Chicago on Their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction: 'I Had No Idea It Would Be As Exciting As It Is'

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Chicago photographed circa 1970.

The announcement of Chicago's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction brought an end to a cycle the band has been through.

"There was knowing that we're eligible for a long time, actually being nominated and then being accepted," trumpeter and co-founder Lee Loughnane tells Billboard. "Y'know, previous to this people who didn't know we weren't in were surprised when they found out. Everybody assumed that we're already in the Hall of Fame. We just kept working."

Now that their induction is a reality, however, Loughnane says, "It's very exciting. I had no idea it would be as exciting as it is. There was never any despairing about it because we were still working and we still are working, whether we're honored with it or not. We've had many other honors given to us previously, and we know full well that you get the honor and then you move on with your life. So it's very exciting and I'm looking very much forward to it. It's very cool to have it happen."

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Chicago's original seven members will be inducted on April 8 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn -- Loughnane and remaining bandmates keyboardist Robert Lamm, trombonist James Pankow, saxophonist Walter Parazaider, along with former bassist Peter Cetera, who left during 1985, drummer Danny Seraphine, who quit in 1990, and the late guitarist Terry Kath, who fatally shot himself during a game of Russian roulette in 1978. Loughnane expects that Chicago will perform during the ceremony and says the group is open to reuniting with either of its former members that night.

"That sounds fine to me," Loughnane says. "I haven't spoken with Peter in awhile, but if he wants to come sing with us, come on, baby! I'm ready. We're still playing the tunes. I think he is, too, so we should know the material." And Loughnane adds he'd like to see some of the band's subsequent members -- particularly Jason Scheff, who replaced Cetera and is still with Chicago -- get their due from the Rock Hall at some point.

"All those guys definitely had something to do with our success and longevity, and they are definitely worthy of being inducted," Loughnane says. "Maybe there will be a time when that happens as well. I hope there is."

Chicago has already started announcing dates for 2016, including a spring U.S. run with frequent touring partners Earth, Wind & Fire. The group has also started writing material for a follow-up to 2014's Chicago XXXVI: Now album, according to Loughnane.