Kansas

by Laura Youngs

Photos by Michie Turpin

It is a great time to be a classic rock fan. Think of one of your favorite bands and there is a good chance they will be playing at a venue in your area before too long. In truth I could write an entire article about the decline in royalties for groups, which is one reason they are so many that have to go on the road for income. I had James Pankow of Chicago fame bend my ear on the subject for 30 minutes during an interview so it is definitely a hot topic in the industry. When the discussion returns to music, however, the common theme is they are playing because they love it.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Richard Williams, the original guitarist for the 1970’s rock band Kansas, who will be on tour with their “Point of Know Return Anniversary Concert Tour” on November 2nd at the Tobin Theater. After over 40 years of touring I thought it was a natural question to ask “How long are you going to continue playing?” Williams responded “ Until Death. I love it. Doing it is greater than it’s ever been. I see my friends who quit – that look on their face. I don’t ever want that.” And play he has done. Richard and the original band members were from Topeka, KS and they all played in local bands. At one point there was actually a Kansas 2 and a Kansas 3 as band members split up to form new groups.

Eventually, however, there was only one Kansas and it did not take long before they found their sound and success. The groups debut album, aptly named “Kansas” was released in 1974 to mixed reviews. This was followed by their successful album “Leftoverture” which gave us a song that is still one of the top five most played songs on classic rock radio “Carry On My Wayward Son”. In 1977 it peaked at No. 11 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and became their first top 20 entry in the nation. That same year their next album “Point of No Return” was released. It spawned the Top 10 single “Dust in the Wind” and the album certified four times platinum. The band has gone on to record fifteen studio albums and five live albums, produced eight gold albums, three sextuple-Platinum albums, one platinum live album and two one million selling gold singles. In simpler terms this means they have sold over 30 million albums! Not bad for a group of high school friends from Topeka, Kansas.

In spite of all those recordings they only had one top 10 hit on the Billboard charts. At the risk of getting hate mail from the diehard Kansas fans there is not much more to say about the band. Not due to a lack of talent but a lack of hits. It is duly noted on this writing that the two major hits they had fall in to classic rock history but there isn’t much history after that. Unless you are in the music business you likely could not name a member of the band, which changed constantly. The group Journey fronted by Steve Perry has had twenty-five hits in Billboards Hot 100 and could do an entire concert playing only those tunes. The Doobie Brothers had twenty-seven songs featuring the iconic vocals of Michael McDonald. An astounding 46 songs have charted in the Hot 100 for the legendary group Chicago! A plethora of hits can definitely make the band more memorable but there have also been many “one-hit wonders” whose tunes are forever a part of our musical memories. My personal favorite is “Radar Love” by Golden Earring with its driving bass line. Argent had “Hold Your Head Up” and the 70 ‘s hit “All Right Now” recorded by Free is still a favorite of every bar band. They could all be on the list of “Where Are They Now?” along with a multitude of bands but their songs and the impact they had will always last.

Back to the subject of Kansas. Regardless of how many hit songs they have had they still have a legion of fans that have been going to their concerts for decades. JJ Huschka of Skinny Rocker Productions is a great example. “I’ve seen Kansas over a dozen times in a variety of settings from arenas to theaters to theme parks to a small club where I was standing just feet from them. Always a great show with excellent showmanship.” He has already bought his tickets for the November concert. Fan Heather Graulich said “Seen them twice and enjoyed both. They sound as good today as they did when I first started listening to them in the 80’s.” I asked radio deejay Mark Carrillo his thoughts on the upcoming concert. “Oh, I’m going! I played their stuff on KISS and KMAC (radio stations) and have a distinct memory of a song called “Can I Tell You Something”. It was a WOW moment!” And no doubt their show WILL be a “wow” moment. The Tobin Theater is acoustically perfect and arguably the best venue any where for live music. The 2-hour concert will begin with an acoustic set and fan favorites followed with their Multi-Platinum album “Point of Know Return” played in its entirety. Yes, they only had two major hits but am I going? I wouldn’t miss it!

The New Era

 


By Sam Stern

What a thrilling summer it has been so far for the NBA and its many millions of fans.

