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Peterik filling Arcada stage with his musical friends

ST. CHARLES – The number of musical friends that Jim Peterik has made in his long musical career would fill a stage much larger than the one at the Arcada Theatre.

Peterik, best known for his bands The Ides of March and Survivor, will bring some of those friends, including The Ides of March, St. Charles native and former “American Idol” contestant Leslie Hunt and Survivor singer Dave Bickler, to the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles, on Saturday as part of his World Stage show.

Other guests include his son, who goes by the stage name Sijay, Jeff Adams from the band Starship, and Toby Hitchcock, from Peterik’s band Pride Of Lions.

The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets start at $29, available at www.oshows,com, or by calling 630-962-7000.

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to interview Peterik, a Burr Ridge resident, about the upcoming show.

Eric Schelkopf: You performed your first World Stage show in January 2000 at the Norris Center in St. Charles. How do you go about choosing the artists for each World Stage show?

Jim Peterik: It’s really people that share the same positive vision that I do about life. I don’t like a lot of negativity; I don’t like a lot of doom and gloom. I like people that have a positive spirit.

I like people that don’t have a lot of ego, that are willing to share the stage with the other musicians and not hog the spotlight. And then I love to find people that I have had history with through the years.

The thing about World Stage is that it’s different every year. I’m very excited about this year. It stresses some of my past, but also some of my present and future.

ES: I see that Dave Bickler, the original lead singer of Survivor, will be part of the show.

JP: I haven’t sung with him in years. This will be a really great reunion for us.

I approached him, and I didn’t know what he was going to say, but he said, “Yeah, let’s do it.” So he’s going to come on stage, and we’re going to do some of the classics from the early Survivor years, and then of course the big one at the end, “Eye of the Tiger.”

And then there’s some World Stage alumni that will be back, including Lisa McClowry. She has two albums under my production, and now we’re working on the third.

Her star has risen from being one of the background singers of World Stage to front and center featured artist. So that’s been exciting to watch.

And then there’s the great blues artist Anthony Gomes, who started with me way back in the early years of World Stage. He’s just being voted best blues artist in one of the big blues magazines. His star is finally really high in the sky.

I’m excited to feature my son, Colin. His stage name is Sijay. His album just got released. He’s got an amazing blend of smooth jazz and R&B that belies the fact he is only 23 years old.

ES: And of course Leslie Hunt will be part of the show.

JP: She’s going to be doing double duty. Now that Lisa won’t be doing background vocals, Leslie will help with them.

And Leslie will also hit the spotlight and do a great number called “American Dream Man,” which is one of my favorites of her recent songs.

We go back to when she was 17, and I was the first person really to record her professionally. And look at her now.

And the St. Charles High School Chorale will be joining us. We’re excited about 40 robes on stage. It’s going to be great.

ES: Did you think that when you originally thought of the idea for World Stage that it would last this long?

JP: I’m the kind of guy that takes it a day at a time, a year at a time. It felt so good back in 2000. I didn’t know if it was going to continue this long.

But I don’t see an end in sight. It’s too much fun. We’re especially excited about the Arcada Theatre.

In 2004, The Ides of March played there for its 40th anniversary. And it was just great. We love the room.

The Ides are stronger than ever. And of course The Ides will appear at the Arcada. We’re opening up the second set.

ES: You wrote and sang many of the band’s hits, including the Ides’ biggest hit, 1970’s “Vehicle.” What makes it special for you to still be part of that band?

JP: The Ides of March is more than a band. It’s a band of friends. It’s a brotherhood.

When we get up on stage and look at each other, we just start laughing, because here we are, the same four kids from Berwyn, still doing it. I would never trade it for anything.

ES: The fame that The Ides of March garnered, was that unexpected? Did the fame come as a surprise to the band?

JP: Well, when you are 15 years old and you have the No. 7 record on WLS, you don’t know what to think. It’s like magic. What the heck did we just do?

It was almost hard to process at age 15. But we took it in stride, and we noticed that the cheerleaders were treating us a lot better in high school.

After “Vehicle” came out, suddenly we were touring with Led Zeppelin, and Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix. We were very surprised, but we took it all in stride.

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