Ted Piercefield

The "Chase" Years

The band known as "Chase" started rehearsal in a warehouse, behind a shopping center in Vegas. The only changes made in personnel were the guitar and bass players. After a week or so, we added Angel South on guitar and Dennis Johnson on bass. On the first day of rehearsal, Bill had set up four trumpets with what they called "multi-viders" (electronic attachments that would allow one trumpet to "sound" like multiple horns playing in octaves). We started with "Get It On" and it sounded almost like a marching band...just WAY too much. So, the multi-viders lasted for ONE rehearsal. From then on, and through the Ennea album, it was just the four of us: Bill, myself, Alan Ware and Jerry VanBlair .

We all played other gigs, to pay the bills while still rehearsing with Chase. After a few weeks, Chase got a job playing at a club in Vegas from 3am till 8am. We needed to tighten up the material before doing a demo tape in L.A. for Epic Records. This meant working two jobs a day for many of us. It was a lot of playing, but really strengthened the "chops".

After recording the demo in L.A., we got a record deal with Columbia/Epic Records.

We all packed up, and moved to Chicago to record the first record.  While recording, we worked club gigs at the "Rush Up", "Mother's" and a couple of others. At that point we needed all the money we could get just to sustain the band until the album "Chase" and the single, "Get It On" came out. After the single made it to the top ten, we had no trouble booking concerts. We started making a living and were all able to get apartments in the Chicago area. We also bought an old DC 3 airplane, which we used to fly to gigs within the central U.S.A. On our "maiden voyage" in the "Chase Plane", when we were about to land, I looked out the window and saw the runway lined with fire engines. It turns out that one of the engines had stopped working. We landed with one engine, no problem. Right off we should have known about musicians and private planes!

The group was later nominated for a Grammy Award for "Best New Artist". We played two different Newport Jazz Festivals. One was in Newport and the other was at Carnegie Hall. Both were very exciting venues and we were well received at both.

While in New York we played a concert at Radio City Music Hall. We were booked as an opener for Billy Preston, who had a big hit at the time. This concert stands out as one of the "all time worst" gigs we ever played. It was a TOTAL mismatch, booking wise. The people that night were there to see Billy Preston! They didn't want to hear anything we were doing. I was watching Terry Richards singing in front of us, and I saw a pencil bounce off of his hat! That happened one more time when we were mismatched with ZZ Top at the "Warehouse" in New Orleans. They couldn't wait for us to get off the stage. It really wasn't funny at the time but memorable, to say the least.

We toured South Africa in 1971, and that was during appartide and the situation there was far different than it is today. They had many restrictions as to the mixing of races. We were only able to play one concert for a "non-white" audience. Good or bad, the people WE saw and met, seemed quite happy. However, I'm sure we were only shown the "good side" of the situation.

The country and beaches were just beautiful. The people were great and the food was amazingly inexpensive. They also had a wonderful champagne that was made in South Africa. It too was inexpensive and really very good. While in Cape Town with a couple of days off, some of the guys went on safari and some stayed and "partied" in Cape Town. All in all, a trip of a lifetime!

We also toured Japan. What a beautiful and "super clean" country that was. Our show was broadcast "live" on Japanese TV, and we "still" filled the arena. The people from Sony were just terrific to us. We were treated like royalty when we would go out to a night club or press event ,or just shopping in Tokyo.  We all loved Japan, and Japan seemed to love us!