Since 1972, a group of musicians has been playing under the name Kansas, releasing a string of albums and charting singles, as well as a Top 10 existential ballad called "Dust in the Wind."
The band, which was once named White Clover, featured guitarists Rich Williams and Kerry Livgren, drummer Phil Ehart, bassist Dave Hope, violinist Robbie Steinhardt and keyboardist/vocalist Steve Walsh.
Since its formation, the band has gone through lineup changes, with original members coming, going and returning. And although the band is still touring after nearly 40 years, Williams said he just figured out how to enjoy himself in his career.
"I've learned, just recently, to appreciate every moment of time," Williams said during a phone interview from the road between Ohio and Florida. "Every day is important to me. And every day I try to be at peace with every moment and every gig."
Williams said the band is stoked because "Two for the Show," the band's first live album originally released in 1978, has been given a deluxe makeover. It was remastered and rereleased a month ago.
"We heard that the record company was going to remaster the album," Williams said. "And when we heard that, we called them and said, 'Hey, let us be a part of it. Let's offer some more things, rather than just remaster the recordings.'"
One major addition in the new "Two for the Show" is the inclusion of the song "Closet Chronicles." The song was originally on the double-vinyl release, but due to time constraints, it was left of the first CD issue. Not only does the new CD include that song, the package includes a second CD with 10 other previously released live Kansas songs.
"We had all these songs in our vault," Williams said. "And we thought it would be good to go through those and see what we can salvage."
The old analog tapes needed to go through some heavy processing in order to transfer the music to a digital system, Williams said .
"We had to bake the recordings, and then, as they were literally disintegrating, we moved them into the digital age," he said. "When we first started doing the project, we did know that we wanted to make it as organic as possible, like in the '70s. We didn't do any overdubs and clean up the recordings. What you hear is what we did."
There were some recordings that didn't make the new edition CD, he said. "Sometimes the vocals missed the cue and things like that. So we opted not to use those recordings."
Also, Williams said the band went through old pictures and created a booklet to go with the rerelease.
"Every time the company would remaster and release our past CD, we had some part in it," he said. "Whether it be additional recordings or takes or new liner notes, we were part of the process."
These days, the band now consisting of Williams, Walsh, Ehart, bassist Billy Greer and violinist David Ragsdale continues to tour and is getting ready for a couple of new projects.
The band, with the exception of Walsh, is recording a new album under a different name.
"The album is named 'Native Window' and has songs that aren't Kansas' style," Williams said. "We're hoping it will be released later this year."
Walsh, on the other hand, has been working on his own songs that featured Ragsdale, session drummer Joe Franco and Collective Soul's Joel Kosche.
Those songs are available for download on Kansas' official Web site www.kansasband.com."We've also been doing a bunch of shows with symphonies," Williams said. "And we're planning to release a symphony concert DVD next year."
If you go
Where: Kenley Amphitheater, 445 N. Wasatch Drive, Layton
When: Today, 8 p.m.
How much: $35-$55
Phone: 801-546-8575Web: www.tickets.davisarts.org
E-mail: [email protected]