Tag: Kansas

Interview: Kansas’ Ronnie Platt Talks Upcoming Show At Sands Event Center, Classic Hits and New Music

Photo: EMily Butler Photography

With a career spanning more than four decades and more than thirty million in album sales alone, Kansas has firmly established itself as one classic rock’s most iconic bands. Since releasing their debut album in 1974 the band’s hits like “Carry on Wayward Son,” “Dust In The Wind,” and “Point of Know Return,” have become staples of classic rock radio and continue to be used in film, television and video games to this very day.

In 2016, Kansas released their acclaimed fifteenth studio album, “The Prelude Implicit,” and spent most of the next two years touring it as well as celebrating the 40th anniversary of their landmark Leftoverture album. With even more tour dates, including performing albums in their entirety, and the talk of even more new music, Kansas shows no sign of slowing down.

On Thursday, May 30, Kansas will be bringing its Radio Classics Tour to The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA. A show that promises to feature material that spans the groups legendary career as well as a few surprises.

Kansas is: Phil Ehart (drums), Richard Williams (guitars), Billy Greer (bassist/vocalist), Ronnie Platt (vocalist/keyboards), David Ragsdale (violinist/guitarist), Tom Brislin (keyboards) and Zak Rizvi (guitars).

I recently spoke with vocalist Ronnie Platt about the band’s upcoming performance in Bethlehem, new music and more in this exclusive new interview.

What can fans expect from Kansas’ upcoming performance at The Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA?

Fans are going to be in for a fantastic, high-energy, music-packed show. Songs from album number one all the way up to “The Prelude Implicit” and everything in between. Bring your extinguishers because the band is on fire.

What do you think makes the music of Kansas, and classic rock in general, so timeless and special?

I think it’s the depth, diversity and dynamics of the music. It also doesn’t hurt that Kerry [Livgren] was also influenced by classical music. Today, people are still listening to Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. These are guys who lived hundreds of years ago. Their music is still being played because there’s a level of musicality and intensity that makes it remain timeless. Kansas has that same element. It warms my heart when I see young kids and teenagers at our shows getting into it and aren’t just sitting there waiting for “Wayward Son.” It’s cool to see an appreciation of this music at all age levels.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Ronnie Platt by Clicking Here.

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Vocalist John Elefante Discusses New Solo Album, Video and Kansas

ElefanteCoverSince the mid 1980’s, John Elefante has been forging his own path as a multi-award winning vocalist, producer and member of the band Mastedon. Elefante and his brother, Dino also founded the popular Sound Kitchen studio which became a hot spot for artists like Buddy Guy and Bruce Springsteen.

But Elefante is perhaps best known for his tenure as lead vocalist for the band Kansas in the early 80’s, contributing (among other things) the guitar driven song “Fight Fire With Fire” while performing alongside guitarists Richard Williams and Kerry Livgren.

Fans of the Kansas sound will be delighted to discover that Elefante’s new solo album, “On My Way to the Sun” showcases Williams’ guitar work (along with Kansas violinist David Ragsdale) on the roller coaster track “This Is How The Story Goes.” The album also features the song, “This Time” which Elefante wrote about his adopted daughter who was nearly aborted. The video for the song has since gone viral on You Tube.

I spoke with Elefante about his latest album and video. We also discuss how he joined Kansas and his most memorable moment with the band.

Tell me a little about the making of On My Way To The Sun.

The record industry has changed so much over the past few years that for this project I decided to hook up with Kickstarter. The cool thing about it is, your fans don’t give you money apprehensively. They’re glad to be a part of the project and that really inspired me. It was a team effort and I really wanted to deliver the best record I could.

You have Dave Cleveland doing a brunt of the guitar work on this record. What’s it like working with him?

Dave Cleveland is one of the most underrated guitar players in the world. He’s carved out a niche in the Christian market and is the go to guitar player for any style of music. I can’t say enough about him. He’s the most imaginative guy I’ve ever worked with.

