Music: March 2006 Archives

On Monday, Steve Walsh posted a message to his website announcing that violin player and second lead vocalist Robby Steinhardt had been released from Kansas. See the 3-27 message on his Wait Until Tomorrow section. There's still been no official announcement from the band, but this seems to be a done deal. It happened right after some shows in Las Vegas, where David Ragsdale, Kansas' violin player from 1991-1997 has been playing since he left the band. The buzz seems to be that Ragsdale has returned. Several fans who know band members have dropped hints in that direction, saying that it's already settled.

I piece the following together from three sources: Steve Walsh's above-mentioned comments, several hints from those in the know, and interviews from Steve Walsh, Phil Ehart, and Kerry Livgren. Kerry Livgren is busy with Proto-Kaw and sending all his songs that way. Walsh's songs have been reserved for solo albums. He's said several times that he doesn't think he can write for Kansas anymore. Perhaps a teamup with Ragsdale would allow him to do that again. They haven't had a new album since 2000, and Livgren wrote every song on it. The last one before that had only three new Kansas songs on it, by Walsh, and that was 1998. Before that it was the 1995 album that Ragsdale was on. So this may well be about Kansas wanting to keep moving forward and recording new material. They do have an obligation to Magna Carta Records, with whom they have signed on for one additional album. Their live sets have also gotten somewhat stale in the last few years. I last saw them in 2001, and since then there were maybe 1 or 2 songs that they've done since that I really wanted to see them so I could see them perform those songs, but it's nothing like the variety in setlists from year to year that they had from 1991-2001. I might have seen them if they were in town, but I wasn't going out of my way to see them with the infrequent changes in setlists. I would go out of my way to see Kerry Livgren and Proto-Kaw.

So back to my suspected account. I'm guessing that they tossed around the idea of bringing someone else in to help write new material, and David's name came up. The issue of what they would do with two violinists came up, and somehow or other Robby ended up out of the band, either at his own initiative because the others insisted on having David part of this or at their initiative because they didn't want two violinists themselves. People will always jump to conclusions about how this happened, but I don't see any reason to assume anything. This does seem to be my best guess as to what's going on, though.



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