Scott May tours the U.S. performing with the Ides of March, then returns to his Oswego home.
The Ides of March began with four high school boys playing together in a Berwyn basement. Those four boys are still together making music and touring, 48 years later with platinum hits and Grammy awards to show for their efforts.
The band took a 17-year hiatus, which ended when the City of Berwyn asked them to consider re-grouping to headline at Summerfest in 1990.
May said the Ides needed a full-time keyboardist and singer. They knew May from high school and knew he knew the material, so they asked him to play with them at the Berwyn festival.
“That was supposed to be it. It was supposed to be a one-time thing but 20,000 people showed up in Berwyn. We had so much fun that we just decided to continue,” he said.
May described the Ides’ work as “all different kinds of music – pop, rock, folky – we’re all over the board. There are ballads, vocals, country, rock. It depends on what song we’re playing as to what type of music it is.”
May said there have been many outstanding moments and significant honors from being part of the Ides.
The Ides have a tradition of singing at the Christmas Eve Mass at Chicago’s Holy Name Cathedral.
Berwyn honored the Ides by naming a street in front of their high school, 'The Ides of March Way.'
The Ides have written a song to cheer on each of the Chicago sports teams during play-off runs. They have performed the national anthem at each of the Chicago venues, playing at the last game at the “old” Comiskey Park and at the first night game at the “new” one. Their song Finally Next Year cheered the Cubs on during their playoff run in 2003.
Recently, Bo Bice performed their best-known song, Vehicle, on American Idol, re-introducing the hit to a younger generation.
“Being asked to join the Ides was like being asked to join the Beatles,” May said. “It was fantastic. They were heroes to me but also my friends and the local guys that went and did good,” May said.
“Working in comedy, the comedians got the spotlight – it was not on me. When I joined the band, I immediately gained prestige. It was a great honor and I’m very lucky to be part of this Chicago band that everyone loves,” May said.
May said the Ides perform 30-35 shows per year and are able to pick and choose their shows.
“We perform for the love of music and nothing more. Getting paid to do it is just a pleasant by-product. We enjoy making music and seeing the faces of our fans,” May said.
“We have a good time. We’ve never had a bad night. Our fans are very vocal and supportive and loyal and wherever we perform, there’s usually someone from Chicago,” May said.
In addition to touring with the Ides, May is a freelance writer, writing books on financial planning, self-motivation and children’s books.
Last year, May started a solo band called One-Armed Orchestra.
In 2000, May and his family outgrew Berwyn. He said he got lost while looking for houses and ended up in Oswego, where he and his wife, Chris, decided to build a home.
“We love it out here. The town and the people are very nice. I like that there’s farmland within about three minutes and the air is clean. There’s a mix of new and old with the classic downtown area,” May described.
May married Chris in 1998. He has three stepchildren and three grandchildren.