Cincinnati Transit Authority is an eight piece band paying tribute to the great horn driven sound of Chicago Transit Authority. Originating in Cincinnati Ohio, the band consists of some of the area's best Rock, Jazz and Blues musicians. The group performs spot on renditions of iconic Chicago tunes, concentrating on the Terry Kath era. Expect to hear all the great hits including Does Anybody Really Know What Time It is, Make Me Smile, Beginnings, Question 67 & 68, Saturday In The Park, 25 or 6 to 4, Introduction, Wake up Sunshine and many more.
Radio and Print Interview with John Kiesewetter
“Accept my deep thanks for a great show tonight and extend same to your out standing band. Not only was it well done, you all were well behaved. Cool band man, Rock on and spread the word. ”
GOLDMINE: 50 years ago, I remember seeing the debut double album from The
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in a discount store’s record department that I visited
each Friday evening in Ohio. Their 1969 single “Questions 67 and 68” / “Listen” wasn’t being played on our AM radio station either. I think my classmates
may have heard that from older siblings away at college, where I understand the album
was getting attention. It took many of us the next couple of years to catch up on this first
album, after the group’s name change to just Chicago and the hits began. What a
fantastic debut. How did you first learn the music of Chicago?
AS: Well, I am the son of two music conservatory graduates. My mom was a piano
major and taught lessons for years. My dad actually has three music degrees and was a
band director for a while back in the ‘70s before he had to go a different route to support
his kids and wife, but he had the early albums, The Chicago Transit Authority, II, III and
V on vinyl. I pretty much grew up listening to those when I was in my single digits.
GOLDMINE: So your dad didn’t buy Chicago IV, Live at Carnegie Hall, either? Nobody
did. It was too expensive. Back in early 1970, from Chicago’s second album with the sheet metal
cover, “Make Me Smile” finally got Chicago on AM radio as their first big hit, followed by
“25 or 6 to 4,” which was even bigger. At the end of your six song CD, you end with
“Make Me Smile.” Is this the song you end yours shows with, generally?
AS: Yes, we have ended the show with that, but for the show coming up, we’re going
back to “Free” as our encore song.
GM: Ah, “Free” from Chicago’s third album with the patriotic denim cover, matching a
look I would see some of the kids wear at school in 1971. By then, we were Chicago
fans and I remember my friend Mark buying the album right away, and going over his
house in 7th grade to hear “Lowdown,” “Free,” which is so energetic, and so many more,
but I don’t recall making it all the way to side four to hear “The Approaching Storm,”
which you do a great version of.
AS: “Free” is a challenging one to play. Rick (Auhagen) our lead vocalist, is the one
who really spearheaded the idea of us putting the band together. He and the drummer
Adam (Wheeler) and the trumpet player Michael (Mavridoglou) have worked together
for at least a decade in a Steely Dan tribute act called Aja, Rick just decided to do
another one, in this case, Chicago and decided to bring those guys with him. Adam is
the one who covers Peter Cetera’s parts as he has an insanely high voice. Rick picked
the songs for us to cover and with “The Approaching Storm,” as an instrumental, I think
was to showcase the talent of our soloists as much as giving Rick a chance to take a
break vocally. It is an audience favorite, with a lot of hooping and hollering when the
horn players start to do their thing.
GM: “Poem for the People” from Chicago’s second album, on your CD, is another one
that people may not know. Another one from Chicago’s second album that I enjoy is
“Where Do We Go from Here.
AS: That song and “Someday” from the CTA album, not only the lyrical content but the
emotional content in them helped me open my eyes to some social awareness at an
age that I probably would not have otherwise been thinking about those kind of things,
what you may call activism. It opens your mind and makes you think.
GM: On your website, your video includes my favorite Chicago song, also from the CTA
AS: That is one of the first songs many who grew up on classic rock stations would