Tell me how you recruited Kansas members Rich Williams and Dave Ragsdale for the song “This is How The Story Goes”.

Originally, I had sent the song to Phil Ehart (drums) and asked him if he’d like to play on it. Phil loved the song, but couldn’t commit because of a scheduling conflict. That’s when I decided to send it to Rich. He loved the song and then sent it to Dave, who also wanted to be a part of it. You have to admit, for a song that sounds a lot like Kansas by nature it becomes even more validated when you have a few of the guys in the band playing on it [laughs]. I really wanted one roller-coaster ride of a song that takes you on a journey, and this one was it.

What was the inspiration behind the song, “This Time”?

I wrote that song from a very honest point of view. It’s based on the true story of how my daughter came into the world. She was almost aborted and thank God she wasn’t. I was literally writing two lines at a time and singing it when I wrote it. The song just flowed line by line.

Were you aware of the controversial nature of the song as you wrote it?

When I sat down to write, there was never any intention of me writing a pro-life or anti-abortion song. But in telling the story, I had to write about how she almost didn’t come into the world. When you put the visual to it from the video, all of that stuff suddenly comes into play. The first week we had over 100,000 views. Comments on it were both good and bad, but that’s to be expected. People are passionate on both sides. But I believe in the sanctity of life, and this is my side of the story.

Tell me how you got into Kansas.

I was out in California trying to score a record deal when I heard that the singer in Kansas had left the band. So I called up my attorney and asked him what he thought about trying to get my demo to those guys. He says “Done”. I said “What do you mean, ‘done’?” Apparently, the attorney for Kansas was literally right in the next office. So my attorney walked my demo over to their attorney [laughs]. Next thing you know, I’m hearing from their manager. Everything all came together.

Kansas was one of the biggest bands back then. What was it like going to the “big time”?

Everything was happening so fast that I didn’t really have much time to think about it. I was concentrating on getting songs on the new record and putting my best vocal performances forward. Then, we immediately started rehearsing for a tour.

Elefante

Can you tell me the origin and meaning behind the song “Fight Fire With Fire”?

My parents had converted their garage into a studio and my brother and I used to spend hours and hours there. That’s where we wrote it. I think the whole song came together in about 45 minutes. The message behind it is “I’m not going to be a wimp about what I believe. I’m going to stand up and fight fire with fire”. It’s kind of the world we live in. Whenever the band plays it live now, they dedicate to the military, which is awesome. Everyone’s fighting for some kind of cause.

What’s your best memory of being in Kansas?

I remember we played this all day event in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was in a big stadium and there were probably around 50,000 people there. It was us and bands like Journey and REO Speedwagon. We were going on right as the sun was going down; the perfect time. I remember feeling like there was a competition going on, and I wanted to show everyone that Kansas was the best band there. Everything was perfect and the band was so on. I’ll never forget that day.

For more on John Elefante, check out his official website by clicking here!

Guitar World: Kansas Guitarist Richard Williams Discusses Bands 40th Anniversary

Kansas 2013Forty years is a monumental amount of time for any band to be together, but for Kansas guitarist Richard Williams, the milestone event seems almost normal.

In addition to being an integral part of the success of Kansas — a band with record sales in excess of 15 million — Williams’ legacy includes being one of only two members of the band (drummer Phil Ehart being the other) to play on every Kansas album.

Even after four decades, Kansas shows no signs of slowing down. They plan to release a documentary in 2014 and continue to perform as many as 80 shows per year.

I recently spoke to Williams about the band’s milestone anniversary, their hits and his time working with guitarist Steve Morse.

kansas40thlogo

GUITAR WORLD: What can you attribute to the longevity of Kansas?

I think one of the key elements was being fortunate to have songs that have stood the test of time, like “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Dust in the Wind.” We have a catalog of songs that have become the fabric of American life for a lot of people. They’re solidified in history.

Read the rest of my interview with Richard Williams by Clicking Here!