Hello Night Owls!
As always, it’s been a busy summer for the band. We’ve seen much wildlife in the last 8 weeks…and some of it two-legged!! (You know who you are… and we love ya!!) But back to our travels…
July began with a private show in St Louis at the America’s Center. We played for the yearly gathering of the Loyal Order of the Moose. We expected funny hats, but instead discovered an awesome collection of folks from all over the US and Canada. Members pool their energy and resources, contributing between 70-100 million dollars annually through community service in all 50 states and 4 Canadian provinces. Their efforts include caring for children and teens in need at Mooseheart Child City near Chicago, caring for seniors at Moosehaven in Jacksonville, and attending to many community needs through their Heart of the Community programs, available through every Moose Chapter. These are salt of the earth people…and they partied hard on a Saturday night in St Louis! Check them out: http://www.mooseintl.org/index.php/about/
From St Louis our travels took us through TN, NY, MD, OH, IN, GA, and MS…then West to OR, NM, CO, and SD. In all we covered close to 10,000 miles in the bus, and another 7000 by air. Crazy, huh?
All the shows are fun…but here are some of the highlights:
July 7 – LRB sold out an unprecedented 3rd straight show at the Franklin Theatre in Franklin TN. Always great for the Nashvillians to play for a sold out crowd that close to home (and for the Floridian)!
July 16 – Shared the stage with some old friends at the Violet Festival in Pickerington OH…Head East is still sounding great!
July 22 – After about 10 years, we were invited for a return visit to Moondance Jam, an annual festival in Walker MN. There had been bad weather the day before, so attendees to the festival were happy to see the sun and were primed for a full day of music. But due to the heat and the strain on the power supply in the area, at about 45 minutes into the LRB set…while we were in the middle of Help Is On Its Way…the whole PA shut down. Two amazing things happened…first, the crowd immediately picked up the song, finished the third verse, and even made the key change to sing the double chorus. 11,000 people make a lot of noise…but once those vocals were over, there was nowhere left for the crowd to go. So we waved goodbye thinking we were done. Amazingly, the power was restored in about 15 minutes…but most of the crowd had left for their RVs and tents to wait for the next band. So we began Cool Change with pretty much an empty field. That’s when the second amazing thing happened…they all came back…still singing!! It was a moment we’ll never forget! Thanks MN!
Aug 5 – We co-headlined a show with Richard Marx at Chastain Park Amphitheatre in Atlanta. (That one had huge significance to Wayne and Rhonda Nelson…he proposed to her there in 2000 after another double bill with Chicago. They stayed in the same hotel on the same floor this time!) It’s an awesome venue…a real treat if you’ve never been. The floor of the 7000 seat arena gets set with tables for members to put candles, tablecloths, and any food and drink items they wish. It’s very intimate for such a large venue…a table side concert!!
Aug 13 – After two fly/drive dates in Oregon, we had an early flight to Albuquerque. We didn’t land until 4, but we met back up with our bus and our crew still got the stage set for a 6:00 soundcheck and a show at 7:30. Then…
Aug 14 – We did an overnight to Colorado Springs for an afternoon fundraiser at National Mill Dog Rescue. They had never put on a concert, but the volunteer staff did a fabulous job of making all the necessary preparations for parking, vending, ticket sales, and staging…in the middle of a CO prairie!! We haven’t heard the final figures yet, but we’re sure a lot of pups are going to benefit from the efforts of all that helped put the show on. From all of us…Adopt, Don’t Shop!!
Aug 15-22 – Wayne and Rhonda stayed on the bus and trekked through Rocky Mtn National Park in CO, Yellowstone Park in WY, and Devils Tower Nat’l Monument in northeast WY. That’s where all the critters come in…from Moose in MO to Eagles in OR, Pups in CO to Buffalo, Elk, Bear, and White Swans (who knew??) in WY, Prairie Dogs in MT, and finally to herds of White Tail Deer in SD. An amazing 8 weeks to be sure.
You might ask who did all that driving?? In the June Newsletter, we focused on the unsung heroes of our journeys…our crew. But we saved one of the members for a special shoutout this time…our bus driver, Earl Adams.
