With almost 44 years of rock music history spanning over four decades, Kansas has revamped itself with new band members and a new studio album that will be released in September. The iconic classic rock band will bring their high energy show to the Gallo Center for the Arts in Modesto on Tuesday, Aug. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
The seven piece band includes original guitarist Richard Williams, original drummer Phil Ehart, bassist/vocalist Billy Greer, keyboardist David Manion, violinist/guitarist David Ragsdale, guitarist/co-producer Zak Rizvi, and lead vocals Ronnie Platt.
The retirement of original lead singer Steve Walsh caused the band to be on the lookout for their next star vocalist which led them to Platt. Singing since he was a teenager, Platt has been a huge fan of Kansas and when the opportunity arose for a lead vocal position with the band Platt jumped at the chance. Former lead singer in the band Shooting Star, Platt met with original band members Richard Williams and Phil Ehart to see if he was a fit for the band and after some consideration was offered the position.
“Of course I was thrilled to death and I was very excited,” said Platt. “You know things worked out pretty good. There is something to be said for perseverance.”
As a huge fan of the band, Platt said he enjoys performing the popular music, the deep songs and is now looking forward to performing the new tracks as well.
The arrival of new bandmates along with the veterans motivated the creation of a new album, called “The Prelude Implicit” which will be the band’s 15th studio album. The album will be released in September. This will be the band’s first studio album release in 16 years.
“Do all the songs sound like Kansas, yes, but there is diversity in the styles,” stated Platt. “There are a couple of songs that sound like deep-rooted traditional Kansas, there are a couple of songs that are very deep, very dark, there are a couple of songs that I would consider radio friendly that maybe have a more popular appeal to them and there’s a couple of songs on there that are really heavy.”
The instrumental number called “Section 60” on the new album was inspired by section 60 at Arlington Cemetery that Platt described as “pretty intense but very diverse.”
Newest band member Rizvi co-produced and wrote a majority of the new music according to Platt.
“It is just that infusion of new blood into the band rubbing off on the senior members and just getting that momentum going and getting excited about it,” added Platt. “Going into the studio a year ago in June just to record a song to see if the chemistry would flow and boy, did it ever, and it just took off from there.”
The album title is unique and has a meaning, Platt explained, honoring what the band was before and starting a new beginning.
“This band works a lot,” added Platt. “It is so funny that since I have been in the band we have not stopped.”
The band is currently on tour and will be hitting the stage in Modesto next week where fans will be entertained by the classic Kansas sound with songs like, “Carry On Wayward Son,” “Point of Know Return,” and of course “Dust in the Wind” but will also be privy to some new music.
“We come out on stage and everybody is excited to see Kansas and you know we start our set and everyone seems to get into the groove along with the band,” expressed Platt. “By the end of the show when we are really pouring our hearts out into it and just conveying that energy to the audience, and the audience picks up on it and at the end of the show everyone is on their feet yelling and screaming and applauding, it is great.”