LeBron James taking his hall of fame career out west to the Lakers highlighted what has been a very eventful and eye-opening season. We hear about CP3 (Chris Paul) and PG-13 (Paul George) staying with their respective teams. Aren’t we missing somebody? Oh yeah, his name is Kawhi Leonard. Yes the mystery man who we have been questioning for months now is officially a Toronto Raptor. This bombshell sent heat waves throughout the NBA, as many were amazed that of all places Kawhi could be traded, he ends up in another country. Talk about a huge weather change. He will be going from a sauna to a city that has reached -27 below during the winter.

Not to mention, he will be paying an extra income tax in this country. Are you seeing the pattern here? Let’s just say this move for the 2-time all-star, finals MVP, and 2-time defensive player might be a challenge.

Alongside Kawhi in this trade, was our three and D extraordinaire, Danny

Green. These players were huge components in our final’s run against the red hot Heat back in 2014. They will always be known as two of the best players to put on a Spurs jersey in the organization’s history. In this trade, we received two players that are hopefully going to fuel the Spurs future. We will be adding a 4x all-star in DeMar DeRozan, and a bright young prospect in Jakob Poeltl. Our team will also retain LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, Pau Gasol, Derrick White, Rudy Gay, Bryn Forbes, and the Latvian sniper, Davis Bertans. These players will be added to our already brand new roster that includes some very elite skill and talent.

Introducing our newly acquired 2018-2019 Spurs players.

DeMar DeRozan: DeMar is the all-time leader for the Toronto Raptors in total points (13,296), games played (675), and minutes played (22,986). He graduated from USC where he was an all-American athlete and 9th overall draft pick in the 2009 draft. He has surpassed players on the Toronto Raptors all-time scoring list such as Vince Carter, Chris Bosh, and Tracy McGrady. When you think of scoring, Demar automatically flips the switch. He will be providing a much-needed boost at the shooting guard position, where he will be accompanied by our future super star point guard, Dejounte Murray. The trio of Murray, DeRozan, and Aldridge should be able to sucker punch teams on both the offensive and defensive sides of the floor. Get ready for some sports center top

ten caliber dunks; and most of all, scoring in bunches. Get ready San Antonio, a new cowboy has come to dance.

Jakob Poeltl: We are keeping our international status by bring in this young center from Vienna, Austria. He is a 7 ft center who played college ball at the University of Utah where he really shined. He was the Pac-12 player of the year in 2016, and also received the high honor of First-Team All-Pac-12. He was drafted 9th overall in the 2016 NBA draft by the Raptors. He was a huge part of their high-powered bench that made the Raptors a contender each of the last two seasons. He will bringing high basketball IQ and skills to this young team that will hopefully be the future of the franchise. He will be rotating with Pau Gasol during this season at the center position, and will be looking for some mentorship from the future hall of famer.

Lonnie Walker IV: It has been said by many NBA officials around the league that Lonnie might have been the steal of the draft. Lonnie is a force to be reckoned with. The Spurs drafted Walker 18th overall in the draft. He has the potential to be the ultimate two-way player in the league. During his time at the University of Miami, he became a player that was feared throughout the ACC. He could tomahawk it right on top of you, or stop and pop a jumper in your face. He has a versatile game that could be utilized very often in the Spurs busy rotation. He will be fighting for a 6th man spot or at least a role-playing position on this very talented team.

Dante Cunningham: Danteeeeeeee Cunningham for threeeeeee. You will hear this on a regular basis next season, as he will be bringing a three ball that will scare any potential opponent. Dante is a 9-year veteran who played college basketball at Villanova. He was then drafted in the 2009 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. He has played for the Blazers, Bobcats, Grizzlies, Timberwolves, Pelicans, Nets, and now the Spurs. He is best known for his corner threes where he shoots an impressive 38.3%. He will be a veteran contributor who will be expected to score the ball consistently, and to mentor all the young players on our team.

MARCO BELINELLI: Yes Spurs fans, you are reading this right. Marco Belinelli will be returning to the Spurs for the first time since winning a championship with us in 2014. He has been on four different teams since leaving the Spurs four years ago. He played for the Kings, Hornets, Hawks, and 76ers. He played a huge part in the 76ers run during the regular season and going into the playoffs. He averaged 14 ppg off the bench, as well as shooting 49% from the field and 38% from the three-point line. The Spurs bench will be very strong this year with the addition of this automatic scoring machine. The Spurs are ecstatic to add a former Spur to the program. #3 is officially a Spur again.