The 1977 Chicago song “Take Me Back to Chicago” has extra resonance for singer/songwriter Tim Stop.
The 35-year-old Bettendorf native — whose given name is Tim Stopulos — is excited to go back on tour with the iconic band this May. He will be the opening act for 13 dates in the Midwest, but not the Quad-Cities.
“We've stayed in touch over the years,” Stop said in a Thursday interview from Chicago, to which he also moved back in December after being in Kansas City five years. “I released a new album, 'For the Birds' last year, and had a daughter six months ago, so I hadn't had a lot of time to support that album. I stayed in touch, the dates are good for both of us. They know me well enough now. They're constantly touring.”
Chicago's May tour includes gigs in Springfield on May 8; Madison May 12; Cedar Rapids May 18, and Des Moines May 22. Stop said he plans to return for his own Q-C concert this year.
Stop has opened for Chicago many times, including a 2013 one-off at Moline's TaxSlayer Center, which he said: “That was just for fun.” Stop played two months in summer 2014, opening for REO Speedwagon and Chicago (in 20-minute sets), and most recently toured with Chicago in 2016 on a few shows on the East Coast.
Chicago has been around since 1967, and the 10-member lineup still includes three originals – Robert Lamm (keyboard, vocals), Lee Loughnane (trumpet, flugelhorn), and James Pankow (trombone). The group last played Moline in April 2016, as part of a combined tour with Earth, Wind & Fire.
“Obviously it's super impressive, not just from their success, but their energy. They bring that energy year-round,” Stop said. “You not only have to give them credit for how good they are, their music has stayed around, but they're up and touring.”
His latest single "Perfect Fool" can be heard on SiriusXM's “The Pulse.” His cover of Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" became a mainstay on SiriusXM's “The Coffee House,” according to his bio. Stop's influences span artists such as John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, and Bruno Mars and classics like Billy Joel, The Beatles, and others. He's the lead singer of an events band, Capital 4.
He and his wife Maria have been married since 2015, and their daughter is named Kate.
Stop, a graduate of Assumption High School and Wake Forest University, also had a special Christmas holiday in the Q-C, where he practice with his brother, Joe, on the 1904 double-grand piano at Asbury Methodist Church in Bettendorf. They performed from memory a Mozart sonata for at a gala concert there Jan. 26, with their childhood piano teacher, Davenport's Dick Patterson, in attendance.
“When you're a kid, taking lessons, it's tough, it's a new language. He was a such great teacher for us, patient and fun,” Stop said, noting they used to play two pianos together at their grandparents' house in Davenport.
Tim also debuted a movement from his first original piano sonata at the Bettendorf concert.
“I always enjoyed writing pop music, but there's something deeper and more engaging about a great classical piece,” he said. “I've been trying to get into that world, using language of Beethoven and Chopin...I don't know what I'm going to do with it. It's a good chance for me to expand my horizons.”