Hi guys. We're here to answer your questions today and to help get the word out about our new documentary, MIRACLES OUTTA NOWHERE. You can see the trailer here and it'll be available on DVD and blu-ray on March 24th.

You can visit us online at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com/ or at http://kansasband.com/

Victoria's helping us out in-person today. AUA!


Update: Well, thank you guys for your questions and your support. We appreciate you supporting us. Sorry we couldn't get to everybody, but we hope you like the movie.

And we hope to see you somewhere on the road this year!

  • Phil and Rich

Comments: 107 • Responses: 37  • Date: 

TheMrInvisible22 karma

Carry on?

OfficialKansas17 karma

PHIL: Every chance we get.

thunderballz417 karma

Do you guys watch supernatural ?

OfficialKansas18 karma

PHIL: We don't watch the show, but we're very excited that the fans like our music.

JJBD10 karma

First of all thank you both for doing this ama (or aua)! My question is how did the idea to have Robby Steinhardt incorporate the violin on so many of Kansas' songs develop?

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: Well, Robby was a very integral part of the Kansas sound, with his violin. And early on, Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh wrote his instrument into the arrangements of the songs that they wrote. And the violin has always been a very integral part of the Kansas sound, and was meant to be so since the very beginning.

yourparentsliedtoyou9 karma

Who's the coolest band to tour with?

OfficialKansas11 karma

RICH: Who is the coolest band to tour with? Kansas! hahaha!

PHIL: Love those Kansas guys, they're great to tour with...

RICH: MY favorite is touring with us. But touring with someone else, gosh...

PHIL: It's kind of a stale answer, but Queen?

RICH: Queen probably was the coolest.

PHIL: I can't think of anybody we toured with that had more impact on us than Queen.

RICH: And I can't imagine any other conversation that was more exciting than "we're going on tour with blank"...

Ableyoungthug8 karma

What's your pre show routine like?

OfficialKansas11 karma

PHIL: We can't really share that one - na...

RICH: Nude from the waist down - haha!

PHIL: Our pre-show routine is probably like most bands, we all get in the same room together to warm up and practice. It's always a challenge to hit the stage running, with Kansas' music, because it's demanding from the very first note, so we try to be up to the task and keep our pre-show routine pretty much focused on the music.

RodFromTheParty6 karma

Thanks so much for doing this! What are you excited for people to learn from this documentary that even hardcore fans may not have been aware of?

OfficialKansas9 karma

PHIL: That's a very good question.

I think the main thing is that it's - what we want people to know is that it's a good story. It's a very good story that really, once you see the documentary, you'll see that this band should've probably never happened. And we'd like people to know - not that it was an impossible climb, but that it was an improbable climb from being VERY obscure to not-quite-so-obscure.

RICH: I think that (A) We were a team. And that we were friends. And that is a key required to make good music. And longevity.

OfficialKansas6 karma

PHIL: Amen!

Peony646 karma

I read in an interview that Phil is hoping a new album will come out in 2016. Have you started on this project, or is it just in discussion now?

OfficialKansas8 karma

PHIL: We've actually started the project. We actually have a couple of offers from record labels. And the band has started to write material.

Peony643 karma

Awesome!!!!!! There is applause in our living room over this response. :D

OfficialKansas8 karma

PHIL: Oh, that's nice!

Yoshiman4006 karma

Wow! Fifteen years ago my parents got to take me to my first concert, and Kansas was opening for Yes in Hartford! What a night for a kid like me! It's nice to see that you two are taking your time to answer some questions today, and I congratulate the whole band on forty years. (And tell Steve I congratulate him on a successful career and a long, happy retirement! Ronnie's doing a great job taking over his position, and it's nice to see "The Wall" get its speed back!)

1) For most of the last several decades, "Song for America" always seems to have at least some part in the middle that's getting cut out live; this despite comparable epics like "Journey from Mariabronn" and "Magnum Opus" (when you don't stop after Howling at the Moon, of course) consistently played in its entirety. How come, and any chance an unabridged "America" will finally return to the setlist, especially with two keyboard players in the band again?

2) If you could play one Kansas album front to back in a 2015 setlist, which one would it be? (And yes, if you pick Leftoverture you would have to put "Carry on Wayward Son" at the beginning. I'm sure you guys could close with something like "Down the Road" or "Bringing It Back"!) My pick would either be Kansas or Masque; Robby would probably love "All the World" getting some attention again!

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: Very good question! We have actually addressed your concern about "America," and we will be adding back the edited part once we start playing the song again. Stay tuned.

Yoshiman4003 karma

Very nice! Give it a go, I'm sure the crowds will love hearing it again in all ten minutes of its glory!