Every time the bus rolls, the driver becomes the most important person on the tour…without doubt. Our lives are in his hands, not to mention our rest when we do overnight trips. A good driver can rock you to sleep with the motion of a smooth bus ride…and a bad one can not only keep you awake, but can freak you out with rough turns, stops, and starts.
Earl is Mr Smooth. He even rolls down the road with smooth jazz playing in the driver compartment. All tolled, we’ve ridden with Earl for more than 8 years…and probably well over a half million miles. Nothing fazes him…not even us when we get into one of our bus rants about whatever or whoever. After a few minutes, you can hear him do his lazy laugh…heh-heh-heh… and end with “You guys are crazy!”
A couple great Earl stories…
He had to do a 900 mile run from somewhere in the Midwest and meet up with us in PA. The weather was horrific the whole way…but finally started to clear up as he got closer to the outdoor venue. At the last toll station on the PA turnpike, the attendant said she thought she heard a meow come from under the bus. Earl said no way…I’ve been running hard for 10 hours in this storm. No way a cat could survive that. But he pulled over to check just in case…and sure enough sitting on the edge of the battery pan directly under the driver’s compartment was a 2 pound black kitten. He was soaking wet and covered in road grime…and scared to death. Imagine…10 hours hanging on for dear life under a bus going 70 miles/hour! Earl coaxes the little stowaway off the ledge, cleaned him up and fed him. By the time he reached the venue, he had already figured out that the warm dashboard right in front of his hero was HIS SPOT! We pulled in to meet the bus and found Earl and “RoadieCat” in one of the luggage bays…playing and living large. One of the crew took him home. Last we heard, RoadieCat weighs in at about 25 pounds!...and loves him some Earl!
But as gentle as he was with that cat, don’t try to wake Earl up from a deep sleep…he might come up swinging. More than once our TM’s have had to get a key to wake him up…they only walk up to the side of the bed once. So this incident has stuck with all of us…
One summer in OK we had a 10:00 load-in, and then a 3:00 show. The hotel was about 25 minutes from the venue, which meant Earl didn’t get to his pillow until almost noon. By 5 we needed him to come back to move the bus and get us all to the hotel. We were getting no answers from his cell phone or his room. So we had to persuade the very nice lady at the front desk to take a master key, open his door, and wake him…but under no circumstance was she to go into the room. She called back less than 5 minutes later to say that all was good and he was on his way back to the bus with a shuttle driver. We all thought…that went pretty well?!! So when we got back we asked how she got that done so easily. With a very smooth husky voice, she said “I just opened the door and said Earl…Earl…wake up Earl. We’ve never let him live that one down…we can pound on his door, and his truck stop alarm can be blasting…but when a woman whispers he wakes right up!! Heh-heh-heh…That’s Crazy!!
Earl gets us there and back…smoothly. We couldn’t do what we do without him. If you see him by a big bus at the loading dock…say Hey!
“See ya in a minute…” Earl Adams
Our travels take us corner to corner and coast to coast every year. But rarely do we cover that much ground in one month. So June makes for a good example of how we get from point A to point B to put on the shows…there are a lot of moving parts!! (Photo taken inside the bus)
The month began with our lead guitarist heading home from Spokane for carpal tunnel surgery…on BOTH WRISTS!! The doctor said he may as well get it done in one go and get rid of the pain. That added a moving part and a lot of angst…we had to replace Rich for 2 shows, and worry about the surgery results. Luckily we know a great player from Nashville, Danny Parks, who filled in for Rich when he and his wife adopted a child in early 2015. Rich heads home…Danny heads to CA.
And the bus headed from Spokane to San Diego in 3 overnight trips…hotel rooms in Twin Falls, Las Vegas, and then Escondido, CA. A few more moving parts…booking rooms for the guys to do their day work and let the driver rest…then on to the next stop during the night.
After the CA show, there were a few days off, so everyone flew home. The bus went from CA to Denver…even picked up another band who’s bus broke down and happened to be headed in our direction. Our moving parts helped get another group to a gig!! Then came Denver…
After our show on 6/12, Steely Dan and Steve Winwood were to perform on 6/13 at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater…just a few miles from Littleton where we were parked. So we figured out who wanted to stay and who wanted to climb in their bunk for the 3 day trip to the East Coast…then book flights from DEN to BOS to meet the bus 3 nights later.
