SEDONA, Ariz., June 18 (UPI) -- 47 years after he cofounded the band Chicago, Lee Loughnane says his love of music is what keeps him going.
The 67-year-old trumpeter, vocalist and songwriter spoke to UPI to discuss Chicago's new album Chicago XXXVI: Now. The record is the band's 36th release, and follows in their tradition of making music-driven albums.
"It's very musical," Loughnane tells UPI of the new album. "For some reason, just plain music a lot of times isn't enough, but for us it has been. This is us, organic and now. The latest incarnation of Chicago."
Music has been a part of Loughnane's life since he was a child. He started playing the trumpet at age 11, and "fell in love with the instrument and music itself." The band's emphasis on musicianship has contributed to their decades-long success, and the trumpeter says there is still more to learn.
"The more you learn about music, the more you realize what there is to learn," he relates. "I'm getting better at [trumpet], it feels more comfortable now than it ever has and I can see that I'll be able to improve until I pass to the other side.
"When I play the trumpet, it actually changes my psyche," he shares. "I feel better. If I'm in a bad mood and I start practicing, 99 times out of 100, I feel better. I don't know what that magic potion is, but music seems to be it for me."
Chicago XXXVI: Now is the band's first album to be recorded on a mobile unit called The Rig. The equipment allows the members to work on new material on the road, and also work "one voice, one guitar at a time."
"This platform allows everybody to continually write new music, and when everyone's ready we come in and record it a little piece at a time until it's together," he says of the new system. "We didn't even know at the time that we were recording an album, we were just recording music. It got to the point that we had so many songs that we decided to put it together in an album format."
The band recently embarked on their 47th consecutive tour in support of the new album, and kick off a series of dates with REO Speedwagon on July 31. They perform 100 or more shows annually, and are away from home six months out of the year. Loughnane admits the "hardest part" of tour is being away from his family, but also recognizes, "We have to go where the people are."
"We love playing, and we plan on continuing to do that and making new music as well," he says. "We've kept it going, we love doing it, we've learned more about it. We want to continue, and we are going to.
"It's the music that has come through us," he concludes. "For some reason it has connected and resonated with many, many different generations, for decades. I don't know why, but I'm very happy it does. Because it's given us our career, our life and I'm very grateful."
Chicago XXXVI: Now is scheduled for release July 8 in the U.S.