SURVIVOR/IDES OF MARCH FOUNDER JIM PETERIK’S THROUGH THE EYE OF THE TIGER OFFERS AN OVERVIEW OF A MOST UNLIKELY ROCK STAR
~COMING SEPTEMBER 23~
The writer/performer of such classic hits as “Eye of the Tiger” and “Vehicle” reveals his life both on-stage and off, including having a chart hit as a 15-year-old, penning one of the great inspirational anthems of all time and touring with Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead
New York, NY (July 28, 2014)— You may not recognize the name Jim Peterik, but the songs he’s written have made an indelible mark on pop music history, an incredible first-person tale he relates in his biography, Through the Eye of the Tiger: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Life of Survivor’s Founding Member, published by BenBella Books on September 23.
It’s all here, from his beginnings as a 15-year-old in the Ides of March, which the Illinois native playfully dubs “The Beatles of Berwyn,” scoring a #2 Billboard hit in 1970 with the horn-laden “Vehicle,” to being personally asked by Sylvester Stallone to write a song for Rocky III, which turned out to be “Eye of the Tiger,” the triple-platinum, Grammy-winning inspirational anthem that gives the book its name.
“This is my chance to connect the dots and put a face behind those songs,” says Peterik about writing the book. “I love the past, but I don’t live there. And I’m not ashamed of it, either. I’ll be playing ‘Vehicle’ until the day I die, but I would feel unfulfilled if I wasn’t paying it forward, discovering new talent and writing with my heroes.”
Through the Eye of the Tiger offers a close-up view of the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle – its pitfalls and triumphs along the way, as Peterik’s anecdotes include The Ides of March touring with Led Zeppelin (opening for them in Winnipeg), Janis Joplin (“I had to walk her home because she was too inebriated to get to her hotel”), the Grateful Dead (“I shared a deli tray with Jerry Garcia without getting dosed”) and the Allman Joys (the predecessor to the Allman Brothers).
It’s also a cautionary tale about the dangers of drugs and groupies, which Peterik carefully avoided during a 42-year (and counting marriage) to his wife Karen, whom he met when he was 17 and she was 15 during a Turtles concert at their high school. The two have a 24-year-old son, Colin, who is a musician himself, which makes Jim one proud father.
“I don’t think I could have written this book 10 years ago,” says Peterik. “I’ve finally reached a point where I see a very bright future for all the things I’m doing, but I can also appreciate what I’ve done. I thought the time was right to tell my story.”
That story includes a personal invitation from Sly Stallone, who left a message on his answering machine to call him, then asked if he’d write a song for Rocky III, which turned into “Eye of the Tiger,” a huge hit still ubiquitous at sporting stadiums and arenas everywhere. “I got the title from what Burgess Meredith tells Rocky in the movie,” says Peterik about the song he co-wrote with Survivor bandmate, guitarist Frank Sullivan, revealing it was the demo that made it into the final movie. “It had the mojo,” he said simply.
A world class tunesmith, Peterik’s songs have sold 30 million around the world, with 18 Top 10 hits, including “Hold on Loosely,” “Caught Up in You,” “Rocking Into the Night,” “Fantasy Girl,” collaborating most recently with Brian Wilson on the title track to the Beach Boys’ acclaimed album, That’s Why God Made the Radio. The artists Peterik has worked with over the years include .38 Special, Sammy Hagar, REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin, Buddy Guy, the Doobie Brothers, Cheap Trick, Night Ranger, Dennis DeYoung, Reba McEntire, David Hasselhoff, Johnny Rivers and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“I always lived in a creative bubble removed from the business,” he says. “For me the song is the ‘vehicle’… pun intended. I did everything in the service of the song. It didn’t matter what happened on the bus or in the dressing room. I wanted my message of positivity to survive.”
To that end, Peterik’s first book, Songwriting for Dummies, is a best-seller about his own creative methods, and he travels around the world giving seminars on the subject.
As for his survival, he credits it to never losing his focus. “I’m a late bloomer,” says the 64-year-old. “I’m now the guy with the purple hair, red leather suit and striped guitar. It’s a delayed response to the fact I took a back seat all those years. I’m having the time of my life.
“I do this for the love of music, to hear my God-given voice echo across a filled auditorium.”
Later this year, Peterik will mark the 50th anniversary of his still-active The Ides of March with a deluxe, 70-song, three-disc reissue of the seminal band’s catalog, including a DVD featuring a live concert from Chicago’s House of Blues, Rare footage, interviews with the band and videos of “Vehicle” and “Last Band Standing.”
“Writing this book tore me apart,” he admits. “Going through the good times – those early idyllic years as a teenager with The Ides of March, and then with Survivor, surviving some rough times. It was very painful dredging all that up… the separation from my wife for months at a time, when the loneliness would just grip me, with music my only drug.”
Peterik captures it all in Through the Eye of the Tiger, the memoirs of a true rock ‘n’ roll Survivor.
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