Side note…the night before we had threaded the needle and sat right between two big storms. Not a drop!! But the show at Red Rocks was interrupted by a lot of rain…and 10 minutes and 4 inches of HAIL! And it’s open air…there’s nowhere to hide. So we got pummeled!! But miraculously, the local crew cleared the stage and The Dan Who Knew Too Much came out and played their whole set…half a house, but a great set. A night to remember for sure. Check out the video of the exit ramps…
TaDa!!! Rich’s surgery was a total success. So we said goodbye to Danny after the Red Rocks show, and he flew home to Nashville…as Rich was boarding his plane to Boston to meet the bus at midnight. The rest of the band hit the ground at the same time from Denver. Rarely does the timing work out so well, but the bus arrived at the airport as the first bag was hitting the carousel. Then up the coast to Salisbury, MA for a third sold out show in 3 years at Blue Ocean…a great venue sitting right on the beach. The waves actually break right under the club…and our green room. Very cool!
From there, a day off, then 3 shows on the weekend in New England. Add yet another moving part…a new lighting director joined us for the weekend theater shows. He’s a good fit and really plays the set with us visually. So you have a treat in store next time you see the band…a visual experience that goes note for note with the band.
Side note…the opener in Schenectady on 6/17 was a band called the Slim Kings…a great 3 piece band with Liberty Devito on drums. What a treat…to watch Lib again from side stage. He’s a caveman with drumsticks in his hands!! Liberty was Billy Joel’s drummer for 30 years…and it was great to hang with him again after so much water has passed under our bridges. He was always a favorite of ours when LRB was privileged to share a stage with Billy. He’s still on Fire!!
So a quick trip to PHL to send the early birds home while the bus headed back to Nashvegas. Our next stop would prove to be as cool as it looks on the billing…Firefall, Atlanta Rhythm Section, and LRB outdoors in Evans, GA at Lady Antebellum Amphitheatre. So cool to see everyone again…Jock, Sandy, and Mark…Rodney back with ARS. And everyone sounding great! The crowd got a big serve of hits start to finish…albeit in 100+ degree weather until the sun went down…when it cooled to a chilly 93!
The month ended with a trip to Iowa for a private party on an estate…earned by a long career booking bands and managing entertainment for casinos all over the US. That casino manager decided after all those years and all those bands that he wanted Little River Band to help his best friend celebrate his 60th. That was an honor. Some things come full circle…lots of moving parts!!
The guys most in charge of our moving parts are the members of our crew. We think you should get to know them a little better…they do the work of 6 or 7 guys, and care as much as we do about the quality of the show.
In charge of production and our Front of House sound is Jim Wakefield. We’ve talked about the moving parts that the band deal with…but add to those, getting our gear across the country…or finding suitable gear if we can’t take the bus and have to fly to a show. Then we have to use rented stage equipment with no real assurance that it’s going to work properly when we arrive. Jim handles all of those issues. And we’re proud to say that time after time and show after show we get reports and reviews back that the venue NEVER SOUNDED THAT GOOD! That’s Jim’s world…he tames bad rooms and weird PA systems like no one else!
Because we’re all on in-ear monitor systems, the mix we get fed directly into our ears is SO important. Any mistake causing feedback or that horrific noise you may hear at a show when something goes astray comes directly into our ears…and worst case, could cause permanent hearing loss. Making sure that doesn’t happen is our Monitor Engineer, Steve Kimbrough. You may see us look to our left or right and signal that we need more of “him” or less of “him”…or maybe more or less of “me” or “my voice”…maybe even less or more of you guys from the house mics!! Steve has a lot of other duties, but none more important that letting us hear what we need and want to perform.
LRB has to make sure that vocal harmonies are up front in the mix…but there are guitar harmonies that need to be featured too. And there are a lot of different sounds and guitar styles in the show, including acoustic. So a guitar tech is very important to our setup and our maintenance needs…those are covered by Nick Hooper. Nick is the youngest guy on the bus, but he’s never sent out a guitar out of tune, and he has the added responsibility of catching the camera after Wayne takes crowd pictures. He hasn’t missed yet. And he may be too young to relate to all the geriatric jokes…but he cracks the bus up on a regular basis because he’s probably the smartest guy in a bunk!
