Terry Kath's Official Bio Pages
Written by Tim Wood
Message from Tim Wood:
It’s been more than 17 years since I first put something on the Internet about Terry Kath. The Internet was still finding its way at that point. I was enthusiastic about it, and decided to put some content out in cyberspace to see what would happen.
A priority was to create content that was not duplicated anywhere else. After some searching of the Internet, I determined that there wasn’t much about Terry Kath on the Internet.
I’ve been a fan of Terry Kath before I knew who he was. When I first heard Chicago II in 1970, the guitar playing was fascinating. It would be years before I began my long-time fascination with the guitar. The playing appealed to me in part because it so seamlessly fit with the music. Even at that young age, I could appreciate the solo in “25 or 6 to 4.”
Later on , I became a big fan of Chicago and learned more about the band. Depending on my musical interest at the time, I focused on different parts of Chicago. When songwriting and keyboard playing was my thing, I focused on Robert Lamm. In my band days, it was the horn saxophone, particularly Walter Parazaider, because I played the saxophone. For bass playing, Peter Cetera was my “inspiration.”
And when, at about age 15, I stumbled onto the guitar, it was all over. Terry Kath was the man. Through his playing, songwriting and singing, I made a musical connection with him. I identified with him more than any other member of the band, not just because I was playing guitar. Who couldn’t relate in some way to the story in the song “Byblos?” “Oh Thank You, Great Spirit,” was the tribute all of us wanted to make to Jimi Hendrix.
And those guitar solos – oh, those solos! They were mind boggling. The first album, Chicago Transit Authority, hit my turntable and I went nuts. I wore out two of the vinyl copies. It was so much more raw and edgy than his playing on subsequent albums. This was rock and roll.
In later years, I discovered his rhythm guitar playing, at which Kath might have been better than playing lead. I just had a connection with his playing, singing and songwriting that I’ve had with no other musician.
Hence, the choice to put up a web site of Terry Kath material. It all started on a GeoCities site. The first pages were created on an Apple Macintosh laptop in my basement. Then, I claimed my own domain (timmwood.com) and used Yahoo as a host. The Terry Kath page became part of a web site dedicated to the music of Chicago the Band.
Over the years, I added items. I compiled information from (hopefully) reliable Internet sources. I wrote some items myself. Viewers of the page contributed information and photographs. It grew and grew.
A companion to the Terry Kath was a Kath discussion forum. This went on for several years and was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the host company discontinued the free hosting service and I couldn’t find an acceptable replacement.
One of the neatest things about hosting the page was getting e-mails from its visitors. It turned out that many, many people were fans of Terry Kath and had found this page. For years, it was the first page to pop up on a Google search for “Terry Kath.” The stories they told were heart-warming. These e-mails popped up at odd times and were nice surprises to find when I checked my e-mail.
However, a few years later I was under a lot of stress and very busy with managing life. Gradually, my updates to the site became few and far between. That still didn’t stop people from visiting it and sending me e-mails. Even noted former Chicago guitarist Dawayne Bailey, himself a fan of Terry Kath, said he had referred to it for years, even up to this year (2014).
For several years, I let the entire site sit dormant except for occasional updates. A couple of years, I tried to do some updating, but just ran out of energy and time to do it. I finally decided the money I was spending to maintain it just wasn’t worth it if I wasn’t going to be active with it. There also were some technical issues with uploading files that would have cost money to overcome.
Terry Kath's daughter, Michelle, and I had communications about her absorbing the content into her site, terrykath.com. Movement has been slow, however, so I did some more checking into web site hosts. After finding an acceptable deal, I decided to put it back up. It still may yet end up on the terrykath.com page, but for now, at least it again has a home in cyberspace!
Message from Michelle:
At one point there was only one website dedicated to the man, Terry Kath. Before Wikipedia, Facebook and even this site, there was an obscure little website by a man named Tim Wood. His site was filled with very extensive and knowledgeable essays about my Dad. This collection of information was the making of a true Terry Kath fan site. I used to link our bio page to his site because he had written in such detail about my Dad's life and career that there was no need for me to include it on our site. These were proper essays.
Let me take a moment to talk about the Terry Kath fan. I have always credited Tim as being the first hardcore Terry Kath fan to make a place for him on the world wide web. But as the internet has grown so has the intensity of the fans. My most favorite thing about Facebook and the only reason I still have a profile is that I had finally found a home for the fans. I think I originally joined FB because it had a great platform for hosting groups. The TK Fan Group is going strong, and I am amazed by how active they are every day. Now thousands of other fans join in Mr. Woods' love for promoting Terry to all the people of the world.
A while back Tim contacted me to inform me that he would be taking his website down. He no longer wished to maintain the site (those dang hosting fees) and asked me if I would like to put his content on my site. Um...ya! How could I say no?
I am now very excited to host Terry Kath's Official Bio Pages by Tim Wood. He ran his site for more than 17 years and had put a lot of work into it. These pages, in themselves, are a mini website within a website. All of his writings and findings are here. When you have a moment or just want to geek out on some Chicago knowledge, read these pages.
Thank you, Tim, for all the years you kept the man's name alive. You truly rock!