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: We're looking forward to it, yeah.

PinkFloydJoe6 karma

Hello Rich and Phil! Welcome to reddit, thanks for doing this AMA.

I saw you guys in York, PA two years ago. One of the tightest live bands I have ever seen! So much energy, it was incredible. My father got me into Kansas many years ago, now one of my favorite bands. Thanks for all of the incredible music!

Rich & Phil, what are your favorite songs to perform live? Miracles Out of Nowhere is my favorite to hear, personally.

Thanks again guys!

OfficialKansas8 karma

RICH: So many are fun to play. And I get asked this question almost every interview. Along with this question, people ask "Don't you ever get tired of playing songs like 'Dust in the Wind'?" And no, I don't.

There's so much interaction between the crowd and the music that it's an incredible moment to be a part of.

So for that, in itself, that - in a lot of ways - is my favorite.

But other songs - with the whole band playing - are so much fun to play. Like yours, "Miracles out of Nowhere" is an absolute BLAST to play. It tests everyone's dexterity just to get through it!

PHIL: I don't enjoy "Dust in the Wind" near as much as Richard does. But I do enjoy "Song for America," "Carry on, Wayward Son," and many songs- Kansas is really a drummer's dream to play in. And I like 'em all.

ernieholmes5 karma

Hello Gentlemen! Can either of you remember a time before Carry On Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind where you were ready to give up? What made you persevere until you had success on the radio? Thanks for doing the AMA!

OfficialKansas9 karma

PHIL: Well, personally speaking, we were never gonna give up.

We were never going to give up.

It was not an option, and as long as Don Kirschner kept us signed to his label, we had every intention to keep going, and we were never going to give up until we were forced to do so.

RICH: And that was the 70's. And we're still here, hahaha! I mean what i just said - it's the 70's, and we're still here, with no plans of quitting anytime soon. LOVE doing this. Having those hits in the 70's makes doing this easier, but this is what we do. It's kind of following our nature to continue doing it. And do what else? Sure can't wait until this is over and go get that day job? Everybody should be so lucky as to have this job!

AustinCynic5 karma

The music industry's changed a lot since you guys started out. Which change has affected you most, would you say--for better or for worse?

OfficialKansas6 karma

PHIL: Hmmm. Well, I would say that I think we're very fortunate that we came along when we did, when 6, or 7 or 8 minute songs could be played on the radio. And we could release a song like "Dust in the Wind" that would become an overnight hit, whereas today a song like "Carry on" wouldn't be a hit. So we were fortunate to have those songs and to be around at a time when bands that were serious about playing their instruments could be marketed, and could be sold, and could be packaged as complete entity, and to go on and have a 40 year career. We're somewhat hard-pressed at this time to imagine any bands that'll be around 40 years from now (and that's our personal opinion).

RICH: Technology is always a two-edged sword. You know, there's good and bad. The instant gratification of getting anything you want, right now at any time, it's a good thing, but there's a lot to be said for waiting for something, the anticipation for something. You hear through the grapevine that a new album is coming out, and you run to the record store, and you find they're sold out, and then go to a friend's house to listen to a copy that they were able to get - that anticipation of an event is not the way we live any more. Really, in any way. And there was a lot of good things about that, that made every individual thing more special. And the most noticeable, to me, is music.

FatWhiteLcuhador5 karma

What would you guys say to someone who was beginning to learn your respective instruments? Any words of wisdom or cautionary tales?

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: I would - to me -the standard line is always just "have fun." If you're learning a new instrument, have fun...

RICH: And PATIENCE. Like I said earlier about the instant gratification thing. Unless you're a savant, it will take hours and hours and hours of repeating over and over, and slowly learning how to do it- so you have to put the time in.

PHIL: Passion is important, in learning an instrument. Yeah.

phoenixiss5 karma

Thank you for doing this ama, I am a huge fan of your band! What os your personal favourite of all your songs?

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: Well, we kind of covered that already?

RICH: "The Wall" is a great song.

PHIL: I like that one. "Magnum Opus" is a lot of fun to play. There's a lot of great songs that Kansas has written and performed, and we still enjoy it to this day.

Malofa4 karma

Hey guys, how do you spend your free time these days?

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: Well, that's a good point. We've had a little time off here, recently, from the road, but anxious to get back. We've already booked a lot of shows for this year. And looking forward to getting back out on the road. A lot of us are family guys, we spend a lot of time with our families at home.

RICH: Your everyday home life, that seems to take all your time. But what is it you do exactly? You just live.

magnusarcanum4 karma

Really appreciate this AMA. Thanks. Kansas is one of my favorite bands of all time. I'm really big into progressive rock. My question is did the band always consider themselves progressives--or do they not? Were there bands that you emulated and really appreciated? Secondly, how did that great song the Pinnacle come together?

