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Unearthed '70s Video Of Late Chicago Guitarist Describes Band's Early Days

By DNAinfo Staff | September 8, 2017 8:50am
 Terry Kath, a founding guitarist of the band Chicago
Terry Kath, a founding guitarist of the band Chicago
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CHICAGO — Terry Kath, the now-deceased founding guitarist of the band Chicago and a member of Taft High School's Hall of Fame, shows up in a decades-old video recently uncovered and posted to YouTube.

Kath, who grew up on the Northwest Side and helped start the band with DePaul University classmates, talks in the recorded interview, reportedly made in 1970, about newfound fame in the wake of the band's first album.

Before the record, he and the bandmates would go to New York clubs "because everybody wanted to meet some chicks, have a nice little drink and all that stuff," said Kath, the guitarist probably best known for his work on "25 or 6 to 4."

Kath said they'd be asked "Who are you?"

Referring to the band's original name, he'd respond: "'I'm with CTA.' They'd split. You wouldn't even see them for the rest of the night."

But after their record "Chicago Transit Authority" debuted in April of 1969  — which included "Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?" — the response was not the same.

"Now we're the CTA. We have an album out. Now it's a different story," he says laughing, adding "groupies have been around ever since there have been musicians."

(See video below)

Kath died in 1978 when he put what he thought was an unloaded pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.

That death complicated his legacy in his hometown, and his induction into the Taft Alumni Association Hall of Fame was blocked in 1999 by board members who said Kath's history of drug abuse made him a poor role model for students at the Norwood Park school.

Kath was inducted into the Taft High School Foundation's Hall Of Fame in 2015. That same year, the band opened its concerts with the song "Introduction" as a tribute to Kath. "We sort of channel him when we start our show, said keyboardist Robert Lamm.

An autobiographical film, "The Terry Kath Experience," debuted last year.

RELATED: Daughter's Film Tells Story of 'Chicago' Guitarist You Don't Remember

Below, Kath demonstrates his guitar skills on "25 or 6 to 4."