Last but not least, our newest crew member is in charge of the visual component of the show. Say hi to Paul Volzone. Paul’s job is to light up the band when we’re all singing, and to highlight all the nuances of the show that we’ve worked so hard to add…and that lots of you comment on when you hear them. But those moments become visceral when they’re lit…a moment of emotional connection during a song can be missed when it’s “lit” in the same white light as the rest of the show. But when enhanced by color or a special light on the person playing or singing that note, the moment can become a pivotal point in the song…maybe in the show. Lights matter…Paul is making them matter.
All tolled, look at all the moving parts the crew has under their control…sound waves for you and for us, guitar strings, amps, cabling, lighting fixtures, risers, and big buses pulling a trailer with about 10,000 pounds of gear. And then we have to jump on a bus or a plane and get all that stuff to your town…and maybe we lose a guy to a surgery, or a mom’s birthday in Australia, or the birth of a child, or any other life issue that might cause us to change direction on any given day. We haven’t even thrown in bus breakdowns, or tornadoes and hurricanes that we’ve just missed…knock on wood. Moving parts…June’s in the rear view mirror…here comes Summer, 2016! See you soon!!!
Written by Wayne Nelson
I was adopted at birth by a wonderful family. Sadly, by the time I was 20 years old, both of my parents had died. All I knew of my birth-mother was she was 15-years -old when she gave birth to me. I married and had children and 48 years rolled by.
One day in 2014 I received a message on facebook from my sister asking if I could be her sister. I replied and we immediately struck up an incredible friendship. We managed to have a family reunion in June if 2015 with both of my sisters and two of their children and for Thanksgiving, 2015, my sister Cherie came back down to Florida with my birth mother! We had a wonderful visit.
Cherie and I text each other almost daily but the only things we really talked about were current things -obviously we have no shared childhood memories to reminisce about.
One day, totally on accident, I heard an ad on a radio station for LRB coming to The Villages in Florida. I sent my sister a text and just said "Hey, do you by any chance like the Little River Band's music?" She replied, "Cool Change!" I immediately bought our tickets.
Cherie flew down for the weekend and while it was not the first time we had met, it was the first time just us two sisters got to "hang out" and just be us. The concert was amazing and totally made the weekend! We will definitely go again when they come anywhere near to our area. It's hard to explain but somehow LRB brought our childhood together and made us feel like we had been together all along! The guys totally helped to unite us a family!!! Thank you!!
Submitted by: Megan Miller
In 1981 my mother had passed away when I was just a young girl. Part of my healing process was music. Music became such a huge part of my life and my favorite band was of course LRB. I dreamed of seeing them in concert. I was finally able to in May, 2016. I had a front row seat in Bowling Green , KY. Thank you for your music and for helping me to overcome a bad circumstance. Hope you come back to Bowling Green KY again. Awesome show
Submitted by: Penny Martin
Our story is really fun. In the summer of 2005 we moved to O'Fallon, MO. We had just built our home. Every year they have celebration over the 4th. So in taking part of our new community we went and were pleased to see LRB as the main band on the fourth. We truly felt like our new home and community welcomed us with our favorite band. It was is one of our favorite times seeing LRB.
This year we moved into yet a new home in Indianapolis and we were finally able to catch them at Butler University. It had been 3 years since we saw them. Again a great way to settle in to new home and community. We love LRB!
Submitted by: Leisa Goodman Snowden
I told some of this story, back on September 23rd, when my husband and I took my son, Dalton, to see the Little River Band, for the first time ever!
So, we started our small journey from Hampton to the Virginia State Fair. We went early, because I like to be as close to the front of the stage as possible. We placed our chairs up front, towards the left side of the stage, and went on to have something to eat. When we returned, my husband and Dalton, decided to hang out by the tent, where the merchandise would be sold. Shortly after, this smiling man, with spiked hair appears, and starts bringing in boxes of shirts and lots of other LRB goodies for sale. I did a double take, because I thought, there's no way someone from the band is selling merchandise! Well, before I knew it, I was talking to Chris Marion (the smiling man). My husband and son didn't recognize him...I even said to Dalton..."look, here's the whole band on the front of this CD". Still didn't see it!! I decided at that point, to not staying anything to either of them. I went on to treat Chris, like I would anyone else. Plus, I couldn't wait to see Dalton's face, when he saw Chris hit the stage! Anyways, Dalton immediately took a liking to Chris, and I think Chris was digging him too.
