer was running the band. And at that point I was pretty much running the band. And they didn't like it. I think they had designs on being in control of the band."
Regardless, after leaving Chicago, Danny Seraphine established his own label and production company from his new home in Colorado and, after returning to Los Angeles, he produced Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Continuing to play drums, friends Peter Fish, Don Lombardi, and John Good encouraged Danny to start a new band. With Marc Bonilla (guitar), Peter Fish (keyboards), Mark Mahan (bass), Edward Harris Roth (keyboards), and Mike Wallace (guitar), Danny Seraphine created the California Transit Authority. (Danny always liked the name 'CTA' and found a way to make it work.) The band's unique sound garners attention from unexpected places. (Danny Seraphine was recently interviewed by a metal and hard rock site even though the music fell outside of the genre because it was "some of the most dynamic music on a CD in a very long time.") Danny Seraphine is happy to be playing again. "I was born to play, itís been my calling since I was nine years old, and its what I do best."
Instruments of Choice