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: Well, when we were starting out, there was no "label" as progressive rock - it didn't exist ... so we were just a rock band. Kansas has always considered itself a "rock band" - some people might say "symphonic rock band," others might say a "classical rock band," but we've kind've prided ourselves on being a rock band. Kansas rocks. As far as the first part of the question.

RICH: Oh, "The Pinnacle" was so long ago!

AGallagher4104 karma

Who were your musical inspirations growing up? What inspired you to perform music? As a musician, I always want to know what inspired other musicians :)

OfficialKansas8 karma

PHIL: Good question.

RICH: For me, I kind've had the interest before I knew I had it. But seeing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan was when I realized I wanted to do that. And it wasn't long after that before I convinced my dad to let me have a guitar, and took lessons. And the entire British Invasion was a big inspiration to do that, but my personal inspiration I think at that time in learning to play was Eric Clapton from the John Mayall Blues Breakers record, that was very eye-opening to me. And that along with the Yardbirds, which was Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and my hero, Jeff Beck - with those 3, you can pretty much wrap up everything that followed, guitar-wise, in music.

PHIL: I would go see local bands play, and noticed how many girls were there to see the band, and that's what inspired me.

faax4 karma

Craziest show?

OfficialKansas10 karma

PHIL: Nudestock. Would've been... ?

RICH: 15, 18 years ago maybe?

PHIL: 1995, 1996?

RICH: Yeah, somewhere in there.

PHIL: We played for a nudist colony with about 2000 naked people watching us play. At the time, when we pulled up to the concert, we were not aware that the audience was going to be 100% butt naked. Foreigner was playing there, Alan Parsons project was playing, and also Kansas...and it was weird. Very weird. To see the front row sitting in lawn chairs, buck naked, wearing black socks and sandals.

RICH: Your anticipation of it was one thing.

But in reality, it was like walking into a Piggly Wiggly and suddenly -everybody was naked.

AlternateAnon4 karma

What's Steve Walsh up to now that he's retired? Also, did you guys relate to any of the things Kerry was writing about at the time? Like, did you have any connection with the lyrics like he did?

Thanks guys!

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: Steve Walsh has retired and is enjoying life with his family. I can say that probably none of us at the time had much of a connection to Kerry's lyrics because lots of times we didn't know what the heck he was writing about, but we eventually figured it out.

RICH: They were very personal, heartfelt thoughts from him. Not written as a group, but as an individual songwriter's expression.

MediocreKaraoke3 karma

I went to one of your concerts several months ago and I was surprised by the some of the deeper cuts you guys played (Closet Chronicles, Reason to Be, etc.) and I was wondering, what are some songs you want to bring back into the set? Thanks!

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: Wow. Well, there's a lot of 'em.

RICH: We're still so busy with the new stuff that we've added that it's too soon to start throwing that out, to add other things.

PHIL: We've added 3 or 4 songs that we haven't played in a long time.

RICH: We want to enjoy playing these before we consider what we're replacing them with. It's a new year.

ProtoMan913 karma

Hey guys! Thanks for doing this!

In Kansas' heyday, what did the six of you like to do together, besides play music? I always got the impression the original six were pretty good friends, not just bandmates.

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: Well, during recording "Song for America" in Los Angeles, we'd come back from the studio every night, and go out in a parking lot behind the hotel that had a streetlight and basketball goal, and we'd play basketball as a band. We also played touch football as a band. And we also played softball. We actually had a Kansa band softball team.

RICH: And sponsored a girl's team!

PHIL: So actually, we had sports among other activities.

RICH: We went on fishing trips...

PHIL: And, uh...

RICH: Lot of band movies, the whole band going to a movie together...

PHIL: We were good friends.

streamstroller3 karma

How do you feel about shows like GLEE introducing 70's/80's power rock to new audiences?

OfficialKansas6 karma

RICH: It's nice to see music celebrated on television, and talented people singing, with great arrangements. Anything that promotes the actual singing, or playing, of music. I have to look at it as a positive thing.

nowhereman4303 karma

Hu Guys!! Can't wait to see Kansas in Atlantic City on July 11th. My question is, do you think the original six members of Kansas will ever perform together again live? Thanks!!

OfficialKansas4 karma

PHIL: I've learned a long time ago to never say never about the band Kansas. But due to people's health, and certain things that have happened to people's physicality because of their healthy, that would probably keep us from touring per se. It doesn't mean that the original band wouldn't someday do a song. But our focus is on the current band, and moving into the future, as far as touring is concerned.

