Original Article From the Daily Planet

From Jason Scheff…“In 2003, I got a letter from Jay [DeMarcus] at the Washington State Fair. I showed up at the gig and this lady who runs things asked me if I knew who Rascal Flatts was and I told her no. She said they were a country group and had been there the night before. They had sold the place out and had really started getting popular. So she explained they were big fans of ‘Chicago’ and they mentioned it on stage that we would be playing two nights after them and she said Jay wanted her to give this to me and she gave me a letter and it started out ‘dear Jason’ and it explained they were big ‘Chicago’ fans and we were the reason they played music and it said he had particularly watched my era of ‘Chicago.’ He said he would love to get with me to write some music and left me his number. So this relationship started and over the next several years we wrote a lot of songs and I wrote with a lot of the great Nashville writers as I started getting back to Nashville. That ended up becoming the catalyst to get ‘Chicago’ back in the studio for ‘Chicago 30’ which Jay [DeMarcus] produced,” he said.

The foundation for that friendship was laid and it produced not only a lot of new songs, but has now created the current band for both artists called “The Rise Above.” (Now Generation Radio)

“We had started coming out of this lockdown, in particular the United States. We had gotten to a place here where people were at each other’s throats and Facebook had turned into a cesspool of friends getting into arguments and it seemed like everyone was continually being dragged down and Jay came up with the idea saying we [as a nation] just need to rise above all this stuff and be a light rather than all this darkness so ‘The Rise Above’ is really all about that. About rising above this global division and I’m not blaming anybody or any side for this, nor taking any particular stance or position, but we have to find some common ground here so that’s what it’s about,” he explained.

DeMarcus and Scheff had known for a long time that eventually they wanted to be in a band together.

“Jay and I always said there would come a day when our time would open up and we would do something together. When Rascal Flatts decided to take a break, Jay said it’s time. Jay had always wanted to work with Deen Castronovo from Journey. So Jay, Deen and I became the focal point for this new band. We took the best songs from ‘Journey’, ‘Rascal Flatts’ and ‘Chicago’. Everybody we have played for has just lit up. Our set list is just mind blowing. You go down the list and just go from hit to hit. It’s all from different bands so you never get tired of the same sound,” he said.