A NEW MOON AND A NEW DECADE
In modern times, the Ides of March is best known as the date on which Julius Caesar was stabbed to death at a meeting of the Senate. As many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius were involved. The Tragedy of Julius Caesar is a history play and tragedy written by the playwright William Shakespeare and was first performed in 1599. It is one of several plays written by Shakespeare based on true events from Roman history, such as Coriolanus and Antony and Cleopatra. The play depicts the moral dilemma of Brutus as he joins a conspiracy led by Cassius to murder Julius Caesar to prevent him from becoming a dictator of Rome. Following Caesar’s death, Rome is thrust into a period of civil war, and the republic the conspirators’ sought to preserve is lost forever.
In 1599, “Julius Caesar” was likely the first play to be performed at the newly built Globe Theatre. At the time, England was concerned about the questions of unclear succession and consequent civil strife because Queen Elizabeth had neither provided nor named an heir. It is no surprise then, that Shakespeare turned to ancient Rome and their problems with leadership and violence to explore current issues of concern.
As Shakespeare’s career came to an end, he began to write what now are called his romances. Harkening back to more traditional romance motifs of quests, magical events, and great lessons learned. These plays are concerned with questions of religion and show a recognition that it is a younger generation who will affect the future. Shakespeare continued to write until 1613, but his works after the romances are often collaborations, reflecting his retirement from the fray. He’d earned the rest. In a career spanning three decades, William Shakespeare provided works that became the basis of Western literature that resonates with meaning for audiences to this day.
THE IDES OF MARCH PLAY ON
The Berwyn Beatles saw the English Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and that was the blueprint for a local band called “The Ides of March”, says frontman Jim Peterik. The band began in 1964 as a creative outlet for four school-aged friends from Berwyn, Illinois. Signed to Warner Brothers Records, Ides released its 1970 debut album featuring the horn-spiked bravado of “Vehicle.” The song shot to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the company of acts like The Guess Who, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Beatles.
After 55 years together, this group continues to play on. Last October 26th they played a concert at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan, Il. Introducing a new album “Play On.” Saxophonist Mindi Abair collaborated with Peterik for “Friends Like You,” a song inspired by the group’s longstanding brotherhood. According to Peterik, “our band is truly a family.” Bob Bergland and Jim were in the same Cub Scout pack and Larry Millas and Mike Borch were in the original grade school band together.
LET THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN
The title track “Play On” is a statement of intent and the audience senses the joy that we feel, and you can’t put a price on that” according to Peterik. The song connects to the band’s origin story. It’s from Shakespeare, which is apropos since that is where we got our band name. We were originally called the Shon-Dels. Our first single “You Wouldn’t Listen” was about to be pressed in 1966 when we heard local WCFL-AM DJ Dick Biondi saying, ‘New from Tommy James and the Shondells, ‘Hanky Panky!” We thought, “Oh no!” we were all in sophomore and junior literature reading “Julius Caesar” Bob says: hey, look at this! – “Beware the Ides of March.”
Band Members Pictured
Mike Borch, Bob Bergland, Jim Peterik, Larry Millas, Scott May, Steve Eisen, Tim Bates and Henry Salgado
The Ides of March will join the “Cornerstone of Rock” concert set to take place (not definite) on Sunday, June 21 at Arcada Theatre. The event is presented by Ron Onesti of Onesti Entertainment.