RICH: Maybe at the Hall of Fame? haha!

nowhereman4304 karma

Kansas is one of the most creative and talented bands in history. It's a sin that you are not in the Hall of Fame.

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: That's a very nice to thing to say.

RICH: Hopeful.

MachoCactus3 karma

I've always wondered, was there ever a time when Steve lost control of one of his handstands and fell?

OfficialKansas3 karma

RICH: Never fell. He kinda got up there, and almost went over the top...

PHIL: Steve was an expert at the handstand on the keyboards.

entwistling3 karma

Out of all the songs Kansas has recorded, which do you guys feel features your PERSONAL best work as a guitarist and a drummer?

Thanks for doing the AMA, by the way! My dad turning me into a Kansas fan when I was about 14 is probably one of the biggest things I have to thank him for.

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: smiles

RICH: "Live at the Whiskey" in many ways, for the two of us - just because Phil and I, it was one set, we played the whole thing, never did an over-dub, and played our butts off! Maybe not by any means our greatest record, but our performances on it, from the sound of it to our execution, was my favorite.

PHIL: I would say our live album, too, for the show also captured a lot of great playing by all the guys. You kinda forget about "Live at the Whiskey"...

landmule3 karma

Do you actually live in Kansas and why don't more people in tornado alley build houses with basements?

Is there a particular type of roofing that is favored in America's heartland?

OfficialKansas4 karma

PHIL: The band has been based in Atlanta since the 1970's.

handsy_pilot3 karma

Can you talk about the early days? Like some of your first shows. Playing in Ellinwood, KS.

OfficialKansas5 karma

PHIL: Well, our early days - our audiences were always very sparse. We played very obscure places in very obscure parts of the world, mainly Kansas. We played frat parties, we played high school proms, we played clubs, we played, you know, places that most young bands play coming up. they were kind've nondescript.

RICH: We weren't really the type of band that fit into any of that? I think that beer was the lubricant that made the crowds tolerate us!

PHIL: Pretty much! We'd do anything we could do to get a gig.

MachoCactus2 karma

Did Livgren really write Song for America on a plane?

OfficialKansas4 karma

PHIL: He wrote the lyrics to "Song for America" on a plane.

WhatDoesYourHeadSay2 karma

I grew up in a overly religious home and "secular" music was bad. Kansas my first "secular" album I bought (Leftoverture). That was 25 years ago now and I'm still a fan. Thanks for making awesome music. Just out of curiosity, has the show Supernatural had much of an impact on sales for you guys? I look forward to your documentary. Cheers.

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: smiles

The show SUPERNATURAL and its fancies embracing "Carry on Wayward Son" - we're very honored by that, and very - I'm not gonna say that the members of the band watch SUPERNATURAL, but we're very aware of the popularity of the song in the show, and think it's very cool.

RICH: I'm very surprised by the connection and the notoriety because of the connection. It's more surprising than anything else!

florisgrif192 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA guys! Love your music!

My questions: What bands/ music served as inspiration and influence for the music of kansas? Also, do you still keep in touch with Steve Walsh?

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: We stay in touch with Steve all the time!

MachoCactus2 karma

How did recording "Freaks of Nature" in Trinidad come to be, and what was it like there?

OfficialKansas3 karma

PHIL: That came from Jeff Glixman, as I recall.

RICH: Now he'd worked there previously?

PHIL: Jeff had been down there, saw the studio, and thought it would be a good place for us to work. And that's how we ended up down there, was from Jeff, and he produced the album. You know, they fed us a lot of pony.

RICH: HAHAH! We kind've lived on the compound of the studio. It was a way of getting away from everything, to concentrate on what you're doing. Perhaps we went a little too far.. but it was a beautiful studio, it just seemed like the thing to do at the time.

PHIL: So we did.

RICH: That was kind of it.

PHIL: Let's go to Trinidad. And that's it!

MachoCactus2 karma

In one of the "MIRACLES OUTTA NOWHERE" clips, Steve said that he felt "competitive with Kerry," was there ever any animosity between the two?

OfficialKansas4 karma

PHIL: Well, in the documentary that's coming out, there is a bonus disc that actually deals with that very question, that Steve and Kerry deal with that question, and I would recommend you get the bonus disc because Steve and Kerry address it better than I ever could. And the bonus disc is only available through us, at http://www.miraclesoutofnowhere.com/

landmule2 karma

When can you come back to Laramie Wyoming?

OfficialKansas3 karma

RICH: We'd need an invitation.

PHIL: As soon as we're invited.

Spoonsy1 karma

Neither of you are claiming to be wise men, right?

OfficialKansas2 karma

PHIL: You are correct.