Two members of the band KANSAS are at two different ends of a spectrum.
Guitarist Richard Williams was an original member of the band and has been involved for so long it’s taken a "surreal" turn.
Vocalist Ronnie Pratt joined the band within the last 3 years and believes his life has taken a "surreal" turn.
Perhaps the band’s new album, which they will begin recording in January, should be titled Surreal.
KANSAS, which consists of Pratt on vocals, Williams on guitar, original drummer Phil Ehart, Billy Greer on bass/vocals, David Manion on keyboards, David Ragsdale on violin/guitar and Zak Rizvi on guitar, returns to Dodge City on Friday, Oct. 20, with its Leftoverture Tour celebrating the 40th anniversary of the album Leftoverture.
The show at United Wireless Arena begins at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m.
For Williams, 45 years with a band means he’s seen some strange sights.
"We had a show not too long ago in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin," Williams said. "It was an outdoor venue and the entire front two or three rows are filled with teenagers.
"It’s crazy seeing two sisters, 14 or 15 years old, dancing and singing along to every song we played. It is surreal."
Williams said video games and a TV show have brought the band’s music to a whole new audience.
"I give total credit to the TV show Supernatural," the guitarist said. "They use our music in the show and brought us to new fans.
"We even visited Comic-con for a panel related to the show. It’s been incredible."
Throughout 2016-2017, the band has celebrated both the release of The Prelude Implicit and the anniversary of Leftoverture. The tour — which started as a 15-city tour — will have included more than 80 shows and the release of a live concert album, Leftoverture Live & Beyond, being released in November.
"We’re busier than ever," Williams said. "When we put out the new album, we needed a way to get that music to our fans, so the tour, with 2 and a half hour shows, features our hits, Leftoverture and songs from the new album.
"We knew classic rock stations wouldn’t play new music and had no radio genre which would. It’s been amazing how our fans have taken to the new music, which is why we’re going back to the studio in January for a new album."
For Pratt, who replaced original lead singer Steve Walsh a few years back, joining KANSAS has almost been a backward event.
"My life isn’t my own anymore," he laughed when asked about changes. "I worked for 25 years in regular jobs while playing in several bands over the years.
"To think I would join KANSAS and give up the day jobs, it’s surreal."
Pratt contributed to the writing for The Prelude Implicit as well as singing on the album.
"When I first talked with Rich and Phil, we spent about 5 minutes talking business and 3 hours joking and telling stories," Pratt said. "I’ve been welcomed into the band like an old friend and we’re comfortable with each other on and off the stage.
"To me, I’m excited to go into the studio. KANSAS, talk about a band which could live on what’s it’s done, but Phil and Rich, they want to keep making new music for KANSAS fans. I’m grateful to be a part of that."
According to Williams, once the new album is completed, the band will once again hit the road to promote it — with a small twist.
"Next year is the 40th anniversary of Point of Know Return," he said. "So, like Leftoveture, we can celebrate an anniversary and once again bring new music to our fans."
Meanwhile, the tour continues on.
"I’m excited to come back to Dodge City," Pratt said. "Although, every time we play a show in Kansas, I’m told not to expect to give out any tickets at a Kansas show because Phil and Rich hand out so many.
"I’m joking. There’s nothing better than a KANSAS show in Kansas."
"I’m excited KANSAS is coming back to Dodge City and they’re bringing a historical show," said Chris Ragland, executive director of United Wireless Arena. "We’re happy to have them back, their show last time was great.
"We still have good seats left and encourage anyone who would like to see the band to come on out."
For more information, contact the arena box office at 371-7878 or purchase tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.
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