Friday, September 04, 2009

Livgren Suffers Stroke:

Kerry Livgren of Kansas suffered a massive stroke earlier this week; though he is still among the living. If you think prayer works, please pray for him. The news made The Huffington Post.

Though the author has an unusual appreciation for Livgren's Kansas music. He cites the band's post Steve Walsh Christian rock work. The band's 1982 album Vinyl Confessions, a good album and their first release AFTER Steve Walsh left (with Christian vocalist John Elephante replacing Walsh), signified the end of the original Kansas. Likewise the albums that Steve Walsh made when he reformed Kansas in the mid 80s sans Livgren, were also good, but lacked the original authenticity.

I consider Kerry Livgren to be like an Aaron Copland of progressive rock composers. They were America's version of British progressive rock (though you wouldn't necessarily know it with the two big hits with which most folks are familiar). They injected a heavy dose of Americana into that British genre.

The lives of Livgren and Walsh charted drastically different courses; indeed they are two very different people. In their heyday in the 70s, they all abused drugs (mainly coke); but once Livgren and original bassist Dave Hope became born again Christians in the early 80s, those two stopped. Walsh continued to abuse drugs and had run ins with police until the mid 90s. But he's also a fitness fanatic; as of the early 2000s, Walsh reportedly regularly ran 20 miles at a time (I wonder if he is still doing that). No wonder he is so trim for a man in his late 50s.

Anyway even though Livgren no longer tours with Kansas (he doesn't have to because he gets the publishing royalties from "Carry On Wayward Son" and "Dust in the Wind") he did reunite with them for their upcoming symphonic DVD to be released later this month. This may well be Kerry's last live recording. Here is a taste below. Livgren is one with the big handlebar mustache and sunglasses.


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