Combo Audio existed in five phases.

The first was the union of John and Rick in Champaign around 1980. Never intending to become a live band, their demos began to be played on local stations creating demand for the music to be played in front of an audience.

This led to phase two, where John and Rick enlisted the help of local jazz and world musicians to play the music they had arranged and recorded. It was during this period they crossed paths with Rocky Maffit - who became a member for a short time - and eventually to Tom Broeske, who would become the band's first full time bass player and official third member.

In "the Tom years", phase three, Combo Audio solidified its power trio identity, and began to play shows regularly with occasional live appearances by guests like Rocky Maffit.

Phase four began when Angus Thomas joined the band replacing Tom on bass. It was at this time the band had a top Billboard single and was being courted by major labels, eventually signing with EMI and touring and recording extensively.

Combo Audio's fifth phase was after their deal with EMI was over. Rick pursued painting and other artistic interests. Angus departed temporarily to tour with Miles Davis and Peter Wolf. John continued to write and record with producer / engineer Paul Klingberg and begin work in the surround sound business.

During this last phase, John and Angus reunited, enlisted Chicago drummer Dave Sycott and several back up musicians for a number of shows in Chicago and Champaign. Angus left again for another tour with Miles Davis. John played a few more shows under the moniker of Combo Audio with the other musicians and a replacement bass player.

Combo Audio played its last show under that name in mid 1987.

The band never actually broke up.