REO Speedwagon - Kevin Cronin (lead vocals, guitar), Bruce Hall (bass), Neal Doughty (keyboards), Dave Amato (lead guitar) and Bryan Hitt (drums) - rolled into 2007 full throttle with their brand new album Find Your Way Home, their first studio collection of new material in more than a decade.
The roots of the new album go back to the spring of 2000, when the band joined forces with fellow Midwest rockers Styx for a national, sold-out, co-headlining tour. The tour proved to be such a commercial success that it was recorded live and released on both CD and DVD, jokingly entitled “Arch Allies”. The bands appeared together on the Today show, VH1, and on numerous syndicated radio shows, including The Howard Stern Show.
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, both bands worked together to organize a series of concerts that would benefit the New York Port Authority Police and the families of the officers who tragically lost their lives.
Over the following two years, REO Speedwagon toured non-stop. In addition to performing in all the expected concert markets, the band got back to its roots in small town America.
“These are the people who supported our music from the beginning. This is REO country”, says Kevin Cronin, describing the fans who enthusiastically sing along every night to the songs he has written such as the number one hits, “Can’t Fight This Feeling” and “Keep On Loving You,” as well as the classics “Roll With the Changes,” “Keep Pushin’,” “Time for Me to Fly,” “Riding the Storm Out,” and “Take It On the Run.”
In 2003, REO joined fellow classic rockers Journey and Styx for the “Main Event Tour,” a sold-out, critically-acclaimed arena tour of all the markets that they had been entertaining since the late ‘70s. Music critics noted that REO had “kept their standards extremely high,” and were “thrilling their fans night after night with their incredible power, sheer energy, and songs that will live forever.”
New songs have been the lifeblood of REO since its first album in 1971, so it was natural that inspiration would strike during the “Main Event Tour” and drive REO to start writing new songs in between concert performances. The band began introducing these new songs into their live shows and the fan reaction was positive. The new album was born.
While not on the road, the band has been in the studio for the past 2 years working on their first CD of new songs since 1996’s Building the Bridge. The band has teamed up with producer, keyboard whiz and all-around musical genius Joe Vannelli (Gino’s brother and musical partner).
The buzz in the REO camp is unmistakable. It is a familiar feeling for this band, one they felt in 1978 during the sessions for their classic album You Can Tune a Piano, but You Can’t Tuna Fish and again three years later when they released the 10-million-selling Hi Infidelity.
While other bands went on hiatus when they hit rough times, REO has toured every year since its inception in 1971. “We love to play live,” says Hall, “it just keeps getting better.”
With the release of Find Your Own Way Home, the band feels its energy rekindled and its purpose renewed. This is not an ending at all; rather a new beginning.