[LISTEN] Domino Chats With Richard Williams From Kansas

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been a Kansas fan since I was a freshman in high school. As soon as the words “Carry On Wayward Son” came out of the radio I was hooked. I drove a 1959 Cadillac with an 8-track tape player in it. I think I wore that tape out at least twice listening to it over and over again. I would sit outside at night, do my homework in the driveway and jam out.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Leftoverture ( the album that “Carry On Wayward Son” is on) the boys from Kansas are on tour right now and will be in Daytona, at The Peabody Auditorium, this Thursday.

They will be playing the album Leftoverture in its entirety and also playing songs from their new album The Prelude Implicit. The show itself is over 2 hours long and spans 10 different albums. It’s a full Kansas experience.

I caught up with Richard Williams, the guitar player and original Kansas member, to talk about the band, the tour and what to expect in the future from Kansas.

Domino: I got Rich on the phone right now. This guy’s been with the band from day one. He’s the guitar player, the guy with the patch over his eye. Well you guys play the entire Leftoverture album, the one that has “Carry On Wayward Son,” but then the show is about two and a half hours so you’ve got to play a lot of other stuff too.

Richard Williams: We play six songs from the new album, The Prelude Implicit, we play Leftoverture in its entirety, them we’ve got a lot of other stuff to play. We’re covering ten albums.

D: Speaking of that new album, first off, congratulations. The thing is selling a lot of copies. There’s a lot of people interested in it. But it’s kind of strange because for the first time ever in Kansas’ history, like all the guys in the band are part of the songwriting thing. Tell me about that.

RW: Traditionally, Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh were doing most of the songwriting but about 2000, since then, neither one of them had any interest whatsover in writing any new material for Kansas. We went down to a resort in Pensacola for a couple of weeks and just locked ourselves up in a room to see what we could come up with, and it was successful. We could tell that things were going to go well so we went on to the project and it came from everyone.

D: And what’s great about it brother, is it sounds like Kansas. I mean you have different songwriters, different band members. I mean you’re from the beginning, but it sounds like a Kansas album.

RW: We tried to really focus on what was quintesentially Kansas. The lyric content, in the songwriting, the music structure, in the variety on the album, of not just being one dimensional but by covering a lot of bases, to the album artwork. Every aspect of the album was to be as quintessentially Kansas as we possibly could.

D: I’ve been a Kansas fan all my life, ever since my high school days. My little girl loves some of your songs. I just think it’s great you guys are not only making new material, [your’e] out there on tour. I saw you guys when you did it with the symphony. Now you’re out with the Leftoverture tour. I know you have stuff in the future worked out. It’s just good to see you guys still going at it.

RW: We’re not a bunch of old guys doing one last lap around the track. This is a band that’s on fire and loving doing what it’s doing. We did 100 shows this year and it’s just been fantastic. If I was old and tired I wouldn’t do this. The hardest part is just the memory work because in a two and a half hour show, we play a lot of notes. It’s a lot of stuff to remember.

Kansas will be bringing the Leftoverture Tour to the Peabody Auditorium in Daytona Thursday night, December 1, 2016. The show begins at 7:30 PM. Click here for tickets.

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