June 23, 1995 in Seven

Kansas Still A Rock-Solid Band

Joe Ehrbar Correspondent

The purveyor of ‘70s rock classics “Dust in the Wind,” “Carry on Wayward Son” and “Point of Know Return” - Kansas - is back on the road and will be at the Cotton Club in Hayden, Idaho, on Tuesday.

Though it may have seemed like Kansas disappeared from the music scene (its last studio album was released in 1987), the quintessential ‘70s progressive rock band never broke up.

In fact, its current line-up has remained the same for a decade.

Further, three of the band’s original members - vocalist Steve Walsh, drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Richard Williams - are still with the band. And former Kansas songwriter and guitarist Kerry Livgren occasionally moonlights with the band.

Unlike numerous classic rock outfits on the comeback trail, Kansas doesn’t appear to be interested in the rekindling the ‘70s.

Rather, the sextet, rounded out by violinist/guitarist David Ragsdale, bassist Billy Greer and keyboardist Greg Robert, is in the midst of a national tour promoting its two most recent albums, “Live at the Whiskey” and the first studio effort in eight years, “Freaks of Nature.”

Kansas is particularly proud of what it accomplished on “Freaks of Nature.”

“It’s a very aggressive record - fast and loud. It shows that Kansas still plays like it always has,” Ehart said in a press release.

“We just wanted it to be the band; we didn’t want it to be layered with lots of production. It’s played aggressively and produced sparingly.

As in past efforts, Kansas again defies categorization with “Freaks of Nature.”

“We’re used to not fitting in,” Ehart said, explaining that’s how the title, “Freaks of Nature,” came about. “Kansas is just a different kind of animal, and we’ve worked hard to maintain our identity.”

In the early ‘70s, not fitting in made it hard for the band to attract majorlabel interest.

CBS (now Sony) took a chance and, to date, Kansas has rewarded the label with sales of more than 25 million albums worldwide.

Kansas’ two most recent albums are available on the Intersound label.

Tuesday’s concert opens with a special guest at 8 p.m. The opening act wasn’t available at press time.

Only 400 tickets are available for the show.

Tickets are available at the Cotton Club or through G&B; outlets, 325-SEAT.

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