At one point, Chris had to go get more shirts off the bus, so he asked Dalton to "hold down the fort" while he was gone. I attached pictures of Dalton working the tent, and having fun at the show! Dalton also brought his allowance money, so he could buy his own T-shirt. Chris was nice enough, to give Dalton a discount, since he helped him out.
Now to the stage entrance...I wish I could've gotten a picture, of the look on Dalton's face, when Chris got on the stage with the band. It was priceless!! My husband even got a kick out of the whole situation. Needless to say, my 14 year old son, is a big LRB fan now. He wears his T-shirt proudly to school on a regular basis. I'm actually doing this for him. I don't want to go into the details, but Dalton is a very special kid. He has been through alot of medical issues, since he was a toddler. We are lucky to have him with us today, and that he can enjoy the music as much as I do. I've loved LRB since I was a kid, and I always will.
The moral of the story is...my son didn't feel like "another a face in the crowd". You see, he felt very special, and he talks about his experience still to this day. He has a guitar pick and his signed photograph of the band (also given to him by Chris). I can't thank Chris enough, for making my boy feel so special that day. My Dalton tells people, that he met a real rock star, and that he even got to work for him and shake his hand! Thank you Chris, and LRB, for making your fans feel extra special!!
Such a long time ago as a youngster, when I started to really listen to the music around me and began to be called to one genre over another, LRB came into my life. I listened to their music, contemplated the words, my soul was soothed but most of all, joy and peace was only a song away! But I didn’t know who LRB was! I was a kid who went with the feeling the music gave me, how it spoke to me, not particularly who sang it.
Many years later, now a mom off to the Ohio State Fair, walking past the bandstand and what is floating in the air to my ears, the tunes of the music I love – LRB! The Band was the featured musical group that day – free – yes I didn’t have to pay a dime and I could sit, watch, absorb, enjoy AND sing along with those who meant so much to my daily life! NOW I knew who LRB was!
Many, many more years pass, my life has had many ups, downs, joys, despairs, celebrations, craziness – but through it all, there was always something I could turn to which helped me find peace, find my center, spoke to me, got me through it all – LRB. They were my music of choice, always playing on my record player, music from my 8 track, singing from my Walkman, spinning on my CD player and now they live on my IPod and cell phone! Yes I’m that old but so are they – thank goodness! Because from the time I discovered music, began to make my own choices as to what I wanted to hear, lived my life – LRB has been there in one form or another.
Moving forward a few more years – I moved far from my family; one day I learn that LRB would be playing near me; oh my gosh I need to see them again, after all these years, in person; but I have obligations and money is a little tight so the opportunity passes me by and I lament about it for several years! But a couple of years ago, I see that they are sort of in my neighborhood, close enough that I can make the drive to see them once again. I make my plans, by my tickets, convince my hubby to come and we were not disappointed.
Just as back in the 1980’s when I first saw LRB at that free fair concert AND got their autographs and a brief “hello”, I was afforded that again now 30 years later! I was so excited, beside myself (and in all the hubbub I lost my ID and credit cards – never to be seen again but who cares) I saw Wayne and LRB AND got photo AND got autographs AND my heart had confirmation that in the bigger picture of life, some things don’t really change except to get only better!
Today, I try to go to the boardwalk at the beach at least once a week and my 1 ½ hours of walking is now my grounding, what brings me to balance BUT I have company when I walk – yes it’s LRB! The songs I know and love and the voices that speak to me, playing in my head, thru my IPod! LRB has always been my rock and I don’t see that ever changing!
I have a boy scout troop and when we are off to the woods or at summer camp for the week in July, LRB goes with me! The boys know sooner or later I’m going to sing those LRB songs to them and they are OK with that! LRB joins me on my hikes to wherever my feet take me!
