For a few moments, let’s escape the craziness of our world and come along with me on the adventure of a guy I know with an absolutely fascinating life.
I like to fill up my blogs and podcasts with topics I feel you’d probably like to hear about. Maybe a fact you didn’t know or introducing you to a cool person that I’ve had the good fortune of meeting.
The Donnie Dacus story (pronounce that DAY-cuss) will, one day, be a must-read book. I know that because he’s been working on one. The quick beginning and end of Donnie’s story is that he was born in Texas and learned how to play a guitar something fierce and then, fast-forwarding to today, he’s married to my wife’s cousin and lives in Florida.
Now for the fun part–filling in the middle.
Knowing that his life’s story in book form is eventually going to come your way, I’ll lightly touch on just some of the key points I’ve become privileged to hear over the years. When I first found out who he was, I immediately headed to Wikipedia. There, you’ll see he picked up a guitar and was teaching music and in a band by age 14. In the years to come, he would be one of the main characters in the movie version of “Hair”, take over lead guitar duties for Chicago in the aftermath of Terry Kath’s death, play with Badfinger and write songs with some legendary musicians. One of those musicians stiffed him and actually used some of his songs without compensating him. Like I said, I’ve been privy to some awesome stories that will find their way to that book, but the best one has to be when a major rock group called to ask him to join their band (a group you’ve heard of and which is still out there performing) but a meddlesome manager intercepted the phone call and told the band that he wasn’t interested.
He would only hear about it years later.
Every couple of years, we get together with Donnie and his wife, to get caught up, do a little hanging out, go to dinner, drink fine wine, talk about family. On occasion, he’ll even get out his guitar and play a song or two he’s been working on.
After a lot of success in his early years, Donnie was pushed to the outside of the music biz. He was unceremoniously kicked out of Chicago and that created a sore point that lasted decades. But, as is true with everyone, as musicians get older, they remember the good old days and the people with whom they shared the journey. A couple of years ago, Peter Cetera invited Donnie to come and join him on stage one night. The gigs started coming back as did the love of getting up on stage and showing an appreciative crowd what he’s got. Then, Danny Seraphine, former Chicago drummer, along with former bandmate Bill Champlin invited Donnie to join them on a brief tour of Japan as part of California Transit Authority.
Donnie just returned home this past Monday and while we haven’t chatted with him about it yet, we did get this video from one of their performances.
The quality’s not great and there will be no cinematography awards for this one, but what you’re seeing is a man doing exactly what he loves to do. It would have been so easy for him to say, “No, those days are over.” But they’re not and if had any doubts going in, they’re gone now. With a bunch of sold-out shows behind him, Mr. Dacus is back and he’s here to make music.
Congrats, Donnie. It’s great to see you return to living the dream. Your dream.
But eventually, could you get around to finishing that book?
P.S. Just found this review on their recent concert tour