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John Tesh to perform with band in St. Charles

John Tesh
John Tesh

With six music Emmys under his belt and a radio show that attracts more than 14 million listeners a week, John Tesh is a man of many talents.

Tesh will bring his Big Band Christmas Live! show Monday, Dec. 16, to the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles.

The show starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are available at 630-962-7000 or

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Tesh about the upcoming show.

Eric Schelkopf: Of course, you are coming to St. Charles as part of your Big Band Christmas Live! show. Is this show kind of a continuation of the release of your album, “Big Band,” last year?

John Tesh: Yeah. We’re hoping that it will become a tradition. It’s a fun band.

There’s a lot of guys from Los Angeles, and we’re actually going to pick up five players there locally.

ES: And so these are all going to be Christmas songs, I presume?

JT: Well, I would say 80 percent Christmas, but we always like to throw in some of the standards, like “Beyond The Sea,” stuff like that.

ES: What drew you to want to do big band music? I know your dad listened to it while stationed in the Pacific in World War II.

JT: This is really the music I listened to when I was a kid growing up. And so it was always in the house.

I mostly played trumpet when I was a kid. I didn’t start playing piano until a little bit later.

So, it’s a big part of my roots. It’s stuff that I have been living with most of my life and people love it because the lyrics are really quaint and right to the point.

ES: Will you be playing “Roundball Rock” that evening?

JT: You know, I had a tour manager who was like, don’t play that song because it’s not a Christmas song. But we get enough tweets and Facebook posts about it, that we pretty much have to play it.

Maybe we’ll come up with a Christmas arrangement for it.

ES: “Roundball Rock” is considered to be the best sports theme of all time, and was used for the program “The
NBA on NBC.” What was your idea for the song in the first place?

JT: It was a combination of trying to find a catchy theme, but also, recording it at a tempo that I knew would work for them and then making sure at the beginning of the song there is some sort of fanfare.

There was creativity, but there was a little science involved too, I think.

ES: Would you consider it the best sports theme of all time?

JT: I don’t think it is the best sports theme, but I appreciate the compliment. There’s a song called “Heavy Action” that’s the “Monday Night Football” theme. That’s my favorite sports theme.

I love that theme.

ES: Did “Roundball Rock” come to you easily?

JT: It did. It probably did because I wasn’t around a keyboard at the time, and that made it work.

Sometimes the melodies that come into your head are stronger if you don’t have an instrument in front of you.

ES: Your “Intelligence For Your Life” radio show reaches more than 14 million listeners a week. Those are pretty impressive numbers. What was your idea in starting the show?

JT: I was trying to give people little bite-sized pieces of intelligence that they could share. It’s little stuff like, working out before you eat breakfast causes you to lose 12 percent more weight or why standing up when you make a phone call can help you lost weight.

It’s little stuff that is supported by research, but those kinds of tidbits tend to resonate with people.

ES: How do you find out about this stuff, by Googling it?

JT: No, you can’t do that, because a lot of that stuff is wrong. We have 10 researchers who work on the show.

There has to be some good research on it, otherwise you’ll end up hurting somebody, probably.

ES: You were playing and writing music while you were still co-hosting “Entertainment Tonight.” Were you looking to make a career move?

JT: It came to the point that I couldn’t do a 60-city concert tour and record full time, and also do that show.

It was the right time to leave. I had been there for 10 years.

ES: What made you want to take the “Entertainment Tonight” job in the first place?

JT: That’s a good question, because I had come from network sports, and a lot of people were surprised.

For me, after seven or eight years at a job, it’s time to start looking at other stuff. And the people at “ET” had promised that if I came out to Los Angeles, that they would help me make connections in the music world.

And they did. So, it was the right move.

ES: What do you think of the celebrity news landscape these days?

JT: Back when “ET” started, it was really the only act in town. So, the the ratings were huge.

Now celebrity news has become a commodity. There’s so much of it now. You can see it anywhere.

It’s not as special as it was back in the day.

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