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steve walsh (kansas) retires

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Steve Walsh Leaves Kansas

Per their Facebook page:

"On June 30, 2014, Steve Walsh informed the members of KANSAS that he is resigning from the band. His last performance with KANSAS will be August 16, 2014, in Sioux City, Iowa, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

As KANSAS continues on, the band wishes Steve only the best in his future endeavors, and thanks him for the 41 years."

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MelodicRock contacted both Billy Greer and Steve Walsh for comment.

Steve was kind enough to send back this statement:

“I'd like to thank all the fans that have come to see me sing in Kansas over the years. Sometimes I had to pinch myself just to make sure I wasn't dreaming that at my age I was still playing in a great band in front of great fans.

I'd also like to extend my well wishes to the members. But I'd especially like to thank the crew that we've had now for a while. It's the best group of guys behind the scenes that I've ever worked with. They are most forgiving of us who stand in the bright light, and have done a lot that they really aren't required to do, just to make sure that my comfort and safety are well taken care of.

I know there's a lot of different versions out there on why I'm leaving so let me just say that it's time for me to go, and yes, it makes me sad to have to admit that.

Thanks again to all of you out there in the seats. I will never forget this. It's been a great party.” ~ Steve Walsh

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That's a big change...the voice of Kansas leaving. Well he left once before. If the rest of the guys want to continue they're going to have to find a good singer to replace him. It will be interesting to find out who that will be.

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Thanks, Bob. And even if it's just us three, you, Geno, and me, we will always be thankful for the sound and soul of Steve Walsh.

I don't know how they will find a replacement. The other singer they had for a while, John Elefante, had the range but a different timbre.

41 years ... sheesh, that makes me feel old. I remember when "Dust in the Wind" came out. I had already been playing guitar for about 3 years. Scott, our mother, and I were living in government sponsored apartments in Lewisville, Texas. It was one of those winters when we had enough snow to go outside and make a mess of things.

memories ....

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i was a victim of am radio brainwashing and only knew them for "dust" when they first started getting big.

then my friend said i've got an extra ticket for kansas and i almost passed thinking they were too mellow for my taste.

long story short, we went, and i was truly stunned by their musicianship and his vocal ability. went out and bought every album....and i converted to fm radio...lol!!!!

i remember listening to his vocals and saying to myself "this guy is so great". he ate b4s for breakfast.

very similar to lou i think...

let's give the younger folks a taste of their stuff....maybe you younger lads won't dig the music, but you have to appreciate the voice.

talk about twang and ring in the voice....

to the younger ladies and gents

i strongly suggest you listen to this from beginning to end to hear the breadth of vocal ability he had in his heyday.

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he had a very strong voice...and sang hard!!...some very demanding songs...he lowered the keys toward the end.

kansas has some very tough shoes to fill.

i read once where he really had hoped to make it on his own, but when his solo efforts failed, it hit him hard.

the tender side of walsh, but still peels the paint off in the chorus....

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And the history.

The Kansas we all know and love and produced all the albums, including the must-have titles with Steve Walsh was actually version number three of the band.

Kerry Livegren - founder, guitars, keyboards, songwriter

Steve Walsh - lead vocals, keyboards, assorted monkeyshines on stage, including doing flips off the speaker cabs.

Phil Ehart - drums, percussion

Dave Hope - Bass Guitar

Rich Williams - second guitar, including classical guitar (Dust in the Wind is a guitar duet between Kerry and Rich)

Robby Steinhardt - violin, strings, second vocalist (and most times, doing the vocal patter with the audience between songs)

Since Steve was darkly complected with that jet black hair, many thought he must have some native american heritage. Especially because of the name of the band (which was chosen long before he joined.) The word, kansas, is an american native word that means "people of the south wind." Yes, the took the song title from the translation of the name. Steve personally has no idea what his heritage is, and doesn't care. He was adopted and as far as he is concerned, his parents are the only parents he has ever had.

People now call it prog, but back when I was young, Kansas was considered a fusion band. A fusion of classical, jazz, and rock. A lot of the rock sensibility (like "Lonely Street") of the rock actually coming from Steve.

The only other singer of note for the band was John Elefante but neither him nor the previous singers fit as well as Steve did.

During the early 80's, Kerry Livgren converted to christianity and became a born-again christian, as in very fundamental. And wanted to write lyrics with a more christian flavor. Steve wanted to sing rock and things that he believed in. So, he left half-way through the recording of "Vinyl Confessions" and taking his material with him, which was about half the album.

Elefante did a fine job.

In the mid 80's, Kerry let the band lapse into disrepair as he went off to record christian rock. And he had guest singers, including, believe it or not, Ronnie James Dio.

Steve went off to do his other projects. Many years later, he and the band got back together, minus Kerry. And the brought in Steve Morse, famous for being in a fusion jazz band called the Dixie Dregs.

And then, recently of course, Kerry reuniting with the band.

I had every album they recorded, mostly on vinyl. As a teenager, they were my favorite band and a favorite of the fellow musician geeks I knew in high school. One day, when I grow up, I want to be as good as they are.

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