2016 was a super special year for me – as I said I have converted hubby a bit and he gets my LRB music need so when the Band was playing in Hartford this summer, he suggested taking a long weekend, follow the band up the road, and see them at the 2nd CT venue the next night! OH YEAH! I was in for that. BUT that wasn’t all, a couple of weeks later, turns out that LRB was playing just up the road (sort of) in NY – yes indeed I jumped at the opportunity of seeing them 3 times in about a month! And each was a pleasure, meeting the guys after was awesome – they are special, their music is special! (my next goal is attend the meet & greet lol)
One last thought before I close this long rambling history of me and LRB, when I saw the Band at that fair all those years ago (Aug 1984), late that day there were tornadoes in the area (typical Ohio summer weather) – most of us had to hunker down and wait out the weather before heading home! When I went to the after show greet with LRB / Wayne after seeing them a few years back for the first time since 1984, Wayne responded that he remembered that show and he spoke of the tornadoes that I had totally forgotten! Like I said, super special people and when they say it, they mean it; when they do it, they are it! I like to think we touch their lives a little just as they touch ours!
Let me set up Part 1 to my story....
* Little River Band performing
* Huge Crowd
* Little River Band Fan Club Members among the crowd
Let's do some Reminiscing back to the night of Sept. 10, 2016 in Clermont, FL with Little River Band. The crowd out of their seats...dancing, singing, enjoying the night as the stage lights shine down among them all including our own Little River Band Fan Club members Kitty Sullivan and her sister Talethia Knight. As the night continues and Chris steps off his riser to join his fellow band members and to greet the crowd with his red keyboard strapped around his neck.... some fans decide to rub Chris and Greg's tennis shoes and while doing so our Fan Club Members Kitty and Talethia observed this shoe rubbing that is going on. During the whole next week this was quite the topic with some of us Fan Club Members and Chris .. OH...what fun times we had about that night ....
As my story continues....
Let me set up Part 2 ...
* Contact with Chris
* Little River Band performing
*Little River Band Fan Club Member among the Crowd
Now as we move forward to Sept. 17th , this time I was the one attending Little River Bands show in Riverside Mo. and was the Little River Band Fan Club member in the crowd along with my husband and a dear friend . I thought to myself the week before how funny it would be if I could get a picture with Chris and Greg rubbing their tennis shoes and put it on the Fan Club Page as a surprise to the others. I contacted Chris on Sept.15 and being the great guys they are they said YES....they would do it for me. Chris and Greg met me at the bus after the show and with the bright park lights shining down among us this picture was taken of me Rubbing their Shoes. I immediately posted the picture in the Fan Club and to everyone's surprise couldn't believe that I had pulled this off... the story I have shared with you may end here, but among the Fan Club Members involved and myself this story will never end... it continues with us to this day .....
Thank you, Phillene Cramer
Little River Band Revisits the hits with new CD release
The Little River Band revisits the hits with a new CD released entitled, “THE HITS…REVISITED.” Yes, the legendary Little River Band took a trip back in time and rerecorded 9 of the hits that are tracks on this new CD. They also included 2 new songs on this CD for their longtime fans to enjoy.
The 9 hits tracked on this new CD are:
Additional guest musicians on the CD are Brian Fullen, Robert Wright, Kip Raines and Dan Tracey. The album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee at Trax Productions, and House of Drums. Tracks 1 though 9 were re-produced by Rich Herring and tracks 10 and 11 were produced by Rich Herring and Wayne Nelson. The album has been released via Wurld Records and is available on iTunes.
Little River Band originated in Australia but are now based out of Nashville have been going strong for over 40 years. The band won “Musical Artist of the Year,” at the Global Gaming Expo’s (G2E) Casino Entertainment Awards recently. They deliver a high energy interactive show that keeps the fans on their feet all night. Make sure to check out LRB’S main website along with their brand new fan club website and like them on Facebook.
The Little River Band started an official fan club a few months ago. The fan club was kicked off with a Charter Membership and that Charter filled up quickly. A huge perk of the Charter Membership was that you paid one membership fee "once for life." The band wants to acknowledge those folks for their loyalty. The band is aware that the charter members have a Membership card that has a black background (so they can tell who they are at shows, all 105 of you) and they will always hold a special place in the bands hearts and minds. We have heard from folks who want to become Gold Members For Life as well so the band has decided to offer the "PAY ONCE FOR LIFE," to anyone that want's a Gold Membership. The band values their fans and wants to give back. With that being said, we are proud to announce the 'PAY ONCE FOR LIFE," GOLD MEMBERSHIP is now available for all. To read about the additional perks of being a GOLD MEMBER and what you get in your membership package,click here!