Mobsters, Crime And Jazz: Danny Seraphine's Chicago Story

Street Player: My Chicago Story By Danny Seraphine Wiley, 304 pp., $24.95.

From their 1967 founding to his unceremonious ouster from the group in 1990, Danny Seraphine provided the pounding backbeat for Chicago, both for the early, raucous jazz/rock material and the later, mellow Top 40 hits.

In Street Player: My Chicago Story, Seraphine writes about his early days running with gangs, his wild ride with the group, and his life afterward. Currently the leader/drummer of California Transit Authority (which has released one record, Full Circle), Seraphine also gives drum clinics around the country and has an upcoming DVD, The Art of Jazz/Rock Drumming.

Rocks Off spoke with the skin-thumper about the book and why Houston has provided two not-so-great memories for him.

RO: Musicians sometimes embellish a shady past, but you actually ran with some pretty tough street gangs. What would your life have been like if you never got that call to join [pre-Chicago] band Jimmy Ford and the Executives?

DS: No one knows, but it wouldn't have been pretty. I quit school, I was confused, and I was with a violent crowd. I wasn't headed in a very good direction, and that call sort of pulled me out of that and put me into music.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero