Former frontman for Chicago and a successful solo artist in his own right, Peter Cetera will perform at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) on August 21. Cetera’s hits include “Glory of Love,” “One Good Woman” and “You’re The Inspiration.” The prolific singer/songwriter talked to Dan’s Papers about what inspires him, his controversial decision not to perform with Chicago at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, and what he’s most looking forward to about being on the East End later this month.
What do you believe makes your music so timeless?
I really don’t know. A lot of people say you need to have one thing. I’m really a rock ’n’ roller at heart. I think, if anything, people connect with the emotion of the songs, and I sing everything with emotion, heart and soul.
Do you have any particular songs that resonate for you more deeply than others?
I love them all. I suppose the songs I’ve written for my daughters would connect with me more deeply than the songs I’ve written about relationships, but every song I do means something to me in one way or another.
Where does the inspiration for your songs come from?
I’m sort of a reluctant songwriter. I tend to write when I have a project I’m doing. As far as inspiration, to me the song is the melody. When I come up with a good melody, and the chords—that makes me happy. I’ll figure out the melody on the guitar, piano and sometimes in my head.
What’s one of the most memorable moments in your career?
The most recent one was when I had a show in Los Angeles. My oldest daughter is in a band called City City, and I think they’re quite good, so I asked them if they wanted to open the show. They just killed it! They were great. David Foster was in the crowd that night, and he had never seen me perform live. He came for the whole show, and we brought him up on stage, and he played. That night was one of the most memorable nights of my whole career.
What influenced your decision not to perform at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony when Chicago was being inducted?
I think integrity is what makes anything work, and integrity doesn’t mean music that everyone loves. It means doing what you believe in. With the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, that whole scenario was nothing but a TV show. I tried to make it work, and it didn’t work, so I said, “It’s better this way.” I didn’t want to be a part of that. Music is supposed to be fun, and I’m glad I didn’t do it. The best advice I can give is: be on time and be in tune, and then you go from there.
You’ll be at the WHBPAC on August 21. What are you most looking forward to?
I have a couple of friends who are coming to the show there, and I don’t feel I’ve ever been better, and I’ve never had a band as good as The Bad Daddies. We have so much fun on stage. I’m looking forward to coming and performing.
Peter Cetera will be at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach) on Sunday, August 21 at 8 p.m. For more information visit whbpac.org or call 631-288-1500.