They’re musicians, not celebrities.
Sure, the members of Kansas experienced all of the perks and excesses that came with being one of the biggest music acts of the 1970s. However, guitarist Rich Williams, who’s been with the group for all of its 40-year existence, has little use for the supposedly glamorous side of such success.
“I got in a band to play. The best part is doing that,” Williams said in a phone interview with The Pueblo Chieftain. “We’re a blue-collar, working band. We’ve gotten pretty good at it over the last 40 years.”
Between 1974 and 1980, the band released seven albums. Big deal, you say? Yes, it was. Of those seven, three went multiplatinum, and four were certified gold.
The guys from Topeka were everywhere with enduring hits such as “Dust in the Wind,” “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Point of Know Return.” They played sold-out shows throughout the world.
As Mr. Williams put it, “Been there, done that, have the T-shirt and the alcohol addiction to prove it.”
Three original members — Mr. Williams, vocalist/keyboardist Steve Walsh and drummer Phil Ehart — are part of the group’s current lineup. Violinist David Ragsdale and bassist Billy Greer complete the band.
Mr. Williams, 64, said on the current tour the band is playing all of the popular songs and a little bit more from the band’s self-titled first album in recognition of the fact that it was released 40 years ago. They’ve released nearly 30 albums altogether, including compilations and recordings of live shows.
Current and former members stay in touch with each other, Mr. Williams said. In fact, the band has almost completed a documentary, “Miracle Out of Nowhere,” that focuses on its first four albums and features all the original members.
“We hadn’t all been in the same room together for a long time,” he said. “Just that event in itself was a lot of fun.”
The current group makes its own touring schedule. All of the members are based in Atlanta.
“It’s a good balance,” said Mr. Williams. “The perfect Kansas week is to leave home on a Friday and be home on a Sunday.”
It’s a much different pace than what they experienced in the ’70s, and that’s just fine with Mr. Williams.
“It’s a bit more relaxed and I can appreciate it,” he said. “I look forward to the next show, which is a very nice place to be.”Kansas