Jim Peterik of Ides of March recalls collapsing on stage

By Chicago 5 Min Read

Jim Peterik of the Ides of March said his blood sugar had plummeted when he crashed while performing Sunday afternoon at the Des Plaines Theater.

The Grammy-winning founder of Survivor and the Ides of March, who co-wrote the hits “Vehicle” and “Eye of the Tiger,” recalled the episode on his Facebook page on Mondaysaying doctors who examined him after the crash told him his blood sugar had dropped to 47.

“Maybe I should have eaten more than a muffin and a banana before the show,” Peterik wrote. “I’m just saying. Lesson learned.”

The 72-year-old is now back to feeling like he’s normal and was in the studio Wednesday working on his next album.

  • Ides of March’s Peterik collapses on stage at Des Plaines, should be fine

Peterik was playing guitar and singing with Ides of March at about 4.30pm on Sunday during the ‘Cornerstones of Rock’ show, featuring Buckinghams, New Colony Six, Ides of March and Cryan Shames, when he collapsed as the band kicked off the 1970 hit ‘Vehicle’, the last song in their set.

“For some reason, I started to feel a little dizzy and lightheaded, but I ignored it and soldiered on, pitching the song like I always do,” Peterik wrote in his Facebook post. “The last line I said hesitantly: ‘So buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride [pause] and this is the vehicle that brought us here tonight!’ I counted it out, the brass blaring, but when I started singing the room started spinning and I started to lose consciousness until I passed out and fell, right on stage.

Ron Onesti, president and CEO of the theater operator Onesti Entertainment Corp., held Peterik’s hand on stage and made him speak after he collapsed.

“He scared everyone, not just his bandmates on and off stage, but also the thousand spectators,” Onesti said Wednesday, adding that everyone in the theater held their breath until he gave the audience a thumbs-up signal that Peterik was fine.

Onesti said that something special happened after that.

  • After 55 years together, the Ides of March ‘Play On’

“The audience slowly walked into the Lord’s Prayer, and he heard it, and he said, ‘Is this for me?’

“And I said, ‘It’s for you, Jimmy,'” Onesti said. “She actually put some color back on his face.”

Peterik was taken to Lutheran General Hospital in nearby Park Ridge, where he was given fluids and had some tests done.

Blood sugar below 70 is considered low, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Signs of severe hypoglycemia — less than 54 — include dizziness, difficulty walking, sweating and confusion. If left untreated, it can lead to seizures.

“The next thing I saw when I started recovering was a bunch of people around me taking my vitals, trying to get me to talk,” Peterik said. “Everything was blurry.”

But after his vitals returned to normal, Peterik said it was a “joy” to see the relief and smiles on the faces of his bandmates and loved ones.

Jim Peterik at his Jam Lab studio in Brookfield on September 10, 2014.

Jim Peterik at his Jam Lab studio in Brookfield in 2014. Peterik’s fans sent well wishes after he collapsed on Sunday. He’s at a CD release party in St. Charles on Thursday.

Geoff Scheerer/Sun-Times (file)

Fans responded to Peterik’s Facebook post with well wishes, saying they were glad he was on the road to recovery.

“Jim, a vehicle full of good wishes sent. I’m sure you will recover well. Take care of yourself!” one fan wrote.

Another fan wrote: “My heart sank when I read this yesterday and what a blessing to hear this update. I’m actually glad I wasn’t there to witness it, I couldn’t have done it!!! Keep dancing, Jim, you’re our favorite!!!

Peterik said he’s also gearing up for his CD release party at the Arcada Theater on Thursday in St. Charles.

“You can’t keep a great musician down, and Jim is proof of that,” said Onesti.

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